Promise is defined with: “A declaration that one will do or refrain from doing something specified.”
In our today’s time, what is going on around us all? We are faced with too many social issues. The bond of relationships is becoming weaker and weaker with the passage of time. So why is that so?
The answer is simple that we ignored the basic guidelines given to us by the Quraan and Sunnah. Our beloved Prophet the Last Messenger of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) gave us guidance for each aspect of our life. He emphasized the basics to be fulfilled carefully. And the basics are like our behavior, attitude and of course our promises that we make in our lives.
The life of Prophet Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) is the epitome of perfection and He was, is, and will be the role model for every Muslim.
Take a real-world example from the life of Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam). Hudaibiyah treaty is significant in this regard. This treaty was made with non-Muslims of Makkah al Mukarramah. There were two significant points included in it among others: Any non-Muslim who flee back to Muslims even after accepting Islam will be turned back.
Non-Muslim will not return back any Muslim who left Islam.
Abu Jandal Ibn e Suhayl fled from non-Muslims and accepted Islam, at that time he was chained and was hoping but even after this condition, as promised Prophet Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) returned him back to non-Muslims and asked him to be firm. Such was the importance of the promise according to Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam).
Hoping but even after this condition, as promised, Prophet Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) returned him. Quraan at many points speaks for the promises and there is much emphasis is given in the Quraan as well. Few Aayaat (Verses) from Quraan speak well for the significance of the Promises.
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says:
وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا مَالَ الْيَتِيمِ إِلَّا بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ حَتَّى يَبْلُغَ أَشُدَّهُ وَأَوْفُوا بِالْعَهْدِ إِنَّ الْعَهْدَ كَانَ مَسْئُولًا [الإسراء: 34]
”Do not go near the property of an orphan, except in a manner that is good, until he comes to his maturity. And fulfill the covenant. Surely, the covenant shall be asked about (on the Day of Resurrection).” (Al-Israa 17:34)
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) further says:
وَأَوْفُوا بِعَهْدِ اللَّهِ إِذَا عَاهَدْتُمْ وَلَا تَنْقُضُوا الْأَيْمَانَ بَعْدَ تَوْكِيدِهَا وَقَدْ جَعَلْتُمُ اللَّهَ عَلَيْكُمْ كَفِيلًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَفْعَلُونَ [النحل: 91]
”Fulfill the Covenant of Allah when you pledge, and do not break oaths after you swear them solemnly, while you have made Allah a witness over you. Surely, Allah knows all that you do” (An-Nahl 16:91)
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) also says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَوْفُوا بِالْعُقُودِ[المائدة: 1]
“O you who believe! Fulfill the contracts.” (Al-Maaidah 5:1)
Also He says:
يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لَا تَفۡعَلُونَ كَبُرَ مَقۡتًا عِندَ ٱللَّهِ أَن تَقُولُواْ مَا لَا تَفۡعَلُونَ[الصف: 2-3]
“O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do? Most hateful it is with Allah that you say that which you do not do.” (As-Saff 61:2-3)
At another place, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says:
لَكِنِ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا رَبَّهُمْ لَهُمْ غُرَفٌ مِنْ فَوْقِهَا غُرَفٌ مَبْنِيَّةٌ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ لَا يُخْلِفُ اللَّهُ الْمِيعَادَ [الزمر: 20]
“But, for those who fear their Lord, there are chambers with chambers built on top of them, with rivers running from underneath them. This is Allah‘s promise. Allah does not go back on any promise” (Az-Zumar 39:20)
In the story of Hadhrat Moosaa (Moses), Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says:
فَرَدَدْنَاهُ إِلَى أُمِّهِ كَيْ تَقَرَّ عَيْنُهَا وَلَا تَحْزَنَ وَلِتَعْلَمَ أَنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ [القصص: 13]
“Thus We brought him back to his mother, so that her eye might have comfort and she might not grieve, and so that she might know that Allah‘s promise is true, but most of them do not know” (Al-Qasas 28:13)
Prophet Hadhrat (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said: “The signs of a hypocrite are three: when he talks he lies, Whenever he promises, he breaks his promise. Whenever he makes a covenant he proves treacherous.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
The Five Compilers of Hadeeth, Ahmad bin Hanbal, Abu Daawood, Tirmizi, Nasaee, and Ibne Maajah, reported on the authority of Hadhrat ‘Abdullah Ibne ‘Amr bin Al `Aas who narrated that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said: “Whoever has the following four (characteristics) will be a pure hypocrite and whoever has one of the following four characteristics will have one characteristic of hypocrisy unless and until he gives it up.
1. Whenever he makes a promise, he breaks it.
2. Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie.
3. Whenever he makes a covenant, he proves treacherous.
4. Whenever he quarrels, he behaves in a very imprudent, evil and insulting manner.”
Hadhrat ‘Abdullah Ibne ‘Amr bin Al-‘Aas reported that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s
Messenger (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said: “Four are the qualities which, when found in a person, make him a sheer 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 behaves in a very imprudent, insulting manner.” (Bukhari)
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) says:
بَلَى مَنْ أَوْفَى بِعَهْدِهِ وَاتَّقَى فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَّقِينَ [آل عمران: 76]
”Why (will they) not (be blamed)? Whoever fulfils his pledge and fears Allah, then, Allah loves the Allah-fearing” (Aale ‘Imraan 3:76)
To keep promises is in the basic teachings of the Quraan and Prophet Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam). It is also important to remember that breaking promises is one of the greatest sins in Islam as it destroys and disturbs the peace of society and weakens the bonds of relationships.
It is important to quote the fourth pious Caliph, a great Sahaabi (Companion) of the Prophet Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam), and his son-in-law, Hadhrat Ali Ibne Abi Talib: “To fulfill promises is the highest form of integrity.”
And at another place, Hadrat Ali Ibne Abi Talib emphasized the importance of promises by saying: “When you make a promise to your child, you must fulfill it.”
I pray to Allah (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) to make us all the true followers of our religion. As it is not the words and outlooks that matter but what matters is, besides the our intentions and quality / state heart, our actions, our deeds, and our promises that we make with each other.