Command to deliver trusts

Riyad as-Salihin (The Meadows of the Righteous)

by Imam Nawawi

25. Chapter: On the command to deliver trusts

Allah Almighty says, "Allah commands you to return to their owners the things you hold on trust," (W4:57; H4:58)

and the Almighty says, "We offered the Trust to the heavens, the earth and the mountains, but they refused to take it on and shrank from it. But man took it on. He is indeed wrongdoing and ignorant." (33:72)

199. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "There are three signs of a hypocrite: whenever he speaks, he lies; whenever he makes a promise, he breaks it; and whenever he is trusted, he betrays his trust." [Agreed upon]

In one variant, "Even if he fasts and prays and claims that he is a Muslim."

200. Hudhayfa ibn al-Yaman said, "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, related two hadiths to us. I have seen one of them come about and am still waiting for the other. He related to us that trustworthiness had descended into the hearts of men. Then the Qur'an descended and they knew it from the Qur'an and they knew it from the Sunna. Then he related that trustworthiness would be removed, and he said, 'A man will go to sleep and trustworthiness will be taken from his heart and its trace will remain like a small mark. Then he will go to sleep and trustworthiness will be taken from his heart and its trace will remain like a weal, as when an ember rolls onto his foot and it blisters up and you see it raised up with nothing in it.' Then he took some pebbles and rolled them onto his foot. 'And people will continue to trade but practically no one will fulfill his trust, to such a point that it will be said, "There is a trustworthy man among the Banu so-and-so!" and until it will be said of a man, "How tough he is! How elegant! How intelligent!" when he does not have a mustard-grain of belief in his heart.' There was a time when I did not care who I did business with. If he was a Muslim, his deen was sufficient assurance for me, and if he was a Christian or a Jew, his guardian was sufficient assurance for me. Today I only do business with so-and-so and so-and-so among you." [Agreed upon]

201. Hudhayfa and Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, will gather the people together, and the believers will stand until the Garden is brought near to them and then they will go to Adam, may the blessings of Allah be upon him, and say, 'O our father, open up the Garden for us!' He will say, 'Were you brought out of the Garden by anything but the error of your father! That is not in my power. Go to Ibrahim, the Friend of Allah.'" He said, "They will go to Ibrahim and Ibrahim will say, 'That is not in my power. I was only a friend. That degree is far beyond me. Go to Musa to whom Allah spoke directly.' They will go to Musa and he will say, 'That is not in my power. Go to 'Isa, the Word of Allah and His Spirit.' 'Isa will say, 'That is not in my power.' They will go to Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he will stand and will be granted permission. Trust and kinship will be released and will stand on either side of the Sirat, right and left. The first of them will pass over like lightning." I said, "May my father and mother be your ransom, what is passing like lightning?" He said, "Haven't you seen how it comes and goes in the blink of an eye? Then they will pass like the wind, then pass like birds. The strongest of men will be carried by their actions while their Prophet will be on the Sirat, saying, 'O Lord, grant safety, grant safety,' until the actions of the slaves are no longer sufficient and a man is brought who can only cross crawling. On the sides of the Sirat there are hooks hanging which are commanded to catch hold of particular people. Anyone who is scratched is safe but anyone who is hooked is in the Fire.' By the One in whose hand is the soul of Abu Hurayra, the bottom of Jahannam is seventy years deep." [Muslim]

202. Abu Khubayb 'Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr said, "When az-Zubayr stood awaiting the Battle of the Camel, he called me over and I went to his side. He said, 'O my son, no one will be killed today except someone wronging or someone wronged. I think that I will be killed today as one of the wronged. One of my greatest concerns is my debts. Do you think that any of our property will remain after out debts are settled?' He said, 'O my son! Sell our property and pay my debts!.' Then he willed a third, and a third of it was for his sons, i.e. the sons of 'Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr. He said, 'A third of the third. If anything is left over of our property after paying the debts, then a third of it is for your children.' (Hisham said, "Some of the sons of 'Abdullah were the same age as the sons of az-Zubayr: Khubayb and 'Abbad. At that time he had nine sons and nine daughters.")" 'Abdullah said, "My father began to order me concerning his debt and say, 'O my son, if you are unable to settle any of it, then ask my Master for help in doing it." He said, "By Allah, I did not know what he meant so I said, 'O my father, who is your Master?' He said, 'Allah.'" He said, "Whenever I ran into a difficulty regarding his debt I said, 'O Master of az-Zubayr! Pay his debt for him!' and He would settle it. Az-Zubayr, may Allah be pleased with him, was killed without leaving a dinar or a dirham, but only two pieces of land, one of which was al-Ghaba, and eleven houses in Madina, two in Basra, one in Kufa, and one in Egypt." He said, "The debt that he owed resulted from people bringing him money to leave in his keeping. Az-Zubayr would say, 'No, let it rather be a loan, for otherwise I fear that it might get lost.' He was never appointed to a government post of any kind nor to the collection of land-tax (kharaj) nor anything else. What he had came only from expeditions with the Prophet, or with Abu Bakr, 'Umar and 'Uthman."

'Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr said, "When I worked out the debt he owed, I found it to be two million and two hundred thousand." Hakim ibn Hizam met 'Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr and said, "Nephew, how large a debt does my brother have?" I concealed it and said, "A hundred thousand." Hakim said, "By Allah, I do not think that your property will cover this amount." 'Abdullah said, "What would you think if it were two million and two hundred thousand?" He said, "I do not think you will be able to pay this. If you are unable to cover any of it, then ask me for help."

He said, "Az-Zubayr had purchased al-Ghaba for one hundred and seventy thousand, and 'Abdullah sold it for one million and six hundred thousand. Then he stood up and said, 'Anyone who is owed anything by az-Zubayr should come to us at al-Ghaba.' 'Abdullah ibn Ja'far came to him, and az-Zubayr owed him four hundred thousand. He said to 'Abdullah. 'If you like, I will forgo it.' 'Abdullah said, 'No.' He said, 'If you like, you can delay payment if you want to.' 'Abdullah said, 'No.'" He said, "He said, 'So allocate me a piece of land.' 'Abdullah said, 'You can have from here to there.' 'Abdullah sold some of it and paid his debts in full and there remained four and a half shares of the land. He went to Mu'awiya while 'Amr ibn 'Uthman, al-Mundhir ibn az-Zubayr and Ibn Zam'a were with him. Mu'awiya said, 'How much have you valued al-Ghaba at?' He said, 'Each share at a hundred thousand.' He said, 'How much remains?' He said, 'Four and half shares.' Al-Mundhir ibn az-Zubayr said, 'I will take a share for a hundred thousand.' 'Amr ibn 'Uthman said, 'I will take a share for a hundred thousand.' Ibn Zam'a said, 'I will take a share for a hundred thousad.' Mu'awiya said, 'How much remains?' He said, 'A share and a half.' He said, 'I will take them for one hundred and fifty thousand.'"

He said, "'Abdullah ibn Ja'far later sold his share to Mu'awiya for sixty thousand. When Ibn az-Zubayr finishing settling his debts, the sons of az-Zubayr said, 'Distribute our inheritance between us.' He said, 'No, by Allah, I will not distribute it until I have made this announcement for four years during the hajj festival: 'Anyone who has a debt owed him by az-Zubayr should come to us and we will settle it.'" He said, "He announced that every year at the festival and when the four years were up, he distributed it between them. Az-Zubayr had four wives and after the prescribed third was removed, each wife got a million and two hundred thousand. So the total amount of his property was fifty million and two hundred thousand." [al-Bukhari]