Keeping your promises: “Fulfil the trust of those to whom they are due…”

Quran Contributor
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In Islam, keeping promises is very important. We learn that we should be trustworthy and fulfil our responsibilities with honesty. We are taught to maintain good character even when this proves to be difficult due to the wrongs of others:

Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Fulfil the trust of those to whom they are due, and do not be treacherous to the one who betrays you.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi)

We also learn that when we face a situation in life in which people do not keep the commitments they originally were supposed to with us, or break our trust, we should be careful of our own actions.

When we reflect on this, we realise that ultimately, of course each person will be held accountable by Allah for their own actions. Other people may break the promises they made to us, but we should be careful in those situations that this does not result in us behaving in a way which is displeasing to Allah. Allah is the ultimate Judge, and He will hold each person to account for their own deeds. We read in a hadith:

Abdullah ibn Amr reported: We were gathered around the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, while he mentioned tribulations, saying, “If you see that people have disordered their commitments, diminished their trusts, and are as jumbled as this,” and he interlaced his fingers. I stood to come near him and I said, “How should I act if that happens?” The Prophet said, “Stay in your house, control your tongue, accept what you know is good, reject what you know is evil, take care of your affairs specifically and abandon the affairs of the common people.” (Sunan Abi Dawud)

Being trustworthy and keeping promises is part of being a believer.

Anas ibn Malik reported:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, ‘There is no faith for one who cannot be trusted. There is no religion for one who cannot keep a promise.’” (Musnad Ahmad)

When we learn about Allah’s promises, it further motivates us to do good.

We read in a hadith that one of Allah’s promises is that he will forgive a person who devotedly fulfils their wudu (ablution) and Salah. This shows us how blessed we are, as our Lord has given us many simple ways of achieving success in this life and the Hereafter. Indeed, Allah is Al-Kareem (The Most Generous). ‘Ubadah ibn al-Samit reported:

“The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, ‘Allah Almighty has made the five prayers an obligation. Whoever performs their ablution well, prays them at their proper time, and completes their bowing with the reverence due to them, then Allah has promised to forgive him. Whoever does not do so has no promise from Allah. If he wills, he will forgive him. And if he wills, he will punish Him.’” (Sunan Abi Dawud)

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