Bayyah of Mauritania rules on the accrual of debt and the on matters pertaining to banking with non-Muslims

Fatwa, posted 4.22.2010, from Mauritania, in:
Religious Authority: 
Abdullah Bin Bayyah
Fatwa Question or Essay Title: 
A man borrowed money from a bank in a Western country and cannot repay it because of the annual interest accrued; what is his penance? Also, what are rulings related to a non-Muslim's money?

As to the first question, if he cannot repay these debts, they remain upon his conscience. As for the penance, he must ask Almighty God's forgiveness, regret what he has done, and not do it again. As for the second question about a non-Muslim's money: it may not be attacked or taken through cheating, deception, or thievery, because the visa he takes in order to enter these countries is considered a contract of trust. A contract of trust forbids taking the money of another in a way that is not in accordance with the country's laws. He should only take it with good intentions. If he is given something with good intent or receives it as part of a transaction or business dealing, there is no harm in it. However, if he takes people's money and deceives them because they are not Muslim, that is not permitted in the Sharia.

شَخصٌ أَخَذَ مالاً مِن بَنكٍ مِن دَولَةٍ غَربِيَةٍ، ولا يَستَطِيعُ سَدادَهُ لِكَثرةِ الزّيادَةِ السَّنَوِيَّةِ. فَكَيفَ تَكُونُ تَوبَتُهُ؟ وما حُكمُ مالِ غَيرِ المُسلِمِ؟. الجواب بِالنِسبَةِ للسُّؤال الأوَّل: إذا لَم يَستَطِع سَدَادَ هَذِهِ الدُّيُونِ فَإنَّها تَبقى فِي ذِمَّتِهِ. وأَمّا التّوبَةُ؛ فَعَليهِ أَن يَستَغفِرَ اللهَ سُبحانَهُ وتَعالى وأَن يَندَمَ عَلى ما صَنَعَ وأن لا يَعُودَ إلَيهِ. أمّا بِالنِسبَةِ للسُّؤال الثّاني: وهوَ مالُ غَيرِ المُسلِمِ. فَمالُ غَيرِ المُسلِمِ لا يَجُوزُ الاعتِداءُ عَلَيهِ؛ لا بِغِشٍّ ولا بِخَدِيعَةٍ ولا بِسَرِقَةٍ. لأَنَّ التَّأشِيرَةَ التي يَأخُذُها لِدُخُولِ هَذِهِ البِلادِ هِيَ عِبارَةٌ عَن عَقدِ أَمانٍ. وعَقدُ الأَمانِ يُنافِي أَخذَ مالِ الغَيرِ بِطَرِيقَةٍ لَيسَت مُتَّفِقَةً مَعَ قَوانِينِ البَلَدِ. فَلا يَأخُذُهُ إلاّ بِطِيبِ نَفسِهِ. فَإذا أَعطَاهُ شَيئاً بِطِيبِ نَفسِهِ أَو حَصَلَ عَلَيهِ بِمُبايَعَةٍ أَو مُعامَلَةٍ؛ هَذا لا مانِعَ مِنهُ. أَما أَن تَأخُذَ أَموالَ النّاسِ وتَتَحايَلَ عَلَيها بِسَبَبِ أنَّهُم غَيرُ مُسلِمِينَ فَهَذا لا يَجُوزُ شَرعاً.