Making Peace and Fulfilling Promises
(1) It is related by Umm Kulsoom, (daughter of ‘Uqba bin Abi Mu’ait), that the Apostle of God said: “He is not a liar or a sinner who tries to make peace among people who are on bad terms with one another and, with that end, carries reports of goodwill and well-wishing from one party to the other and says good things (that may have a conciliatory effect).”
– Bukhari and Muslim
Sometimes it happens that there is a great deal of ill-will between two persons or groups which may even lead to bloodshed. When passions are aroused, each party, in fact, considers itself justified in causing as much loss and suffering to the other as possible.
If, in these circumstances, someone strives to bring about reconciliation between them, and, with that object, conveys things of friendliness and amity from one party to another which it may not have, actually said, or done, then this act of his will not amount to false hood.
To fulfill a promise is a practical form of trustworthiness while to break it is identical, in effect, to untruthfulness. The holy Prophet has, thus, stressed upon us the need to discharge every engagement and keep a promise when we make one.
To fulfill one’s promises is among the few moral virtues about which the holy Prophet has said that he could give the assurance of forgiveness in After-life to those who possessed them. The Prophet is also reported to have said that “he who does not fulfill his promise has no share in Faith.”
(2) It is related by Abu Hurairah that the Apostle of God said: “The signs of a Hypocrite are three: when he speaks, he is false; when he promises, he fails; and, when he is trusted, he betrays.”
– Bukhari and Muslim
These immoral practices bear a close relationship with hypocrisy and a sincere Believer should stay clear of them. Whoever possesses these habits is a Hypocrite, if not in the sphere of faith, at least in the sphere of conduct.
In another version of the same Tradition, reproduced in Sahih Muslim, it is added that though such a person may be observing Salah and Sawm, and he may also be professing to be a Muslim, he is a hypocrite, all the same, owing to these habits.
(3) It is related, on the authority of Ali and Abdullah bin Masood that the Apostle of God said: “Promise, too, is a kind of debt (and should, therefore, be repaid).”
It denotes that if a person promises to give anything to anyone or do him some other favour or enters into an arrangement with him, he should fulfill it, as a matter of duty. Nevertheless, should the promise be relating to a thing which is forbidden by the Shariat or involves the violation of the rights of anyone, it will not be binding. The duty will, then, lie in ignoring it and there will be no sin on its non-fulfillment, but reward for compliance with the holy law.
(4) It is related by laid bin Arqan who relates that the Apostle of God said: “If a person promises his brother to visit him and it is also his intention to do so, but (owing to some reason), he cannot go at the appointed time then there is no sin on him.
– Abu Dawood and Tirmizi
The emphasis, in it, is on intention. If the man really meant to fulfill the engagement, but could not do so on account of one thing or another, he will not be a defaulter in the sight of God. But if the intention was not there, and it was only a deception, then he would, doubtlessly, be called to account.