If someone passes away and has credit card bills, will that count as debt on the deceased? If we ask for it to be forgiven or lessened would that be okay?
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
The use of credit cards is considered as taking on a type of debt, and contemporary scholars have only allowed their use if the cardholder is confident that they will make the necessary payments "on time" (without delay) before any interest comes due, thereby saving themselves from paying any interest.
Ideally, this should be done through automatic bill payment from the bank account, so even if someone passes away, their credit card bill would still be paid on time. If automatic billing is not possible, the cardholder should [in advance] assign the responsibility of bill payment to a backup person in case the primary cardholder becomes incapacitated for any reason or passes away.
If someone passes away with unpaid credit card bills then yes, that will be counted as a type of debt, and taking care of such matters is highly emphasized in Islām. The Prophet ﷺ is reported to have said: "The believer's soul is suspended by his debt until it is settled for him." The Prophet ﷺ is also reported to have said: "All the sins of a martyr are forgiven except debt."
All debts owed by the deceased should be settled before any distribution of inheritance. According to sharīʻah, the obligation is to pay off the entire amount owed to the credit card company. However, if this proves to be difficult because the deceased did not leave sufficient money behind, then their relatives may ask the credit card company for a complete or partial reduction in the debt, or that more time be granted to pay it off.
Only Allah knows best
Written by Shaykh Umer Khan
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham