Amaanah (Trust): Needed Virtue; Waning Virtue

It is often said that a man is only as good as his word. This holds true in many human societies. In Islam, fulfilling trust gained additional importance as a matter of faith. Believers are ascribed as being truthful and upright; they must keep their promises and fulfill their trusts. "Oh you who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are truthful (Q9[Tawbah]:119).

Trustworthiness (amaanah) isa quality that is essential ifa society is to function effectively. Amaanah is necessary but it is a waning value in our society. All facets of our lives are characterized by the declining value of trustworthiness. These days, many people would rather keep their money in banks than enter into business transaction on trust. This is because a trustworthy business partner has become a sort of a rarity.

Employer exact maximum commitment from their employees for a pittance and employees also cheat on their employers. In the political sphere, position of authority Is no longer seen as a trust but a means of qUick wealth through embezzlement of public funds. Allahs, Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) also said: The first thing that will be lost in your religious practice is trust and the last of it will be as-salaat. (Silsilat as-saheehah).

The sad reality is that the process of losing trust might have started already. We put up this edition to revive the virtue of trust among ourselves. Allah says: "Verily! Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those, to whom they are due; and that when you judge between men, you judge with justice. Verily, how excellent is the teaching which He (Allah) gives you! Truly, Allah is Ever All-Hearer, All Seer." (Q4[Nisaa]: 58)

The circumstances in which this verse was revealed are very interesting. Before the conquest of Makkah, the keys for the house of Allah were kept by Uthman bin Talha . At the time of the conquest of Makkah, the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) asked Uthman bin Talha to hand him over the keys. Uthman bin Talha gave them reluctantly saying that it is amana (trust) with you. Prophet Mohammad (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) opened the House of Allah and removed all the idols from it.At that time his uncle Abbas and Ali requested that these keys be kept in the family.

The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) did not give them the keys. As narrated by Umar (RA), the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) came out of the house of Allah reciting verse 58 of Sura An-Nisaa. He handed the keys back to Uthman bin Talha. This surprised Uthman, since the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) as a conqueror, could keep these keys for good. Uthman bin Talha was highly moved by the character of Prophet Mohammad (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) and immediately accepted Islam. As Good as the word It is often said that a "man is only as good as his word." This holds true in many human societies. In Islam, fulfilling trust gained additional importance as a matter of faith. Believers are described as being truthful and upright; they must keep their promises and fulfill their trusts. "Oh you who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are truthful" (Q9[Tawbah]: 119).

Trustworthiness (amaanah) is a quality that isessential if a society is to function effectively. Amaanah is necessary but it is awaning value in our society. All facets of our lives are characterized by the declining value of trustworthiness. These days, many people would rather keep their money in banks than enter into business transaction on trust. This is because a trustworthy business partner has become assort of a rarity. Employer exact maximum commitment from their employees for a pittance and employees also cheat on their employers.

In the political sphere,position of authority is no longer seen asatrust but a means of quick wealth through embezzlement of public funds. The virtue of trust and being worthy of anothers trust is inherent in ones quality of belief in Allah and submission to Him. In Islam, every believer is a brother or sister to the other; we are one body, one nation. The right hand must be able to trust the left hand. Allahs Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him. nor should he hand him over to an oppressor. Whoever fulfilled the needs of his brother. Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort. Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection. And whoever screened a Muslim. Allah will screen him on the Day of Resurrection." (Bukhari)

Small Gain at High Cost: He also said: "Whoever swears falsely in order to grab the property of a Muslim (or of his brother). Allah will be angry with him when he meets Him." Allah then revealed in confirmation of the above statement: Verily those who purchase a small gain at the cost of Allahs Covenant and their own oaths. (3.77)." (Bukhari) These commands and rules from Allah are designed for our benefit and Islam holds peoples rights in high esteem.

The systematic arrangement of guidelines and regulations is intended to uphold the rights Islam gives to the believers and to minimise vice and corruption. Thus, when Allah commands us to keep the trust, to be trustworthy, it is not a matter to be taken lightly. Prophet Muhammad (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) explained the seriousness of upholding the rights due to others when he said, "Allah says, There are three people whom I shall be their opponent on the Day of Judgment: A man who was given something in My Name and then betrays; A man who sells-off a free man (as a slave) and consumes the price; and A man who hires a labourer, makes use of his service then does not give him his wages." (Bukhari).

