Moral Relationship 1/12 - The Spiritual Message of Islam

Part 1 of the short video series on "Moral Relationship" by Sheikh Shomali. In this video, he talks about importance of fulfilling promises.

The Spiritual Message of Islam.

Bismillah, al-Rahman, al-Rahim. La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah al-aliy il-adheem. Al-hamdulillah Rabbi 'l-alameen, wa sallallahu 'ala sayyidana wa nabiyyina Abul Qasim Al-Mustafa Muhammad, wa 'ala aalihi al-tayyibeen at-taahireen la sayima baqiyatullah fil aradheen.

We said that there are four types of moral values. One is related to our relation with God, the Almighty, like for example, remembrance of God; like repentance, if we disobey him. The second type relates to our relation with ourselves. For example, we should be a type of person that reflects on things; we should pursue knowledge; we should try to get rid of suspicions; we should get rid of greediness, jealousy and so on and so forth. The third type of relation is about those values that relate to our relation with other people.

So the relation between us and fellow human beings in general or a specific group of people, for example, my relation with my parents, with my children, with my wife or husband, with my neighbors, with my colleagues, with my citizens, with my fellow Muslims, with my fellow human beings, with friends, with enemies, with clients, with students, with teachers, employee, employer. So there are different types of relation between people that must be regulated and directed according to moral values. The fourth is the relation between us and the environment and the nature, animals, birds, plants. So the relation between us and God Almighty, between us and ourselves, between us and other people, between us and the nature and other creatures. Of course, the relation between us and God informs and shapes all other types of relations.

Now, we want to begin with a very brief discussion about those relations that we have with other people. First, we will talk about general situation, between me and everyone else, and then we will focus on some groups of people. Of course, as you can imagine, we have to be very brief and very, very concise and specific. One of the virtues that receives very great importance and attention in Islam is fulfilling one's promise. If I promised someone to do something, I have to keep my promise. A sign of a mu'min, a sign of a faithful person, a sign of a noble person is that, before he promises, he would think: "am I going to be able to keep this promise?" There is no point in promising people to do something that either you cannot do it or you can, but for some reason, you are not going to do it. A mu'min first thinks and then speaks. A mu'min, first thinks and then promises.

But after you have promised, you have committed yourself, you must keep your promise. You cannot say "oh, that was just few words, I wanted to make that person happy." No , Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala says in Chapter 17, verse number 34, A'uzubillahi min al-Shaytan Al-Rajim "Wa awfoo bil'ahd, innal 'ahda kaana mas'oolaa"(17:34) "And keep your promises, fulfill the promise. Verily, promise shall be questioned about". God will ask us whether I have kept my promise, whether I have fulfilled my promise or not. Maybe that person that I have promised him, he would not say anything, either because he is very polite or kind or maybe he feels shy or maybe he is in a position that cannot question me. Maybe he is, for example, working for me, maybe he is my student, maybe he is my child.

But there is someone else who will certainly question me on behalf of them and that is Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. Promise shall be certainly questioned about, asked about. You have to be accountable for what you have promised. So first, before we make any promise, we must think: "is it a good type of promise? Is it legitimate? Is it plausible? And also, is it doable? Can I do it? Can I keep this promise?" and second, to promise. If everything is fine, then you promise. And third, you must keep your promise.

Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala wants our society to be a society in which people can trust each other. If you believe in an environment that you can trust the people, when they tell you something, they tell the truth, when they promise you they will keep their promise. The life becomes so enjoyable, so nice, so easy, so convenient that it becomes like an earthly heaven. But if you live even with the people who are very close to you, the people who love you, but they tell you lies or they don't keep their promises, so you cannot trust anything, you cannot program, you cannot plan. You cannot rely on anything. You must always be worried and concerned. So this makes life like hell.

In Chapter 70 verse 32 Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala says: A'uzubillahi min al-Shaytan Al-Rajim "Wa alladheena hum li amaanaatihim wa 'ahdihim raa'oon" (70:32). Praising those servants of him that Allah is pleased with, with them, the believers, the pious people. Allah in this particular ayah mentions two qualities, which are very much related. One is that they are faithful to their trust and second is that they are faithful to their covenant, to the promise. So if someone leaves something with them as a trust, they keep it for that person and give it back to him as soon as he wants, as soon as he wishes. This is Amanah, the Trust.

There is a hadith from Imam Al-Sajjad, alayhi assalam, in which our Imam says that if, the murderer of my father, the murderer of Imam Husayn, leaves his sword with me as his trust and then comes after some time and says, please give me my trust back, I will give him. I would not say "this is the sword with which you have killed my father, you have killed his children". No, without any question, I give him back because this is the trust, this is amanah. A mu'min must be honest and must be reliable, must be trustworthy.

The Prophet Muhammad, sallal-lahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, was so reliable and so trusted that even after his mission started, after he asked the pagans to embrace Islam, as a result of which some did and some did not, but those who did not believe in him, still used to leave their valuables with him as trust. Can you imagine this? They didn't believe in him, but not because they were not sure about his honesty or his truthfulness. No, they had other reasons, they had their own selfish reasons. But they were one hundered percent sure that this man is a genuine man who never told them any lies, who never betrayed anyone.

This is why when the Prophet wanted to leave Mecca and migrate to Medina, this is thirteen years after his mission started. After thirteen years of working hard to deliver the message of God - still the majority of people in Mecca were infidels, were not mu'min, were not believers - but the same people had the trust with the prophet. So one of the things that the prophet asked Imam Ali was that when I leave, you give these trust back to the people and then you join me. So imagine how reliable, how trusted, how trustworthy he was.

And this is to be a role model for us, like Ayat, "Laqad kaana lakum fee Rasulullahi uswatun hasana" (33:21). So Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala in Chapter 70 says, "Wa alladheena hum li amaanaatihim wa 'ahdihim raa'oon" (70:32) those who fulfill the trust and fulfill their covenant.

May Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala include us among those people that when they promise, they keep it, when they make a covenant, they fulfill, it. Wa akhiru dawa'na anil hamdu lillahi rabbil 'alamin.