The Precious Jewel: *Trustworthiness*

Author : Dr. Mufti Lo`ai Somay`at

Date Added : 20-02-2024


The Precious Jewel: *Trustworthiness*


The Precious Jewel that we have Lost: *Trustworthiness*


All perfect praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.


Our world today is indeed strange and filled with contradictions where terms are flipped, concepts and meanings are lost, and words and phrases are traded. All of this is a sign of the approaching of the Hour.


Our skies are filled with clouds that carry not droplets of mercy within them, but rather evil bombs led by the people of malice, wickedness, and hypocrisy, until they descend upon our heads to explode our thoughts, change our culture, and destroy our future.


In our life, many terms have been stripped of their substance, meaning, and true concept, or have been diminished to the point where they are limited to a simple meaning that hardly befits their greatness and status in Islam. Among these terms is 'trustworthiness,' a word that often reaches our ears these days due to our lack of it and dire need for it.


If Allah entrusts something to be guarded, He says: 'And Allah is the best guardian, and He is the most merciful of the merciful.' (Yusuf: 64). This is a great trait among the morals of the prophets and messengers, as our Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, was characterized by it. His people called him 'the truthful, the trustworthy.' Every messenger used to say to his people: 'I am to you a trustworthy messenger.' (Ash-Shu'ara: 107, 125, 143, 162, 178). It's a trait among the morals of Muslims, as Allah says: 'And they who [carefully] maintain their trusts and their covenants.' (Al-Mu'minun: 8). It's evidence of the servant's faith. Betrayal, on the other hand, is evidence of hypocrisy, as the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: 'The signs of a hypocrite are three: when he speaks, he lies; when he makes a promise, he breaks it; and when he is entrusted, he betrays.' (Transmitted by Bukhari & Muslim). He also said: 'There is no faith for one who cannot be trusted, and there is no religion for one who cannot keep a covenant.' (Musnad Ahmad).


Moreover, trustworthiness has great effects that manifest individual and societal levels. Allah loves the trustworthy, assists, and protects them. Through the trustworthy, people trust one another, spreading confidence and tranquility among them. As a result, people live happily and joyfully by the grace of Allah.


Trustworthiness is a concept of immense value and importance in leading a noble and righteous life. However, we have brazenly violated it, stripping it of many of its profound meanings and reducing it to a single entity (albeit an important one): the safekeeping of a trust. In its true essence, trustworthiness is a precious jewel and a sublime attribute. It entails placing everything in its rightful place and giving each thing its due. It also means fulfilling the rights of others and protecting them from any harm.


Therefore, "trustworthiness encompasses all the functions of religion according to the more correct opinions" [Tafsir al-Qurtubi, Vol. 14, p. 253]. Based on this, the areas of trustworthiness are numerous, and I will mention some of them for their importance in our lives.


First: Trustworthiness in Religion


There is no doubt that people's need for religion is greater than their need for water and air, because religion pertains to the matters of the Hereafter, that eternal life. As for water and air, they relate to the worldly life, which is transient. Therefore, the wise person is the one who prioritizes their eternal Hereafter and preserves it, fulfilling the obligations that enable them to attain and secure it.


Therefore, religion is the greatest trust and the heaviest one, as mentioned in the Quran: "Indeed, we offered the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, and they declined to bear it and feared it; but man [undertook to] bear it. Indeed, he was unjust and ignorant" (Al-Ahzab, 72). The trust here is "the obligations that Allah has entrusted to His servants" [Tafsir al-Qurtubi]. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Muslim to fulfill it in a manner that pleases Allah, and among the examples of this is calling people to Allah and inviting them to embrace His religion. The Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, migrated and left his homeland and the places he loved most for the sake of conveying this religion. His Lord entrusted him with the duty of conveying the message: "O Messenger, announce that which has been revealed to you from your Lord, and if you do not, then you have not conveyed His message. And Allah will protect you from the people. Indeed, Allah does not guide the disbelieving people" (Al-Ma'idah, 67). He also entrusted his nation with this duty, due to its completeness and because it is the final message. Therefore, this great burden was placed upon his nation, each according to their ability, as he said: "Convey from me, even if it is one verse" [Sahih al-Bukhari]. Messages are among the greatest trusts because they convey Allah's message and save humanity from destruction. Allah, the Exalted, entrusted the final message to humanity, as stated in the Quran: "You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind" (Al Imran, 110). Additionally, the prayer, which Allah has obligated upon us with specific instructions, as the Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, said: "Pray as you have seen me praying" [Sahih al-Bukhari]. Therefore, the Muslim is a servant of Allah, a caller to Him, and worshipper, and both worship and calling are trusts upon us. They are precious gems that many Muslims have lost today due to their neglect of calling to Allah and neglect of worship.


Second: Trustworthiness of the Self


Our selves do not belong to us; they are owned by their Creator, and they are nothing but a trust that we should use in obedience to Allah. The soul and the body, including the head with its intellect, the heart with its emotions, the eyes with their sight, the ears with their hearing, and the hands and feet with their actions—all of these are trusts for which the servant will be held accountable on the Day of Judgment.


