This is the first and foremost quality a believer must
have. Being trustworthy implies being honest, fair in
dealings and punctual (both in terms of regularity and
timeliness) as well as honouring trusts and keeping
promises and commitments. In other words,
trustworthiness is the quality of honouring and
fulfilling at any cost all commitments a person makes
whether made formally or informally, verbally or in
writing, and whether they are expressed or implied.

Also, they cover all sorts of material, moral, social,
political, religious and legal obligations and
commitments a person needs to observe and fulfill.
When talking about trusts, it includes all forms of
trusts entrusted to a person ranging from physical
assets or possessions to confidential matters of
others, to exercising of voting rights, to providing
expert input on the important issues of the society.
Similarly, promises include all serious commitment and
covenants as well as any impression of agreement given
by a person tacitly, implicitly, through quietness or
by implication to a family member, subordinate, friend
or colleague.

Being known for trustworthiness is such an important
personality trait for a Muslim that it cannot be
overemphasized. Before our Prophet was even appointed
as a messenger by Allaah SWT, he was well known for
these qualities. It had become one of his
distinguishing characteristics/qualities so much so
that he was called Al-Ameen (trustworthy) --
mentioning ‘the trustworthy’ was enough to identify
our Prophet. Thus, this quality was so important that
Allaah chose it to be the outstanding feature of His
Last Messenger.

Allaah SWT commands:

“Verily, Allaah does command you to render back your
Trusts to whom they are due.” An-Nisaa 4:58

This verse is not only obligating us to honour, pay
back and fulfill our trust, but also to ensure that
they are given to whom they rightfully belong.

This quality is so important to Allaah SWT that when
listing in the Holy Qur-aan the qualities of the
people who succeed in the eyes of Allaah SWT and the
people who are steadfast worshippers of Allaah, they
have been mentioned as those:

“Who faithfully observe their trusts and covenants.”
Al-Mo’minoon 23:8 and Al-Ma’arij 70:32

Similarly, one of the indications of people having
Taqwa is that:

“They fulfill the promises they make.” Al- Baqarah

On fulfilling the promises and fairness in business,
the Holy Qur-aan further instructs:

“Fulfill promises, because you will be held
accountable for promises. Measure fully when you
measure and weigh with a right balance (accurately).
That is the most fitting and the best in the end.”
Banee-Israaeel 17:34-35

For those who are not fair in their business
practices, the Holy Qur-aan states:

“Cursed are the people who cheat in their business
dealings – those who when receiving from others ensure
full measure and weight, but when measuring or
weighing to give, they cheat. Do not they realize they
will be raised on a Big Day – the day the people will
stand (to give their account) to the Lord of the
universe?” Al-Mutaffifeen 86:1-6

In fact, prophet Shu’ayb was sent to reform a people
who had adopted unfair business practices as their de
facto way of operation. When they did not listen to
Shu’ayb and refused to mend their ways, they were
destroyed by Allaah SWT.

The criticality of a believer (Muslim) being
trustworthy is well underscored by the report that
there was hardly any address by the Messenger of
Allaah that did not include the following admonition:

“The person who is not trustworthy is devoid of Eeman
(Islamic faith) and the one who does not keep promises
is devoid of Deen (Islamic lifestyle).” Reported by
Baihiqi in Shu’abul-eeman.

In fact, as indicated by the following Ahaadeeth, he
described the person who breaks promises and betrays
trusts as a hypocrite:

“There are four traits which whoever possesses is a
pure hypocrite; and whoever has any one of them has a
trait of hypocrisy, until he gets rid of it: When
entrusted, he embezzles (cheats); when speaks, he
lies; when promises, he reneges (breaks them); and,
when quarrels, he abuses (uses foul language).”
Abdullaah Ibn Umar in Bukhaari and Muslim

“A hypocrite is known by three traits: When he speaks,
he lies; when he promises, he reneges; when he is
entrusted, he cheats (embezzles).” Reported from Aboo
Hurairah in Bukhaari.
The same Hadeeth in Muslims

mentions that he will be considered hypocrite: “even
if he prays and fasts.” Reported from Aboo Hurairah
in Muslim.