People of Midian In the past Allah dealt severely with people who were dishonest and did not honour their trusts. The people of Midian had developed unfair and corrupt business practices and Prophet Shuaib (alayhi salaam) was instructed to warn them of Allah's displeasure. "And Oh my people! Give full measure and weight in justice and reduce not the things that are due to the people. and do not commit mischief in the land.causing corruption. That which is left by Allah for you (after giving the rights of the people) is better for you, if you are believers. And I am not set over you as a guardian." (Q 11[Hud]:85-86)

After Prophet Shuaib (alayhi salaam) issued his warning and the people chose to belittle and ignore him, the promise of Allah was shown to be true. Allah is the Most Just, the Most Wise and He is the Ultimate Trustee, the One who can be relied upon to fulfil His promises. Allah says: "and when Our Commandment came. We saved Shuaib and those who believed with him by a Mercy from Us. And As-Saihah (torment-awful cry etc.) seized the wrong-doers and they lay (dead) prostrate in their homes." (Q11 (Hud]:94)

Honest to the Word Reliability, honesty and trustworthiness are characteristics that must be present in anyone who claims to be a believer. The sayings of Prophet Muhammad (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) indicate that dishonesty and betrayal are completely at odds with the Islamic faith. Prophet Muhammad (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) informed us that "A hypocrite is known by three traits: When he speaks. he lies; when he promises.he reneges; when he is entrusted. he cheats (or embezzles)." (Bukhari)

When Abu Ubayda (RA) was the commander of the Muslim armies in Syria the Emperor of Byzantium set out with a large army to recapture Hims. Abu Ubaida decided to evacuate the city because he had only a handful of soldiers. He gathered the people of Hims in the middle of the city and announced. We collected the protection tax from you because we planned to defend you. Now we are too weak. In this case, we return the tax we collected." All the taxes collected were returned to the non-Muslim people of Hims. Such was the depth of feeling and understanding displayed by the early Muslims. They were constantly aware of their obligations towards Allah, their brothers and sisters and those who were under the protection of the Muslim armies.

Allah's Command concerning keeping trusts Among the verses of the Quran which enjoins the virtue of trust and forbids treachery and cheating is the statement of Allah: "Verily! Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those, to whom they are due; and that when you judge between men, you judge with justice. Verily, how excellent is the teaching which He (Allah) gives you! Truly, Allah is Ever All-Hearer, All-Seer." (Q4[Nisaa]:58) Commenting on this verse, al-Imam Ibn Katheer said: "Allah informs us that he commands us to render all trusts to their rightful owners. In the hadeeth of al-Hasan on the authority of Samurah (RA) Allahs Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "Render trust back to the one who has entrusted you and do not betray one who betrayed you." (Ahmad)

This encompasses all trusts that are obligatory on a person including the rights of Allah on His slaves from the salaat, zokat, fasting, expiations, fulfilling oaths and other than these of all trusts. From these are the rights we have over one another such as deposits placed in our charge with or without evidence. Allah commands us to render all of these trusts and whoever does not do this in the world, such trust will be demanded of him on the Day of Resurrection." Allah also says: "Oh you who believe! Betray not Allah and His Messenger, nor betray knowingly your Amanat (things entrusted to you, and all the duties which Allah has ordained for you)." (Q8[AnfaI]:27)

Ibn Katheer also said in his commentary: "Betraying or cheating encompasses all sins, small and major. Ali bn Abi Talhah reported that Ibn Abbas (RA) said:"These trusts are those deeds (i.e. obligatory) which Allah entrusted to His servants." Thus Allah enjoins us not to betray Him i.e. by not abandoning those obligatory deeds and not to betray the Messenger by abandoning his sunnah and disobeying him. In describing the attributes of the sincere believers, Allah says: "Those who are faithfully true to their Amanat (all the duties which Allah has ordained, honesty, moral responsibility and trusts etc.) and to their covenants." (Q23[Muminun]:8)

Meaning that when they are entrusted, they do not betray trust and when they promise, they do not fail. The Prophets Warning concerning betraying trusts On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (RA) who reported: "The Prophet was in a sitting addressing the people when a beduoin Arab came and said: when will the Hour be? The Messenger of Allah continued with his speech. Some people said:"He heard but he detested what the beduoin has said. Some other said: He did not hear. When he (the Prophet) had finished his address. he said: "Where is the one who asked concerning the Hour?" He said: "Here am I Oh Messenger of Allah." The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "When trust is squandered. then await the Hour. "He asked: "How will trust be squandered?" The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:"When authority is given to other than the rightful holder, then expect the Hour." (Bukhari)

Allah's Messenger (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) also said: "The first thing that will be lost in your religious practice is trust and the last of it will be as-salaat." (Silsilatas-saheehah) Betraying trust is a sign of hypocrisy Bukhari and Muslim record on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "The signs of the hypocrite are three: when he speaks he lies; when he makes an oath he breaks it; and when he is entrusted with something he betrays that trust.

 

This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited

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