Integrity and Honesty
by Hazrat Maulana Yunus Patel Saheb (rahmatullah ‘alayh)
It has been mentioned in a Hadith that a pious person from the Bani Isra'il took a loan of 1000 gold coins and, fixing a date, promised to pay it back at that time. The person giving the loan required witnesses.
The pious person said: ‘Allah is sufficient as a witness.'
He was then asked: ‘Who stands surety on your behalf ?'
The pious person replied: ‘Allah is sufficient as a surety.'
The person giving the loan accepted this, saying: ‘You have spoken the truth.' And without further consideration, handed over to him a thousand gold coins.
On the due date, due to a flood, the saintly person could not find a boat to take him across to his creditor to make the payment. This both perplexed him and hurt his conscience.
The people of the past had integrity and honesty. They stood by their word. The thought of deliberately breaking their promises or going against their word did not even pass through their minds.
Nevertheless, such was this saintly person's predicament. Having found some wood, he made a hollow in that piece of wood and, in desperation, placed 1000 gold coins and a note therein that it be given to such and such a person.
Since this person's niyyah (intention) was correct, he received Allah Ta'ala's assistance.
Taking the piece of wood to the river, he said: ‘O Allah! You know well that I took a loan of a thousand Dinars from so and so. He demanded a surety from me, but I told him that Allah's guarantee was sufficient, and he accepted Your guarantee. He then asked for a witness, and I told him that Allah was sufficient as a witness, and he accepted You as a witness. I have tried hard to find a conveyance so that I could pay him his money but could not find one, so I hand over this money to You.' Saying this, he threw the piece of wood into the river and placed his trust in Allah Ta'ala.
On the other side, the creditor was waiting for the arrival of the boat that was to bring his money. He went to the riverbank, and as he paced about, losing hope in his debtor returning, he noticed the log (wherein his money was deposited). He picked it up and took it home to use as firewood.
When he struck the axe against the log, and it split open, he found the 1000 gold coins with the note, wherein his debtor had written that since he could not get a boat in due time, he had opted to mete out his payment in this manner, trusting solely in Allah Ta'ala.
Upon return, the saintly person was anxious to find out whether his creditor had received the money. Taking another one thousand gold coins with him, he went to the creditor's home with the intention of making a late payment had the creditor not received his money.
After explaining his plight and offering the thousand gold coins, the creditor truthfully told him that Allah Ta'ala had already delivered the money he had sent in the piece of wood, and the saintly person was told to keep the thousand gold coins which he had brought with him.
That was their level of honesty and trustworthiness; for that, Allah Ta'ala gave them plenty of barakah (blessings) -a far cry from present-day experiences with even Muslim businessmen and traders.
Due to the temptations faced by traders, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) enumerated many great rewards for the honest trader. It is mentioned in a Hadith that an honest and trustworthy merchant shall be with the Ambiya (‘alaihimus salam), the Martyrs and the pious.
Allah Ta'ala opens the doors of rizq (sustenance) and barakah (blessings) for the honest and truthful ones.
All the same, Allah Ta'ala has presented various laws on loans, which we are instructed to implement in our transactions. This is especially necessary in these times of hypocrisy, cheating and deceit when we cannot even trust some of those who have adopted the garb of the pious and have a connection with the Masjid (mosque) and Deen. Due to fraudulent deals, even family members and friends are not being trusted anymore.
In Surah Baqarah, Allah Ta’ala states :
‘O you who believe, when you transact a debt payable at a specified time, put it in writing… – … it is more just in the sight of Allah, More suitable as evidence, and more convenient to prevent doubts among yourselves …'
[surah baqarah 2: 282]
Allah Ta'ala clearly outlines and establishes various directives for a loan in this ayah (verse), which has more details of importance.
The gist of which directs towards a written document to be drafted for such transactions, wherein the names of all parties, the analysis, the exact due date of payment and fine points of the transaction are distinctly and unambiguously stated. The wisdom behind written agreements is that it is a precaution against breach, oversight, misunderstanding or dispute and conflict at a later stage.
Allah Ta'ala also calls for witnesses to such transactions since they would verify and resolve any dispute that may arise in future.
 Rasulullah (sallallahu' alayhi wasallam) has 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.
- Whenever he is entrusted, he betrays.
- Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie.
- Whenever he makes a covenant, he proves treacherous.
- When he quarrels, he uses foul speech.
 Mu'amalat is a branch of Shariah dealing with business and trade. It is compulsory (Fardh) for a person involved in business and trade to learn the relevant masa'il (rules).