For example, the hand is a trust that we use in what pleases Allah, not in what Allah has prohibited, such as theft. It is precious if it does not steal, but if it does, it becomes despicable and cut off. Ibn Kathir mentioned regarding the verse "And [as for] the thief, the male and the female, amputate their hands in recompense for what they committed as a deterrent [punishment] from Allah. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise" (Al-Ma'idah, 38): "It has been mentioned that when Abu Al-Ala Al-Ma'arri arrived in Baghdad, it became famous about him that he posed a question to the jurists regarding their setting the minimum threshold for theft at one-quarter of a dinar. He composed poetry on this issue, indicating his ignorance and lack of intellect, saying:


A hand worth five hundred [dirhams] and more Why should it be severed for one-quarter of a dinar?

We have nothing but to remain silent about this And seek refuge in our Lord from the Fire


When he said that and it became known, the jurists sought him out, but he fled from them. The people answered him regarding this, and the response of Judge Abdul-Wahhab Al-Maliki was that he said: 'When it was trustworthy, it was precious. When it became treacherous, it became despicable.'" [Tafsir Ibn Kathir].


In addition, a person will be held accountable for their spouse and children; they are a trust for which they will be questioned on the Day of Judgment. Allah the Almighty says: "O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are [appointed] angels, harsh and severe; they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded" (At-Tahrim, 6). Anas narrated that the Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, said: "Indeed, Allah will ask every guardian about what he was entrusted with: Did he preserve it or neglect it? Until He will ask a man about the people of his household." [Sunan an-Nasa'i].


When we speak about knowledge, we are speaking about the essence of civilization, the advancement of nations, and their prestige and stability. That's why Islam has made seeking knowledge an obligation upon Muslims. The Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, said: "Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim" [Sunan Ibn Majah]. This is to make Muslims distinguished among people. Speaking about knowledge involves two aspects: the teacher and the learner. The teacher should be qualified to impart knowledge by being proficient in their field. As for the seeker of knowledge, they should adhere to proper manners in seeking beneficial knowledge from trustworthy teachers.


Fourthly: Trustworthiness in Leadership and Responsibility


Leadership is one of the greatest trusts from Allah the Almighty because the leader is responsible for those under their authority. Therefore, the leader must possess many qualities to fulfill their duties, with strength and trustworthiness being among the most important. Allah the Almighty says: "Indeed, the best one you can hire is the strong and the trustworthy" (Al-Qasas, 26). Thus, it is unsuitable for a leader to be weak or untrustworthy. Abu Dharr, may Allah be pleased with him, reported: "I said, 'O Messenger of Allah, will you not appoint me?' The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, patted me on the shoulder and said, 'O Abu Dharr, you are weak, and authority is a trust, and on the Day of Resurrection it will be a cause of humiliation and regret except for those who fulfill its obligations and discharge its duties properly.'" [Sahih Muslim]. Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them both, reported: "The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, 'Whoever appoints someone as a leader of a group of people, while there is another who is more pleasing to Allah, and is satisfied with them has indeed betrayed Allah, His Messenger, and the believers.'" [Al-Mustadrak 'ala as-Sahihain]. Trustworthiness in leadership necessitates appointing the right person for the right position. Abu Huraira reported: "While the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was delivering a sermon, a Bedouin stood up and asked him when the Day of Judgment would be. The Prophet continued his speech, so some people said that he had heard what the Bedouin had said but disliked it. Others said that he had not heard it. When the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, concluded his speech, he said, 'Where is the one who inquired about the Hour?' The Bedouin said, 'Here I am, O Messenger of Allah.' The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, 'When trust is lost, then await the Hour.' He asked, 'How will it be lost?' He replied, 'When authority is given to those who are not qualified for it, then await the Hour.'" [Sahih al-Bukhari].


Many have assumed positions they do not deserve, and many officials have taken positions for which they are not qualified, leading to the waste of the nation's resources and the occurrence of disasters in religious, political, economic, and social aspects. How many funds have been embezzled or misused, causing people to suffer from hunger and poverty? For them is the Fire. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: " Many people misappropriate (acquire wrongfully) Allah's Property (meaning Muslims' property). These people will be cast in Hell on the Day of Resurrection"[Sahih al-Bukhari].


Allah the Almighty has not created the world except for its development through work, by what improves it rather than what corrupts it. It is required of the servant to excel in their work (which includes both employment and independent work such as trade, industry, construction, and others) because they will be held accountable for it on the Day of Judgment. Thus, it becomes their righteous good deeds and the means of their salvation with Allah Almighty. The Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, said: "Allah loves that when one of you does a job, they do it excellently" [Shu'ab al-Iman]. This is because work is a trust that must be fulfilled, and excellence in work means adhering to the duties and etiquette of work, such as punctuality, fulfilling tasks as required in the best and most complete manner, not betraying the employer in their work, and not accepting bribery….