From this you can see that a person cannot claim to be
a Muslim without being trustworthy. The strong
language suggesting that not honouring trusts and
covenants is totally unacceptable to and completely at
odds with Islamic faith continues in the following
words of the Prophet:

“There can be no faith without Amaanah
(trustworthiness, honesty), no Salaah (Islamic prayer)
without Tahaarah (ritual purity, cleanliness and
wudhoo), and no Deen without Salaah. Salaah has the
same significance in Deen as head in human physique.”
Reported from Ibn Umar in Targheeb with reference to

“A believer (Muslim) might have, being subject to the
frailty of human nature, other bad traits but not
dishonesty or lying.” Reported by Ahmad and Baihiqi
from Aboo Umaamah

On the other hand, the believers who sincerely
practice their faith, are given the good news like the

“If loving Allaah and His Messenger or being loved by
Allaah and His Messenger pleases a person, then he
must tell the truth whenever he speaks, give back the
trust when entrusted, and behave superbly to his
neighbours.” Reported by Baihiqi in Shu’abul-eeman
from Abdur-Rahmaan Ibn Abee Quraad

“You guarantee me consistent practice of six actions,
I will guarantee you Jannah (
Paradise): Be truthful
when you speak, fulfill promises when you commit, pay
up when you are entrusted, protect your private parts,
lower your gaze (turn away from inappropriate sights),
withhold your hands (from doing improper things).”
Reported by Baihiqi in Shu’abul-eeman from ‘Ubaadah
Ibn Saamit

“A truthful and honest businessman will be in the
company of prophets, their sincerest companions and
Aboo Saeed in At-Tirmidzee, Ad-Daramee, and

Following are some examples of Ahaadeeth that cover
non-material aspects of trusts:

For the person who is given confidential information
for seeking advice, the Messenger of Allaah said:

“A consultant is a trustee”. Aboo Hurairah in

“If someone tells you something, looking all around
while talking, it is a trust.” Reported by
At-Tirmidzee and Aboo Dawood from Jaabir Ibn Abdullah

“Proceedings of meetings are trusts unless the
discussion is about illegal killing, illegal sex, or
misappropriation of someone’s assets.” Reported by
Aboo Dawood from Jaabir Ibn Abdullah

Hence, confidentiality must be maintained for whatever
you are taken into confidence, unless the subject
matter is a criminal or unislamic activity.

Similarly, promises must be fulfilled as if settling a

“Promise is a debt.”. Reported by At-Tabaraani from
‘Ali and ‘Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood

As Islam regards it critical for Muslims to keep their
express as well as implied promises, so much so that a
person who is not careful in this regard may
jeopardize his faith, Allaah SWT does not want
practising Muslims to be put in unnecessary strait
either. Hence, Islam requires that people only have to
go to a reasonable extent in fulfilling their promise:

“If a person promised to meet the other at a certain
place and time, and one of them arrived but the other
did not show up until the time of Salaah, the person
who has been waiting can go to pray Salaah without
incurring any sin.” Reported by Razeen from Zaid Ibn
Arqam, as quoted in Ma’ariful Hadeeth by Manzoor

Similarly, if a person has a sincere intention of
fulfilling a promise but an emergency beyond one’s
control precludes the person from doing so, the person
will not be held accountable for such a promise. For
example, a Muslim gives an indication to another to
meet him but is so sick at the appointed time that he
is not in a position to fulfill his obligation or gets
into an accident that stops him from reaching their
meeting place.

To provide for the situations that are completely out
of a person’s control, Muslims have been suggested to
append Inshaa Allaah when they make a promise. This is
for three reasons: Firstly to underscore that our
circumstances are not totally in our control but in
Allaah’s control; secondly, to reassure each of the
parties that each intends sincerely to fulfill the
promise except for the possibility of something
unforeseen happening beyond each party’s control
because of Allaah’s will; and thirdly, it is an
implied duaa requesting Allaah to help the parties by
not letting anything happen that will hamper the
fulfillment of their promise.

Unfortunately, like many other bad things that have
happened to Muslims, people have been misusing ‘Inshaa
Allaah’ for cheating. They say it when they have no
intention of fulfilling the promise. That is outright
cheating which is being carried out by invoking
Allaah’s name to give a false pretence of promising.
These people will be in deep trouble when Allaah holds
them accountable for two crimes: cheating and breaking

May Allaah help us become trustworthy, par excellence.

Ayub Hamid

Copyright ©2003, Ayub A. Hamid

Permission is granted to circulate among private individuals and groups,

to post on Internet sites and to publish in full in not-for-profit publications.

Contact author for all other rights, which are reserve



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