‘Abdu Rabbihee Al-Qassaab recounts the following incident:
I once promised Muhammad bin Seereen (rahimahullah) that I would purchase his qurbaani animals for him. Accordingly, we arranged to meet at a certain time and place. Subsequently, I became preoccupied and completely forgot that I had promised to meet him.
Later on, when it was already close to midday, I remembered my meeting with him and thus set out towards the place where we had arranged to meet. On arriving there, I found that he was still waiting for me! I greeted him with salaam. He then raised his head and said, “Listen well! Sins that are smaller than this can sometimes be overlooked and accepted (but this sin, of breaking one’s promise, is very serious).”
I immediately apologised and explained my excuse, that I had forgotten the appointment due to becoming preoccupied in some work. Thereafter, I remarked to him, “When I remembered our arrangement and set out to meet you, my friends began to scold me saying, “Muhammad bin Seereen (rahimahullah) must have departed from the meeting place already, he will not be waiting there until now!”
When he heard this, Muhammad bin Seereen (rahimahullah) mentioned, “Even if you had delayed and only came at the time of sunset, I would have remained waiting here for you. I would have only left briefly to perform salaah or for some other urgent necessity, and I would have returned immediately thereafter.”
(Kitaabus Samt wa Aadaabil Lisaan #461)
1. Fulfilling one’s promise and keeping to one’s word is extremely serious and important in Deen. In one hadeeth, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) mentioned that if one does not keep to his word, it is as if he does not have any Deen in him. (Majma‘uz Zawaaid #343) We thus understand that keeping to one’s word is regarded as an important part of Deen.
2. If a person knows that he will not be able to fulfil a particular promise then he should not make the promise. Similarly, when a person makes a promise or gives his word to anyone, he must ensure that he fulfils it. If he is unable to fulfil it due to unforeseen circumstances, he must excuse himself to the person that he made the promise to and inform him that he will not manage to fulfil the promise.
3. Our obligations to Allah Ta‘ala must always be first and foremost in our lives. Hence, even though Muhammad bin Seereen (rahimahullah) had arranged to meet ‘Abdu Rabbihee Al Qassaab and was waiting for him, he mentioned that he would have left to perform salaah and thereafter returned. Therefore, we should never make arrangements that will cause us to neglect our obligations to Allah Ta‘ala. For example, we should not host a function and call people for a meal during a salaah time, causing people to neglect their salaah. Similarly, if we happen to be at a function and it is the time for salaah, we should go to perform our salaah, even if others at the function do not do so.
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