Saturday, October 23, 2021
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Surah Mu’minoon: keep their promises

Ibn ‘Ashoor explains that taking care of your trusts (amaanaat) is to remove any accountability and burden of sin for the blessings you have been entrusted with. Keeping your word and promise (ah’d) with Allah(SWT) is now raising your rank. The word ah’d refers to a promise or agreement. The tone of ah’d is more powerful than a trust – Allah(SWT) refers to an ah’d between us and Allah(SWT). Fulfilling your Amaanaat are like getting out of debt whereas growing your wealth is likened to your promises, as you polish your relationship with Allah(SWT), hence, the order of these qualities in this aayah.

The word raa’oon means to shepherd, not just to graze i.e. giving food, watching animals, protecting, taking them to and from the field. It indicates constantly taking care and watching over it.

Its important to remember that these are critical to our iman. We cannot pray and at the same time lack honesty, ethics or morality. The Prophet(SAW) was so conscious about truthfulness and honesty in all dealings – personal, financial, family, social etc.

Allah(SWT) reminds us: “Honour ˹your˺ pledges, for you will surely be accountable for them.”t [Al Isra 17:34]

Anas ibn Malik(rh) said the Prophet(SAW) did not publicly address the people except that he said “There is no faith for one who cannot be trusted. There is no religion for one who cannot keep a promise.”(Musnad Aḥmad 11975)

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “When you judge, then be just. When you make a covenant, then keep it. When your mercy is sought, then be merciful. Whoever does not do any of that, the curse of Allah, His angels, and all people will be upon him.” (al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr 725)

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever is pleased to love Allah and his messenger, or to be loved by Allah and his messenger, let him be
truthful when he speaks, let him fulfill the trust to whom it is due, and let him treat well anyone who would be his neighbor.” [Shu’ab al-Imān 1439]

‘Ubadah ibn al-Samit reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Guarantee for me six deeds and I will guarantee for you Paradise:
– Be truthful when you speak
Keep your promises when you make them
Fulfill the trust when you are trusted
Guard your chastity
Lower your gaze and
– Restrain your hands from harming others.” [Musnad Aḥmad 22251]

Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, would frequently say in his supplications, “O Allah, I ask you for health, abstinence, trustworthiness, good character, and contentment with providence.” [ al-Adab al-Mufrad 307]

At the time of Umar Bin Khattab (RA) there was a boy who killed the father of two brothers. On being called to the court of Umar(RA) for trial, the boy explained how he killed him by accident. So Umar (RA) asked the two brothers “Will you forgive him?”

They both said “No we want retribution (qiyas – meaning this boy will be killed for manslaughter).”

So Umar (RA) asked the boy “Do you have any last requests?”

The boy said “Yes my father passed away and I have a younger brother and my father left some money for my brother, I would like three days to retrieve this wealth from a hidden place So that I could make sure my brother gets it when I die.”

Umar( RA) said “I can only give you permission to leave if you have a guarantor, so we can guarantee that you will return for judgement”.

The boy shouted out in the court… “Will someone not help me today?”

Everyone puts their head down and there was a hushed silence in the courtroom. Noticing there was no-one to support the boy, Abu Dharr Al-Ghifari (RA), the noble companion who gave dawah to many tribes, raised his hand. He understood that a guarantor takes full responsibility for the one he vouches for and recognised that if the boy did not come back, he instead will have to face the capital punishment of retribution. Therefore, Umar (RA) released the boy in place of Abu Dharr Al-Ghifari(RA).

The first day passed by and the boy was nowhere to be seen. The second day passed by in the sam way. On the third day, as the day passed noon, the two brothers took Abu Dharr Al-Ghifari (RA) to the courtroom and pressed for fulfilment of the judgement. However, they were reminded that the day does not end till maghrib (sunset)” and so crowds upon crowds all waited in the courtroom, shocked and worried that this famous Sahabi would be killed for a young boy who had betrayed him. As they entered late afternoon, there was still no sign of the boy and everyone was making dua and pleading for mercy.

As the final minutes before the Adhan of Maghrib approached, the door slammed open and the boy rushed in.

Umar (RA) was astonished and asked the boy “Oh boy why did you come back? I did not send anyone after you to call you and you could have gone renegade to save your own life and look after your orphan brother. What made you come back?”

He said “I did not want anyone to say that when a Muslim gave his word he did not fulfil it..so I came back..”

Umar (RA) then turned to Abu Dharr (RA) and said “Oh Abu Dharr, what made you act as the guarantor of this boy, despite not knowing him or whether he would return?”

Abu Dharr Al-Ghifari (RA) replied.. “I saw a Muslim in need and I did not ever want anyone to say that a Muslim was need and no one was there to help him, so I raised my hand to be the guarantor of this boy”

On hearing this the brothers shouted out “and we forgive the boy. When we have people like this, how can a Muslim ask for forgiveness and no one be there to forgive him?”

This was the legacy of Islam.

[Siyar A’lam Al-Nubala’i by Imam Dhahabi, Tabaqat al-Kubra of Ibn Sa’d]

Ramadan 2021 series – reflections on Surah Mu’minoon

  1. Those who perform their Salat with humility
  2. Those who refrain from laghw
  3. Those who are observant of zakaah
  4. Those who guard their chastity
  5. Those who are true to their trusts
  6. Those who keep their promises
  7. Those who strictly guard their prayers … they are the inheritors of al Firdows

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