Here we shall talk about the invocation which a Muslim should say when he is indebted. At-Tirmidhy reported in his Sunan on the authority of `Ali ibn Abu Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: "A slave who had made a contract with his master to pay for his freedom, came to me and said: "I am unable to fulfill my obligation, so help me.'' He said to him: "Shall I teach you a supplication which the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) taught me? It will surely prove so effective that if you have a debt as large as a huge mountain, Allah will surely pay it for you. Say: `Allahumma Ikfiny Bihalalika `An Haramika, Wa Aghniny Bifadlika `Amman Siwaka (O Allah! Grant me enough of what You make lawful so that I may dispense with what You make unlawful, and enable me by Your Grace to dispense with all but You)." [Sunan At-Tirmidhy No. 3563, and Al Albany (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) graded it as authentic in Sahih At-Targhib No. 1820].
So, this is a great invocation which an indebted should say when he is unable to pay his debts. If an indebted keeps saying this invocation, Allah shall help him in paying his debts regardless the amount of debt even if it is like a mountain as was reported in the Hadith because facilitation is in the hands of Allah (Glory be to Him), His Treasures are full and will not decrease because of a small amount. So, whoever resorts to Him shall be safe and whoever asks help from Him shall gain help and guidance.
That slave came to Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) complaining about his disability to pay the debt to his master in order to free himself. So, Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) guided him to this great invocation which he had heard from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and explained to him its great benefit, moreover Allah shall help him in paying his debts no matter how big is it. He said: Shall I teach you a supplication which the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) taught me? It will surely prove so effective that if you have a debt as large as a huge mountain, Allah will surely pay it for you.
This style contains a great motivation for the hearer and exhortation to keep to this blessed invocation so that a person would get rid of his debt and from the concern which has annoyed him.
As for his saying: "Allahumma Ikfny Bihalalika `An Haramika," i.e., dispense with all but Him, so a person asks Allah to make him dispense with the unlawful by the lawful.
As for his saying: "Wa Aghniny Bifadlika `Amman Siwak," i.e., make Your Favors and Blessings enough for me and make me ask no body so that I would not need anyone but You and would not resort to anyone but to You.
This means: A person should refer all his matters to Allah alone, rely on Him only, seek His Help only, and depend on Him only in all his affairs; and He is enough as a guardian. Along with invocation a person should pursuit the proper means, endeavor efforts to pay the debts, should have a sincere determination to pay his debts, hasten to pay it as soon as possible, and beware of delaying and postponement because such a person shall not be helped by Allah. As for those who bear the burden of debt and have a sincere intention to pay it, Allah shall help them paying their debts.
Al Bukhari reported on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever takes the money of the people with the intention of repaying it, Allah will repay it on his behalf, and whoever takes it in order to spoil it, Allah will spoil him." [Sahih Al Bukhari, No. 2387].
Imam Ahmad reported on the authority of `A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Any person has an intention to pay his debt, Allah will help him." [Al Musnad 6/72, and Al Albany (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) graded it as authentic in Sahih At-Targhib, No. 1801].
An-Nasa'y reported on the authority of Maymunah (may Allah be pleased with her) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "There is no one who takes out a loan, and Allah knows that he intends to pay it back, but Allah will pay it back for him in this world." [Sunan An-Nasa'y 7/315, and Al Albany (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) graded it as authentic in Sahih Al Jami` No. 5677].
If a person is truthful in his determination and his intention is good, Allah shall facilitate his matters and grants him easiness from where he does not know, and whoever relies truly on Allah, Allah undertakes to help him, guide him, and pay his debt.
