‘Abdullah bin Abil Hamsaa (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) mentions, “I once conducted a business transaction with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) in the era before he was blessed with nubuwwah (prophethood) by Allah Ta‘ala. After the transaction was concluded, there was still an outstanding amount that I owed Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). I thus promised him that I would fetch the money and immediately return with it to that very place.
After leaving, I completely forgot about the money, and only remembered three days later that I had asked Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) to wait for me to return with the money. On remembering, I returned to the place at which I had left him, and found that he was still waiting for me! Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “O youngster! You have put me through difficulty. I have been here for three days, awaiting your return.” (Sunan Abi Dawood #4996)
By agreeing to wait for ‘Abdullah bin Abil Hamsaa (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) to return with the money, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had given his word that he would be there when ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) returned. Hence, even though ‘Abdullah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) did not return as promised, on account of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) possessing the highest level of truthfulness and character, he remained true to his word by continuing to wait in that very place for three days!
This clearly highlights the spirit of truthfulness that is advocated by Islam. Often, we give people our word, yet have no intention of fulfilling our promise. Alternatively, we make a promise intending to fulfill it, but thereafter change our minds and casually decide to ‘forget’ about it. Whether we are workmen such as plumbers, carpenters, electricians, or professionals such as doctors and lawyers, or ordinary people in the business place or home, regardless of who we are, we should always adhere to our word. If we give someone an appointment or promise to meet them or go to their home at a certain time, we should uphold our promise.
If due to unforeseen circumstances we are unable to fulfill our promise, we should, at the very least, contact the person to apologize and inform them that we will be late or will not make it at the appointed time. Failing to do so causes one to incur the sin of putting people through difficulty and inconvenience.
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