Passing over of debts to someone else


Bahishti Zewar, Economics, Fiqh, Part 5-Principles of Business / Friday, June 11th, 2010

1. You owe money to Shafî‘ah while Râbi‘ah owes you money. Shafî‘ah asked you for the money which you owe her. You reply: “Râbi‘ah is owing me some money. Take the money which I owe you from her and do not ask me.” If Shafî‘ah agrees to this there and then, and Râbi‘ah also agrees to this, then you are absolved from the responsibility of your debt to Shafî‘ah. Shafî‘ah cannot ask you for the money; she will have to ask Râbi‘ah, irrespective of when she receives the money. Furthermore, the money that you have asked Shafî‘ah to collect from Râbi‘ah, you cannot claim that amount from Râbi‘ah. However, if Râbi‘ah is owing you more than what you were owing Shafî‘ah, you can claim the balance from Râbi‘ah. If Râbi‘ah pays the money to Shafî‘ah, well and good. But if she did not pay and passes away, then Shafî‘ah will be paid after selling all her (Râbi‘ah’s) personal belongings. If Râbi‘ah did not leave behind any wealth or possessions or, while she was alive she denied owing you any money, took an oath that she owes no money to you, and there are no witnesses in this regard as well, then in such a case Shafî‘ah can ask you for the money that you owe her and can also demand it from you.
If in the very beginning you ask Shafî‘ah to take the money from Râbi‘ah and she does not agree, or Râbi‘ah herself is not happy about giving the money to Shafî‘ah, then this debt has not fallen off your shoulders (i.e. you are still responsible to pay Shafî‘ah her money).

2. Râbi‘ah was not owing you any money. However, you passed on your debt (money which you were owing to Shafî‘ah) to Râbi‘ah. Râbi‘ah accepted this and Shafî‘ah also agreed. Even in such a case your debt to Shafî‘ah will be passed over to Râbi‘ah and she will be responsible to fulfil it. Therefore, all the above-mentioned rules will also apply over here. After fulfilling the debt on your behalf, Râbi‘ah can claim that money from you. However, she does not have the right to claim that money before she can fulfil it on your behalf.

3. You had kept some money with Râbi‘ah as an amânah. You therefore passed over your debt (money which you were owing to Shafî‘ah) to Râbi‘ah. Thereafter, that money which was with Râbi‘ah got lost or disappeared in some way or the other. Râbi‘ah is no longer responsible. Instead, Shafî‘ah will demand the money from you and take it from you. Now she has no right to demand or take the money from Râbi‘ah.

4. If you pass over your debt to Râbi‘ah and thereafter you yourself fulfil this debt and pay the money to Shafî‘ah, this will be valid. Shafî‘ah cannot refuse to accept the money from you and insist on taking it from Râbi‘ah.

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