This Islamic New Year Pay Off Your House

By Imam Tahir Anwar who leads masajid in the Silicon Valley

This message is for people who are homeowners and make good money.

I’ve never understood why people don’t pay off their homes. I’ve never understood why people only make the minimum monthly payments, so they are enslaved to the financial institution for the entire period of the loan at times for 30 years. I’ve never understood why some senseless people have barakah-free interest only loans?

The tech industry, is an unforgiving industry. Once you reach a certain age, and there are younger people who can replace you at half your cost, you will be out of a job. Over the years, I’ve witnessed many people lose their homes after periods of unemployment; they lose their well-paying jobs and often cannot find another one. These are people who made good money, but were busy spending it on cars, vacations and God knows what else.

[A few months ago], I spent between Maghrib and Isha with an uncle, who has earned a large amount over the year—on occasion in excess of a million dollars annually. A generous man, who supported his entire family overseas—purchased each of them homes— and assisted widows for many years. He’s been out of a job for over a year, and can’t find another. He lives in a large home, which he now must sell. He’s having a hard time selling it. He was in tears, fearing that he would be on the street with his wife and (young) kids.

I reassured him that it would not happen, but honestly I was asking myself: Why didn’t he use some of his money to pay off his home that he’s lived in for almost 20 years? This way, one of his largest monthly expenses could have been avoided. He could have rented the house and moved into a smaller place, providing him with income in hard times. Read Piles and Piles of Stuff here for on consumerism

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This is the story of many people in our communities.

Lynnette Khalfani (The Money Coach) in her book “Zero Debt,” says that: “Debt is the longest-lasting economic curse, the most heinous financial plague, and the least recognized form of modern slavery afflicting Americans (and others around the World) this millennium.”

My advice—let’s call it an investment strategy—is at the least, secure your home. This is your best investment, not your 401K, not your stocks and not even your rental properties, if your primary residence isn’t paid off. This is a faith-based principle of building wealth.

A small home that you own is far better than a larger home that the bank owns. The peace of mind that accompanies this, especially for your family, is priceless.

Some will point out the tax advantages they enjoy on the interest/profit they pay. However, these advantages often aren’t all they are touted to be (if the interest on your mortgage is less than the standard deduction, you aren’t even getting an additional tax benefit) and there is always talk in every administration of taking away the home mortgage interest deduction. Plus, imagine the benefits you will enjoy from Allah, when you are debt-free, and for many, interest-free.

I end with 2 du’as that the Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) taught us.

1) One he taught to Abu Umamah Ansari, who recited it, and said that Allah removed his worry and relieved him of his debt.

“Say, in the morning and evening, ‘“Allaahumma inni a’oodhu bika min al-hammi wa’l-hazani, wa a’oodhi bika min al-‘ajzi wa’l-kasali, wa a’oodhu bika min al-jubni wa’l-bukhli, wa a’oodhi bika min ghalabat il-dayn wa qahri al-rijaal (O Allah, I seek refuge with You from worry and grief, and I seek refuge with You from incapacity and laziness, and I seek refuge with You from cowardice and miserliness, and I seek refuge with You from being heavily in debt and from being overcome by men).”

2) Allahumma ikfini bi halalika ‘an haramik, wa aghnini bi fadhlika ‘amman siwaak. (O Allah, save me from haram and make the halal sufficient and by your favor, make me free from others)

These words were spoken by Ali raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) when a person expressed a shortfall in his wealth to Ali raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), he said: Shall I not show you what the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) taught me, even if there is a debt equal to that of a huge mountain, Allah will pay it. Ali raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) then recited this du’a.


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10 responses to “This Islamic New Year Pay Off Your House”

  1. Ish says:

    I am surprised to find this article here, since Riba is haraam.

    • writeousbum says:

      I think the author is making the argument that whatever your situation is, halal loan or a riba-loan, if you are in debt, freeing yourself from it should be the foremost of your ventures.

      Well written article. Today, to be debt-free is like being a stranger in a strange land…glad tidings would be well deserved :)

      • Haroon Rasheed says:

        If you really want it, Allah SWT will help you to get out of debts. AlHamdulillah I was able to get out of RIBA and the barakah of staying out of it is simply a blessing one has to experience. May Allah help us achieve it.

    • Muslims should not deal with Riba as it is haraam but the fact is that some Muslims do deal with it. Hence, this article….

      And even if the debt was based on 100% halal transaction it is still debt and haste should be made to settle this debt. Hence, this article….


      *Comment above is posted in a personal capacity and may not reflect the official views of MuslimMatters or its staff*

  2. Sa says:

    No need to be surprised. We all know how many Muslims are steeped in riba – a lot. This is good solid advice. Get out of riba, and fast!

  3. Siraaj says:

    The reality is that most Muslims don’t know or care about riba (in some circles known as “rent”). I understand the author’s intent, he’s not condoning riba, but he realizes practically speaking everyone’s gonna find a way to do it, so he’s advocating the next best thing, get out of riba debt.

  4. Salman Jamali says:

    “The tech industry is an unforgiving industry. Once you reach a certain age, and there are younger people who can replace you at half your cost, you will be out of a job.”

    Great point. It’s a tangential discussion but I think a lot of us Muslims are addicted to corporate slavery, a periodic paycheck, and a passive/traditional growth-oriented career. I think entrepreneurship needs to be religiously preached. and Muslims need to work together to avoid the shame of being replaced. We can do much better than gas stations and subways.

  5. Umm A says:

    MashaAllah. A very appropriate and obviously well-intentioned article. May Allah SWT make us a debt-free people and wise spenders.
    P.S.: I think there’s been a typo in the article – ‘on occasion in access of a million dollars annually’

  6. Yasso says:

    I think the subject of Riba is one that must be discussed and not shunned by simply stating that it is forbidden. Living in North America is not easy, particular when you live in major cities where rent options are scarce. In many apartment rentals there is no rent regulation, which means landlords can increase rent prices by several hundreds of dollars per year. In addition, there is a safety and security issue with putting your family in rental buildings that force your women and children to mix with individuals who are uneducated, smoke drugs and drink alcohol in the very same elevator. There is also higher rates of crimes that occur in rental apartment buildings compared to say living in the suburbs in a purchased home where the people you are mixed with are well educated and decent.

    The issue of riba isn’t black and white and for anyone to paint it as such is just ignorant and taking a literal hard line stance. It is also interesting to point out that most scholars allow car insurance yet provide no excepts for purchasing a home (and the safety and security issues are real – to argue otherwise is not looking at the facts). Yes to drive a car you need insurance there is no way around it, but you can technically take public transportation. Driving a car can be considered a luxury, particularly when most cities have well established public transportation systems. So all of a sudden, out of convenience, car insurance because “allowed” yet there is no exception for buying a home. I find this manipulative and not serving the needs of the Muslim community. No one is arguing that interest or riba is permissible, but with all things are you trying to say there is absolutely no justification in any single circumstance? Let’s be realistic!

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