As stated in this column yesterday, the intention of rectifying material indebtedness by proxy must be in the name of the debtor and the source of funding must be pure.
As for moral indebtedness, it may come in form of promise or reciprocation of good deed. In Islam, promise, especially a voluntary one is a debt, which must be paid. For instance, a deferred dowry in marriage is a debt that must be paid no matter how long it takes. Ditto the case of an orphan’s property under one’s custody which is promised to be returned. Both must be paid as at when due based on fear of Allah. There are many other forms of promises.
All these types of debts are between man and Allah. They need no witnesses except where evidence is required. The one which requires witnesses is contained in chapter 2:282 of the Qur’an. It is about money and other material matters. This verse (the longest in the Qur’an) deals extensively with the issue of indebtedness and emphasizes the documentation of such a debt between the creditor and the debtor in the presence of witnesses who must append their signature or thumb printing to the document. It does not matter whether the debt in question is between a husband and his wife or between a mother and her daughter. The intention is to create a peaceful co-existence, within the Muslim community, which no debt should interrupt. It is better not to make promise than to change one’s mind after making a promise without explaining to the person to whom promise is made.
Another form of debt is the boycott of sexual intercourse either by the husband or wife for an untenable reason. From the day a marriage is consummated a knot of legitimate sexual indebtedness has been tied. And except for a very cogent reason which must be understandable to both parties, no one of them should boycott intercourse deliberately. Ramadan fasting, therefore, or any religious activities in the sacred month should not be used as an excuse for refraining from intercourse without getting the consent of the other party. Whoever does that has deviated from the fulfilment of a major promise. And, that, in itself, is a major debt which must be paid. Ramadan Karim!
Author: Gabriel Ogunjobi
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