Posted by: Abu Husaini | August 27, 2013

Trust and Honesty

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The Broader Sense of Trust

Islam expects of its followers that they will be masters of live hearts and wakeful conscience, which would ensure the protection of the rights of God and humanity and which would also protect their action: from the commitment of excesses. Therefore it is necessary that every Muslim should be Ameen, ”trustworthy”.

In the eyes of the Shariah, Trust has a very broad sense. This word contains an ocean of meaning, but underneath it all is the sense of responsibility, the sense of having to appear before Allah and to account for one’s actions, the details of which are given in the Hadith  :

“Every one of you is a guardian and everyone will be asked about his subjects. Imam is a guardian. He will be asked about his subjects. A man is the guardian of the persons in his household. He is answerable about them. A woman is the guardian of her husband’s house. She will be asked about her responsibility. The servant is the guardian of the articles of his master. He is answerable about this responsibility of his, “ (Bukhari)

The narrator of the hadith Ibn Umar says that he heard these things from the Prophet and he thinks that the Prophet also said: “A man is a guardian of the stock of his father and is answerable about that.”

The people take trust in a very limited, sense and consider it to mean the protection of others’ deposits, although in Allah’s religion this has a very broad and unlimited sense.

This is a duty for safeguarding which a Muslim advises another Muslim and in this connection seeks the help of Allah, When a Muslim prepares to go on a journeys his brother prays for him in this way:

“I pray to Allah for your religion, your trust and for the happy ending of your work,” (Tirmizi)

Hazrat Anas narrates that whenever Allah’s Messenger addressed a sermon to us, he invariably repeated this sentence:

“The man has no faith who cannot keep trust and the man who does not respect his promises has no religion.”

Since the zenith of achievement and the highest limit of success is to be protected against the hardships of this world and the bad consequences in the Hereafter, the Prophet prays for safety from both the conditions. He has said:

“O Allah! I seek your shelter from the pangs of hunger, because it is a very bad companion, and I seek your shelter from dishonesty because it is the worst friend.” (Abu Daud)

Hunger is the name of deprivation in the world and dishonesty is the name of destruction of religion, therefore the Prophet had prayed for being spared from both. Before attaining prophet-hood he was known among the people as   AL-Ameen (The Trustworthy).

Similarly the trustworthiness of Moosa (Moses) was observed when he fetched water for the flock of the two daughters of the good old man, had helped them, had respected their womanhood, and had treated them in a decent and gentlemanly way:

“So he watered (their flocks) for them; then he turned back to the shade, and said: “O my Lord I truly am I in (desperate) need of any good that you do send me !”. Afterwards one of the (damsels) came (back) to him, walking bashfully. She said: “My father invites you that he may reward you for having watered (our flocks) for us.” So when he came to him and narrated the story, he said: “Do not fear; (well) have you escaped from unjust people.”  Said one of the (damsels) :“O my (dear) father I engage him on wages; truly the best of men for you to employ is the (man) who is strong and trusty.” {Qasas.. 24-26}

This event took place when Moosa had not been made Prophet, and was not sent to Pharaohs.

And this is not at all surprising because Allah chose only those individuals for being appointed as His Messengers who were the most decent, most honest and righteous, among the people. The self which continues to be attached to the high moral character even after undergoing the extremes of the hardship of poverty and helplessness must be belonging to a very powerful and trustworthy man; and the protection of the rights of God and His slaves demands such character only as does not change in good or bad conditions, and this is the spirit of trustworthiness.

Appointment to High Offices and Posts is a Trust

There is also another sense of trust, and that is: everything should be placed at its proper and deserving place. An office or a post should be offered only to the deserving person; and responsibility should be given only to that person who is able to shoulder it and who has the capability to do justice to the trust placed in him.

Governorship, responsibilities of the party, nation or country, which are granted placing confidence in the persons concerned, are trusts, about which they are answerable. A number of proofs can be advanced in support of this statement.

Hazrat Abu Zar reports that he asked the Prophet whether he would not make him a governor somewhere. Hearing this the Prophet tapped his shoulder and said:

“O Abu Zar ! you are weak, and this responsibility is a trust. On the Day of Judgment it will be a cause of loss of honour and ignominy. However, those people will be spared who will have accepted it with all its responsibilities and would have fulfilled whatever responsibilities they had in this connection.” (Muslim)

It is a fact that mere excellence of education or experience does not make a person most suitable for some office. It is also possible that a man may have good moral character and a righteous person, but he may not have the capabilities to fulfil the responsibilities of a certain office.

