The one who kept his promise to Allah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

Once upon a very, very long time ago (over 14 centuries ago to be very precise), a man made a promise to Allah.

And he fulfilled it.

عَنْ أَنَسٍ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ غَابَ عَمِّي أَنَسُ بْنُ النَّضْرِ عَنْ قِتَالِ بَدْرٍ فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، غِبْتُ عَنْ أَوَّلِ قِتَالٍ قَاتَلْتَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ، لَئِنِ اللَّهُ أَشْهَدَنِي قِتَالَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ لَيَرَيَنَّ اللَّهُ مَا أَصْنَعُ، فَلَمَّا كَانَ يَوْمُ أُحُدٍ وَانْكَشَفَ الْمُسْلِمُونَ قَالَ ‏”‏ اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعْتَذِرُ إِلَيْكَ مِمَّا صَنَعَ هَؤُلاَءِ ـ يَعْنِي أَصْحَابَهُ ـ وَأَبْرَأُ إِلَيْكَ مِمَّا صَنَعَ هَؤُلاَءِ ‏”‏ ـ يَعْنِي الْمُشْرِكِينَ ـ ثُمَّ تَقَدَّمَ، فَاسْتَقْبَلَهُ سَعْدُ بْنُ مُعَاذٍ، فَقَالَ يَا سَعْدُ بْنَ مُعَاذٍ، الْجَنَّةَ، وَرَبِّ النَّضْرِ إِنِّي أَجِدُ رِيحَهَا مِنْ دُونِ أُحُدٍ‏.‏ قَالَ سَعْدٌ فَمَا اسْتَطَعْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ مَا صَنَعَ‏.‏ قَالَ أَنَسٌ فَوَجَدْنَا بِهِ بِضْعًا وَثَمَانِينَ ضَرْبَةً بِالسَّيْفِ أَوْ طَعْنَةً بِرُمْحٍ أَوْ رَمْيَةً بِسَهْمٍ، وَوَجَدْنَاهُ قَدْ قُتِلَ وَقَدْ مَثَّلَ بِهِ الْمُشْرِكُونَ، فَمَا عَرَفَهُ أَحَدٌ إِلاَّ أُخْتُهُ بِبَنَانِهِ‏.‏ قَالَ أَنَسٌ كُنَّا نَرَى أَوْ نَظُنُّ أَنَّ هَذِهِ الآيَةَ نَزَلَتْ فِيهِ وَفِي أَشْبَاهِهِ ‏{‏مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ رِجَالٌ صَدَقُوا مَا عَاهَدُوا اللَّهَ عَلَيْهِ‏}‏ إِلَى آخِرِ الآيَةِ‏.‏ وَقَالَ إِنَّ أُخْتَهُ وَهْىَ تُسَمَّى الرُّبَيِّعَ كَسَرَتْ ثَنِيَّةَ امْرَأَةٍ فَأَمَرَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم بِالْقِصَاصِ، فَقَالَ أَنَسٌ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، وَالَّذِي بَعَثَكَ بِالْحَقِّ لاَ تُكْسَرُ ثَنِيَّتُهَا‏.‏ فَرَضُوا بِالأَرْشِ وَتَرَكُوا الْقِصَاصَ، فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ إِنَّ مِنْ عِبَادِ اللَّهِ مَنْ لَوْ أَقْسَمَ عَلَى اللَّهِ لأَبَرَّهُ ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated Anas (radiallahu anhu): My uncle Anas bin An-Nadr was absent from the Battle of Badr. He said, “O Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)! I was absent from the first battle you fought against the pagans. (By Allah) if Allah gives me a chance to fight the pagans, no doubt, Allah will see how (bravely) I will fight.” On the day of Uhud when the Muslims turned their backs and fled, he said, “O Allah! I apologize to You for what these (i.e. his companions) have done, and I denounce what these (i.e. the pagans) have done.” Then he advanced and Sad ibn Muadh met him. He said “O Sad ibn Muadh ! By the Lord of An-Nadr, Paradise! I am smelling its aroma coming from before (the mountain of) Uhud,” Later on Sad said, “O Allah’s Messenger! I cannot achieve or do what he (i.e. Anas bin An-Nadr) did. We found more than eighty wounds by swords and arrows on his body. We found him dead and his body was mutilated so badly that none except his sister could recognize him by his fingers.” We used to think that the following Verse was revealed concerning him and other men of his sort:

مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ رِجَالٌ صَدَقُوا مَا عَاهَدُوا اللَّـهَ عَلَيْهِ

“Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah……….” [Surah Al-Ahzab (33) : 23]

His sister Ar-Rubbaya broke a front tooth of a woman and Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) ordered for retaliation. On that Anas (bin An-Nadr) said, “O Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam)! By Him Who has sent you with the Truth, my sister’s tooth shall not be broken.” Then the opponents of Anas’s sister accepted the compensation and gave up the claim of retaliation. So Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said, “There are some people amongst Allah’s slaves whose oaths are fulfilled by Allah when they take them.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Hadeeth No. 61]

So, Anas ibn Nadhr (radiallahu anhu) made an oath (not an easy one,  I might add) and he fulfilled it. As mentioned in the above hadeeth, he was one of those whom the following two ayaat (verses) refer to:

مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ رِجَالٌ صَدَقُوا مَا عَاهَدُوا اللَّـهَ عَلَيْهِ ۖ فَمِنْهُم مَّن قَضَىٰ نَحْبَهُ وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَنتَظِرُ ۖ وَمَا بَدَّلُوا تَبْدِيلًا

لِّيَجْزِيَ اللَّـهُ الصَّادِقِينَ بِصِدْقِهِمْ وَيُعَذِّبَ الْمُنَافِقِينَ إِن شَاءَ أَوْ يَتُوبَ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَّحِيمًا

Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah [i.e. they have gone out for Jihad (holy fighting), and showed not their backs to the disbelievers], of them some have fulfilled their obligations (i.e. have been martyred), and some of them are still waiting, but they have never changed [i.e.they never proved treacherous to their covenant which they concluded with Allah] in the least. That Allah may reward the men of truth for their truth (i.e. for their patience at the accomplishment of that which they covenanted with Allah), and punish the hypocrites if He will or accept their repentance by turning to them in Mercy. Verily, Allah is Oft­-Forgiving, Most Merciful. [Surah Al-Ahzab (33) : 23-24]

Apart from Anas ibn Nadhr (radiallahu anhu), Talhah ibn Ubaidillah (radiallahu anhu) also falls under those mentioned in these two verses.

عَنْ مُوسَى بْنِ طَلْحَةَ، قَالَ دَخَلْتُ عَلَى مُعَاوِيَةَ فَقَالَ أَلاَ أُبَشِّرُكَ قُلْتُ بَلَى ‏.‏ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ طَلْحَةُ مِمَّنْ قَضَى نَحْبَهُ ‏”

Narrated Musa bin Talhah: “I entered upon Muawiyah (radiallahu anhu) and he said: ‘Shall I not give you some good news?’ I said: ‘Of course!’ He said: ‘I heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) saying: ‘Talhah is among those who fulfilled their vow.'” [Jaami At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 3202. Graded “hasan” (good) by Shaikh Al-Albani.]

Imam Ibn Kathir (rahimahullah) stated in his explanation of these two verses:

“Mujahid said concerning the Ayah:

﴿فَمِنْهُمْ مَّن قَضَى نَحْبَهُ﴾

(of them some have fulfilled their Nahbah;) “Their covenant,

﴿وَمِنْهُمْ مَّن يَنتَظِرُ﴾

(and some of them are still waiting) they are waiting for battle so that they can do well. ” Al-Hasan said:

﴿فَمِنْهُمْ مَّن قَضَى نَحْبَهُ﴾

(of them some have fulfilled their Nahbah;) “They died true to their covenant and loyal, and some are still waiting to die in a similar manner, and some of them have never changed in the least.” This was also the view of Qatadah and Ibn Zayd. Some of them said that the word Nahbah means a vow.

