Khutbas by Imam Habib
Khutba on Contracts (28th August 2009)
الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي أمرنا أن نَفِيَ بالعقود، ونفعَلَ ما نقول، ونعاملَ الخلقَ بالصدقِ والأمانةِ سواءً كان صَديقاً أو خصماً لدود، نحمده تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلن تجد له وليا مرشدا، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك و له الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير، ونشهد أن سيدنا و مولانا محمداً عبده ورسوله، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدّى الأمانة ونصح الأمة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحق، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيا عباد الله اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع
الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر.
قال الله تعالى في كتابه الكريم: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا أَوْفُوا بِالْعُقُودِ
Allah says in His Noble Book, the translation of which is, “You who believe, fulfil your contracts.” This command is the essence of how one should conduct all his transactions or mu‘amalat. Indeed, this command is the essence of the deen of Allah, since the deen is mu‘amala.
When we think of the character of our noble Prophet, we think of his generosity - for he was the most generous of men; we think of his mercy and forgiveness - for he forgave even the harshest of his enemies; and we think of his clemency and forbearance - for he would overlook any slight or insult that was directed at him personally. But, above all, the Prophet was amin - trustworthy, and indeed that was the nickname by which Quraysh addressed him in his youth - al-Amin. He was never once heard to tell a lie and never once broke his word, regardless of whether he gave his word to a Muslim or a non-Muslim, to a friend or to an enemy, regardless of whether the one with whom he dealt kept his own word or not. The Prophet said,
أدِّ الأمانةَ إلى مَن ائتَمَنَك ، ولاَ تَخُن مَن خانك
“Return the things you hold on trust to those who entrusted them to you and do not cheat those who cheat you.” We are Muslims. We are commanded to emulate our noble Prophet and be better and more honest in our dealings than those with whom we do business, not worse and more crooked.
One of the reasons the deen of Allah spread so quickly in the first generations was because the peoples whom the Muslims encountered knew that their word was their bond - they knew that once the Muslims had entered into a contract, they would fulfil it. And so they welcomed the Muslims with open arms and gladly and willingly entered into the jizya contract, knowing that their Muslim conquerors would uphold their side of the bargain and keep their lives, lands and wealth safe. It was not by the sword that the deen entered the hearts of the peoples whom the Muslims encountered, but by the honesty and straightforwardness of their dealings, and the importance they attached to fulfilling their contracts. Indeed, vast nations, such as Indonesia and Malaysia, nations that had never seen a mujahid, entered into Islam after seeing these qualities in the Muslim traders who sailed into their ports.
Matters, however, have now turned on their heads. Muslims, the world over, are today famed for being unreliable, late and not doing things when they say they will. The culture of ma’alish dominates Egypt, the culture of bukra dominates Morocco - words which are used to casually toss aside contracts which have been made and delay their fulfilment. And, unfortunately, the same thing holds true of many Muslim businessmen and traders in this country. We are no longer the watchword for reliability, we are the watchword for unreliability and poor service. Muslims have become famed for being unprofessional. Now that is not to say that there are not many Muslims who are reliable and professional and keep to their word and their deadlines, for there are, but unfortunately they are increasingly becoming the exception that proves the rule.
How can we, as Muslims, expect Allah to grant us victory and place us above the kuffar when we have come to embody the characteristics of those who are worse than them, the hypocrites? The Prophet said,
“أربعٌ من كنّ فيه كان منافقاً، ومن كانت فيه خصلةٌ منهن كانت فيه خصلةٌ من النفاقِ حتّى يدعَها: إذا حدّث كذب، وإذا وعدَ أخلف، وإذا جاصم فجر، وإذا عاهد غدر.”
“There are four characteristics which distinguish the hypocrite. If a person has one of these characteristics, he has an element of hypocrisy in his being. When he speaks, he lies; when he makes a promise, he breaks it; when he enters into a dispute, he acts in an underhand manner; and when he forms a trust, he betrays it.”