Hazrat Yusuf (Joseph) was a Prophet. He was the living example of righteousness and virtuousness, but he had not offered his services to shoulder the responsibilities of the country on the basis of his righteousness and prophet-hood. He had taken the reins of office in his hand on account of his learning and memory.

“(Yusuf) Said.. ‘Entrust to me the treasures of the country. Verily, I am protector and learned.” (Yusuf.. 55)

Trust demands that we should entrust such responsibilities and posts to such individuals as would be able to run them properly. If through bribery, nepotism and for some other reason we deviate from this principle and we select an unfit person for some office, then since we have ignored a fit person and have appointed an unfit and undeserving person, we have committed open misappropriation.

Allah’s Messenger has said that whoever has appointed an administrator through nepotism although there was among the people an individual who was more desirable before Allah than that person, then he has committed misappropriation against Allah, His Messenger and all the Muslims.”

(Hakim) Yazid bin Abi Sufyan reports that when Hazrat Abu Bakr sent him to Syria, he advised him thus: “O Yazid ! You have many relationships. It is likely that you may be influenced by them in making important appointments. I am very much afraid about you since the time the Prophet has said: ‘Anyone who has been made responsible for some affair of the Muslims and he has entrusted some responsible job to some ones influenced by his relatives, then Allah’s curse on him. No virtue or justice from him will be accepted before Allah, so much so that he will be thrown in the Hell. (Hakim)

The community from which the quality of keeping trust is vanished, can be recognised thus: the distribution of posts and offices in that community become a game and play of favours. The value of able men goes down and in their place unfit and undeserving men are appointed. The tradition has it that this forms part of those manifestations of corruption which will appear in the last period.

A man came to the Prophet and asked when the Doomsday would occur. The Prophet answered: “When deposits in trust would start being lost, then wait for the Doomsday.” He was again asked: “What is the meaning of loss of trusts ?” He replied: “When responsibilities are entrusted to unfit persons, then wait for the Doomsday.’s (Bukhari)

Performance of Duty is also a Trust

This sense is also included in the meaning of trust that the man to whom the responsibility has been entrusted should have the sincere inclination of satisfactorily fulfilling those responsibilities and that he should devote all his energies for doing justice to fulfil it. Undoubtedly it is a trust. Islam considers it worthy of honour that a man should be sincere in his work, should be keen on doing his job in a better way, and should be alive to safeguard the right of the people that are in his charge, for however ordinary that responsibility may be, a slight negligence is likely to cause undue harm to the whole community and society; and the germs of corruption and mischief enter the entire body politic. Dishonesty in performing official duties causes various moral disease in the society. It causes great harm to the religion, to the Muslim public and to the country. This sin, its punishment and its evil appear in different forms.

The Messenger of Allah has said:

“On the Day of Judgment when Allah will gather all the people, past and present, a flag will be fixed for every  deceiver, by which he will be recognised. So it will be said that this is the group of such and such deceivers.” (Bukhari)

In another tradition it is stated:

“There will be a flag near the head of every deceiver which he will raise in proportion to his deceit. Listen, there is none worse deceiver than the Amir who deceives the public.” (Muslim)

In other words there will be none more deceitful and deserving of bad consequences than the person who is made responsible for the affairs of men and he sleeps peacefully while the public is undergoing hardships and facing destruction.

floating mosque

Misuse of Office is Betrayal of Trust

Trust demands that if a man is appointed to a certain high office he should not use it for self-aggrandisement or for the benefit of his relatives, for the use of public funds for personal purposes is a crime.

It is a common thing that the governments and the firms give fixed salaries to their employees. Then to find out extra sources of income is disrespectful, ignominious and mean. Allah’s Messenger has said:

“Whomsoever we will entrust with service, the provision of his needs is also our responsibility, If he takes more than this then he is committing misappropriation,” (Abu Daud)

It is misappropriation because he has used that property of the organisation for himself, which was to be given to the weak and the needy, and it was to be spent for a greater cause and purpose:

“If any person is so false, he shall on the Day of Judgment, restore what he misappropriated; then shall every soul receive its due, whatever it earned, and none shall be dealt with unjustly.” (Ale Imran ..161)

But a man who takes care of the commands of Allah in fulfilling his responsibility and he is averse to indulge in dishonest practices in performing his duties, then he is considered by Allah one among the fighters for the supremacy of the religion The Prophet bas laid :

“When the Administrator is given a job, he should receive his due and should pay the dues of others, then he is like a fighter in the cause of Allah till he returns home.” (Tibrani)

Islam has forbidden the exploitation of one’s office and taking undue advantage from it. It has been very severe in closing all the avenues of earning illegal wealth.

