Sadaqat (Loyalty and devotion)

One of the most significant traits of the prophets is ‘sidq/sadaqat’ which means being honest in word and in essence and being sincere and devoted.

The prophets were in a constant state of propagating loyalty through their states and their words and under divine direction. In descriibng the characters of some of the prophets, the Holy Qur’an states that ‘He was a true man and a Prophet’ (Maryam, 19:41,56).

The Holy Qur’an also states:

So that Allah might recompense the truthful ones for their sincerity’ (Al-Ahzab 33:24)

In order to acquire such a characteristic one must make efforts to that end. The most important of these is mentioned in the Qur’an:

‘You who have faith! Have taqwa of Allah and be with the truly sincere’(Al-Tawba, 9:119)

That is, being together with the sincere will allow one to acquire the state of loyalty and be a means of taking on their character. Shaykh Sadi-i Shirazi expresses the virtues of being together with the true ones and the opposite, that is, the end affair of parting from them as follows:

‘Qitmir, the dog of the Companions of the Cave acquired a truly noble state as a result of being with the sincere ones and as a result his name was mentioned in the Qur’an[1]. On the other hand, the wives of Nûh and Lot (a.s) will be subject to Hellfire because they chose to be together with the sinners[2]’.

On the Day of Judgement, when people will be in the most need and when no one will be able to benefit another, loyalty will be a very valuable asset. Those who assumed that trait in this world will have their true recompense there, and at the time of their greatest need, they will attain to peace with the help of this loyalty. Allah Most High describes that day as follows:
This is the Day when the sincerity of the sincere will benefit them’ (al-Maida, 5:119)

In another verse Allah says about that day: ‘Allah has prepared forgiveness for them (men and women who are truthful) and an immense reward.’ (Al-Ahzab, 33:35)

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) expresses the importance of truthfulness as follows:

Sidq (truthfulness) leads one to goodness and goodness leads one to Paradise. If a person continues to tell the truth he will become one of the siddiqun (the truthful ones). Deceit leads one to sin and sin leads one to Hellfire. If a person continues to lie, Allah writes him down in the register of ‘liars’. (Bukhari, Adab, 69; Muslim, Birr, 103-5)

***

Scenes of Virtue

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the peak of truthfulness. Even his staunchest enemies, like Abu Jahl, Ahnes ibn Sharik, Nadr ibn Haris and Abu Sufyan (who later became Muslim) had to admit this about him[3]. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) never once spoke an untrue word, and even managed to speak truthfully and honestly whilst joking.

***

Before Abu Sufyan became Muslim, he was one of the leading enemies against Islam. One time, when he had gone for trade someplace he had a long conversation with the Byzantine King Heraclius. Abu Sufyan (r.a) has narrated that conversation as follows:

“Heraclius said to me:

“Had you ever accused him of being a liar before his claim to be a prophet?”.

I replied: “No”.

“Was it ever the case that he did not keep his word?” he asked.

I replied:

“No. He would definitely keep his word but now we are in the process of a treaty with him. We do not know what he will do in this period of time”. I could find no other words other than this to defile him.

Heraclius asked me once more:

“What does he command of you?”

“Only that we be a servant of Allah, that we perform the prayer, pay alms, give to charity, live with honour and keep the ties with our relatives”. Then Heraclius said:

“If what you say is true, then before long, that man will rule over the land that I am now standing on” (Bukhari, Badu al-Wahy, 6; Muslim, Jihad 74).

***

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has said:

“Promise me these six things and I will guarantee you Paradise:

1. When you speak, speak the truth!

2. When you make a promise, keep it

3. Be trustworthy when you have been entrusted with something.

4. Protect your honour

5. Preserve your eyes from looking at the forbidden.

6. Keep your hands away from forbidden things” (Ahmad, V, 323)

***

Abdullah ibn Amir(r.a) narrates:

“One day my mother called me while the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was sitting in our house. My mother said to me:

“Come let me give you something”. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) replied:

“What are you thinking of giving him?”

My mother replied:

“I wanted to give him a date.” The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) then said:

“Know that if you had not given him anything, then the sin of lying would have been written down for you”.(Abu Dawud, Adab, 80/4991; Ahmad, III, 447)

***

One day the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) approached a seller in the marketplace. He placed his hand into the pile of wheat and noticed that it was wet. He asked the seller:

“What is this?”. The man replied:

“O Messenger of Allah! It got wet from the rain”. The Prophet then said:

“Could you not have put the wet parts on the top so that people could have seen them. The one who deceives is not one of us”. (Muslim, Iman, 164).

Consequently Muslims must never, under any circumstances, and in all states and acts, depart from the direction of honesty and deceive anybody.

***

The Blessed Companions and those righteous believers who followed in their path would, if need be, travel for a month under the difficulties of that time in order to gather a hadith from a narrator of hadith. Having been trained by the Prophet (pbuh), they had reached such a state of virtue that when they saw a person trying to trick his animal into coming towards him by showing him an empty bag of food, they lost trust in that person and did not consider them to be of reputable character. That is, they did not consider such a person who can trick and deceive even an animal, as worthy of transmitting hadith because they did not live as required by those same traditions of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh).

