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Amanat (Trust)

 

On the day of the conquest of Makkah the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) entered Al-Masjid Al-Haraam, circumambulated around Ka’bah and called for the key-bearer of Ka’bah, Uthman Bin Talha, and took the key from him. Standing on the entrance of Ka’bah he recited:

“لا إله إلا الله وحده ، صدق وعده ، ونصر عبده، وهزم الأحزاب وحده”

Translation:“There is no God but one God alone, He made true His promise, backed His bondman and defeated the hordes alone.” When he sat down in the masjid Hadrat Ali proposed that the responsibilities of water distribution and gate keeping should be combined and entrusted to a single person. But the prophet called for Uthman Bin Talha and gave back the key to him as his amanat [trust] saying: This is the day of right and faithfulness [Seerah Ibn Hishaam]. It was against this background this ayat was revealed:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَنْ تُؤَدُّوا الأَمَانَاتِ إِلَى أَهْلِهَا (النساء: 58)

Translation of Meaning: “Verily Allah commands you that you restore deposits [amanaat] to their owners . . . .” (An-Nisa: 58).

The Prophet () ignored Hadrat Ali’s proposal and returned the key to Uthman Bin Talha. Thus, he set an example of restoring fiduciary trusts to their rightful holders.

What is Amanat?

Amanat means paying other people’s dues and safekeeping their trusts. A believer readily discharges all his obligations, safeguards the deposits entrusted and honestly performs the works delegated by others. Safekeeping of trusts is the core of the Islamic ethics. Of all the creatures, that at the moment of creation, were offered to bear this burden, man alone was ready to bear it. Allah (Ta’ala) has proclaimed:

إِنَّا عَرَضْنَا الأَمَانَةَ عَلَى السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَالْجِبَالِ فَأَبَيْنَ أَنْ يَحْمِلْنَهَا وَأَشْفَقْنَ مِنْهَا وَحَمَلَهَا الإِنْسَانُ إِنَّهُ كَانَ ظَلُوماً جَهُولاً (الأحزاب:72)

Translation of Meaning: “Lo! We offered the trust [amanat] unto the heavens and the earth and the mountains, but they desisted from bearing it and were frightened by it and man took it up. Verily he was a tyrant, an ignoramus” (Al-Ahzab: 72).

The Messenger of Allah () has pronounced:

“لا إيمان لمن لا أمانة له ولا دين لمن لا عهد له” (أحمد)

Translation: “One who does not safe keep a trust is without belief and one who does not fulfil his commitments is without a religion” [Ahmad].

Forms of Trust

  • Trust in worship: One of trusteeship is that a Muslim should understand his responsibilities and discharge them as best as he can.
  • Trust in use of one’s energies: One should uphold trust in the utilization of one’s energies and capacities as endowed by God Almighty. One should neither waste them nor abuse or misuse them so as to avoid the wrath of Allah.
  • Trust in deposits: One should safeguard the precious things or cash deposited with him by the people for safe custody. He should return them as they are to their owners, when they demand them. The Messenger of Allah () was renowned among his people before his apostleship, as an honest and trustworthy man. The reason was that he kept people’s deposits safely and never embezzled them. At a time when the pagans of Makkah resolved to kill him, he held deposits from them. He was so conscious of his obligation that he instructed Hadrat Ali to return their deposits to them before migrating to Madinah.
  • Trust in assigned functions: One should perform one’s assigned functions as best as he can and within the stipulated time. No excuses should be made and due standards should be maintained.
  • Trust in speech: It means that one should avoid talking nonsense or irrelevant things. One should always speak the truth and one should speak in a measured way. One true word spoken by a believer is a key to paradise. For instance, Allah (Ta’ala) has proclaimed:

أَلَمْ تَرَى كَيْفَ ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلاً كَلِمَةً طَيِّبَةً كَشَجَرَةٍ طَيِّبَةٍ أَصْلُهَا ثَابِتٌ وَفَرْعُهَا فِي

 السَّمَاءِ (ابراهيم: 24)

Translation of Meaning: “Don’t you see how Allah has struck a similitude: a good saying is like a good tree whose root is set firm in earth and whose branches reach into the heaven” (Ibrahim: 24).

