Loan Rulings according to Grand Ayatollah Khamenei

Q: Can we borrow money from non-Muslim banks and pay interest?
A: Although the borrower owns the borrowed money, taking a loan, which entails paying interest, is forbidden unless he is compelled to take the loan. Also one can evade doing the forbidden act by making the intention not to pay the interest, then takes the loan even if the interest may be taken from him.

Loan Rulings according to Grand Ayatollah Sistani

To give loan to Momineen, particularly the needy ones, is Mustahab, on which great stress has been laid in the Holy Qur'an and in the Traditions (Ahadith). The Holy Prophet has been reported to have said that whoever gives loan to his Muslim brother, his wealth flourishes, and the angels invoke Divine mercy for him, and if he is lenient with his debtor, he will pass over the Bridge (Sirat) swiftly. And if a Muslim denies his brethren-in-faith a loan, Paradise becomes forbidden (haraam) for him.

2281. It is not necessary to recite a specific formula in the matter of debt. If a person gives something to another person with the intention of loaning, and the other takes it with the intention of borrowing, that conduct will be in order.

2282. Whenever a debtor pays his debt, the creditor should accept it. But if the time for repayment had been fixed at the request of the creditor, or by mutual understanding, then in this case, the creditor can refuse to accept the repayment before the termination of time.

2283. If a period is fixed for the repayment of debt in the formal contract of debt by the debtor, or by mutual agreement, the creditor cannot claim repayment of the debt before the expiry of that period. But if it was stipulated by the creditor, or if no such period was fixed, the creditor can demand the repayment of his debt at any time.

2284. When the creditor demands his debt, and the debtor is in a position to pay it, he should pay it immediately, and if he delays its payment, he commits a sin.

2285. If the debtor does not possess anything other than the house he occupies, the household effects, and other things of essential needs, without which he would be facing hardship, the creditor cannot claim the repayment from him. He should wait till the debtor is in a position to repay the debt.

2286. If a person is indebted and he is unable to repay his debt, he should take up a suitable employment if he can, and pay off his debt. This is an obligatory precaution. Especially, if employment for him is easy, or if it has been his vocation, it is obligatory upon him to do so in order to pay off the debt.

2287. If a person has no access to his creditor, and does not hope to find him or his heirs, he should pay the amount he owes to poor on behalf of the creditor. And as a precaution, he should obtain permission for it from the Mujtahid. And if his creditor is not a Sayyid, the recommended precaution is that he should not give the sum he owes to a poor who is a Sayyid. But if he hopes to find his creditor or the heirs, he should wait and search for him. And if he does not succeed, he should make a Will stating that if he died, and if the creditor or the heirs appear, they should be paid from his estate.

2288. If the estate of a dead person does not exceed the obligatory expenses of his Kafan, burial and the payment of his debt, his estate should be utilised for these purposes and his heir will not inherit anything.

2289. If a person takes a quantity of gold and silver currency as a loan, and then its price falls, it will be sufficient if he gives the same quantity which he had taken. And if its price rises, he must give the same quantity which he had taken. However, in either case, there is no objection if the debtor and the creditor mutually agree to some other arrangement.

2290. If the property taken on loan has not perished, and its owner demands it, the recommended precaution is that the debtor should return him the same property.

2291. If a person who advances a loan, makes a condition that he will take back more than what he gives, for example, he gives 3 kilos of wheat and stipulates that he will take back 3 1/2 kilos of wheat, or gives ten eggs and says that he will take back eleven eggs, it will be usury and therefore haraam. Rather, if he stipulates that the debtor should, apart from the repayment, do some work for him, or repay the loan along with a quantity of another commodity (for example, if he lays down the condition that the debtor will return one rupee owed along with a match box) it will be usury and haraam. Also, if he stipulates that the debtor will return the thing loaned to him in a particular shape, e.g. if he gives him a quantity of gold, and imposes the condition that he will take it back as golden ornaments, that too, is usury and haraam. However, if no condition is made by the creditor, and the debtor himself decides to repay something more than what he borrowed, there is no harm in it. In fact, it is Mustahab to do so.

2292. To pay interest is haraam, the same way as charging interest. However, if a person takes a loan against interest, he becomes its owner, although it is better that he should not exercise his right of disposal over it. And if it is known that the creditor would have allowed him the use of money loaned, even if they would not have agreed on interest, then the debtor can exercise his would have allowed him the use of money loaned, even if they would not have agreed on interest, then the debtor can exercise his discretion over the money loaned to him without any objection.