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86. Fulfillment of Promises

Chapter 86

Fulfillment of Promises

Allah, the Exalted, says:

“And fulfill (every) covenant. Verily! The covenant will be questioned about. (17:34)

“And fulfill the Covenant of Allah (Bai`ah: pledge for Islam) when you have covenanted.” (16:91)

“O you who believe! Fulfill (your) obligations.” (5:1)

“O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do? Most hateful it is with Allah that you say that which you do not do.” (61:2,3)

  1. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Three are the signs of a hypocrite: When he speaks, he lies; when he makes a promise, he breaks it; and when he is trusted, he betrays his trust.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Another narration adds the words: “Even if he observes Saum (fasts), performs Salat (prayer) and claims to be a Muslim.”

Commentary: This Hadith has already been mentioned in the chapter about trusts. See Commentary on Hadith No. 201. Its repetition here is meant to stress the point that a hypocrite is recognized by breaking his promise.

  1. `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`as (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Four are the qualities which, when found in a person, make him a sheer hypocrite, and one who possesses one of them, possesses one characteristic of hypocrisy until he abandons it. These are: When he is entrusted with something, he betrays trust; when he speaks, he lies; when he promises, he acts treacherously; and when he argues, he behaves in a very imprudent, insulting manner.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary:  Theologically speaking, a disagreement between heart and tongue – or word and deed – about the declaration of faith in Islam is defined as hypocrisy. In the lifetime of the Prophet (PBUH) there existed a group of hypocrites whose traits of characters have been outlined in Ahadith. Humanly it is not possible to perceive malice hidden in one’s heart. Even Messenger of Allah (PBUH) hardly knew what lay in the hearts of people because, despite having the exalted status of Prophethood, he was fundamentally a human. Allah, however, had revealed hearts to him. But today, we have no error-free source to pick hypocrites from the ranks of believers. Quite naturally, we fall back on the Hadith which provides us definite symptoms of the character and manners of hypocrites so as to distinguish them from sincere Muslims.

`Ulama’ say that there are two aspects of hypocrisy, relating to faith and practice. In the first case, a hypocrite conceals his disbelief in his heart but verbally professes Islam. Anyone who belongs to this category of hypocrites will be, as stated in the Qur’an: “In the lowest depths of the Fire.” (4:145). In the second case, a man does have faith in his heart but in practice he portrays the characteristics of a hypocrite, unfortunately a majority of today’s Muslims practically behave like hypocrites and possess their propensities. It is this hypocritical attitude and moral deficiencies of Muslims that have degraded them and made Islam unappealing. May Allah put Muslims on the right path!

  1. Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said to me, “When the revenues of Bahrain will arrive, I shall give you such and such and such.” He passed away before the revenues were received. When they arrive during the caliphate of Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him), he ordered to be announced: “Anyone whom Messenger of Allah (PBUH) promised or owed anything, should come to him.” I went to him and said: “Messenger of Allah (PBUH) had said to me such and such.” He took a double handful out of the money and gave it to me. I counted it and found that it was five hundred dirham. Then Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him) said to me: “Take twice as much more of that amount.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Commentary: Messenger of Allah (PBUH), according to Al-Bukhari, spread his both hands thrice in a gesture and indicated to Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him): “I will give you double handfuls of money thrice”. Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with him), however, fulfilled the Prophet’s promise during his caliphate.


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