Similarly, one bad word is enough to earn hell for oneself. He proclaims further:

وَمَثَلُ كَلِمَةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ كَشَجَرَةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ اجْتُثَّتْ مِنْ فَوْقِ الأَرْضِ مَا لَهَا مِنْ قَرَارٍ (ابراهيم:26)

Translation of Meaning: “And the similitude of a bad saying is as a bad tree, uprooted from upon the earth, having no stability” (Ibrahim: 26).

The Messenger of Allah () emphasizing the importance of each spoken word has pronounced: One cannot know the impact of a spoken word as he may be registered as a favourite of Allah because of it [Malik]. It is evident that each word is a trust having a far-reaching effect and thus, it should not be misused.

  • Every human being born in this world has a status and duties related to that status. For instance, one may be a father or mother or offspring. In the same way, he may be a ruler or lord or a subject or servant. He has duties related to his relevant position. Performance of these duties, honestly and trustfully, is incumbent upon him. The Messenger of Allah () pronounced:

“ألا كلكم راع وكلكم مسئول عن رعيته، فالإمام الذي على الناس راع وهو مسئول عن رعيته، والرجل راع على أهل بيته ، وهو مسئول عن رعيته، والمرأة راعية على أهل بيت زوجها، وولده وهي مسئولة عنهم، وعبد الرجل راع على مال سيده وهو مسئول عنه، ألا كلكم راع وكلكم مسئول عن رعيته” (متفق عليه)

Translation: “Hark! Each one of you is a herder and each one of you is accountable for his herd. Thus a ruler over a people is a herder responsible for his subjects; a gentleman is a herder of his household and he is responsible for his wards; a woman is a herder of the household off her husband and his progeny so she is responsible for them; a slave of a man is responsible for the property of his lord. Hark! Each one of you is a herder and each one of you is responsible for his herd” [unanimous].

  • Secrecy and confidentiality: Trustworthiness requires that one should not divulge the secrets of others if communicated to him.
  • Trust in trade: It means one should eschew cheating others. He should tell the customer if his merchandise has any defect or shortcoming. The Messenger of Allah () once passed by a grain merchant. To test it, he put his hand inside the stockpile and found it wet. He questioned the seller about it who replied that it became wet because of rain. The Prophet said you should have kept it atop so that the buyers would see it before buying. Anybody who cheats is not of us [Muslim].

The virtue of trustworthiness: Virtue lies in keeping trust. It makes one beloved to people. Allah (Ta’ala) has made a specific mention of the trusted persons in these words:

وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لأَمَانَاتِهِمْ وَعَهْدِهِمْ رَاعُونَ (المعارج: 32)

Translation of Meaning: “And those who safeguard their trusts and vows” (Al-Ma’arij: 32).

Verily success in the after-world belongs to trust-keepers and only they shall enter the paradise. Breaching trust is a great evil disliked by all. Allah (Ta’ala) declares:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لا يُحِبُّ مَنْ كَانَ خَوَّاناً أَثِيماً (النساء:107)

Translation of Meaning: “Verily Allah does not like one who is swindler and sinner” (An-Nisa: 107). In another place He has declared:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لا تَخُونُوا اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ وَتَخُونُوا أَمَانَاتِكُمْ وَأَنْتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ (الأنفال:27)

Translation of Meaning: “O ye who believe! Betray not Allah and His messenger, nor knowingly betray your trusts” (Al-Anfal: 27).

The Messenger of Allah () has particularly forbidden the betrayal off trusts:

“أد الأمانة إلى من ائتمنك، ولا تخن من خانك” (ابو داوود ، أحمد، ترمذي)

Translation: “Restore the deposits which others have entrusted to you and don’t betray one who has betrayed you” [Abu Daud, Ahmad, Tirmidhi].

It is an abominable act. Its reward is hell fire. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) also pronounced:

“لكل غادر لواء ينصب بغدرته يوم القيامة” (متفق عليه)

Translation: For every traitor a flag will be raised for his treachery on the Day of Rising to be identified by it [unanimous]. Just as trustworthiness is a sign of faith similarly betrayal is a sign of hypocrisy. The Messenger of Allah has declared:

Translation: “A hypocrite has three characteristics. When he speaks he lies; when he makes a promise he breaks it; and when he receives a trust he breaches it” [unanimous]. May Allah save us from treachery of all types. Aameen!

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