Faithfulness and Fulfilling Promises and Covenants
A is the companion of the Prophet, Hadrat Anas bin an-Nadar (Radhi Allahu Anhu) could not take part in the Battle of Badr due to some reason. Therefore, he was very sad. Out of sadness, one day he came to the Prophet (ﷺ) and said, “O Allah’s Apostle! I was absent from the first battle you fought against the pagans. [By Allah] if Allah gives me a chance to fight the pagans, no doubt, Allah will see how [bravely] I will fight.” So, Hadrat Anas bin an-Nadr promised the Prophet (ﷺ) to do jihad in the way of Allah and fight the pagans so that he could make up for what he had missed. On the day of Uhud, he said to Sa’d bin Mu’adh, “By Allah, I want Paradise and I am smelling its aroma coming from behind of [the mountain of] Uhud.” Then he plunged into the war, and fought bravely until he was martyred. He had received more than eighty wounds by swords and arrows on his body. His body was mutilated so badly that none except his sister could recognize him by his fingers. [Bukhari and Muslim] The companions thought that the following verse was revealed concerning him and other men of his sort:
« مِنْ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ رِجَالٌ صَدَقُوا مَا عَاهَدُوا اللَّهَ عَلَيْهِ فَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ قَضَى نَحْبَهُ وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَنْتَظِرُ وَمَا بَدَّلُوا تَبْدِيلاً (23) [الأحزاب: 23]
Translation of Meaning: “Of the believers are men who are true to that which they covenanted with Allah. Some of them have paid their vow by death [in battle], and some of them still are waiting; and they have not altered in the least.” [Al-Ahzab:23]
The sacrifices of Hadrat Khadija (Radhi Allahu Anha ) are many and unique. She sacrificed everything for the Prophet (ﷺ) and his mission. She sacrificed everything in the cause of Islam be it her soul, her wealth or her influence. She caused comfort to the Prophet (ﷺ) from every angle and always shared his sorrows. She believed in him when none believed. She encouraged the Prophet (ﷺ) on every occasion. This is why that the Prophet (ﷺ), after her death, kept on mentioning her throughout his life. He cared for the pledge of love and faithfulness. He took care of her girlfriends, respected them and sent them gifts. Whenever he met any member of Khadija’s family or he happened to see them, he became extremely pleased. Once Hadrat Aayisha (Radhi Allahu Anha ) said about his extreme love for Khadija (Radhi Allahu Anha),
“Why do you mention so much a woman of old age while Allah has given you better wives?” Upon hearing this he became very angry and said, “Allah did not give me wives better than her. By Allah she believed in me when the people disbelieved in me and she accepted me when the people rejected me and she helped me, with her wealth, when I had nothing. I had sons from her.” [Ahmad] This behavior of the Prophet (ﷺ) is an everlasting example of caring for faithfulness.
The Prophet (ﷺ) had trained his companions so that everyone was unique in his character, loyalty and promise. Some companions from the Ansar of Madinah were present with the Prophet (ﷺ). He addressed them saying, “Why don’t you pledge allegiance to the Messenger of Allah?” They said, “Why not, we will surely pledge allegiance to you, but tell [on what things] should we pledge allegiance to you. He said:
«عَلَى أَنْ تَعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَلاَ تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا وَالصَّلَوَاتِ الْخَمْسِ وَتُطِيعُوا – وَأَسَرَّ كَلِمَةً خَفِيَّةً – وَلاَ تَسْأَلُوا النَّاسَ شَيْئًا» [مسلم]
Translation: “That you would worship Allah only and would not associate with Him anything, [and observe] five prayers, and obey, and he said one thing in an undertone, that you would not beg people of anything.” Hadrat ‘Auf bin Malik (Radhi Allahu Anhu) says, “As a consequence of that I saw that some of these people did not ask anyone to pick up the whip for them if it fell down.” [Muslim]
There was a man in Madinah called Arqoob. He had a garden of dates which bore many fruits. One day, a needy person came and asked for dates. He turned away the needy and asked him to come when there were dates on the trees. When he came for the second time he again turned him down, pretending that the dates were still raw. When the dates ripened Arqoob plucked them in the night and hid. In the morning, when the beggar came and found there were no dates on the trees, he returned disappointed. This occurrence made Arqoob famous as a cheater throughout Madinah. He became a proverbial name in turning back on the words.
Loyalty is a great quality. Fulfilling promises, standing by the words and performing the assigned duties are the qualities that got appreciation in every society and in every period of time. Allah has ordered all human beings, especially Muslims, to adorn themselves with this quality:
« وَأَوْفُوا بِالْعَهْدِ إِنَّ الْعَهْدَ كَانَ مَسْئُولاً (34)» [الإسراء : 34]
Translation of Meaning : “And fulfill the covenant. Surely, the covenant shall be asked about [on the Day of Reckoning].” [Al-Isra’a:34]
«وَ وَأَوْفُوا بِعَهْدِ اللَّهِ إِذَا عَاهَدْتُمْ» [النحل: 91]
Translation of Meaning: “Fulfill the covenant of Allah when you pledge.” [Al-Nahl: 91]
The various forms of faithfulness.
