In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful
When Allah All Mighty offered the Trust to the heavens, the earth and the mountains, they refused to carry it and were afraid if it but man said “ I bear it” and he did!! Was he sinful and foolish when he accepted to bear such Trust? Allah, Glory and Praise be to Him, says,
“ We verily offered the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, but they refused to bear (carry) it and were afraid of it; an man carried it. Surely he is sinful, very foolish.”
Whatever meanings the word “Amanah” (the Trust) might bear, it is certainty something so great, dangerous and decisive that the heavens and earth as well as the mountains were afraid of it and even refused to bear it. But man bore the Trust of Allah with all its obligations and liabilities; and through his attitude towards it, he either goes up to the highest ranks ever or fall down to the lowest position ever. Through his attitude towards such Trust he is determined to be a believer or a polytheist or a hypocrite.
Although the term “ Trust” by be initially understood as “ something put under custody of other people to be kept and looked after and, then, given back safe and complete to its original owners” It my also bear the meaning of “being honest in giving back peoples goods properly”.
Despite such limited superficial understanding of the term, it has basically much wider and more comprehensive denotations that might include such moral values as loyalty, virtue, decency, purity, chastity, righteousness, uprightness and honesty, on man’s part, and interrogation, examination of conscience, liabilities and responsibilities for deeds and works, setting accounts, judgment, verdict of guilt, reward and punishment and recompense, on the part of Allah, the Judge, for everything man has been entrusted with after having been given the proper abilities and sufficient equipment together with a free will that are proper enough for the perfect fulfillment of such Trust.
And now, the question is: what is the Trust from the view point of the dangerous and Fatal meaning it bears?
It is At-Takleef (i.e. the obligation to fulfill Allah’s Orders and commandments). This is because when man accepted to bear the Trust, he practically accepted to take his own soul as a custody, to acquaint it with its Lord and Creator, to purify it from sins, and to exalt it to human perfection, for the only purpose that such good faith and such good deeds enable it be well qualified for entering Paradise that has been already prepared for it, wherein absolute bliss can be found. To this effect Allah All Mighty says,
“I have prepared for My righteous servants things of bliss that no human eye has ever seen, no human ear has ever heard of and no human mind has ever thought of.”
However, when Allah, Praise be to Him, entrusted man with such a Trust, He Most Merciful equipped him well enough for shouldering such a great responsibility. He subjected to him what is in the heavens and the earth in order to believe in Him and thank Him.
He granted him a clever mind for thinking in order to know the Beautiful Attributes and Names of Allah through contemplation on the universe.
He deposited in him desires and lusts so as to bring him near to Him All Mighty through patience or thankfulness.
He provided him with a free will whereby he can fulfill Allah’s commandments, and whereby his deeds are evaluated.
And to ensure that man is rightly guided to his mission, Allah All High sent His Prophets and Messengers (PBUT) with Divine Revelation and holy Scripture.
Should such Trust be rightly borne and faithfully shouldered, the first and foremost purpose for which man has been created is duly fulfilled. This is exactly what worship is, and this definitely what real success is, because worship, in the sight of Islam, is absolute voluntary obedience mixed with sincere and devoted love, preceded by definite certain knowledge of Allah and His Beautiful Names and Attributes, and conducive to a never-ending bliss. To this effect, Allah, Glory be to Him, says,
“ I have not created jinn and mankind except to worship Me.”
And this is definitely what real human success, welfare and prosperity are:
“Prosperous is he who purifies it (i.e. his soul), and wretched is he who seduces it (to evil iniquitous deeds).”
After being truthful and honest to himself by protecting it from deviation or error, man can certainly be truthful and trustworthy to sh3er,. And man’s Trust towards his fellow humans is of various kinds, most important of which are the following:
Trust of communication [of Allah’s Religion]:
The Trust of communicating Allah’s Divine Religion is the greatest Trust of all. All Prophets and Messengers of Allah were entrusted with this sublime mission, which they carried out most faithfully and sincerely. During their holy lifetimes there were great heroic deeds and Utopian communities which enabled powers of good to defeat those of evil.