***

Imam Malik (may Allah have mercy on him) narrates:

“As he told me, one day Luqman Hekim was asked:

“What is the essence of the virtues and merits that we see in you?”

He replied:

“Honesty, carrying out a trust, abandoning that which does not concern me, and being true to my word” (Muwatta, Kalam, 17).

***

When the Prophet (pbuh) was about to inform the polytheists of the events that took place on the Night Journey and the Night of the Ascension, he said to Gabriel (a.s):

“O Gabriel! My people will not believe in me”.

Gabriel (upon whom be peace) replied:

“Abu Bakr will confirm what you say. He is as-Siddiq”. (Ibn Sa’d, I, 215).

As a result when the polytheists heard about the events of the Ascension, they went straight to Abu Bakr  and said:

“Your friend says that in one night he went to the Mosque of Aqsa and then from there he rose to the heavens and returned to Mecca before the morning. What do you have to say about that?”.

In a show of true loyalty of faith to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), Abu Bakr  replied with great enthusiasm:

“If that is what he says, then it is true. Because there is no way and no possibility that he would lie. I believe from the start everything that he says and brings…”

The polytheists asked him once more:

“Do you believe what he says… that he went to Baytu’l Maqdis in one night?”

“Yes. What is there to be amazed about? By Allah he tells me that whatever time of the day it is, news comes to him from Allah and I believe him”.

Later Abu Bakr  went to the Ka’bah where the Prophet (pbuh) was sitting. He listened to the events told from the mouth of the Prophet himself and then said:

“You have spoken the truth o Messenger of Allah”.

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) smiled with a smile that lit up the world as a sign that he was very pleased with this sign of confirmation by Abu Bakr  and said to him:

“O Abu Bakr! You are the Sıddîq (truthful one)”(Ibn Hisham, II, 5).

From that day on, Abu Bakr  became famous for his nickname of as Siddiq.

This is the loyalty to be found in faith… All that needs to be done is to find the truth and do not depart from it.

***

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) once bought a horse from a Bedouin. The Prophet requested that the Bedouin bring the horse to his home and there he would pay him. He went on ahead of him rather quickly; but because the Bedouin moved slowly he lagged behind. During that time some people came to the Bedouin and began to bargain with him over the horse and offered him a greater price. They did not know that the Prophet had already bought the horse. The Bedouin called out to the Prophet:

“If you are going to take this horse, take it otherwise I am going to sell it”. When Allah’s Messenger heard his voice he turned around and said:

“I already bought it from you”. But the Bedouin began to deny it:

“By Allah I did not sell it to you”.

The Prophet said:

On the contrary, I bought it from you”.

This time the Bedouin said:

“Call a witness”. Huzayma ibn Thabit  immediately came forth:

“I am witness that you bought it from him” he said

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) bent towards Huzayma  and asked him:

“You were not with us when we made the deal, so how can you be witness?”. Huzayma  then said:

“I can be a witness because I believe in you, O Messenger of Allah”.

As a result of this depth of loyalty, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) considered the witnessing of Huzayma  to be as strong as that of two witnesses. (Abu Dawud, Akdiye, 20/3607; Nasai, Buyu, 91; Ahmad, V, 215-6).

According to this narration the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) later asked Huzayma :

“You were not with us during the transaction. What made you bear witness?”

“I believe in the message that you have brought and so I know that you do not say anything other than the truth”.

Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) then said:

“If Huzayma  bears witness against or for someone this will be sufficient for his witnessing is like that of two witnesses.”

This is just one example of the peak of loyalty to Allah and His Messenger…

***

Ka’b ibn Malik (r.a) had accompanied the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) on all of his expeditions. However, he was late to join the expedition to Tabuk. The army left and Ka’b  was left in Madina. When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) returned from his expedition all of those who did not participate put up their excuses but Ka’b  and a few other of the Companions told the truth and asked for forgiveness from Allah. The verse that informed them of their being forgiven was revealed exactly 50 days later. Before this time they suffered great distress. Despite its expanse, the world became very narrow and constricted for them. But because they repented in all sincerity they became subject to divine forgiveness. Ka’b ibn Malik  who embraced the truth and admitted his fault explains the benefit he received from his truthfulness as follows:

“I swear by Allah that the greatest favour that Allah bestowed upon me after becoming Muslim was telling the truth before the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and being saved from being destroyed along with the liars. Because Allah Most High informed us about the end-affair of those who did not participate in the expedition to Tabuk and who lied about their reason in the following verse:

They will swear to you by Allah when you return to them so that you may turn aside from them; so do turn aside from them; surely they are unclean and their abode is hell; a recompense for what they earned. They will swear to you that you may be pleased with them; but if you are pleased with them, yet surely Allah is not pleased with the transgressing people. (Al-Tawba, 9:95-96) (Bukhari, Magazi, 79).