﴿وَمَا بَدَّلُواْ تَبْدِيلاً﴾

(but they have never changed in the least.) means, they never changed their covenant or were disloyal or committed treachery, but they persisted in what they had promised and did not break their vow, unlike the hypocrites who said:

﴿إِنَّ بُيُوتَنَا عَوْرَةٌ وَمَا هِىَ بِعَوْرَةٍ إِن يُرِيدُونَ إِلاَّ فِرَاراً﴾

(“Truly, our homes lie open.” And they lay not open. They but wished to flee.) (33:13)

﴿وَلَقَدْ كَانُواْ عَـهَدُواْ اللَّهَ مِن قَبْلُ لاَ يُوَلُّونَ الاٌّدْبَـرَ﴾

(And indeed they had already made a covenant with Allah not to turn their backs,) (33:15)

﴿لِّيَجْزِىَ اللَّهُ الصَّـدِقِينَ بِصِدْقِهِمْالْمُنَـفِقِينَ إِن شَآءَ أَوْ يَتُوبَ عَلَيْهِمْ﴾

(That Allah may reward the men of truth for their truth, and punish the hypocrites, if He wills, or accept their repentance by turning to them.) Allah tests His servants with fear and shaking so as to tell the evil from the good, as each will be known by his deeds. Although Allah knows what the outcome will be before anything happens, still He does not punish anyone on the basis of His knowledge until they actually do what He knows they will do. As Allah says:

﴿وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُمْ حَتَّى نَعْلَمَ الْمُجَـهِدِينَ مِنكُمْ وَالصَّـبِرِينَ وَنَبْلُوَ أَخْبَـرَكُمْ ﴾

(And surely, We shall try you till We test those who strive hard and patient, and We shall test your facts.) (47:31). This refers to knowing something after it happens, even though Allah knows it before it comes to pass. Allah says:

﴿مَّا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيَذَرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عَلَى مَآ أَنتُمْ عَلَيْهِ حَتَّى يَمِيزَ الْخَبِيثَ مِنَ الطَّيِّبِ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُطْلِعَكُمْ عَلَى الْغَيْبِ﴾

(Allah will not leave the believers in the state in which you are now, until He distinguishes the wicked from the good. Nor will Allah disclose to you the secrets of the Unseen) (3:179). Allah says here:

﴿لِّيَجْزِىَ اللَّهُ الصَّـدِقِينَ بِصِدْقِهِمْ﴾

(That Allah may reward the men of truth for their truth,) meaning, for their patience in adhering to the covenant they had made with Allah and keeping their promise.

وَيُعَذِّبَ الْمُنَافِقِينَ

(and punish the hypocrites,) who are the ones who broke the covenant and went against the commands of Allah, for which they deserve to be punished, but they are subject to His will in this world. If He wills, He will leave them as they are until they meet Him (in the Hereafter), when He will punish them, or if He wills, He will guide them to give up their hypocrisy and to believe and do righteous deeds after they had been wrongdoers and sinners. Since His mercy and kindness towards His creation prevail over His wrath, He says:

﴿إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُوراً رَّحِيماً﴾

(Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.)”

So, the people who are true to Allah don’t change their covenant and they are not disloyal, whereas those who are not true to Allah break their promises. Unfortunately, they will have to answer for that.

وَلَقَدْ كَانُوا عَاهَدُوا اللَّـهَ مِن قَبْلُ لَا يُوَلُّونَ الْأَدْبَارَ ۚ وَكَانَ عَهْدُ اللَّـهِ مَسْئُولًا

“And indeed they had already made a covenant with Allah not to turn their backs, and a covenant with Allah must be answered for.” [Surah Al-Ahzab (33) : 15]

The hypocrites promised not to turn their backs in battle but they did. And that’s not all they promised.