Trust of Clarification:
Such a Trust has been entrusted to righteous scholars who are good copiers of the holy Prophets and Messengers (PBUT), and honest custodians of their holy Divine missions. On top of such venerable followers and disciples are the Messengers’ Companions and Disciples, those who followed after them and the faithful active scholars, who shouldered the responsibility of clarifying Divine Revelation to their fellow humans and safeguarding Prophetic heritage from distortion or loss, and strived to clarify the great morals without the least hesitation. Therefore, their communities were, in one way or another, an extension of the Prophetic ages of prosperity and welfare.
Allah All Mighty took covenant from righteous scholars to clarify the Truth to mankind and not to conceal it. Scholars, however, will not be able to fulfill such a Divine Trust unless they are most faithful and devoted.
Unfortunately, modern Islamic community differs notably from that of early times of prosperity. Most people today do not have the same faith, neither do they abide by the teachings and traditions of the holy Prophet, Muhammad (PBUH). They do not even observe the bounds of Allah. Muslim houses today are not as they are supposed to be. Social and financial relations are not governed by Allah’s Divine Law. Religion is now only understood as mere cultic practices, such as fasting, prayer, pilgrimage, or Zakat (alms-giving). It has been forgotten that giving up one unlawful penny is better, in the sight of Allah, than performing the pilgrimage eighty times, and that it is better for a true believer to strive to help his Muslim brother and satisfy his needs than a whole month of fast and seclusion for devotional service and worship.
But who is to blame for the unsatisfactory present status of Islamic nation and non-stability of religious values and morals therein?! Who is to blame for non-commitment to the laws and teachings of Islamic religion?! It is the scholars, educationists and men in power that are responsible before Allah for the Trust of clarification of the Truth to people and not hiding it. But they can never fulfill such a serious Trust unless they are possessed of adequate faithfulness and sincerity in word and deed, and unless they be good exemplars of Allah’s Religion that they are preaching. In praise of such scholars, Allah All High Says,
“Those who deliver the Messages of Allah, and fear Him, and fear not any one except Him”
Trust of Rule:
One of the most important types of the Trust borne by man is that of Rule, which completes those of communication and clarification. The Messenger of Allah, (PBUH), says,
“Two kinds of people, if they be good, all people will be good, if they be evil, all people will be evil: scholars and leaders.”
Piety is good; but in scholars it is better. And justice is good; but in leaders it is better. The Messenger of Allah, (PBUH), set the different types and classes of responsibilities, starting with commanders and men in power and ending with simple ordinary workers. The Bukhary narrated in his book of Hadith that Ibn Omar, may Allah be pleased with them, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, (PBUH), said,
“All of you are custodians, and all of you are responsible for those under your custody. The man is a custodian of his family and is responsible for his custody; the woman is a custodian in her husband’s house and is responsible for her custody; the servant is a custodian of his master’s property and is responsible for his custody… .”
Fatimah daughter of Abdul Malik(1), wife of the venerable pious Caliph, Omar Ibn Abdul-‘Aziz, the fifth rightly guided Caliph, was quoted as saying, “ I entered Omar’s place of prayer one day and I found him weeping with his hand upon his cheek. “ what’s the matter?” I asked “ Why are you crying?” With tears on his cheeks he replied, “Woe unto you, Fatimah! I have been entrusted with this matter (of rule), and I have thought of the hungry poor, the forgotten patient, the unknown naked, the broken-hearted orphaned, the oppressed subdued, the strangers and captives, the old men, the lonely windowed women, those who have lots of children but little money, and the like of them in the different parts of the country. And I realize that my Lord will question me for them all on the Day of Judgment, and my litigant plaintiff for them on that Day is the Messenger of Allah. I am afraid my evidence and plea will not be well proven! That’s why I am crying!”
A branch of the Trust of Rule is that of giving rule, i.e. putting the right man in the right place.
