There is a prayer at the end of “The Sixth Word”: “O Lord, forgive our sins and accept us as your servants. Enable us to remain faithful to Your trust until the time of restitution (returning the trust) arrives.” Could you explain what is meant by “the trust?” Is it only the blessing of “life?” Could you also elucidate the term “trust,” with respect to our duties and responsibilities?
Since trusts are the first blessings God Almighty grants human beings, each thing a person gains—through giving freewill its due and making good use of the first blessings—is a trust as well. Actually the real catalyst in what a person gains is God, too. However, there is a general principle of law: “If the real catalyst is not apparent, then an action is ascribed to the closest cause.” Based on this principle, when a man gains something by using his freewill, we accept him as the cause of the act, even though he is not the actual catalyst.1 Therefore, as the attributes God Almighty grants people are blessings, what people gain through using their freewill should also be considered among the Divine blessings granted to them. If people can acquire this perspective, they will be able to discern that what actually operates behind those blessings, with all of their internal and external dimensions, is the hand of the Almighty Power. Those who possess this perspective will be full of of praise and gratitude for the One who grants them those blessings. They will sing praise for God from the bottom of their heart, and feel that blessed phrase resonate through their entire body.
Faith: The Greatest Trust
As viewed from this perspective, the issue is extensive. For example, just as our life is a Divine trust to us, the seeds of eternal bliss such as faith, constant awareness of God’s omnipresence (ihsan), knowledge of God (marifah), and love of God (muhabbah) are also important blessings. Without faith, people spend a temporary life in this world, like other creatures do; they condemn themselves to non-existence. Attaining eternal bliss depends on faith.
For this reason, exerting oneself to protect an important trust like faith by erecting barriers and using research to bring evidence in support of faith still does not give this important issue its proper due. What befalls on individuals is regarding such a valuable trust is to ask for more all the time and keep on walking in the path of servanthood. Imagine that a box of valuable jewels is given to your custody and you risk losing your head if anything happens to it. That trust will surely be treated with the utmost seriousness. However, the worth of such a box is nothing next to faith. For this reason, believers should build fortifications around their faith, being certain not to leave any gaps that the devil and the carnal soul can sneak through; such behavior stems from remaining faithful to such a great trust. In addition to being steadfast in faith, diligence in observing worship is also a very important part of preserving the trust of faith. A person needs to continuously pray to God for this sake, seeking refuge in His protection and help. As such, the Messenger of God never gave up praying as, “O God, Turner of hearts! Bind my heart to Your religion!”
Who Is Islam Entrusted To?
The Holy Qur’an is also a trust given to believers. It is necessary to preserve it not only in the minds, through memory, but also by being loyal to its meaning and content. If the Qur’an is not understood in meaning and content, its value is not appreciated. It should not be forgotten that we cannot pretend to be faithful to the Qur’an by entrusting its message to vocal performers, and by finding consolation while listening to them. To be truly faithful to this trust, we must keep Qur’anic values alive in society by exerting ourselves to make it the most cherished teaching in the world, and by blowing its spirit to other souls.
If we cannot be faithful to the Qur’an in this way, then we are actually betraying it, even though we might show shallow respect by hanging it in velvet covers on our bedroom walls. The Islamic teaching, with all of its essentials and principles that must be practiced in real life, is a trust to all Muslims from God Almighty and His Messenger. The Pride of Humanity has presented the framework for this teaching and showed the truth of everything explicitly; he showed believers the ways to true happiness in this world and the next. Therefore, the noble Prophet entrusted Islam to his Companions first, and then to generations to follow. With the hopes of making it more practicable in their age, every one of the saintly figures (mujaddid, mujtahid, awliya, asfiya, and abrar) of later centuries brought clarity to certain vague religious points; with their judgments and elucidations, they revealed the fact that Islam can be lived afresh in every era. Thus they fulfilled their duty and entrusted it to the following generations.
The trust that was placed on the shoulders of earlier generations is on our shoulders now; it will be transferred to the next generation tomorrow. It would be terribly irresponsible to transfer that trust to later generations in a deformed condition. If we are not faithful to the trust, protect it as we should, and hand it to our successors in sound condition, we will have betrayed this trust and done a grave disservice to the next generations. Particularly in our time, serving faith and the Qur’an has gained more importance owing to neglect. In the past, people risked their lives for this lofty ideal. Under difficult circumstances, they responded in the best way possible; they upheld this trust so it could reach our hands. Now it is our duty to uphold the service of faith as it was entrusted to us, ensuring its message does not lessen during our lives by conveying this message, untainted, to those who need it. If we fail and the trust is tainted, we have betrayed God Almighty, and He will bring us to account in the Hereafter.
Let me state an example: If a volunteer of faith, without working for sixteen hours, says that things are not running smoothly and asks for an assistant, then this person can be seen as giving in to laziness. If a devoted soul works for sixteen hours and still feels that certain things are left undone, then he can ask for a helper. If we really care about not bearing the stigma of betrayal in the sight of God Almighty, we must approach the trust with this mindset, and then seek refuge in Divine Power and Mercy through considerations and prayers such as, “My God! Please send trustworthy people eligible to bear the trust as soon as possible, so that we can transfer these trusts to them untainted.”
Betraying the Trust is a Characteristic of Hypocrites
The noble Prophet stated that anyone who has the following four characteristics is a pure hypocrite; if he has one of them, he possesses some hypocrisy until he gives it up: When he is trusted, he betrays this trust; when he speaks, he lies; when he makes an agreement, he breaks it; and when he becomes hostile he has no limits.2 Accordingly, neglecting the trust—taking all of the points we mentioned into consideration—can be taken as a sign of hypocrisy. This also means losing one’s trustworthiness, which is among the characteristics of the Prophets. People gain value in so much as much as they adopt characteristics of the Prophets, and vice versa.
Let me make a final point that those who act in such a carefree manner regarding issues concerning all Muslims’ rights commit a serious wrong by betraying the trust without even being aware of it. Therefore, all of us must shake with anxiety at the thought of ruining this trust, which is bestowed on our shoulders by the Divine. Taking fellow believers into consideration as well, we should constantly pray: “O Lord, protect us from a wrongdoing like betraying the trust and make us trustworthy bearers until the day You take it from us.”
1. As it is revealed in the Qur’an, “…it is God Who has created you and all that you do” (as-Saffat 37:96). This means that it is God Almighty Who creates us and enables us to do things. He has given us will and power so that we are able to will something and do it. However, it is He Who creates and gives external existence to what we do. Our performing an action does not mean that that action must come about. Were it not for His creation, we could do nothing. We are doers or agents, while God is the Creator. If we had no ability to do something and God did not create our actions, then our having freewill would be meaningless and we would have no responsibility for our deeds. (Ed.).
2. Sahih al-Bukhari, Iman, 24