Prof. Dr. Mahmud Es'ad COAN

AKRA FM Friday Discourse

May 12, 2000

COMPLIANCE WITH THE TRUST

As-salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

May Allah's peace, mercy, bounty, grace, and blessings be with you in this world and in the world to come. May Almighty Allah bless you with all good things and happiness in this world and in the hereafter. May He grant you and your loved ones happiness in this world and in the hereafter.

a. Deeds Favorable to Allah and His Messengers

I would like to read three ahadith in this discourse. The first one is recorded by Tabarânî:

RE 150/9 (In ahbabtum en yuhibbukumullàhu wa rusuluhû feeddû idhe'tumintum, wa asdiq idhâ haddeth-tum, wa akhsinû jiwâra man jâwerakum.)

This is an advice for us from our beloved Prophet SAS:

(In ahbabtum) "If you love (en yuhibbukumullàhu wa rusuluhû) to be loved by Allah and by His messengers, (feeddû idhe'tumintum) when something is entrusted on you, return it properly or comply with the trust." This is the first one.

Compliance with the trust (amanah) could apply to many situations. First of all, our lives are entrusted on us. Also, our bodies are entrusted on us, so we have take care of it. Our children, our family members are entrusted on us. A friend could live some valuable with us--that would be a trust, too. A business owner may say an employee to be in charge of the cash register. That would be a trust, as well.

The orders of Allah, too, are trusts on us. The rules of Sharia are the same. Allah gave us these rules for us to apply to our lives. We have to uphold them and comply with them.

A good would be truthful and trustworthy. He complies with the all kinds of trusts. He protects them, defends them and returns to the owner properly. This is an important moral law.

Our lives and our bodies are entrusted on us. We may not end our lives or other peoples lives. We have to use our body throughout our lives, so we must take good care of it. Being trustworthy is an important advice from the Prophet SAS. He also said,

(ûtîtu jawâmi-ul-kalim) "I have been equipped with the quality of saying few words with deep meanings." The advice about being trustworthy is an example of this quality. It reminds us about all of our responsibilities. I wish we post these words on the walls so, we remember to fulfil all of our responsibilities.

I remember my days in the army. When I was on the guard duty, I would get very nervous because I was expected to watch for everything. If a bolt of a cannon is missing, I would be held responsible for it and taken to the court. An enlisted soldier can be accused of something that he had nothing to do with. The officers have to protect the enlisted soldiers. The soldiers are entrusted on the officers. The whole country is entrusted to the army. The army, navy and airforce have to protect the country and defend our national interests.

The offices of the ministries in the cabinet are entrusted to the ministers. Each minister will be held accountable before Allah if there is any wrongdoing at the ministry level. Compliance with the trust means fulfilling the duties.

The prophet continued on what we must do to be loved by Allah and His messengers: (wa asdiq idhâ haddeth-tum) "When you speak, tell nothing but the truth."

Lies, misinformation, disguise, deception, misstatement, false testimony, vague statements that can be interpreted in many ways and alike have no place in Islam. When a person speaks, he has to tell the truth. When he is asked to testify in the court, he will not utter any false words.

(Wa akhsinû jiwâra man jâwerakum) "Observe the rights of your neighbors. Be good neighbors."

The neighbors could mean the people who live next to your house. It could also refer to people who were with you for some time in the past. It could be in an apartment complex or a work-place. We must treat people well.

Good conduct (ihsân), doing anything right, speaking truthfully, treating the neighbors and associates well, telling the truth, pointing to the straight, warning a bout the wrong doing, giving good advices and alike are duties a Muslim has to do in the society. If a believer does all of this, he will be loved by Allah and His prophets. We must try our best to live like this. It is not difficult to comply with the trust, speaking the truth, and treating the neighbors and associates right. These are the manifestation of the good manners of a good Muslim. We shall observe these recommendations.

b. The Most Meritorious Charity

The second hadith is the reply of the Prophet (pbuh) to a question:

RE. 150/10 (An tasaddaqa wa anta sahîhun shahîhun tah-shal-faqra wa ta'milul-baqà', wa lâ tumhil ilâ hattâ idhâ balaghatil-hulqm, qulta lifulânin kedhâ, wa lifulânin kedhâ, elâ wa qad kâna lifulân.)

This hadith is quoted by Abu Hurayarah and recorded in the collections of beloved meticulous and reliable scholar Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal and in those of Imam Muslim, Imam Bukhari, Imam Abu Davood and Imam Nasa-i.

(Inna rajulan qaala) A man asked to Prophet (pbuh): "O Prophet, (Ayyus sadaqati azamu ajran) which charity has the greatest reward?" We give away for charity. Which one of the charities we do brings the best reward? What should we do in order to earn merit? Prophet (pbuh) replied: "You are asking what charity is the most meritorious one. It is your giving away when you are healthy, when you have love for money and feeling of stinginess, (tah-shal-faqra) While you are afraid of falling poor." How does stinginess arise? It arises when one is worried: "If I gave away I would fall poor, nothing would be left for me. What would my children live on? I'd better not give away for charity!"

