Why Are We in Debt to Allah Most High?

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel


Debt is something that one borrows for a period of time and then has to return: Why do humans owe a debt to Allah? The root meaning of religion is a debt owed to the divine. We owe it because Allah created us and sustains us in existence. I did not understand that when we did not ask to be created as a spirit or a human on earth, why are we in debt?

When learning Islam, should I just blindly believe in concepts like this or try to understand them? If I do have to understand, then should I first try to think of the answer myself or straight away ask questions?

Why are we in debt? Is the debt that we were created as spirits and given bliss, or is the debt because we were given the opportunity to be tested? If it is because we were given the opportunity to be tested, then why does Allah call humans ignorant?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

I pray you are in good faith and health. Thank you for asking a question.

You are correct; it is all of the above you mention that we are given bliss, an opportunity to be tested, and religion is given so we connect to Him and remain so through worship and gratefulness.

Why Are We in Debt to Allah Most High?

“Blessed is the One in Whose Hands rests all authority. And He is Most Capable of everything. (He is the One) Who created death and life to test which of you is best in deeds. And He is the Almighty, All-Forgiving.” [Quran, 67:1-2]

Linguistically, “din,” religion, or way of life, comes from the root word da-ya-na (د ي ن), from which “dayn” (debt) derives, that must be paid back. So there’s a connection between debt and religion, as one considers that we are essentially accountable beings who come into this world with a debt to fulfill, a debt due to Allah- a debt that grows as we mature into adults, charged with volition and discernment. Daily in our prayers, we recite that Allah Most High is “Malik Yawm al-Din” (Master of the Day of Judgment)- a day in which all debts are settled, a day of retribution-pay back in other words.

We tend to forget, at a deep level, that Allah created us, blessed us with existence, and has given us all that we make use of, all that we see, all that we spend and consume, all the senses that we apply to learn and find relief – all of everything. If we reflect on what we owe our parents for their care and nurturing, imagine what we “owe” to Allah Most High – gratefulness through His worship.

Why Does Allah Call Humans Inept and Foolish (Dhalum and Jahul)?

“We offered the Trust to the heavens, the earth, and the mountains, yet they refused to undertake it and were afraid of it; mankind undertook it – they have always been inept and foolish.” [Quran, 33:72]

In short, in verse, the two words (Dhalum and Jahul) mentioned above have been used for those particular individuals among human beings who did not obey the injunctions of the Shari‘a as they were expected to and failed to fulfill the right entailed by the amana or trust placed with them – that is, the disbelievers, hypocrites, transgressors, the wicked, and sinning Muslims of the community. This commentary has been reported by Sayyiduna Ibn ‘Abbas, Sayyiduna Ibn Jubayr, Hasan al-Basri, and others. [Qurtubi]

And others have said that Dhalum and Jahul have been used at this place in the sense of  “naive,” as an affectionate form of address carrying the thought that man, brimming with love for his Creator and in quest of the station of nearness to Him, simply forgot the end of the whole thing. Similarly, these words could also be taken to have been spoken for the entire humankind. In Tafsir Madhhari, details of this aspect have been reported from Mujaddid Alf Thani and other noble Sufis. [Usmani, Ma‘rif al-Quran]

The Cure for Ignorance Is to Ask Questions

Jabir reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, the only cure for ignorance is to ask questions.” [Abu Dawud] [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

May Allah Most High elevate, enable, and make it easy for you to study Islam, seek sound knowledge, and spread the light of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) and to be of the inheritors, in sha’ Allah

I would like you to go through the valuable answers and links below. You will receive guidance and direction, in sha’ Allah.


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I pray this helps with your question.
[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.