Al-amaanah in the concept of Islam
Assalamualykum dear Imam Mohsen.
Let’s say, we were discussing something in a group. Later, for some reasons I personally share and discuss some points on the same issue with a person explicitly mentioning that it’s personal. If that person secretly/covertly inform others about my personal sharing without my knowledge or permission, then will it be considered as a “breach of trust”?
Is it that money and wealth are only Amanah? Are words, personal email, letters etc. not Amanah?
How important this manner (be trustworthy) is for the Muslim to learn and follow?
N.B.: These are the definitions of “personal” in the English dictionary.
1. of, pertaining to, or coming as from a particular person; individual; private.
2. relating to, directed to, or intended for a particular person.
3. intended for use by one person.
4. referring or directed to a particular person in a disparaging or offensive sense or manner.
Wa alaikum assalam,
Praise be to Allah.
The word al-amaanah has a very wide concept in Islam, It has many kinds of meanings, including:
1- The Greatest Amaanah , This is the explanation of the verse in which Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, says: “Truly, We did offer al-amaanah (the trust or moral responsibility or honesty and all the duties which Allah has ordained) to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains, but they declined to bear it and were afraid of it (i.e. afraid of Allah’s torment). But man bore it. Verily, he was unjust (to himself) and ignorant (of its results) [al-Ahzaab 33:72]”.
The interpretation of the amaanah in this verse (trust) as referring to shar‘i duties is the view of Ibn ‘Abbaas, al-Hasan al-Basri, Mujaahid, Sa‘eed ibn Jubayr, ad-Dahhaak ibn Muzaahim, Ibn Zayd and most of the commentators.
See: Tafseer at-Tabari, 20/336-340; Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 6/488-489; al-Jaami‘ li Ahkaam al-Qur’an, 14/252-253; Fath al-Qadeer, 4/437.
Al-Qurtubi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
The word amaanah is general in meaning and encompasses all the duties of Islam, according to the correct opinion. This is the view of the majority. End quote.
Al-Jaami‘ li Ahkaam al-Qur’an, 14/252
As-Sa‘di (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
Everything that Allah has enjoined upon His slave is an amaanah (trust), and the slave must carry them out in the fullest sense. That also includes things that are entrusted to one by people, such as wealth, secrets and the like. The individual must pay attention to both matters and fulfil both trusts. “Verily! Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those, to whom they are due” [an-Nisa’ 4:58]. End quote. Tafseer as-Sa‘di, p. 547
2- Whatever Allah gives you is amaanah, you have to keep it and use it properly according to Allah’s guidance because it is amaanah and you will be question by Allah, So sight isamaanah, hearing is amaanah , hands are amaanah, the tongue is amaanah, wealth is amaanah etc.
3- Children are amaanah, Raising children is something that requires patience and effort. How many families suffer problems in raising children, especially when the children enter the adolescent phase and especially if the father is neglectful, absent or has gone astray.
4- The work you’re assigned to do is amaanah, so you have to do it properly, Allah says:
“O you who believe! Betray not Allah and His Messenger, nor betray knowingly your Amaanaat (things entrusted to you, and all the duties which Allah has ordained for you)” [al-Anfaal 8:27]
In these ayahs there is the command to fulfil all kinds of trusts which people may be given. Fulfilling trusts and carrying them out properly is one of the greatest signs of faith.
It was reported in al-Saheehayn (al-Bukhari and Muslim) from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The signs of the munaafiq (hypocrite) are three: when he speaks, he lies; when he makes a promise, he breaks it; and when he is entrusted with something he betrays that trust.” (Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim). According to a report narrated by Muslim “Even if he fasts and prays and claims that he is a Muslim.”
5- Keeping secrets is amaanah, so if some strife happened between you and your companion, that should not motivate you to divulge his secrets. It is obligatory for both spouses to keep the secrets of the marriage, especially anything that has to do with their intimate relationship in bed. The wife is entrusted with the husband’s secrets and the husband is entrusted with the wife’s secrets.
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) turned to the men and said, “Is there any man among you who, when he comes to his wife, he locks the door, throws his blanket over himself and conceals himself with the cover of Allah?” They said, “Yes.” He said, “And does he sit after that and say, ‘I did such and such, and I did such and such?’” They remained silent. Then he turned to the women and said, “Is there anyone among you who speaks (of private marital matters)?” They remained silent. Then a buxom young girl sat up tall so that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would see her and hear her words, and said, “O Messenger of Allah, (the men) speak and (the women) speak.” He said, “Do you know what the likeness of that is? The likeness of that is that of a female devil who meets a male devil in the street and he fulfils his desire with her when the people are looking on.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’.
6- If anyone entrusts something to you, this is also amaanah, and you do not have the right to use it without his permission. You have to keep it and take care of it in the usual manner.
There are several types of amaanah (trust) as mentioned above, the Muslim has to take care of all of them, whether that is related to duties towards Allah (may He be exalted), or duties towards His slaves. The one who fulfils his duty towards Allah and towards His slaves will be rewarded, but the one who neglects his duty towards Allah and towards His slaves deserves punishment.
Also remember that the lack of care of amaanah is one of the major sins, Imam al-zahabi considered it so in his Book major sins (al-kabaa’ir).
May Allah save us from wasting amaanh.
And Allah knows best.
Mohsen Shaker Bayoumy
Imam of Osaka Ibaraki Mosque