Abou Thar, Al-Ghifari(2) was quoted as saying, “ I asked the Messenger of Allah, (PBUH),
‘ O Messenger of Allah! Why don’t you use me [i.e., in power]? He patted me on the shoulder saying, “O, Abu Thar! Your are not strong enough for this Trust which is (if not duly carried out) mere humiliation and regret on the Day of Judgment, except for those who shoulder it duly and perform their duties towards it.”
Omar ibn Al-Khattab, the giant of Islam, one day predicated an authority to a man and wanted to test him to make sure of his ability for bearing such a grave responsibility and give him proper instructions for his mission, “What would you do if people brought you a thief ?” “ I would cut his hand,” replied the man. Omar, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Then, if any of your subjects came to me hungry or unemployed, I would cut your own hand!! O man! Allah has made us His vicegerents over His creatures in order to strive to provide them with a decent and respectful life. Should we fulfill this Trust, we will truly deserve gratitude from them. People’s hands have been created for work; but if they find no access to honest work, they will inevitably seek evil work; so get them involved in good work before they put you in trouble by their evil work.”
Trust of Responsibility:
Trust also denotes sincere care for shouldering one’s responsibilities most properly on the basis of true belief that man will be questioned before Allah for the proper fulfillment of the responsibilities entrusted to him, and that he will certainly be generously recompensed for such good virtues as properness of work, justice, truthfulness, good-heartedness, mercy, faithfulness, out- handedness, and generosity, on the one hand, or the lack of which on the other.
. Student’s are the teacher’s Trust; and good honest teaching is the essence of his responsibility.
. Patients are the doctor’s Trust. Each and every doctor will be asked on the Day of Judgment whether he strived to help his patients did his best to cure them of their illness.
. Clients are the Lawyer’s Trust; and opponents and contending parties are the judge’s Trust.
. Buildings, constructions, bridges, roads are the engineer’s and architect’s Trust.
. Vocations and professions are the workers’ Trust. To this effect, the Messenger of Allah, (PBUH), says, “Verily, Allah likes His slave to perfect his work.”
. Trees and plants are the farmer’s Trust.
. Consumers are the merchant’s Trust.
. People in offices are the clerk’s Trust.
.Within the framework of the Trust of Property and wealth are such transactions as purchase, debts, heritage, deposits, forfeits, wills, grants, and major and minor guardianships and so on.
. Within the framework of the Trust of human honor and dignity is abstention from harming or transgressing honor and dignity of other fellow humans by word or deed.
. Within the framework of the Trust of protection of man’s body and soul is abstention from murder or causing injury.
. Trust also includes that of scientific authorship i.e., honesty in quoting scientific texts without any misrepresentation, distortion, perversion, arrogation, omission, addition…etc.
. Trust also includes protection of inventions and patents and trademarks.
. Trust also includes protection of rights of authorship, both scientific and literary, and prevention of copying, quotation or publication without the prior written permission of authors. The Messenger of Allah, (PBUH), says,
“Verily, Allah will question each custodian about his Trust, little or great, whether he has fulfilled or breached it. Even the husband will be questioned about his wife, the parent (will be questioned) about his child, the master (will be questioned) about his servant; has he observed Allah’s commandments with them?”
There still remains some good tidings for those who preserve the big Trust of responsibility and shoulder it honestly. The Messenger of Allah, (PBUH), says,
“Trust is Riches”,
which clearly indicates that carrying out one’s Trust faithfully and sincerely is the only way to success and prosperity in both abodes, because it invokes people’s confidence and, brings man honor and respect, provides man with psychological balance and stability and confirms self-confidence and dignity.
Trust of Meetings:
Such kind of Trust can be interpreted as preserving the rights of councils and meetings by means of keeping the secrets entrusted therein. Neglect of such an important duty causes dissension and breakup of social relations. The Messenger of Allah, (PBUH), addresses this matter,
“If one man tells another something, and then turns (his eyes) round, it is Trust.”
However, Rights of councils are to be preserved so long as what takes place in them be governed by principles of Islamic religion and good morals; other wise such evil councils have no sanctity. To this effect, the Messenger of Allah, (PBUH), says,
“Councils are of the Trust, except for three (kinds of) councils: A council for unlawful bloodshed, an unlawful sexual meeting, or unlawful extortion of property.”
