I came across the idea of Cash and Credit Fardh a little while ago during a lecture about the teaching methods of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) and it has served as a good reminder to me ever since. I’ve found that even the simplest of principles are easily forgotten and are often neglected. The cash and credit analogy puts things into perspective and is something most of us would be familiar with. I hope you can benefit from it too.
A cash fardh is a compulsory/obligatory act that is prescribed at a specific time and falls due immediately while a credit fardh is a compulsory/obligatory act that is prescribed at a specific time however, due to certain circumstances, can fall due at a later date. In essence, it becomes a credit which needs to be paid back. For example, if a person meets the requirements to skip r miss a fast during Ramadhan (health reasons, etc.) the fast, though fardh, become a credit fardh which is due after Ramadhan, obviously sooner rather than later. Until the person completes the fast it is a credit fardh owed and represents a liability or a debt.
An example of a cash fardh is the 5 daily prayers and the Fajr prayer in particular. The Morning Prayer is prescribed at a certain time and the obligation must be fulfilled immediately. If for some reason you sleep in and aren’t able to pray within the prescribed time, the prayer remains a cash fardh which needs to be fulfilled as soon as possible. So if you miss Fajr, for whatever reason, you must pray as soon as you are able to without delaying any further. A cash fardh cannot be converted into a credit fardh, so you should avoid putting off the Fajr prayer until the Zohr prayer or any other time. If you maintain the 5 prayers on a cash basis, provided you make the right intention, Allah will guide you and you will easily fulfil your daily obligations. If you fall short on occasion, make up for it immediately and pray for Allah’s guidance – Allah is oft forgiving and most merciful.
If we divide our spiritual obligations into cash and credit terms, it becomes easier to recognize and prioritise certain acts. The key here is to highlight the cash fardh as the highest priority. Next time you miss a prayer, for whatever reason or excuse, think about cash vs. credit fardh and fulfil your duties accordingly. People work hard to avoid financial debt; we need to work harder to avoid spiritual debt.
May Allah guide us and allow us to fulfil our spiritual obligations punctually and sincerely… Ameen!