After the Battle of Uhud, some of the ladies of Madina went to the outskirts of the city in the hope of receiving some news. Aisha  was one of these women. She came across a righteous woman called Hind ibnt Amr  in the region of Harra. Hind had loaded the corpses of her husband Amr ibn Jamuh, her son Hallad and her brother Abdullah who had been martyred in the battle and was leading them back to Madina. Aisha  asked her:

“What news is back there?”

Hind ibnt Amr (r.a) replied:

“All is well. The Messenger of Allah is alive. As long as he is alive all other misfortunes amount to nothing”. Pointing to the bodies on the camel, Aisha  asked:

“Who are they?” The righteous woman replied:

“My brother Abdullah, my son Hallad and my husband Amr”.

Aisha (r.ha) asked her:

“Where are you taking them?”. Hind replied:

“I am taking them to Madina to bury them”.

When Hind tried to force the camel to move, it collapsed. Aisha  said to her:

“Is it because of the heavy load upon it?” Hind replied:

“I do not know why it collapsed now. At other times it can carry twice this load. But now I sense something different about this camel”.

When it was forced a bit more the camel rose. But when it was turned to Madina, it collapsed again. However, when it was turned to face Uhud, it began to run. Hind ran back to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and informed him of the situation. The Prophet said to her:

“The camel has a task to carry out. Had Amr left a will?”

Hind replied:

“When Amr (r.a) was about to set off for Uhud he turned to the direction of Mecca, and prayed: “O Allah. Bestow martyrdom upon me. And do not return me to my family in a deprived and hopeless state”.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) then said, as an expression of the exaltedness of truthfulness to one’s word:

“This is why the camel will not move. O people of Ansar. Whoever of you makes a promise to Allah, let him be true to it. O Hind, your husband Amr is of the truthful ones. From the moment he was martyred the angels shaded him with their wings and looked around to see where to bury him. O Hind! Amr ibn Jamuh, your son Hallad and your brother Abdullah will be together in Paradise”.

At this good news Hind (r.a) said:

“O Messenger of Allah. Please pray to Allah that I will be amongst them”. (Wakidi, I, 265-66; Ibn Hajar, Fathu’l Bari, III, 216; Ibn Abdilber, Al-Istiab, III, 1168).

***

Before the treaty of Hudaybiya the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) had sent Uthman (r.a) to Mecca to meet with the Quraysh. Uthman (r.a) immediately set off for Mecca as commanded. He explained to the polytheists that their intention was to make the Lesser Pilgrimage and turn back immediately. Despite this, the polytheists refused them permission to do so. Moreover they kept Uthman under supervision and said to him:

“If you wish to do so, you can make tawaf of (circumambulate) the Ka’bah”….

The Muslims were longing to make tawaf and they yearned for the Ka’bah. In fact there were many who envied Uthman  thinking that he was going to make tawaf. Others of them were doubtful. Maybe Uthman would display great loyalty and selflessness and refuse to make tawaf unless all of the Muslims were allowed to do so.

The situation turned out to be as the latter group thought. As confirmation of his loyalty, this faithful Companion who had dedicated himself to Allah and His Messenger said to the polytheists:
“As long as the Blessed Prophet does not make tawaf, I will not either. I will only visit the House of Allah with him in front of me. I will not be in a place where the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) is not accepted”… (Ahmad, IV, 324).

***

Despite being known for his tendency to become enraged, Yavuz Sultan Selim Han also had a very sensitive and delicate soul. However the belief in the importance of the unity and continuity of the empire compelled the Ottoman Sultans to make some very difficult decisions. One example of this is that Yavuz Sultan Selim was compelled to eliminate his brother Korkut. He subsequently appeared at his funeral and carried the coffin himself and said while weeping:

“O my brother! If only you had not done what you did, I would not have had to do what I did”.

He praised Piyale, the loyal servant of Korkut as follows:

“I forgive you because of your loyalty which is a great virtue. And as a reward for your loyalty I am appointing you to whichever position you so wish. You may be my vizier if you wish”.

Piyale thanked him and as further confirmation of his loyalty he responded:

“My Sultan! From now on my duty is to be the guardian of my master Korkut’s tomb…”

***

In short, the believer must be true to his words, his essence and his intentions and be written amongst the ‘loyal ones’. Thus he will see the benefits of his loyalty both in this world and the next. How beautifully Ziya Pasha has expressed it:

It is loyalty that befits man, even though he may meet with aversion.

For Allah is the helper of all things true’

[1].     See al Kahf chapter 18. In addition, the commentator Bursevi says that dog of the Compaions of the Cave will be one of the limited number of animals that will go to Paradise, due to his being together with the true ones.

[2].     See al Tahrim, 66:10

[3].     Bukhari, Badu al-Wahy 6; Muslim, Jihad, 74; Taberi, Tafsir VII, 240; Ibn Kathir, Al Bidaya III, 113)