The prophet continued, "... (wa ta'milul-baqà') while hoping to live long." thinking: "I will live for many years to come, so it is better not to spend this money now. I will keep it with me for sometime." Thus when you are young and healthy and do not think of death, then your charity is the most valuable. As in a poem of renowned Turkish Poet Necib Fazl, feelings of a youth is described as follows:

"Young I am; I would not die as desires are a waterfall in my blood running gently..."

Why does our beloved Prophet say all these? When the death is close, man wants to give away for charity thinking that his wealth will no more give benefit to him and that it is time for him to spend for charity and earn some reward.

But it shouldn't be like that! One should spare the money and give away while he is still healthy and while he still likes money because the most valuable worship is the one with the greatest difficulty. Since the property is very dear to man, it is quite difficult to give it away. Nevertheless, one should give for charity as Islamic da'wa, happiness of the poor and the brotherhood of humans all depend on generosity.

The prophet continued, "... (wa lâ tumhil)" Tumhil means to give time, to delay, (another word, tuhmil means to neglect and to consider unimportant.) "Don't wait, don't delay your good deeds." Do not find excuses such as "I will do it ten years from now, twenty years from now, after the children get married!..." Don't say so! "Do not delay doing good deeds (ilâ hattâ idhâ balaghatil-hulqm) until your soul comes to your throat!"

With great difficulty, he is breathing wheezingly while doctors await beside him. They say, "We have done everything we could; Allah knows best but still there is hope while soul is in body." In fact the patient is almost gone.

Do not delay your charity until the soul arrives at throat. When it happens (qulta) "you say (lifulânin kedhâ, wa lifulânin kedhâ) 'spare such amount from my property and give it to such and such persons! Give that much to that relative and this much to my son!' (Elâ wa qad kâna lifulân). Whether you approve or not, this money will go to them, it is about to be owned by them."

When you exhale your last breath, your wealth will leave you. Until your last breath, it is yours, then naturally it will belong to your heirs. They should put into effect at least part of your will. One third of the fortune is advised to be treated in this way. But some heirs may say "I am in need, I won't give any." There are even worse examples. Somebody donated some property to our waqf and died, may Allah (ST) be pleased with him. After he passed away, his heirs went to the court to get back even what the deceased gave while he was alive.

There was a brother may Allah (ST) be pleased with him. He took all precautions in time, talked to his lawyers and spared some of his property to his wife while he was still alive. Then he donated some of the rest to our waqf. He was a very good Muslim from a good family and had no child. In his will, he had stated that he had given to his wife what she was supposed to get. After he passed away, his wife took our waqf to the court.

Of course this is rather disgraceful. It is disrespectfulness to the deceased and a torment to his soul, which Allah (ST) doesn't like at all. Because while living, right to manage the possession belongs to its owner, disregarding his will afterwards and preventing him doing good are not morally acceptable.

Although it is not morally acceptable, some do not mind doing that because love of possession and worldly interests make people forget the hereafter. Probably such people have always existed. Little do they think about the hereafter, and very weak is their belief. Some would say "I want to get this money in this world; I don't care about anything else." And some even utter: "I will do it in this world, may Allah throw me into the fire in the hereafter," for he doesn't believe that the hell exists and doesn't feel the pain of the torment he will be subjected in advance. He is underestimating the hell: "If you don't eat haram, bring it to me," he ridicules. This is even worse.

Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, if one gives away for charity when he is healthy and young, while he still loves money, is afraid of poverty, hopes living long, then this will bring the greatest reward. The Prophet SAS advises us not to leave this to the last moment.

I know some of our senior brothers and sisters. I am personally disappointed by them. Our waqf has so many institutions, does so good services, supports so many students, yet they give no support.

In his health one may ask this to be written on a deed in the property registrar office: "Until I die, this property will be under my control, I give it to such and such a man after that." Let him use it while he is alive. Without such a condition, his property will be divided among the heirs some of which might not even paid him a visit. Yet in his death bed they all come around him, like vultures, to get their portion of the property. At that time, if the man suggest donating something for the charity, they will find many reasons to prevent him from doing so.

Giving for the charitable causes should not be left to the death bed. Each person must do all kinds of charitable activities while he is alive and healthy. If he needs the property while he is alive, he may also donate it in a way that it would be effective after his death.

c. The Harms of Cursing

I would like to read another hadith. It was reported by Abû Mûsa--It must be Al-Ash'arî, for his given name is written here. The hadith was recorded in the collections of Tabaranî. The Prophet SAS said:

RE 150/8(Inistata'ta an lâ tal'ana shay'an faf'al, fa-in-nal-la'nata idhâ kharajat min sàhibihâ fakânal-mal'nu lahâ ahlan asàbathu, fa-in lam yakun lahâ ahlan, fa kânal-la'ànu lahâ ahlan raja'at alayhi wa in lam yakun lahâ ahlan asàbat yahûdiyyan aw nasrâniyyan aw mejûsiyyâ, fe-inistata'ta an lâ tal'ana shay'an abadan faf'al!)