Faithfulness to Allah: Loyalty to Allah means that the human being fulfills the promise and pledge that he gave to Allah. And this promise is that man will worship none but Allah, he will abide by the commandments of only Allah; he will not make anyone partner in these things. This has been mentioned in the Qur’an:
« أَلَمْ أَعْهَدْ إِلَيْكُمْ يَا بَنِي آدَمَ أَنْ لا تَعْبُدُوا الشَّيْطَانَ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُبِينٌ (60) وَأَنْ اعْبُدُونِي هَذَا صِرَاطٌ مُسْتَقِيمٌ (61)» [یس: 60-61]
Translation of Meaning: “Did I not direct you, O children of Adam, that you must not worship the Satan, [because] he is an open enemy for you, and that you must worship Me, [because] this is the straight path?” [Yaseen: 60-61]
Oneness forms an integral part of human existence. Human being cannot keep without believing in Allah. It is the demand of human intellect to confess to the existence of God and believe in His attributes. Denial of these is denial of one’s self. The signs of Allah in the whole universe say loud and clear, “There is surely a creature of us.” The very existence of human beings is evidence that all these things have not happened haphazardly. The system of this universe has been stablized for fulfillment of human needs, if human being are separated from all the creatures, they will become useless. When the purpose of the creature is serving human beings, then what is the aim behind creation of man? The holy Qur’an says:
« وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالإِنسَ إِلاَّ لِيَعْبُدُونِ (56) » [الذاريات : 56]
Translation of Meaning: “I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me.” [Az-Zariyat:56]
Now, if man denies worshipping Allah and abiding by His commandments, it will be as if he is denying his existence. In the beginning, Allah took a pledge from man that they will believe in Him as their Lord. The meaning of faithfulness with Allah is that man fulfills the pledge to Allah. If he does not do so, he will be following the footprints of his eternal enemy the Satan. Undoubtedly, such a person will be called unfaithful, treacherous and rebellious.
Caring for mutual promises and covenants:
Islam orders that pledges and words be considered. It is necessary upon two persons who have come to an agreement and the conditions have been accepted, that they fulfill them. A Muslim cannot go against the conditions himself. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), when he signed the pact of Hudaibiyah, with the infidels and the pagans, and the conditions were agreed, he fulfilled them till the end. He did not go against it. It were the infidels of Makkah who initiated its violation. A Muslim is always the fulfiller of his promises and honors his agreements. [Bukhari] Yes, fulfilling a promise, rather making such a promise is not allowed that leads to disobedience of Allah and the Prophet (ﷺ). Such a pact should neither be made nor should it be fulfilled.
Faithfulness in weighing and measuring:
It is a common rule when weighing or measuring, the person should weigh and measure accurately. It is a social agreement and a Muslim cares for it. He cannot cheat and deceive and weigh less cheatingly. In case he does so, he will not be the one caring for the promise and agreement. It is in total disobedience to Allah. Allah says:
« أَوْفُوا الْمِكْيَالَ وَالْمِيزَانَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلا تَبْخَسُوا النَّاسَ أَشْيَاءَهُمْ وَلا تَعْثَوْا فِي الأَرْضِ مُفْسِدِينَ (85)» [هود:85]
Translation of Meaning :“O my people! Give full measure and full weight in justice, and wrong not people in respect of their goods.” [Hud:85]
What is a vow? It is that a man takes pledge to perform any deed as Allah’s obedience. It is a sort of pact with Allah. A human being should fulfill the promises he makes with Allah as He is the most deserving Entity that the promises are kept for. This is a quality of people of Paradise. The holy Qur’an says:
« يُوفُونَ بِالنَّذْرِ وَيَخَافُونَ يَوْماً كَانَ شَرُّهُ مُسْتَطِيراً (7)» [الإنسان: 7]
Translation of Meaning:“[Because] they perform the vow and fear a day whereof the evil is wide− spreading.” [Al-Insan:7]
While making a vow, we should care for making it only for good deeds; it does not consist of any act of sin, polytheism or invention. If these evils are involved then fulfilling vows will be not allowed.
Fulfilling a promise is a good and noble habit. Islam wants its followers to be adorned with every good quality. The Prophet (ﷺ) has counted treachery among the sings of a hypocrite. So, he said:
«آيَةُ الْمُنَافِقِ ثَلاَثٌ إِذَا حَدَّثَ كَذَبَ ، وَإِذَا وَعَدَ أَخْلَفَ ، وَإِذَا اؤْتُمِنَ خَانَ» [متفق علیہ]
Translation: “The signs of a hypocrite are three: −1. Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie. −2. Whenever he promises, he always breaks it [his promise ]. −3. If you trust him, he proves to be dishonest. [If you keep something as a trust with him, he will not return it.] [Bukhari & Muslim]
Faithfulness is a praiseworthy quality. Contrary to it, dishonesty and breaking promise are the condemnable qualities. Allah dislikes those who commit dishonesty:
«ا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لا يُحِبُّ الْخَائِنِينَ (58)» [الأنفال : 58]
Translation of Meaning: “Lo! Allah loveth not the treacherous.” [Al-Anfal: 58]
At another place He says:
« الَّذِينَ يَنقُضُونَ عَهْدَ اللَّهِ مِنْ بَعْدِ مِيثَاقِهِ وَيَقْطَعُونَ مَا أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَنْ يُوصَلَ وَيُفْسِدُونَ فِي الأَرْضِ أُوْلَئِكَ هُمْ الْخَاسِرُونَ (27) » [البقرة: 27]
Translation of Meaning: “Those who break the covenant of Allah after ratifying it, and sever that which Allah ordered to be joined, and [who] make mischief in the earth: Those are they who are the losers.” [Al-Baqarah :27]
Breaking promises & pledges and turning away from words, have been the qualities of the Jews. Would anyone from the Muslim community like to become a Jew by committing these evils? I seek Allah’s refuge from Satan, the dejected.