Allah has promised victory to His deen, but, as long as we disregard our contracts, we have no deen. The Prophet said,
لا إيمانَ لمن لا أمانةَ له ، ولا دِينَ لمن لا عَهدَ له
“The one who has no amana (i.e. does not return what has been entrusted to him), has no iman. And the one who does not keep his promise has no Deen”. We want Allah’s help, but how can we expect it when we disregard His Commands. Allah says,
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّى يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ
the translation of which is, “Allah never changes a people’s state until they change what is in themselves.” If we do that, then the promise Allah made to Banu Isra’il will also hold true for us:
وَأَوْفُوا بِعَهْدِي أُوفِ بِعَهْدِكُمْ
the translation of which is, “Honour my contract and I will honour your contract.” Hence, the promised victory is conditional upon us fulfilling our contract. But what is this contract -what are these contracts of which we speak? In their commentaries on Allah’s command to us to fulfil our contracts at the beginning of surat al-Ma’ida, some of the fuqaha have divided contracts into three types: those with our Lord, those with ourselves and those with other people.
Our contract with our Lord is worshipping Him and not associating anything with Him. Our contract with Him is to do what He has commanded and made obligatory, such as the praying the prayer in its times and fasting the month of Ramadan, and to leave what He has forbidden, such as hunting while in a state of ihram or eating pork. Allah says,
أَلَمْ أَعْهَدْ إِلَيْكُمْ يَا بَنِي آَدَمَ أَنْ لَا تَعْبُدُوا الشَّيْطَانَ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُبِينٌ وَأَنِ اعْبُدُونِي
the translation of which is, “Did I not make a contract with you, O tribe of Adam, not to worship Shaytan, who truly is an outright enemy to you, and to worship Me?”
Our contract with ourselves is maintaining our health and preserving our lives, by eating, drinking, resting and exercising, doing each of those activities at the times most appropriate for them.
Our contracts with other people are the agreements we enter into with them and the dealings we have with them, such as marriage, trade and keeping appointments. These are what are referred to in the Fiqh books as mu‘amalat and this is the area of the deen where we, as Muslims, find ourselves lacking today, not ‘ibadaat. For never before have so many people travelled to Hajj or have the mosques been so full for the Jumu‘as and the tarawihs. That part of our contract, many of us fulfil. But then, we go back to our shops, our businesses, our homes, and totally disregard the remainder of the contract. If we want the deen to flourish again and to see people once again entering Islam in their droves, we must reunite its two halves - ‘ibadat and mu‘amalat. We must make what is broken whole and regain the upper ground. We must fulfil our contracts!
أقول قولي هذا و أستغفر الله لي و لكم و لسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيم
الحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته. قال الله تعالى في كتابه العزيز: “يَأَيُّهَا الذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ، كَبُرَ مَقْتًا عِندَ اللهِ أَن تَقُولُواْ مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ.”
Allah says in His Mighty Book, the translation of which is, “Why do you say what you do not do. It is very hateful to Allah that you should say what you do not do.”
The very essence of all mu‘amalat is doing what you say you are going to do, and doing it when you said you were going to do it. Of course, there are many other rulings that relate to them - indeed those rulings fill tomes and have largely been lost and forgotten today by being neglected and neither applied nor practised. And that knowledge must be recovered for the deen to once again thrive. And that knowledge is being recovered and is already being re-implemented and we must all become part of that re-implementation.
And that re-implementation begins with us fulfilling our contracts and appointments to the letter and to the minute, for when it comes to contracts the element of time cannot - I repeat, cannot - be overstated. Everything in the deen of Allah is appointed a time and that applies to our contracts with each other just as much as to our contracts with our Lord. An appointment is a contract, so take care not to break them.
A word of advice for anyone carrying out a transaction or making a contract – make sure you you write it down. And make sure that there are witnesses present. Man is created forgetful and that is often the reason for missed deadlines or disputes about prices and amounts, but with a record that has been witnessed, such problems dissolve. Allah says,
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا إِذَا تَدَايَنْتُمْ بِدَيْنٍ إِلَى أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى فَاكْتُبُوهُ
the translation of which is, “You who believe, when you take on a debt for a specified period, write it down”. Although this aya refers specifically to debts, its ruling applies to all types of transactions. And because of that, a whole branch of knowledge came to be, called watha’iq, the science of formulating and writing up contracts. And, indeed, this science continues to be taught and studied until the present day in the great institutions of learning such as the Qarawiyyin in Fes and the Azhar in Cairo.