This hadith is about not cursing anybody at all. (Inistata'ta an lâ tal'ana shay'an) "Do not curse anything at all if you can." The wording here is important. It does not say "anybody" but "anything." There are some people who keep cursing almost anything including people. They utter words of damnation one after another as though spreading venom out of their mouths. They curse their horse, oxen, or cars; they curse their family members and neighbors. It is a very bad habit.

Our beloved Prophet did not say "anybody" he said "anything." "Do not curse anything at all if you can." We must control our anger and not curse anything including people.

The prophet continued, (faf'al) "Act like that," i.e., do not curse anything, do not utter the words of damnation. Then he explained why we should not curse anything: (Fa-in-nal-la'nata idhâ kharajat min sàhibihâ) "When the damnation leaves the mouth of the person, (fakânal-mal'nu lahâ ahlan) and if the subject of curse deserves it, (asàbathu) the curse strikes the target." If a person said, "May Allah give you trouble," the subject will get some trouble. If the subject truly deserves the curse, it will get it sooner or later.

(Fa-in lam yakun lahâ ahlan) "If the subject of the curse does not deserve such a curse (fa kânal-la'ànu lahâ ahlan) and if the one who curses deserves the curse, (raja'at alayhi) the curse returns to the one who curses." The damnation strikes the one who utters. He will get the troubles and whatever he wished for the innocent person or object.

The Australian natives invented something called "boomerang." It is a flat, wooden tool shaped as letter "L." It is thrown into the air towards the target. It hits the target (an animal to be hunted) and flies back towards the one who throws it. It may sound unbelievable, yet it is true. They have some competitions on throwing the boomerang. The curse is something like that. If the one who utters the curse deserves the curse, the curse strikes back.

The Prophet continued, (wa in lam yakun lahâ ahlan) "If the one who utters the damnation does not deserve it either, (asàbat yahûdiyyan aw nasrâniyyan aw mejûsiyyâ) it strikes a Jew, a Christian or a Zoroastrian." That is why (fe-inistata'ta an lâ tal'ana shay'an abadan ) "do not curse anything ever if you can. And, (faf'al) act like this!"

In Turkey, some people use the word "nâlet" instead of "lânet" for damnation. [A similar usage exists in English. The word "darn" is substituted for "damn."] It does not really make any difference. We should not use it at all. We should wish good things for people.

There are reports of exemplary behavior of some awliyaullah. One such a blessed person run into a group of people who were drunken. His companions asked him to curse them. He lifted his hand and prayed: "My Lord! Guide them to the right path. Make them see their mistakes." Allah accepted his prayer and granted good states for them. They did quit drinking and became good servants.

The intoxicants are the mother of all evil. It should not be produced at all. Unfortunately it is produced and and consumed in very large quantities. Then we hear the announcements, "Don't drink and drive!" They do not listen and fly off the road; they kill people or they get killed themselves. The property also gets damaged. Sometimes they start a fight in the bar, pull their guns or knives, and shed blood. Yet other times, they stumble and fall injure their head and brain. Sometimes they destroy their liver. All doctors agree on the harmful effects of drinking, yet it is still produced, consumed and advertised.

There are some good things in America. For instance, the Surgeon General requires that a statement is written on the cigaret packages indicating that smoking is hazardous for the health. The smoker will know what he is smoking. Also in the United States there was a time that the government banned alcoholic beverages and their consumption. Yet people were so much addicted to it that they failed to maintain the ban. During the time of Ottomans, there was also a ban on drinking. However, it was not banned for nonmuslims. Some would go to the nonmuslim sections of towns to get drunk. Some poems proves it:

Ol but-i tersâ sana, "Mey nûsh eder misin?" demish.
Ey aman ey dil nevish bilter sual olmush sana.

The Christian beauty said, "Would you drink some wine?"
Alas! What a difficult question you've been asked.

They must have gone to the nonmuslim sections of the city and there a Christian woman must have asked if they would like to drink. The question was categorized as "very difficult" because the wine and other intoxicants are unlawful in Islam whereas his nafs-al-ammarah wanted it. It is obvious that in the Christian sections of the city there was no ban, and they went to such a locality. The ban should have been all over the country. In Islam everything associated with intoxicants is unlawful including the production, distribution, trading, and serving. Once alcohol is consumed so much and drinking becomes a wide-spread addiction, its harms also become so widespread. Statistics could show that a high portion of the traffic accidents, diseases and death is caused by drinking.

Some consider the beer as a light beverage. It is wrong! At the Gulhane Military Medical School, I heard an expert explaining the harms of drinking beer. It was incredible. I wish that all bad things are discouraged by informing people about their harms. It should be written on the containers that it is harmful for the health. Its advertisements should be banned, too.

There should be no room for stubbornness and fanaticism. One has to see the truth as truth and accept it as truth. Also, one has to see the falsehood as falsehood and avoid it. May Allah grant us the ability to discern the truth from the falsehood.

As-salâmu 'alaikum wa rahmatullàhi wa barakatuh my dear and beloved brothers and sisters.

May 12, 2000 -- AUSTRALIA.