وَمِنْهُم مَّنْ عَاهَدَ اللَّـهَ لَئِنْ آتَانَا مِن فَضْلِهِ لَنَصَّدَّقَنَّ وَلَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ

فَلَمَّا آتَاهُم مِّن فَضْلِهِ بَخِلُوا بِهِ وَتَوَلَّوا وَّهُم مُّعْرِضُونَ

فَأَعْقَبَهُمْ نِفَاقًا فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ يَلْقَوْنَهُ بِمَا أَخْلَفُوا اللَّـهَ مَا وَعَدُوهُ وَبِمَا كَانُوا يَكْذِبُونَ

أَلَمْ يَعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ يَعْلَمُ سِرَّهُمْ وَنَجْوَاهُمْ وَأَنَّ اللَّـهَ عَلَّامُ الْغُيُوبِ

And of them are some who made a covenant with Allah (saying): “If He bestowed on us of His Bounty, we will verily, give Sadaqah (Zakah and voluntary charity in Allah’s Cause) and will be certainly among those who are righteous.” Then when He gave them of His Bounty, they became niggardly [refused to pay the Sadaqah (Zakah or voluntary charity)], and turned away, averse. So He punished them by putting hypocrisy into their hearts till the Day whereon they shall meet Him, because they broke that (covenant with Allah) which they had promised Him and because they used to tell lies. Know they not that Allah knows their secret ideas, and their Najwa (secret counsels), and that Allah is the All-Knower of the unseen. [Surah At-Tawbah (9) : 75 – 78]

Ibn Kathir states in his explanation of these ayaat (verses):

“Allah says, some hypocrites give Allah their strongest oaths that if He enriches them from His bounty, they will give away alms and be among the righteous. However, they did not fulfill their vows or say the truth with their words. The consequence of this action is that hypocrisy was placed in their hearts until the Day they meet Allah the Exalted, on the Day of Resurrection. We seek refuge with Allah from such an end. Allah said,

﴿بِمَآ أَخْلَفُواْ اللَّهَ مَا وَعَدُوهُ﴾

(…because they broke that (covenant) with Allah which they had promised to Him) He placed hypocrisy in their hearts because they broke their promise and lied. In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that the Messenger of Allah said,

«آيَةُ الْمُنَافِقِ ثَلَاثٌ: إِذَا حَدَّثَ كَذَبَ، وَإِذَا وَعَدَ أَخْلَفَ، وَإِذَا ائْتُمِنَ خَان»

(There are three signs for a hypocrite: if he speaks, he lies; if he promises, he breaks the promise; and if he is entrusted, he betrays the trust.) Allah said,

﴿أَلَمْ يَعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ سِرَّهُمْ وَنَجْوَاهُمْ﴾

(Know they not that Allah knows their secret ideas, and their Najwa,) Allah states that He knows the secret and what is more hidden than the secret. He has full knowledge of what is in their hearts, even when they pretend that they will give away alms, if they acquire wealth, and will be grateful to Allah for it. Truly, Allah knows them better than they know themselves, for He is the All-Knower of all unseen and apparent things, every secret, every session of counsel, and all that is seen and hidden.”

So, these people promised to give charity if they got wealthy, and then broke that promise. Because of this broken promise, hypocrisy was placed in their hearts.

There are more instances when the hypocrites said they would do something but they didn’t.

وَيَقُولُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَوْلَا نُزِّلَتْ سُورَةٌ ۖ فَإِذَا أُنزِلَتْ سُورَةٌ مُّحْكَمَةٌ وَذُكِرَ فِيهَا الْقِتَالُ ۙ رَأَيْتَ الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَيْكَ نَظَرَ الْمَغْشِيِّ عَلَيْهِ مِنَ الْمَوْتِ ۖ فَأَوْلَىٰ لَهُمْ

طَاعَةٌ وَقَوْلٌ مَّعْرُوفٌ ۚ فَإِذَا عَزَمَ الْأَمْرُ فَلَوْ صَدَقُوا اللَّـهَ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُمْ

