Honesty and Trustworthiness are the Fundamental Characteristics
The Religious Authority H.E. Sayyed Muhammad Husain Fadlullah delivered the two Friday prayer sermons at the Imamain Al-Hasanain Mosque, November 24, 2006, Several prominent religious scholars, dignitaries and thousands of believers attended the Jumu’a prayer.
Honesty and Trustworthiness are the Fundamental Characteristics of the Muslim Society
The First Sermon
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful;
In conveying their messages, the Messengers have focused on educating man on the sense or responsibility in his private and public life, and specifically to enjoy two moral virtues: honesty and trustworthiness.
Allah wants man to be truthful in what he says, that is not to alter the truth but be quite accurate in telling it. In this aspect, we have to adhere to the honesty of intention; not to promise something and intend to do another. Then there is the honesty in your position which is manifested by sticking to what promotes the interests of the people.
The issue of trustworthiness is similar; Allah wants us to be trustworthy in preserving the peoples’ blood, property and honour. One should also be trustworthy regarding his responsibilities as well as the duties Allah has commissioned him with, so that he will not betray Allah, His Messenger or his fellow men.
Allah describes the Prophet (p.) as: the one who brings the truth and … accepts it as the truth-- He also says: O you who believe! Be careful of (your duty to) Allah and be with the true ones.
Thus if you want to stand within any leadership you have to make sure if it is a truthful one, whether in its platform, position, goals or means.
In talking about trusts, God says: Allah doth command you to render back your Trusts to those to whom they are due.
But God did not limit the trust to its traditional meaning. He also gave the responsibility the characteristic of being a trust: We did indeed offer the Trust to the Heavens and the Earth and the Mountains; but they refused to undertake it, being afraid thereof: but man undertook it; He was indeed unjust and foolish
This is a metaphor used to show how big a burden is that the mountains refused to accept it. God also says: ye that believe! Betray not the trust of Allah and the Messenger, nor misappropriate knowingly things entrusted to you.
Thus Allah wants the believer to be truthful and honest when he makes a commitment or when he says anything, to the extent that we have a tradition that says: "A liar does not lie while he is a believer" meaning that lying will dissociate the liar from truth and thus put him outside the sphere of belief. The same thing is true with respect to trust and the undertaking of responsibility.
If you are a civil servant or an employee in a private institution, you have to be trustworthy in performing your job. You should never betray the trust and take, for example, some of the money that runs in your hands. You should also be faithful towards your family: both the husband and wife have to be committed to secure the rights of the other spouse, since marriage is Allah's trust that he has commissioned both parties with.
This is what leads to the stability of the society, since if all its members are honest, truthful and trustworthy, and each one feels that he can trust the other, then the entire society will be stable.
But if they deal with one another with lying and betrayal they will live in a state of worrying. This is why Islam considered truthfulness in what you say and commit to as the basis of justice.
In this respect, one of our traditions says that he treats people justly and does not lie to them and does not break the promises he makes to them, is a just person.
This is what Islam says and this is the major characteristic the Prophet was known with before he became a messenger. He was known as the truthful and the trustworthy, so that he became known with this nickname which became more famous than his own name. Moreover, when Ali (a.s.) talks about his relationship with the Messenger, he says that the Prophet never found him to be lying or not truthful. Some traditions have asserted that Allah did not send any Prophet except with truthfulness and returning trust to the good and the unworthy alike.
One of the Imams even said that if Ali's assassin entrusted me with the sword that he killed Ali with and I accepted I would keep his trust.
In another saying, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) talks about the criteria that distinguish the Muslim. He refutes the idea that such a criteria could be the prayers, the fast, the pilgrimage and the like, and asserts that a Muslim is judged by his actions: He says: “Do not be deceived by their praying or fasting… but test them when it comes to truthfulness and returning the trusts”...Watch how they act at home, at work or in the community at large…
In emphasizing the importance of being truthful, the Imams used to ask those who came to memorize their sayings to learn how to be truthful before they learn them and narrate them to others. Imam Jaa’far al-Sadiq(as) advised one of his followers to learn what made Ali (a.s.) attain that supreme position in the Prophet’s eyes and adopt it. For “Ali did not reach the position he did, except by being truthful and returning the trusts” to their owners. Muhammad (p.) loved Ali (a.s.) all that love and made him that close to him because he was truthful and trustworthy. If you want me to love you and make you as close to me as Ali (as) was to Muhammad (p) you have to be truthful and trustworthy.
Imam Al-Baqir (as) also emphasized that telling the truth is very important, because Allah will see your actions, and because you yourself will know that you are truthful when you tell the truth.
Imam As-Sadiq(as) also says: "The first to believe the truthful is Allah, and himself”. He also advises the religious scholars, the callers and all Muslims: "call for God by doing good not by your tongue, so that they would see your truthfulness piety and preserves". It is not enough to preach in your sermons.
You ought to be a role model in your devotedness to worship, your truthfulness, your piety and your refraining from what Allah has prohibited.
This is what the Messenger (p) and the Imams have told us, and this is the line of the Holy Quran. We have to abide by it to become a truthful, trustworthy and honest society, and end up with the honest believers.
Walhamdo Lillahi Rabbil Aalameen