Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Integrity and Honesty

by Hazrat Maulana Yunus Patel Saheb (Rahmatullahi 'alayh)

It has been mentioned in a Hadeeth that a pious person from the Bani Israel took a loan of one thousand gold coins, and fixing a date, promised to pay back at that time. The person giving the loan required witnesses.

The pious person said : ‘Allah is sufficient as a witness.’

He was then asked : ‘Who stands surety on your behalf?’

The person replied : ‘Allah is sufficient as a surety.’

The person, giving the loan, accepted this, saying : ‘You have spoken the truth.’ And without further consideration, handed over one thousand gold coins.

On the due date, due to flood, the pious person could not find a boat to take him across the river, to his creditor, to make the payment. This both perplexed him and hurt his conscience.

…The people of the past had integrity and honesty. They stood by their word. The thought of deliberately breaking their promises or going against their word did not even pass through their minds. They were averse to hypocrisy and did not allow it to taint their hearts. They stayed clear of those qualities which Rasulullah (Sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) described as qualities of the hypocrites.

Rasululullah (Sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) said: "Four are the qualities which, when found in a person, make him a complete hypocrite, and one who possesses one of them, possesses one characteristic of hypocrisy until he abandons it. These are: When he is entrusted with something, he betrays trust; when he speaks, he lies; when he promises, he acts treacherously; and when he argues, he becomes vulgar.

…However, such was this pious person’s predicament.

Having found some wood, he made a hollow in that piece of wood, and in a state of desperation, placed one thousand gold coins and a note therein, that it be given to such and such a person and then sealed it.

Since this person’s Niyyah (intention) was correct, he became recipient to Allah Ta’ala’s assistance.

Taking the piece of wood to the river, he said: ‘O Allah! You know well that I took a loan of one thousand Dinaars from so and so. He demanded a surety from me but I told him that Allah’s guarantee was sufficient and he accepted Your guarantee. He then asked for a witness and I told him that Allah was sufficient as a witness, and he accepted You as a witness. No doubt, I have tried hard to find a conveyance so that I could pay him his money but could not find one, so I hand over this money to You.’ So saying, he threw the piece of wood into the river and placed his trust in Allah Ta’ala.

On the other side, the creditor was waiting for the arrival of the boat that was to bring his money. He went to the riverbank and as he paced about, losing hope in his debtor returning, he noticed the log (wherein his money was deposited). He picked it up and took it home to use as firewood.

When he struck the axe against the log and it split open, he found the one thousand gold coins with the note, wherein his debtor had written, that since he could not get a boat in due time, he had opted to mete out payment in this manner, trusting solely in Allah Ta’ala. 

On return, the pious person was anxious to find out if his creditor had received the money or not. Taking with him another one thousand gold coins, he went to the creditor’s home with the intention of making a late payment, had the creditor not received his money.

After having explained his plight and offering the thousand gold coins, the creditor truthfully told him that Allah Ta’ala had already delivered the money which he had sent in the piece of wood, and the pious person was told to keep the one thousand gold coins which he had brought with him.

…That was their level of honesty and trustworthiness and for that, Allah Ta’ala gave them plenty of Barakah (blessings)… A far cry from present day experiences with even Muslim businessmen and traders.

Because of the temptations faced by traders[1], Rasulullah (Sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) enumerated many great rewards for the honest trader. It is mentioned in a Hadeeth that an honest and trustworthy merchant shall be with the Ambiyaa[2] (عَليْهِمُ السَّلام)[3], the Martyrs and the pious.

Allah Ta’ala opens the doors of Rizq (sustenance) and Barakah (blessings) for the honest and truthful ones.

Allah Ta’ala has presented various ordinances on loans, which we are instructed to implement in our transactions. This is especially necessary in these times of hypocrisy, cheating and deception, when we cannot even trust some of those who have adopted the garb of the pious and have a connection with the Masjid (mosque) and with Deen. Due to fraudulent deals, even family members and friends are not being trusted anymore.

In Surah Al-Baqarah, Allah Ta’ala states :

يٰٓأَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ اٰمَنُوْٓا إِذَا تَدَايَنْتُمْ بِدَيْنٍ إِلٰٓى أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى فَاكْتُبُوْهُ ط

‘O those who believe, when you transact a debt payable at a specified time, put it in writing. …’
ذٰلِكُمْ أَقْسَطُ عِنْدَ اللّٰهِ وَأَقْوَمُ لِلشَّهَادَةِ وَأَدْنٰٓى أَلَّا تَرْتَابُوْٓا

    …that is more equitable with Allah and more establishing for the evidence and nearer to  that you fall not in doubt…’
[surah baqarah 2 : 282]

Allah Ta’ala clearly outlines and establishes various directives to a loan in this Ayah (verse), which has more details of importance.

The gist of which, directs towards a written document to be drafted for such transactions, wherein the names of all parties, the analysis, exact due date of payment and fine points of the transaction are distinctly and unambiguously stated. The wisdom behind written agreements is precaution against breach, oversight, misunderstanding or dispute and conflict at a later stage.

Allah Ta’ala also calls for witnesses to such transactions, since they would verify and resolve any dispute that may arise in future.

May Allah Ta’ala grant us the noble qualities of honesty, truthfulness, trustworthiness and sincerity in our dealings with people.

[1] Mu’aamalaat is a branch of Shari'ah, dealing with business and trade. It is compulsory (Fardh) upon a person involved in business and trade to learn the relevant Masaa`il (rules).

[2]  Ambiyaa : Messengers of Allah Ta'ala

[3] (عَليْهِمُ السَّلام): ‘May peace be upon them’.