Sixthly: Trustworthiness in Marital Relationships


Marital relationships are among the most important human relationships. Rather, they are the most dangerous and sensitive relationships among people. Therefore, it is essential for spouses to preserve their secrets to safeguard their family from any disruption that could lead to its dissolution. Protecting the family is considered sacred in Islam, and it is a trust that we must uphold. The Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, forbade spreading the secrets of marital relationships. As narrated by Asmaa bint Yazid, she said: "I was with the Messenger of Allah, and men and women were sitting around him. He said: 'Perhaps a man may say what he does with his wife, and a woman may speak of what she does with her husband.' The people remained silent. I said: 'Yes, by Allah, O Messenger of Allah, they do that.' He said: 'Do not do that. It is like a devil meeting a devil on the road and having intercourse with her while the people look on.'" [Musnad Ahmad].


Seventhly: Trustworthiness in Speech


No one can deny the importance of words; indeed, life itself revolves around them. With a word, a person may enter Paradise or Hell, bring joy or sorrow, or even cause death. The Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, emphasized the significance of words when he said: "A servant may utter a word that pleases Allah, yet he does not give it much importance, and because of it, Allah raises him in rank. Another servant may utter a word that angers Allah, yet he does not give it much importance, and because of it, he plunges into Hellfire." [Sahih al-Bukhari]. He warned against the consequences of reckless tongues by saying: "May your mother lose you, O Mu'adh! Are people thrown into the Hellfire on their faces or on their nostrils for anything other than the harvest of their tongues?" [Sunan al-Tirmidhi]. Thus, words are like a possession for humans until spoken; once they are uttered, they become out of one's control. Allah says in the Quran: "Not a word does he utter but there is a watcher by him ready to record it." (Quran 50:18). In the narration of the Isra (the Night Journey), it is mentioned: "Then he (the Prophet Mohammad) passed by a small hole from which a great bull emerged. The bull tried to go back to where it came from but could not. The Prophet asked, 'What is this, O Gabriel?' He replied, 'This is the man who speaks a great word, then regrets it, but he cannot take it back.'" [Tafsir al-Tabari].


Therefore, words hold immense importance in a person's life and destiny, making them a trust. Unfortunately, words have become devalued when people engage in gossip, backbiting, slander, lies, and falsehood. This is especially concerning matters of religion, legal verdicts, and what is permissible and impermissible (halal and haram), everyone gives opinions without realizing they may be leading themselves into a pitfall.


Eighthly: Trustworthiness with Deposits


Wealth is the backbone and lifeline of society, and due to its importance and the risk it entails, a person will be questioned about it on the Day of Judgment regarding two matters: how it was earned and how it was spent. Sometimes, a person needs to entrust a portion of their wealth to someone they trust to safeguard it for them. The one holding this deposit is entrusted with it and must preserve it faithfully, as betrayal of this trust brings severe consequences. Abdullah bin Mas'ud, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, said: "Martyrdom in the cause of Allah expiates all sins except debt. The believer will be brought on the Day of Judgment and it will be said: 'Pay off your debt.' The believer will say: 'But, O Lord, how can I pay off my debts when the world has passed away?' It will be said: 'Take him away to the Fire!' So he will be taken away to the Fire. Then, his trust will be displayed before him in the form it had when it was entrusted to him, and he will recognize it. He will fall down on his face in humiliation, dragging his trust behind him, until he is cast into the Fire." Then the Prophet said: "Prayer is a trust, purification is a trust, the scale is a trust, measurement is a trust, and various things are mentioned as trusts. But the greatest of these is the deposit." [Shu'ab al-Iman by al-Bayhaqi].


Ninthly: Trustworthiness in Gatherings


Human beings are inherently social creatures who enjoy gathering with others of their kind. These gatherings bring people together to socialize and interact, and they are essential for human interaction. However, these gatherings come with etiquettes prescribed by Islam that Muslims should adhere to. Therefore, they are considered a trust, except for three types of gatherings exempted by Islamic law. Jabir ibn Abdullah reported that the Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, said: "Gatherings are a trust, except for three types of gatherings: shedding forbidden blood, violating someone's honor, or wrongfully taking someone's property." [Sunan Abi Dawud].


When a Muslim sits with his brother and shares something with him, then gestures to him indicating that what he said is to be kept secret between them, not to be shared with anyone else, then that conversation becomes a trust that he must protect. Jabir ibn Abdullah narrated that the Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, said: "If a man speaks to another in confidence, and then turns away, then it is a trust." [Sunan at-Tirmidhi].


Today, when we look at our gatherings, what a sight and sound we witness! Most of our gatherings are focused on worldly matters rather than the Hereafter. They are filled with sins such as backbiting, gossip, lying, betrayal, dishonoring others, spreading corruption, and breaching trust.

These are some of the areas of trustworthiness. Whoever preserves them reaches the shores of safety, while whoever fulfills them gains, and whoever neglects them loses themselves, falling into the quagmire of betrayal. May Allah make us among those who preserve and fulfill them, thus being saved from destruction.