Those who believe say: “Why is not a Sarah (chapter of the Quran) sent down (for us)? But when a decisive Sarah (explaining and ordering things) is sent down, and fighting (Jihad, ­ holy fighting in Allah’s Cause) is mentioned (i.e. ordained) therein, you will see those in whose hearts is a disease (of hypocrisy) looking at you with a look of one fainting to death. But it was better for them (hypocrites, to listen to Allah and to obey Him). Obedience (to Allah) and good words (were better for them). And when the matter (preparation for Jihad) is resolved on, then if they had been true to Allah, it would have been better for them. [Surah Muhammad (47) : 20-21]

It’s not just the hypocrites that broke their promises. Banu Israil, the nation before us, did it too.

أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الْمَلَإِ مِن بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ مِن بَعْدِ مُوسَىٰ إِذْ قَالُوا لِنَبِيٍّ لَّهُمُ ابْعَثْ لَنَا مَلِكًا نُّقَاتِلْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ ۖ قَالَ هَلْ عَسَيْتُمْ إِن كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِتَالُ أَلَّا تُقَاتِلُوا ۖ قَالُوا وَمَا لَنَا أَلَّا نُقَاتِلَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ وَقَدْ أُخْرِجْنَا مِن دِيَارِنَا وَأَبْنَائِنَا ۖ فَلَمَّا كُتِبَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْقِتَالُ تَوَلَّوْا إِلَّا قَلِيلًا مِّنْهُمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ عَلِيمٌ بِالظَّالِمِينَ

Have you not thought about the group of the Children of Israel after (the time of) Musa? When they said to a Prophet of theirs, “Appoint for us a king and we will fight in Allah’s Way.” He said, “Would you then refrain from fighting, if fighting was prescribed for you?” They said, “Why should we not fight in Allah’s Way while we have been driven out of our homes and our children (families have been taken as captives)?” But when fighting was ordered for them, they turned away, all except a few of them. And Allah is All-Aware of the dhaalimoon (polytheists and wrong-doers). [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 246]

Ibn Kathir states in his explanation of this verse:

“Mujahid said that the Prophet (mentioned in the Ayah 2:246 above) is Shamwil (Samuel). Wahb bin Munabbih said: The Children of Israel remained on the straight path for a period of time after Musa. They then innovated in the religion and some of them even worshipped the idols. Yet, there were always Prophets sent among them who would command them to work righteous deeds, refrain from doing evil and who would rule them according to the commands of the Torah. When they (Israelites) committed the evil that they committed, Allah caused their enemies to overwhelm them, and many fatalities fell among them as a consequence. Their enemies also captured a great number of them, and took over large areas of their land. Earlier, anyone who would fight the Israelites would lose, because they had the Torah and the Tabut, which they inherited generation after generation ever since the time of Musa, who spoke to Allah directly. Yet, the Israelites kept indulging in misguidance until some king took the Tabut from them during a battle. That king also took possession of the Torah, and only a few of the Israelites who memorized it remained. The prophethood halted among their various tribes and only a pregnant woman remained of the offspring of Lavi (Levi), in whom the prophethood still appeared. Her husband had been killed, so the Israelites kept her in a house so that Allah may give her a boy, who would be their Prophet. The woman also kept invoking Allah to grant her a boy. Allah heard her pleas and gave her a boy whom she called `Shamwil’ meaning `Allah has heard my pleas.’ Some people said that the boy’s name was Shamun (Simeon), which also has a similar meaning.