Adi bin Umaira narrates that he has heard the Prophet as saying:

“Whomsoever we have given some post and he has concealed a needle or a thing smaller than that, then it will be a misappropriated thing with which he will have to appear on the Day of Judgement.” Thereupon a dark-skinned Ansari got up and said: “O Messenger of Allah ! take away my governorship.” The Prophet inquired what was the matter. He replied: “I have heard all your talk just now.” The Prophet said: “I still say that whomsoever we may make a governor, he should place everything before us. He should take whatever is given to him, and should keep away from whatever he is asked to desist.” (Muslim)

It is said that a man from the tribe of Uzd, called Ibn Labith, was sent as an administrator by the Prophet to collect charity and donations. When he returned with the collection he said: “These are your things and these have been lifted to me.” The narrator of the hadith says that hearing this the Prophet stood up and after the praise of God said:

“I appoint, from amongst you, an administrator for these affairs for which Allah has made me responsible. When that man comes back, he says this is for us and this has been gifted to him. If he tells the truth, then why does he not sit in his parents’ house, Let us then see from where the gifts come to him? By God, if anyone of you receives even an ordinary thing without it being due, he will have to appear before Allah carrying that thing. I do not want to see anyone of you meeting Allah in this condition that he is carrying a camel on his; head or a cow which is bellowing or a goat that is bleating .” Then he raised his two hands till the whiteness of the armpits was visible and said: “O Allah! I have conveyed your message.” (Muslim)

Wealth and Ability given by Allah are also a Trust

Trust also means that you should take a survey of your powers of perception with which God has blessed you. You should have a look at those special ability which God has given you. If you look at your property and your children, who are very dear to you, you will feel that all these are God’s trust which has been deposited with you. 

Therefore it is necessary that they should be sacrificed in His cause, and they should be utilised for seeking His pleasure. If you suffer a loss in them, you should not start crying and wailing and you should not consider that it was your personal property that has been taken away from you, because compared to you Allah is the more rightful owner and He has the right to use it in any way He likes. If you are tested by an increase in them, then you should not hesitate to undertake jihad when called upon to do so, and you should not turn away from obedience to Allah on account of them, Or you should not feel conceited on their strength.

“O you who believe ! betray not the trust of Allah and the Messenger, nor misappropriate knowingly things entrusted to you. And know that your possessions and your progeny are but a trial, and that it is Allah with whom lies your highest reward.” ( Anfal.. 27-28)

Others’ Secrets with you are a Trust

Trust also means that you should protect the rights of the gatherings which you attend. You should not disclose their information and their secrets to others.

A number of relationships are severed, rifts are created in friendships and interests are endangered when the information about or the secrets of the gatherings are disclosed by someone by correctly or incorrectly quoting the source, thus jeopardising all the plans.

Allah’s Messenger has said: “When a man says something to someone and then turns to you, then it is a trust,”

The confidential talk of the meetings should be guarded, provided it conform to the moral laws and the principles of religion, otherwise its sanctity vanishes, If a Muslim is present in such a meeting where criminals, are conspiring among themselves, so that they may indict some loss on others, then it is his responsibility that he should try to prevent this evil to the best of his ability.

Allah’s Messenger has said:

“The secrets of the gatherings are a trust, but three kinds of gatherings are exceptions: one in which haram (illegal) blood is being shed, one in which haram (illegal) sex is being indulged into, or in which property is being illegally usurped. “ (Abu Daud)

The conjugal relations are sacred in the eyes of Islam. The domestic relationship between a husband and wife and their mutual affairs should be fully protected. The closest man should also not be informed about them.

But foolish people relate their private matters and domestic affairs here and there to outsiders. This is a very bad habit and Allah has declared it haram.

Asma binte Yazid reports that she was with the Prophet and a husband and a wife were sitting there. The Prophet said:

“Is there a man who narrates the acts performed with the wife? And is there a wife who relates her relation with her husband to others?’ People did not say anything from fear. I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! By God, husbands also do this and wives also do likewise, He said: “Do not say like this, Its example is like a devil-man meeting a devil-woman, and he covers her and performs the sexual act and people are watching. “ (Ahmed)

The Prophet said : “On the Day of Judgment before Allah the greatest act of misappropriation will be that a man may love his wife and the wife may also be inclined towards her husband and then he may disclose his wife’s secrets to others. “ (Muslim)

The deposits which are given to us in trust are for being protected for a fixed period, and then to be returned on demand. We are answerable for these trusts.

While migrating to Medina, the Prophet left behind his cousin so that he may return to the polytheists the deposits kept with him in trust, although these polytheists were the members of the same community which was driving him out of his native place, He was being compelled to leave his home in the cause of his belief, but how can a decent man behave indecently even with indecent and infamous people?

