Importance of Amanah
Hudhayfah2 (ra) reports: “The Prophet (asws) spoke of two things. One of them I have already seen (as coming true) and wait for the other. He said, ‘Amanah3 (Trust) arrived into the deepest part of the hearts of men. Then the Qur’an came down so that they learnt from the Qur’an and then they learnt from the Sunnah.’4
“And he (the Prophet) also spoke to us about its withdrawal.5 He said, ‘A man will go into a short sleep and Trust would be withdrawn from his heart, there remaining its effect like that of dim spot.6 Then the man will go into a short sleep and its effect will remain left like that of marks of physical efforts on the hands – like that of a spark that fell on your foot and then it blew up (you see it as a bulb)7 although there is nothing.8 Thereafter, people would be entering into transactions but there would be hardly any who would be trustworthy; to the extent that, it will be said, ‘In such and such a tribe there happens to be a trustworthy man.’9
“And, it will be said about a man, ‘How intelligent he is, how smart, and how tough and determined, but he will have not a mustard seed of faith in him.’”10
Abu Hudhayfah added, “There was a time when I didn’t care about whom I dealt with. If it was a Muslim, Islam would return my right.11 But if it was a Christian his patron would return it.12 But today, I would not deal with any except so and so.”13
~ (Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah and others)
1. We have rendered the word as “Trust” but it is not the very right word for “amanah.” It could also be understood as: honesty or integrity.
2. Hudhyfah b. al Yaman (ra) was known as the confidant of the Prophet (saws). He used to inform him about the (die-hard) hypocrites. They were thirteen in number and the Prophet had identified them for him by their names.
3. The nature of ‘Amanah’ is that it is kind of ‘Noor.’ (Mirqah)
4. The sequence may be note: First the Qur’an, then the Sunnah. Guidance may be sought of the two in the same sequence. (Nawawi)
Having sent down Trust into the depths of hearts and souls, Allah guided mankind by sending down the Qur’an and Sunnah. Honestly and sincerely leading a life guided by the Shari`ah, a personality arose: true to itself, true to its Lord and true to His creation.
Where trust failed, the application of the Shari`ah was poor and defective, a false personality arose: false to itself, false to others, disapproved by its Lord, and unable to make it to Paradise. Having been a false personality, the person merrily jumped into the Fire of Hell, having falsely seen it as Paradise of his imagination. No one would ever believe in a god other than One, or deny him, without being dishonest to himself.
The faith that arose in consequence of truthfully following the guidance shown was stronger, which in turn lent greater firmness to the original Trust, so that it pervaded and influenced the entire person giving rise to a trustworthy person, free of hypocrisy, free of falsehood, deception, and any secret intention to harm any of the mankind, animals or plants, comfortably strolling down to Paradise (89: 27-30): “O the Comfortable soul, return to your Lord, satisfied (to itself) satisfying (its Lord) .. Enter (the company) of My slaves (of similar dispositions and qualifications) .. enter My Paradise.” (Author)
5. The reduction could both be in Trust, as well as in Faith, since some scholars have explained ‘amanah’ as ‘iman.’
6. It is apparent that when dishonesty becomes the norm, Trust, which is Allah’s special gift to mankind, is of no use to them, it has to be withdrawn.
7. That is, Trust would be withdrawn gradually, little by little, in measures equal to sins committed. (Mirqah)
8. The implication is that the original Trust, which is Noor, gets reduced to, with most of it gone, a spark .. spark of fire .. it is easily extinguishable. (`Umdatu al-Qari)
9. Meaning, a man of complete Faith and complete Trust. (Mirqah)
10. That is, they would be praising him for intelligent, smartness, and determination, instead of praising him for depth of knowledge and practicing of good deeds. (Mirqah)
11. That is, the Trust they originally had was inherited from Allah’s bestowal (so that a Christian also possessed it), which was added on by efforts of a Muslim, viz. living by the Shari`ah (`Umdatu al-Qari)
12. That is, I wouldn’t mind doing business with a Muslim knowing that he would be trustworthy, his religion – Islam – preventing him from dishonesty. But if he was a Christian, or a Jew, his patrons would force him to be honest and return to me my right.
13. Some people have conjectured that this refers to the office of Khilafah; but such an interpretation is wrong, given that reference is made to a Christian. (`Umdatu al-Qari).