As that boy grew, Allah raised him to be a righteous person. When he reached the age of prophethood, Allah revealed to him and commanded him to call (his people) to Him and to His Tawhid (Oneness). Shamwil called the Children of Israel (to Allah) and they asked him to appoint a king over them so that they could fight their enemies under his command. The kingship had also ended among them. Their Prophet said to them, “What if Allah appoints a king over you, would you fulfill your vow to fight under his command”

﴿قَالُواْ وَمَا لَنَآ أَلاَّ نُقَـتِلَ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَقَدْ أُخْرِجْنَا مِن دِيَـرِنَا وَأَبْنَآئِنَا﴾

(They said, “Why should we not fight in Allah’s way while we have been driven out of our homes and our children”) meaning, `After our land had been confiscated and our children had been taken from us’ Allah said:

﴿فَلَمَّا كُتِبَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْقِتَالُ تَوَلَّوْاْ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً مِّنْهُمْ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِالظَّـلِمِينَ﴾

(But when fighting was ordered for them, they turned away, all except a few of them. And Allah is All-Aware of the wrongdoers) meaning, only a few of them kept their promise, but the majority abandoned Jihad and Allah has full knowledge of them.”

The Jews of Madinah also had the “sticking to one’s word” problem.

وَلَمَّا جَاءَهُمْ كِتَابٌ مِّنْ عِندِ اللَّـهِ مُصَدِّقٌ لِّمَا مَعَهُمْ وَكَانُوا مِن قَبْلُ يَسْتَفْتِحُونَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَلَمَّا جَاءَهُم مَّا عَرَفُوا كَفَرُوا بِهِ ۚ فَلَعْنَةُ اللَّـهِ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ

And when there came to them (the Jews), a Book (this Quran) from Allah confirming what is with them [the Taurah (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)], although aforetime they had invoked Allah (for coming of Muhammad) in order to gain victory over those who disbelieved, then when there came to them that which they had recognised, they disbelieved in it. So let the Curse of Allah be on the disbelievers. [Surah Al-Baqarah (2) : 89]

Ibn Kathir stated in his explanation of this verse:

Allah said,

﴿وَلَمَّا جَآءَهُمُ﴾

(And when there came to them) meaning, the Jews,

﴿كِتَـبٌ مِّنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ﴾

(a Book from Allah) meaning, the Quran that Allah sent down to Muhammad,

﴿مُصَدِّقٌ لِّمَا مَعَهُمْ﴾

(confirming what is with them) meaning, the Tawrah. Further, Allah said,

﴿وَكَانُواْ مِن قَبْلُ يَسْتَفْتِحُونَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ﴾

(although aforetime they had invoked Allah (for coming of Muhammad ) in order to gain victory over those who disbelieved) meaning, before this Messenger came to them, they used to ask Allah to aid them by his arrival, against their polytheistic enemies in war. They used to say to the polytheists, “A Prophet shall be sent just before the end of this world and we, along with him, shall exterminate you, just as the nations of Ad and Iram were exterminated.” Also, Muhammad bin Ishaq narrated that Ibn Abbas said, “The Jews used to invoke Allah (for the coming of Muhammad ) in order to gain victory over the Aws and Khazraj, before the Prophet was sent. When Allah sent him to the Arabs, they rejected him and denied what they used to say about him. Hence, Muadh bin Jabal and Bishr bin Al-Bara bin Marur, from Bani Salamah, said to them, `O Jews! Fear Allah and embrace Islam. You used to invoke Allah for the coming of Muhammad when we were still disbelievers and you used to tell us that he would come and describe him to us,’ Salam bin Mushkim from Bani An-Nadir replied, `He did not bring anything that we recognize. He is not the Prophet we told you about.’ Allah then revealed this Ayah about their statement,

﴿وَلَمَّا جَآءَهُمْ كِتَـبٌ مِّنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ مُصَدِّقٌ لِّمَا مَعَهُمْ﴾

(And when there came to them (the Jews), a Book (this Qur’an) from Allah confirming what is with them (the Tawrah) and the Injil (Gospel)).”’