Maimoon bin Mehran says that three kinds of treatment be always meted out to good and bad man alike: keeping trust, fulfilling promise and kindness,

To consider trust as personal property is a wicked act, theft.

Abdullah Ibn Masood says that fighting in the cause of Allah vanishes all the sins except the misappropriation in trust. He says that on the Day of Judgment a person will be brought who had fought in the cause of Allah, would reply: “O Our Lord! how is it possible when the world has ended” Then it would be said: “Take him to Hell.” And in his presence the amounts of trust will be presented in the same form in which they were handed over to him in the world. He would see them and recognise them. He would go after them and seize them and carry them on his shoulders, till he would be under the impression that he has come out, when the trusts would slip from his shoulders, He would again run after them. This act would continue with him forever. Then he said that Salat (prayer) is a trust, Wuzu (ablutions) is a trust, to weigh a thing is a trust, to measure a thing is a trusts and he listed many things and said the greatest trust is that wealth or articles which are deposited or handed over,

The narrator of the hadith says that he went to Bara bin A ‘azib and asked him what he thought about What Ibn Masood said, Bara bin A ‘azib replied: “He spoke the truth, Did you not hear this command of Allah:

“Allah commands you to render back your trusts to those to whom they are due; and when you judge between man and man that you judge with justice.” ( An-Nissa.. 58)

Keeping trust protects the rights of Allah and those of His slaves. It keeps away men from lowliness and meanness. It reaches the desired heights only when this quality is absorbed by men in their natures and consciousness when it reaches the depths of their hearts and when it is guarded against the influences of close and distant relationships.

This is the meaning of the hadilh narrated by Huzaifa bin Yaman :

“Keeping trust has been naturally ingrained in the depths of men’s hearts, Then Quran came and people learned it from Quran and Sunnah.” (Muslim)

The knowledge of Shariah cannot be indifferent to the righteous conduct, and keeping trust signifies the correct knowledge of Quran and Sunnah as well as a wakeful conscience. If the conscience dies, then the quality of keeping trust is taken away. At such a time the recitation of the Quranic verses and the study of hadith cannot be profitable, but the claimants of Islam think about others and also about themselves that they are the bearers of this quality, but one may ask how can the heart that rejects the truth be expected to keep trust?

For this reason Hazrat Huzaifa has stated that the heart that has no belief loses the quality of keeping trusts. Accordingly he reports: “Then we started talking about vanishing the quality of keeping trusts and the Prophet said: ‘When a man goes to one kind of sleep, the trust is squeezed from his heart till its effect remains equal to a point. Then he goes to another kind of sleep, then the trust shrinks from his heart in such a way as if it were merely a scar,’ Then the Prophet said: ‘Then people indulge in buying and selling, but no one can give a thing in trust, so much so that it is said that in a certain family there is a trustworthy man, and about him it is said how tolerant, well-behaved and wise he is! although there is not an iota of faith in his heart,”

This hadith draws a horrible picture of vanishing the quality of keeping trust from the hearts of dishonest people, It is like finding sparks of goodness in the nature of some mischievous people sometimes, although they have no influence on their lives. And sometimes the good acts overshadow their evil deeds, but it is clear that these acts cannot revive the dead heart. This conscience-less person appraises men on the basis of his desires and preferences. He does not distinguish between faith and infidelity in them.

Keeping trust is a very important quality, Men with weak faith cannot bear it, Allah has given an example of how its burden bears down man’s whole existence, Therefore, it should not be considered an ordinary thing and no laxity should be shown in fulfilling its demands:

“We did indeed offer the Trust to the Heavens and the Earth and the mountains; but they refused to undertake it, being afraid thereof, but man undertook it. he was indeed unjust and foolish.” (Ahzab.. 72)

Injustice and ignorance are two evils which beset man’s nature, and man has to face the problem of fighting a jihad against them. His faith cannot be complete Without cleaning and purifying it from injustice.

“If is those who believe and confuse not their beliefs with wrong-that are (truly) in security, for they are on (right) guidance,” (Ana’am.. 82)

“Verily, from among the slaves of Allah those who are learned fear Allah.” ( Fatir ..28)

This is the reason why after mentioning man’s bearing trust in the foregoing verses of Surah Ahzab, it is said that those who are unjust and ignorant indulge in misappropriation, they are hypocrites and are the deserving recipients of Allah’s punishment; and security s granted to men of faith and keepers of trust:

“(With the result) that Allah has to punish the hypocrites, men and women, and the unbelievers, men and women, and Allah turns in mercy to believers, men and women, for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most merciful,” (Ahzab.. 73)

Source : Muhammad Al-Ghazali, Muslim Character, Chapter 8

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