Trust of Conjugal Relations:
So sacred are conjugal relations in the sight of Islam; and what goes on between husband and wife must be keep top secret. In this context, the Messenger of Allah, (PBUH), says,
“It is the greatest Trust with Allah, on the Resurrection Day, that the man comes unto his wife, and she comes unto him; then he discloses her secrets (to other people).”
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It is worth mentioning, however, that any kind of neglect with regards to performing one’s duties and responsibilities, varied and numerous as they are, renders one’s income unlawful. It is a naïve understanding of religion to have it restricted merely for such formal cultic rituals as prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, or almsgiving. True religion goes far beyond to include every single moment of man’s life. It includes sincere service to other people, abstention form what is unlawful or illegal, purification of one’s income. This is exactly the meaning of devoutness, which was classified by Al-Ghazali, the great Imam and scholar, into four categories at the bottom of which comes what he called “Wara’a Al-‘Udul” (Devoutness of the Just), which, if breached, inevitably conduces to libertinism and disobedience and, hence, to Fire Chastisement. Such a kind of devoutness necessitates abstention from all acts or practices considered as illegal or unlawful by Islamic religion and law.
Above that comes another type of devoutness referred to by Imam Al-Ghazali as “Wara’a Al-Saliheen” (Devoutness of the Righteous) which includes the previous kind of devoutness plus more pious principles such as abstention from any kind of action or behavior that might conceal any of suspicion of illegality (although it is initially legal), following the Prophetic Hadith,
“ “Quit that which makes you skeptical to that which makes you not skeptical”.
Above the previous two types comes a third one called “Wara’a Al-Moutaqeen” (Devoutness of the Pious) which embraces higher principles such as abstention from what is initially lawful and non-skeptical but it is feared that it might afterwards lead to something unlawful or skeptical . To this effect, the Prophetic Hadith goes,
“A servant (of Allah) will never be up to the rank of the Pious, until he gives up (quits) what is permissible for fear of what is impermissible.”
Above all comes “Wara’a As-Sideeqeen” (devoutness of the Most Truthful) who quit what is initially permissible and not skeptical, but it is taken or practiced not for the sake of Allah or worshipping Him. Such a high class was advocated by the Messenger of Allah, (PBUH), saying,
“Whosoever encounters Allah while he is devout and pious Allah will grant him the reward for the whole Islam.”
To sum up, the Sharia [the revealed or canonical law of Islam] is all justice, all mercy, all benefit: and any matter or issue which deviates from justice to injustice, from mercy to tyranny, from welfare to mischief and from wisdom to vanity is by no means part of religion, even though it might be included into it by thousands and thousands of interpretations.
In this context, it might be said that legal livelihood embraces long days’ toil and consumes all time and effort as well as peace of mind. In answer to such claims, the Messenger of Allah, (PBUH), says,
“Whosoever gets exhausted at the end of the day, because of seeking lawful sustenance, goes to bed (in the evening) with all his sins forgiven, and gets up (in the morning) and Allah is pleased with him.”
In the sight of Islam, seeking honest lawful sustenance is by no means less important than seeking knowledge; and dishonest unlawful sustenance will inevitably lead to sins and misdeeds.
(1) Fatimah bint Abdul-Malik, may Allah be pleased with her, was the wife of the rightly guided Caliph, Omar bin Abdul-‘Aziz. She was a great woman possessed of a great wisdom; and Allah All Mighty chose her to be the noble wife o a noble holy man. She was very fond of her husband and most sincere to him.
(2) Abu Thar Al-Ghafari , may Allah be pleased with him, was a prominent Companion of the holy Prophet, Muhammad (PBUH). His name was Jundub bin Junadah. He was a good exemplar of truthfulness and honesty. He was the first to salute the Messenger of Allah, (PBUH), by the salutation of Islam [Assalamu ‘Alaykom]. He was against the hoarding up of wealth by the rich and depriving the poor of it; and he never saved any money.