By Imaam Zakariyah Hassan Sarumi
The Broader Sense Of Trust
Islam expects its followers to be master of live hearts and wakeful conscience, which would ensure the protection of the rights of God and humanity and which would also protect their actions from the commitment of excesses. Therefore, it is necessary that every Muslim should be amen, trustworthy.
In the eye of Shariah, trust has a very broad sense. This word contains an ocean of meanings, but underneath it all is the sense of responsibility, the sense of having to appear before and to account for one’s actions, the details of which are given in the hadith: “Everyone of you is a guardian and will be asked about his subjects. Imam is a guardian, he will be asked about his subjects. A man is a guardian of the people in his household, he is answerable about them. A woman is the guardian of her husband’s house; she will be asked about her responsibility. The servant is the guardian of the article of his master; he is answerable about this responsibility of his.”(Bukhari). The narrator of the hadith, Ibn Umar, says he heard these things from the prophet and he thinks that the prophet also said: “A man is a guardian of the stock of his father and answerable about that.
The people take trust in a very limited sense and consider it to mean the protection of others’ deposit, although in Allah’s religion, this has a very broad and unlimited sense. When a Muslim prepares to go on a journey, his brother prays for him in this way: “I pray to Allah for your religion, your trust and for the happy ending of your work.”(Tirmizi).
Hazrat Anas narrates that whenever Allah’s Messenger addressed a sermon to us, he invariably repeated this sentenced: “The man has no faith who cannot keep trust and man who does not respect his promises has no religion.”
Since the zenith of achievement and the highest limit of success are to be protected against the hardships of this world and the bad consequences in the hereafter, the Prophet prays for safety from both the conditions. He has said: “O Allah! I seek your shelter from the pangs of hunger, because it is a very bad companion, and I seek your shelter from dishonesty because it is the worst friend.”(Abu Daud).
Hunger is the name of deprivation in the world and dishonesty is the name of destruction of religion. The Prophet had prayed for being spared from both. Before attaining prophethood, He was known among the people as amen (trustworthy).
Similarly, the trustworthiness of Moosa (Moses) was observed when He fetched water for the flock of the two daughters of the good old man, had helped them in a decent and gentlemanly way: “So He watered (their flocks) for them; then He turned back to the shade, and said: “O my Lord! Truly am I in (desperate) need of any good that you do send me!” Afterwards, one of the (damsels) came (back) to him, walking bashfully. She said: “My father invites you that he may reward you for having watered (our flocks) for us.” So when he came to him and narrated the story, do not fear; (well) have you escaped from unjust people,” said one of the (damsels): “O my (dear) father! Engage him on wages: truly the best of men for you to employ is the (man) who is strong and trusty.”(Quran 28: 24-26).
This event took place when Moosa had not been made prophet, and was not sent to Pharaoh’s darbar.
And this is not at all surprising because Allah chose only those individuals for being appointed as His Messengers who were the most decent, most honest and righteous, among the people. The self which continues to be attached to the high moral character even after undergoing the extremes of the hardship of poverty and helplessness must be belonging to a very powerful and trustworthy man: and protection of the rights of God and His slaves demands such conditions and this is the spirit of trustworthiness.
APPOINTMENT TO HIGH OFFICES AND POSTS IS A TRUST
There is also another sense of trust, and that is: everything should be placed at its proper and deserving place. An office or a post should be offered only to the deserving person; and responsibility should be given only to that person who is able to shoulder it and who has the capability to do justice to the trust placed in him.
Governorship, responsibilities of the party, nation or country which are granted and placing confidence in the person concerned are trust, about which they are answerable. A number of proofs can be advanced in support of this statement. Hazrat Abu Zar reports that he asked the Prophet whether He would not make him a governor somewhere. Hearing this, the Prophet tapped his shoulder and said: “O Abu Zar! You are weak, and this responsibility is a trust. On the Day of Judgment, it will be a cause of loss of honor and ignominy. However, those people will be spared who will have accepted it with all its responsibilities and would have fulfilled whatever responsibilities they had in this connection.” (Muslim).