Abu Al-Aliyah said, “The Jews used to ask Allah to send Muhammad so that they would gain victory over the Arab disbelievers. They used to say, `O Allah! Send the Prophet that we read about – in the Tawrah – so that we can torment and kill the disbelievers alongside him.’ When Allah sent Muhammad and they saw that he was not one of them, they rejected him and envied the Arabs, even though they knew that he was the Messenger of Allah. Hence, Allah said,

﴿فَلَمَّا جَآءَهُم مَّا عَرَفُواْ كَفَرُواْ بِهِ فَلَعْنَةُ اللَّهِ عَلَى الْكَـفِرِينَ﴾

(Then when there came to them that which they had recognized, they disbelieved in it. So let the curse of Allah be on the disbelievers). ”

That was then. What about now, you ask?

Well, now we have something similar as well, don’t we? People make promises to Allah and then break them.

One of the examples mentioned above – about the people who promise to give in charity if they get wealthy – is very common in our time. So many people openly talk about wanting to give more charity after they become rich.

And after they become rich, what happens? Many of them don’t do it because they have “increased expenditures”.

Another example is when people promise that they are going to worship Allah after a certain time like graduation or marriage, because then they are “free” to focus on Him.

What happens after graduation or marriage? Well, many people don’t seem to find the “free” time to worship Allah because they have jobs, are busy with housework or have kids.

Another example is when people promise that they are going to do SO much in Ramadan. They were going to do long taraweehs, spend SO much time with the Quran and not waste time AT ALL. They also make a long list of other “Ramadan Resolutions”.

And when Ramadan comes, what happens? Well, they manage to abide by their long list for the first 3 days and then…..well, we ALL know how this story ends!!!!

Another example is when people promise that they are going to learn Arabic. This promise is usually made when people realise that they need to understand what is being said in the night prayers during Ramadan.

And then what happens? Well, the next Ramadan comes and then the one after that and then the one after that, and many of them still haven’t learnt Arabic.

Does this all sound familiar? Of course, it does. That’s most of us right there, isn’t it? Aren’t those similar to the promises we’ve made in the past?

A question for you: Did you honour those promises? I cannot answer that question for you, I can only answer it for myself.

Now, someone might say “Those promises weren’t made to Allah”. Well, they might have not been made to Him in statement but they were definitely made to Him in intent, correct?

Someone else might point out that they had the intention to do so but things didn’t work out. Well, the following ayah (verse) is sufficient as a response:

وَلَوْ أَرَادُوا الْخُرُوجَ لَأَعَدُّوا لَهُ عُدَّةً وَلَـٰكِن كَرِهَ اللَّـهُ انبِعَاثَهُمْ فَثَبَّطَهُمْ وَقِيلَ اقْعُدُوا مَعَ الْقَاعِدِينَ

And if they had intended to march out, certainly, they would have made some preparation for it, but Allah was averse to their being sent forth, so He made them lag behind, and it was said (to them), “Sit you among those who sit (at home).” [Surah At-Tawbah (9) : 46]

[ I wrote a post on this verse a long time ago on my Greatest Month blog for those who are interested.]

So, how can we stick to our promises to Allah?

Well, the first thing that I would suggest is not to make such promises to begin with! It’s better to have a sincere intention and start step by step rather than announcing one’s plans to everyone. Otherwise, you might get tested with it, the way the earlier nations were.

Another issue is that people make very huge promises as can be seen in their Ramadan Resolutions. Why have such a long list of goals? If you have difficulty achieving these goals, then just focus on 1-3 of them. Also, keep it simple.

For example, if a person is struggling to practice, it doesn’t make sense for them to intend to pray all the voluntary prayers (in addition to the obligatory ones) and also finish the Quran in Ramadan.

Yes, it’s a nice thought but these things take time and they need to be done step by step. So the first Ramadan, he/she would focus on the fard (obligatory) prayers and perhaps a few voluntary ones, if possible. As for the Quran, then he/she could start by making sure they recite at least one verse a day with a maximum of maybe one page.

Now, this might seem shocking to some because it would seem like a “waste of Ramadan”.

No, it’s not. What is a waste of Ramadan is when people push themselves above their limits at the beginning of Ramadan only to run out of steam in a few days.