The essentials for making our transactions halal and correct in the sight of Allah are easy. If we put them into practice and have a firm intention, then the whole matter will fall into place.
Firstly, you must never enter into a contract, or carry out a transaction, unless you fully intend to uphold your end of the bargain – you must never go into it with the intention of taking advantage of someone else, or ripping them off. That may make you a profit in this world, but you will be a big loser in the Next.
Secondly, if you agree to do something by a certain time, or at a certain time, then do not take that deadline lightly or start procrastinating. Do what you said you would do when and fair you said you would do it. Honour time as it should be honoured. The kuffar, especially the businessmen amongst them, honour time and keep to it. But we are Muslims and we know the value and importance of time better than they do, so we must act accordingly.
And thirdly, when you do something, make sure to do it well. We, as Muslims, must not be guilty of shoddy workmanship nor of doing things half-heartedly. The Prophet said,
إن الله يُحبُّ إذا عمِل أحدُكم عملاً أن يُتقِنَه
“Allah loves that whenever you do something you do it well.”
If we do these simple things, if we fulfil our contracts and keep our words, then we will soon see the weakness and lethargy that has overcome the Muslim Umma evaporate and its strength return. We will soon see the mistrust with which people view us transformed into respect, we will soon see them hurrying to enter Islam in their droves. Because that is what our Lord has promised us - if we fulfil our contracts, He will fulfil His contract to us and grant us victory and success.
So we ask Allah to enable us to fulfil our contracts. We ask Him to make us people of our word and people who appreciate the importance of time. We ask Him to make us people who do what they say they will do. We ask Him to make us people who change themselves and give us the promised victory. We ask Him to re-establish the deen in its full glory in our time and make us among those who are at the vanguard of its re-establishment.
إنَّ اللهَ ومَلائِكَتَهُ يُصلُّونَ على النَّبِي يَا أَيُها الذينَ آمنوا صَلُّوا عَلَيْهِ وسَلِّمُوا تَسْليماً. اللهمَّ صَلِّ وسَلِّم وبارِك عَلَيْهِ وعلى آلِهِ وصَحْبِهِ أجمعين.
وارض اللهم عن الخلفاء الراشدين أبي بكرٍ وعمرَ وعثمانَ وعلي ، وعن سائر الصحابة أجمعين، خصوصا الأنصارَ منهم والمهاجرين، وعن التابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.
اللهم اهد أولات أمور المسلمين لما يرضيك ولاتباع سنة نبيك صلى الله عليه وسلم وثبت أقدامهم على الصراط المستقيم وأصلحهم يا رب العالمين.
اللهم بارك على شيخنا، و على أميرنا، وعلى جميع أمراءِ وزعماء المسلمين.
اللهم بارك على المسلمين في هذه المدينة ووفقهم لما تحبه وترضاه يا أكرم الأكرمين.
اللهمّ أَعِزَّ الْلإسلامَ والمُسِلمينَ (3) واَخْذُلِ الكُفْرَ والكافِرينَ، وانْصُرِ المُجاهِدينَ في سَبِيلِ اللهِ. واجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وكَلِمَةَ الكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلى.
ربنا ءاتنا في الدنيا حسنة وفي الأخرة حسنة وقنا عذاب النار.
اللهم لا تضعْ في مقامِنا هذا ذنبا إلا غفرْتَه، ولا عيبا إلا سترْتَه، ولا مريضا إلا شفيتَهُ وعافيتَه، ولا مسجونا إلا طلَّقْتَ سراحَه، ولا مسافرا في برِّك وبحرِك إلا سلِمتَهُ وغنِمْتَه.
إن الله يأمر بالعدل والإحسان وإيتاء ذي القربى وينهى عَنِ الفحشاءِ والمُنكَرِ والبغي، يعظكم لعلكم تذكرون، ولَذِكْرُ اللهِ أكبر والله يَعْلَمُ ما تَصْنَعُون. وقُومُوا إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يرحمكم الله