The 28th Call: The Obligation of Fulfilling Contracts
Almighty Allah says (what can be translated as): "O you who have believed, fulfill [all] contracts. Lawful for you are the animals of grazing livestock except for that which is recited to you [in this Qur'an] - hunting not being permitted while you are in the state of ihram. Indeed, Allah ordains what He intends." (Al-Ma'idah: 1)
O you who have believed, fulfill all the contracts between you and Allah and the permissible contracts between you and people. (Ibn Abbas said: The contracts in this verse are the covenants which Allah obligates his servants to fulfill, i.e. to commit to what He permits and what he prohibits and to commit to the commands and prohibitions in the Qur'an as a whole without excuses or violations).
Almighty Allah commands believers in this verse to fulfill their contracts and commitments whether these contracts are in word or deed as He has ordained. They have to commit to them unless these contracts deny the permissible or permit the forbidden such as Riba (usury) contracts or unjustly eating the money of people (such as bribes or gambling).
Then, Almighty Allah details the rulings that He has ordained. Allah says that He has made lawful for the people to eat the animals of grazing livestock (such as cattle, camels, goats, sheep, deer, antelopes etc). They are lawful for eating except what is recited on you (in the Qur'an) as unlawful in some cases as Almighty Allah says: "Prohibited to you are dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine…" (Al-Ma'idah: 3) It is not permitted for them to hunt land animals while they are in the state of ihram to do Hajj or Umrah.
Almighty Allah, Exalted and Sublime Be He, decrees upon His servants what is permissible and what is prohibited according to interests and rulings that only Allah knows.
Contracts are every pledge that a human gives according to which he is committed to Allah and to people.
There have to be measures for life; the life of the person with himself, his life with the people, the living and things in general, his life with people whether close relatives or strangers. There have to be measures for the life of the person with family, tribe, group, nation, friends, enemies and the living creatures which Allah subjected to humans and those which He did not. There have to be measures for the life of the person with the things surrounding him in this vast universe and measures for his life with his Lord and Protector and his relationship with his Lord which is the basis of every life.
Islam evaluates these measures in the life of people; Islam evaluates and defines them with accuracy and clarity. Islam connects them all to Allah Almighty and ensures to provide to these measures the necessary respect so that they do not get violated or mocked. Inclinations and fluctuating desires should not control these measures, neither the temporary interests of an individual, group, nation or even a whole generation of people as they may destroy the measures for the sake of their interests. These measures set and defined by Allah are "the interests", since Allah is The One that set them for people. They are the interests even if an individual, group, nation or a whole nation of people think that their interests lies in something else than these measures. Allah knows but people do not know! What Allah decrees for people is better than what they decide for themselves! The least level of manners with Allah Almighty is that the person compares his estimation of the interest with the estimation of Allah. As for the essence of good manners, it is not to have an evaluation of something that Allah has already determined. There should be no other estimation with the estimation of Allah except obedience, acceptance and submission with contentment, trust and peacefulness…
Allah calls these measures "Contracts"… He commands those who have believed to fulfill these contracts. He opens the Surat with the command to fulfill the contracts then after this opening He (SWT) details the permissible and the forbidden of the slaughtered animals, food, drinks and the women permissible to be married to. The Surat continues to clarify the rulings of Sharia and worship, the nature of true belief, worship and divinity. It also clarifies the relations between the Muslim nation and the different nations, sects and beliefs. It gives an account of the obligations of the Muslim nation towards Allah, testimony with justice and guardianship on humanity with the Book (Qur'an) which dominates all the preceding books. The Surat further clarifies that believers have to judge according to the book of Allah, avoid the disobedience of some of the rulings that Allah sent and not to judge under the influence of personal feelings, affinity or authority.
This contract was prescribed by Allah Almighty on Adam (Peace Be upon Him) when He was handing him the obligations of succession on earth. Almighty Allah has given Adam this status of succession according to a contract mentioned in the Qur'an: "We said, "Go down from it, all of you. And when guidance comes to you from Me, whoever follows My guidance - there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. And those who disbelieve and deny Our signs - those will be companions of the Fire; they will abide therein eternally." (Al-Baqarah: 38-39) So, this succession is conditional to committing to the guidance sent by Allah in His books that He revealed to His Messengers. If they do not commit then it would be a violation of the contract of succession and ownership, the violation that makes every action that is inconsistent with what Allah revealed totally invalid and irreparable. This contract obligates each believer in Allah that wants to fulfill his contract with Allah to refuse this violation, deny it and not to deal based on it; otherwise he will not be fulfilling the contract with Allah.
This contract – or pledge – was repeated with the offspring of Adam when they were in their parents' loins as it is mentioned in the Qur'an: "And [mention] when your Lord took from the children of Adam - from their loins - their descendants and made them testify of themselves, [saying to them], "Am I not your Lord?" They said, "Yes, we have testified." [This] - lest you should say on the day of Resurrection, "Indeed, we were of this unaware. Or [lest] you say, "It was only that our fathers associated [others in worship] with Allah before, and we were but descendants after them. Then would You destroy us for what the falsifiers have done?" (Al-'Araf: 172-173). This is another contract given by each individual, a contract that Allah Almighty took from the sons of Adam while they were in the lions of their fathers. We should not ask how because Allah knows best about His creations. He knows how He addresses them in each stage of their lives. When Allah Almighty mentions this context and says that He (SWT) took a testimony from them of His Divinity and Oneness, it must have happened then as Almighty Allah says. If they do not keep this pledge with their Lord, then they are not faithful to Him.
Almighty Allah took a pledge from the sons of Israel – as mentioned later in the Surat – on the day when He raised the mountain above them as if it was a dark cloud and they were certain that it would fall upon them. We will know – through the context – how they did not fulfill the pledge and the punishment they received from Allah like anyone that breaks the pledge with Him (SWT).
Those who believe in Muhammad – Peace Be upon Him – are in a pledge with Allah through their pledge of allegiance to the Prophet. They are committed to a general pledge to listen and obey (the orders) both at the time when they are active and at the time when they are tired, and at their difficult time and at their ease and to be obedient to the ruler and give him his right.
Some of them had special pledges based on this general pledge like the Second Pledge of al-Aqabah. The Hijrah (immigration) of the Messenger Muhammad – Peace Be upon Him – from Makkah to Medina is based on this pledge which was conducted with the representatives of al-Ansar. In al-Hudaibiya, there was another pledge which is called "Bay'at Al-Radwan".
All other contracts are based on the general contract of the belief and worship of Allah, whether those contracts are related to every command or prohibition included in the Sharia of Allah. They are also related to all the transactions among the people, living creatures and the things in this universe which fall under the limits of the Sharia of Allah. When Allah calls those who have believed to fulfill all those contracts, then it is an obligation on them to fulfill.