The Quality of Amaanah – The Concern for Accountability
Allah Ta‘ala has blessed man with countless favors. Some are physical favors, while others are spiritual favors. Many a time, there are countless favors that are linked to a single favor. Consider the favor of eyesight – it is the means of one enjoying thousands of other favors of Allah Ta‘ala. However, eyesight is from among the physical favors of Allah Ta‘ala.
Among the spiritual favors of Allah Ta‘ala is the quality of amaanah (the concern for accountability). The quality of amaanah is regarded among the significant qualities of Imaan, and its importance has been greatly emphasized in the Mubaarak Hadith. Hazrat Anas (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports, “Very seldom would Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) deliver a sermon and not emphasize the importance of amaanah saying, “The one who does not possess amaanah does not possess perfect imaan, and the one who does not fulfill his promises does not possess complete deen.” (Musnad Ahmed #12567)
The quality of amaanah refers to one having the concern for accountability in the court of Allah Ta‘ala in regard to the obligations one owes to Allah Ta‘ala and the servants of Allah Ta‘ala. This is such a great quality that it is the doorway to acquiring innumerable spiritual and physical bounties of Allah Ta‘ala. The quality of amaanah creates life in the spiritual heart and imbues it with spiritual sight. Hence, when one possesses the quality of amaanah, then the spiritual heart is able to see good as good and evil as evil. It is able to differentiate between that which is beneficial for a person from that which is harmful for him. In essence, amaanah motivates a person towards adopting piety and righteousness in all spheres of his life.
Just as one requires physical sight in order for him to be able to benefit from the light of the sun, similarly one requires the spiritual sight of the heart (i.e. the quality of amaanah) in order for him to benefit from the light of deen (i.e. the Qur’aan and the Sunnah).
If one does not possess physical sight, then despite the world shining brightly around him, he will not be able to benefit from the beauty of the world. In the same way, if a person lacks the light of the heart (i.e. he lacks the quality of amaanah), then despite the Qur’aan and Sunnah being found (which is the key to success in illuminating the life of a believer with happiness), such a person will not be able to fully benefit from the light of deen.
Hazrat Huzaifah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that: Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) mentioned two Ahaadith to us; I have witnessed the first materialize, and I am still waiting to witness the second occur. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) informed us that amaanah (the fear of accountability) was sent down by Allah Ta‘ala into the recesses of the hearts of men. Thereafter, through the light of amaanah, people understood the Qur’aan Majeed and the Sunnah correctly. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) thereafter mentioned to us that a time will come when this amaanah will gradually be raised from the hearts of men. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “A man will sleep and wake up, and a portion of the amaanah will be raised from his heart (i.e. on account of him committing sins, a portion of the amaanah will be raised from his heart, resulting in him not understanding deen correctly and thereafter becoming negligent in fulfilling the rights of Allah Ta‘ala and the servants).”
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) then said, “People will wake up in the morning dealing among themselves, and they will not uphold amaanah. At that time, it will be said, ‘In such-and-such tribe, there is a man who possesses the quality of amaanah’, and it will be said regarding a certain person, ‘How intelligent is he! How prudent is he! How capable is he!’, yet such a person’s heart will not even contain Imaan equivalent to a mustard seed.” (Saheeh Bukhaari #6497)
Generally, when the quality of amaanah is mentioned, then people’s minds go towards safeguarding wealth which has been entrusted to a person. However, it should be borne in mind that the quality of amaanah is not confined to the obligation of safeguarding the wealth or property of any person who has appointed one as his trustee. Rather, the quality of amaanah is such that it encompasses every branch of a person’s life, whether relating to the obligations he owes to Allah Ta‘ala or the servants of Allah Ta‘ala. Hence, in one’s domestic life, social life, economic life and in every other sphere of one’s deeni and worldly life, one should consider oneself accountable in the court of Allah Ta‘ala for the rights one owes to Allah Ta‘ala and the servants of Allah Ta‘ala.
In today’s times, if each person upholds the quality of amaanah in his life, then peace and harmony will prevail in the world. There will be no reason for disputes and quarrels to arise between relatives, husbands and wives, employers and employees, friends, neighbors, business partners, people in positions of authority such as trustees and teachers, or people who render services to the public such as doctors, builders, lawyers, advocates, etc. Likewise, at the time of winding and distributing the estate of the deceased, no person will be oppressed or his rights usurped, as each person will be concerned about fulfilling the rights he owes to the next person, and of being accountable on the Day of Qiyaamah.
Below is an incident of Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) which depicts the great quality of amaanah in his heart and the dynamic effect it had on a fire-worshipper:
Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) was once owed an amount of money by a certain fire worshipper. When Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) went to the house of the fire worshipper to request payment, and arrived at the door, then mistakenly, he stepped on some impurity which was on the ground, causing it to stick to his sandal. Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) shook the sandal to remove the impurity, and the impurity accidentally fell onto the wall of the fire worshipper’s house. Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) was greatly worried and perturbed. He felt that if he left the impurity on the wall, it would cause the wall to appear unsightly, and if he scraped it off, then some portion of the sand of the wall would also be removed, thereby damaging the wall.
In this state of concern, Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) knocked on the door. When the fire worshipper came out to meet Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah), he was worried that Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) had come to collect the outstanding money, and thus began to make excuses. However, Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) said to him, “We have a problem at hand that is far more important than the money you owe me. By mistake, the impurity from my shoe came onto your wall. I am concerned regarding how I will be able to clean it without causing any damage to your wall.” When the fire worshipper had seen the character of Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahimahullah) and the quality of amaanah within him, he was greatly affected and said, “Before purifying the wall, I wish to purify my heart and life by accepting Islam.” Saying this, he immediately brought Imaan and accepted Islam. (Tafseer Kabeer vol. 1 pg. 192)
May Allah Ta‘ala bless the ummah with the quality of amaanah in every facet of their lives.