It is a fact that mere excellence of education or experience does make a person suitable for some offices. It is also possible that a man may have good moral character and be a righteous person, but he may not have the capabilities to fulfill the responsibilities of a certain office. Hazrat Yusuf (Joseph) was a prophet. He was the living example of righteousness and virtuousness, but he had not offered his services to shoulder the responsibilities of the country on the basis of the reins of office in his hand on account of his learning and memory. Yusuf said: “Entrust to me the treasures of the country. Verily, I am protector and learned.”
Trust demands that we should entrust such responsibilities and posts to such individuals as would be able to run them properly. If through bribery, nepotism and for some other reason we deviate from this principle and we select an unfit person for some office, then since we have ignored a fit person and have appointed an unfit and undeserving person, we have committed open misappropriation. Allah’s Messenger has said that whoever has appointed an administrator through nepotism, although there was among the people an individual who was more desirable before Allah than that person, and then he has committed misappropriation against Allah, His Messenger and all Muslims.” (Hakim).
Yazid Bin Abi Sufyan reports that when Hazrat Abu Bakr sent him to Syria, he advised him thus: “O Yazid! You have many relationships. It is likely that you may be influenced by them in making important appointments. I am very much afraid about you since the time the prophet has said: “Anyone who has been made responsible for some responsible job to someone, influenced by his relatives, then Allah’s curse on him. No virtue or justice from him will be thrown in hell”. (Hakim).
The community from which the keeping of trust is vanished can be recognized thus: the distribution of posts and offices to that community becomes a game and play of favors. The values of able men are appointed. The tradition has it that this forms part of those manifestations of corruption, which will appear in the last period. A man came to the prophet and asked when the Doomsday would occur. The Prophet’s answered: “When deposits in trust would start being lost, then wait for the Doomsday.” He was again asked: “What is the meaning of loss of trust?” He replied: “when responsibilities are entrusted to unfit person, then wait for the Doomsday.”(Bukhari).
PERFORMANCE OF DUTY IS ALSO A TRUST
This sense is also included in the meaning of trust that, the man to whom the responsibilities have been entrusted should have the sincere inclination of satisfactorily fulfilling those responsibilities and that he should devote all his energies to doing justice to fulfill it. Undoubtedly, it is a trust. Islam considers it worthy of honor that a man should be sincere in his work, should be keen on doing his job in a better way, and should be alive to safeguard the right of the people that are in his charge, for however ordinary that responsibilities may be, a slight negligence is likely to cause undue harm to the whole community and society; and the germs of corruption and mischief enter the entire body polity. Dishonesty in performing official duties causes various moral diseases in the society. It causes great harm to the religion; to punishment and its evil appear in different forms. The messenger of Allah has said: “On the day of judgment, when Allah will gather all the people, past and present, a flag will be fixed for every deceiver, by which he will be recognized. So it will be said that this is the group of such and such deceivers.”(Bukhari).
In another tradition it is stated: “There will be a flag near the head of every deceiver which he will raise in proportion to his deceit. Listen, there is none worse deceiver than the Amir who deceives the public.” (Muslim). In other words, there will be none more deceitful and deserving of bad consequences than the person who is made responsible for the affairs of men and he sleeps peacefully while the public is undergoing hardships and facing destruction.
MISUSE OF OFFICE IS BETRAYAL OF TRUST
Trust demands that if a man is appointed to a certain high office, he should not use it for self-aggrandizement or for the benefit of his relatives, for the usage of public funds for personal purposes is a crime. It is a common thing that the governments and the firms give fixed salaries to their employees. Then to find out extra source of income is disrespectful, ignominious and mean. Allah’s Messenger has said: “Whomsoever we will entrust with services, the provision of his needs is also our responsibilities. If he takes more than this, then he is committing misappropriation.”(Abu Daud). It is misappropriation because he has used that property of the organization for himself which was to be given to the weak and needy, and it was to be spent for a greater cause and purpose:
“If any person is so false, he shall on the day of judgment restore what he misappropriated: then shall every soul receive its due, whatever it earned, -and none shall be dealt with unjustly.”(Al Imran : 161).