Al Bukhari reported in his Sahih from the Hadith of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "An Israeli man asked another Israeli to lend him one thousand Dinars. The second man required witnesses. The former replied, 'Allah is sufficient as a witness.' The second said, 'I want a surety.' The former replied, 'Allah is sufficient as a surety.' The second said, 'You are right,' and lent him the money for a certain period. The debtor went across the sea. When he finished his job, he searched for a conveyance so that he might reach in time for the repayment of the debt, but he could not find any. So, he took a piece of wood and made a hole in it, inserted in it one thousand Dinars and a letter to the lender and then closed (i.e. sealed) the hole tightly. He took the piece of wood to the sea and said. 'O Allah! You know well that I took a loan of one thousand Dinars from so-and-so. He demanded a surety from me but I told him that Allah's Guarantee was sufficient and he accepted Your Guarantee. He then asked for a witness and I told him that Allah was sufficient as a Witness, and he accepted You as a Witness. No doubt, I tried hard to find a conveyance so that I could pay his money but could not find, so I hand over this money to You.' Saying that, he threw the piece of wood into the sea till it went out far into it, and then he went away. Meanwhile he started searching for a conveyance in order to reach the creditor's country. One day the lender came out of his house to see whether a ship had arrived bringing his money, and all of a sudden he saw the piece of wood in which his money had been deposited. He took it home to use for fire. When he sawed it, he found his money and the letter inside it. Shortly after that, the debtor came bringing one thousand Dinars to him and said, 'By Allah, I had been trying hard to get a boat so that I could bring you your money, but failed to get one before the one I have come by.' The lender asked, 'Have you sent something to me?' The debtor replied, 'I have told you I could not get a boat other than the one I have come by.' The lender said, 'Allah has delivered on your behalf the money you sent in the piece of wood. So, you may keep your one thousand Dinars and depart guided on the right path.'" [Sahih Al Bukhari, No. 2291].
This is a strange story which the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) narrated about that man from the Children of Israel so that we would learn a lesson and to know the perfection of Allah's Power, the completeness of His Help, the perfect sufficiency for His Servant if he resorts to Him for protection, was truthful in relying on him, and ponder over the perfection of guidance where that piece of wood did not fall with the money except in the creditor's hand, so blessed is Allah the All-Knowing, the All-Powerful.
A Muslim should not belittle the debt or neglect paying it because it was reported in the Sunnah many Hadiths show the danger of neglecting it and show that a believer's soul is mortgaged by that debt, and that a dead person is prevented from entering Paradise until his debt is paid. Imam Ahmad reported on the authority of Sa`d ibn Al Atwal (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: "My brother died and left 300 dinars and a young child. So, I wanted to spend on that young child[from the inheritance], but the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Your brother is detained by his debt, so go and pay his debt. He said: Thereupon, I went to pay his debt then I said: O Messenger of Allah, (peace be upon him): I have paid his debts except a woman who claims two dinars without having a proof to that. He said: Give them to her for she is truthful.” [Musnad Ahmad 4/136, and Al Albany (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) graded it as authentic in Sahih At-Targhib, No. 1550].
Imam Ahmad also reported from the Hadith of Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "The soul of a believer is mortgaged as long as it had not paid its debt." [Musnad Ahmad 2/440, and Al Albany (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) graded it as authentic in Sahih At-Targhib, No. 1811].
Therefore, it is obligatory on a Muslim if he is indebted to hasten to pay it before death attacks him suddenly leaving his soul mortgaged. However, if a person is not indebted, let him praise Allah for good health and let him avoid loans unless there is a dire need to them in order to become safe from the concern of debts and to ease himself from its consequences and to be safe. It was reported in Al Musnad from the Hadith of `Uqbah ibn `Amir that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Do not terrify yourselves after its security. People said: What will do that, O Messenger of Allah? He said: Debt." [Musnad (Hadith compilation of) Imam Ahmad 4/146, and Al Albany (may Allah bestow mercy on his soul) graded it as good in As-Silsilah As-Sahihah No. 2420]. i.e., Do not hasten to take loans so that you would terrify yourselves from its consequences.
We ask Allah to grant you and us good health, safety, and guidance to goodness.