Besides, everyone should remember that different people have different abilities. Some people can recite a juz in about 15-20 minutes, but most people cannot do that because they can’t recite that fast and they can’t understand what they’re reciting.

It takes many years to get to that stage (of reciting a juz that fast). It doesn’t happen overnight.

So my advice to everyone would be to not burden yourself with all these resolutions and promises. First, focus on quality, not quantity. After you are consistent with what you have planned to do, you can increase the quantity.

By focusing on a few things and taking things step by step, you CAN keep your promises to Allah and you can continue doing these things beyond Ramadan (which is the whole point really).

Now, it’s not going to be a walk in the park. However, the one who truly strives for the sake of Allah, then Allah will aid him.

وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا ۚ وَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

As for those who strive hard in Us (Our Cause), We will surely guide them to Our Paths (i.e. Allah’s Religion – Islamic Monotheism). And verily, Allah is with the Muhsinan (good doers).” [Surah Al-Ankabut (29) : 69]

So, do lots of dua (supplication) to Allah to help you, then strive in His Cause whilst putting your trust in Him.

And remember that it’s all about Paradise at the end of the day. That’s what we really need to strive for.

مَّن كَانَ يُرِيدُ الْعَاجِلَةَ عَجَّلْنَا لَهُ فِيهَا مَا نَشَاءُ لِمَن نُّرِيدُ ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَا لَهُ جَهَنَّمَ يَصْلَاهَا مَذْمُومًا مَّدْحُورًا

وَمَنْ أَرَادَ الْآخِرَةَ وَسَعَىٰ لَهَا سَعْيَهَا وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ كَانَ سَعْيُهُم مَّشْكُورًا

كُلًّا نُّمِدُّ هَـٰؤُلَاءِ وَهَـٰؤُلَاءِ مِنْ عَطَاءِ رَبِّكَ ۚ وَمَا كَانَ عَطَاءُ رَبِّكَ مَحْظُورًا

انظُرْ كَيْفَ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۚ وَلَلْآخِرَةُ أَكْبَرُ دَرَجَاتٍ وَأَكْبَرُ تَفْضِيلًا

Whoever wishes for the quick-passing (transitory enjoyment of this world), We readily grant him what We will for whom We like. Then, afterwards, We have appointed for him Hell, he will burn therein disgraced and rejected, (far away from Allah’s Mercy). And whoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it, with the necessary effort due for it (i.e. do righteous deeds of Allah’s Obedience) while he is a believer (in the Oneness of Allah, Islamic Monotheism), then such are the ones whose striving shall be appreciated, thanked and rewarded (by Allah). To each these as well as those We bestow from the Bounties of your Lord. And the Bounties of your Lord can never be forbidden. See how We prefer one above another (in this world) and verily, the Hereafter will be greater in degrees and greater in preference. [Surah Al-Israa (17) : 21]

So, let’s all strive to be like Anas ibn Nadhr (radiallahu anhu) this Ramadan and beyond, because he kept his promise to Allah, and so should we.

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2 thoughts on “The one who kept his promise to Allah”

  1. Jazakillahu khairaa ..
    Reminded me of my struggle
    I remember when in my early days when i was learning to read quran with tajweed i used to really struggle and wanted to be able to read smoothly during Ramadan .Thats when i realised that the last part of the Quran was most easy to read as i had memorized it, also i had done word to word meaning along with basic arabic and tafseer Then it came to my mind whilst i was memorzing other parts why not do word to word of whole the following ramadan Alhamdulillah i did just that. ..still i was striving for smoothness and ease in the years passed by the Ajzaa i had memorized became easy to read..along with that Alhamdulillah i advanced in my arabic journey too..Alhamdulillah still have ajzaa to memorize..Rahma of Allah He سبحانه و تعالى granted me ease in reading…May Allah make it firm in my heart..aameen

    1. Assalamu Alaikum.

      Wa Iyyaki.

      Jazakillahu kheira for sharing your story. I hope that it can be a lesson for many others in the same position.

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