By: Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)
Translated by: ManalSamhat
God says in His Glorious Book:"O believers do not betray Godor His Prophet (p.), nor knowingly misappropriate that which is entrusted unto you." (08:27)
"Yes, God defends the believers; God does not like unbelieving traitors." (22:38)
"God does not love those who are treacherous." (8:58)
Therefore, God wants the Muslims to build their personality on the basis of being committed to the vows they make either to God or to themselves. To be a Muslim means that you uphold your commitments, promises and responsibilities. If you betray a trust, you are not the kind of Muslim that God would be pleased with.
Imam Ja’afarAs-Sadiq (a.s.) said:"A believer can develop any bad habits, but not lying or disloyalty,"because if you are a liar or a traitor you would no longer be a believer.
The Messenger (p.) said:"If any of these four things enter any house, it will be devastated: betrayal, stealing, drinking alcohol or adultery".
He also says:"He who betrays trust is not one of us,"whether with money, religion, honor and the like. In another saying, the Messenger (p.) said:"Deceit and betrayal lead to hell".
Imam Ali (a.s.) said:"Betrayal is the same as lying", "betrayal is the worst form of hypocrisy”, and "betrayal is the worst sin".
He added, although there are few people who listen to him or follow his teachings:"Stay away from betrayal because it is against Islam."
One of the companions of Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir (a.s.) narrated the following story:"I once told the Imam that I wanted to leave Mecca, but I owe debts to one of the Morgia (a sect that deviated from the school of Ahl El-Beit), but he told me that I have to go back and pay the debt because a believer does not betray a trust."
Whether or not a person is of a different sect, religion or political belief is not the issue here. The issue is what you believe and the believer does not betray either a believer or a non-believer.
The Messenger (p.) said:"Give back whatever you are entrusted with even to the killers of a Prophet's children."
And Imam Ali Bin Hussein Zein Al-Abideen (a.s.) said:"If I were entrusted by the assassin of Imam Ali (a.s.) with the sword he used to kill him, I would give it back to him."
With this in mind, I would like to mention an important issue. Some people go to America and Europe and get loans from banks in one way or another, and then they run away without paying them back. It is a pity that some Sheikhs issue Fatwas endorsing this act on the grounds that they are taking the money from non-believers and arrogant people, while this is not the point. The point is that a Muslim must be trustworthy and keep his commitments.Therefore, those who issue such Fatwas are encouraging betrayal. And this is what happened during the war in our country when some of the Shiites began to steal money from non-Muslims and then later from non-Shiites. In the end, they also stole from other Shiites on the grounds that they do not pay Khums, as if they were the ones responsible for collecting it.
In such cases, Islam wants Muslims to stay away from any kind of mistrust or dishonesty. It wants the believer to be the model of trustworthiness so that people will love Islam through him. The Messenger (p.) was able to gain all the non-believers’ hearts through his truthfulness and trustworthiness. All people entrusted him with everything they had, but being trustworthy does not only mean that you keep people's trust. If you are an employee you have to work all the time. You cannot pretend that you are sick and it is not permissible for a doctor to issue a sick leave for someone who is not sick or to cheat the social security.
Some people justify this kind of behavior by saying that “if I do not take the money, someone else will,” or they do not care about the state's money, as if it were from the president or the prime minister's own pocket. It certainly is not, and it is the people's money, so any stealing of this money will affect the people themselves because the government projects are funded by money from the people and not by this or that official. Stealing money from the social security or from the funds allocated to the dislocated is not religious and it is a big sin.
But these are not the only forms of betrayal. When Imam Ja’afar As-Sadiq (a.s.) was asked by one of his companions about doing the same thing with someone who has taken some money from him and does not want to give it back, the Imam (a.s.) said:"Do not betray the person who betrayed you, and do not do that which you feel others should not do."
Moreover, the Messenger (p.) said:"Disclosing your brothers’ secret is a betrayal".
Imam Muhammad Al-Jawad (a.s.) said:"Being faithful to traitors is also a kind of treason".
God wants the believers to be trustworthy and hold their responsibilities and commitments, as well as being faithful to their homeland and the Islamic nation. The biggest form of treason is to the nation or to the homeland by acting to work as a spy and enabling the enemy to occupy land, and every Muslim has to make sure that he is not committing such wrongs before he meets his God when nothing can save him but his good deeds.
* The aforementioned is an edited Friday sermon.