The 47th Call: The Prohibition of Betraying Allah and the Messenger
Almighty Allah says (what can be translated as): “O you who have believed, do not betray Allah and the Messenger or betray your trusts while you know [the consequence]. And know that your properties and your children are but a trial and that Allah has with Him a great reward.” (Al-Anfal: 27-28)
This verse was revealed concerning Abi Lubabah when he was sent by the Messenger (Peace Be upon Him) to Banu Quraydha concerning the ruling of the Messenger of Allah. The Jews consulted Abi Lubabah as he was their ally. He advised them to accept the ruling of the Messenger of Allah but he pointed with his hand to his throat indicating that it will be slain. Then, he felt that he betrayed Allah and His Messenger so he tied himself to a pole in the mosque for nine days without eating until Allah forgave him so the Messenger of Allah (Peace Be upon Him) set him free. (It was also said that the verses were sent regarding Hattib ibn Abi Balta’ah who sent a letter to Quraish with a women to inform them that the Messenger (Peace Be upon Him) is preparing a campaign to conquer Makkah). The verse is general.
Almighty Allah commands the believers in this verse not to betray Allah by committing sins and not to betray His Messenger by abandoning his traditions and teachings or disobeying him. They are also commanded not to betray the trusts they are authorized by Allah to keep, i.e. the religious obligations. They include sincerity while dealing with people such as using the measures, scales, giving testimony in justice and honesty and keeping secrets. Trusts are always the same and they cannot be compromised. Believers know the disadvantages of betrayal and its bad consequences.
Almighty Allah gave you wealth and children to test your faith and to see whether you would thank your Lord for them and obey Him or become busy with them and forsake Allah. The reward of Allah, His blessings and gardens are better than wealth and children. Some of the children might become your own enemies and they do not protect their parents on the Day of Judgment. Allah has the ultimate reward which avails humans in comparison to wealth and children.
To abandon the duties Allah has assigned to the Muslim community is a betrayal of Allah and His Messenger (Peace Be upon Him). The basic issue in the Islamic faith is that of attributing worship purely and solely to Allah alone, following only what has been conveyed to us by His Messenger, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be upon Him). Throughout human history, people did not deny Allah altogether, but they mostly associated partners with Him. On a few occasions, this took the form of beliefs and worship, but the form of attributing sovereignty and authority to others beside Him was much more common. Therefore, the basic issue is not to make people believe in Allah, but to make such a belief pure of all distortion. The declaration that “there is no deity other than Allah” means that He is the sovereign over their life on earth, as they acknowledge His sovereignty in the universe. This is embodied in the Qur’anic statement: “And it is Allah who is [the only] deity in the heaven, and on the earth [the only] deity. And He is the Wise, the Knowing.” (Az-Zukhruf: 43) This basic issue also entails that Allah’s Messenger is the only source to convey what Allah wants of human beings, and this means that they must follow all his orders and directives.
This is the case of this religion – it is a belief to be affirmed in the conscience and a movement to be affirmed in life – this is why abandoning it is a betrayal of Allah and the Messenger (Peace Be upon Him). Almighty Allah warns the Muslim community which believes and declares faith hence this community is obliged to strive to accomplish its true identity and fulfill the obligations of this jihad with regard to souls, wealth and children.
Believers are also warned against betraying the trust they have accepted when they pledged their loyalty to Allah’s Messenger and declared their acceptance of Islam. Islam means submission to Allah. This is not merely a verbal statement, but a complete code of living that must be implemented, even though such implementation faces numerous obstacles and difficulties. It is a code that aims to build human life on the basis of the declaration that there is no deity other than Allah. This means that people should submit only to their true Lord, and the whole community should accept His sovereignty and implement His law. The usurpers who tyrannize people and claim sovereignty for themselves must be taken to task. Right and justice must be maintained for all people. Human life must be built entirely on the basis of the divine constitution.
All these are aspects of the trust Allah has placed in the Muslim community. Those who do not fulfill their trust actually betray their pledges to Allah and His Messenger.
They all need to exert sacrifice, patience and endurance to overcome the trial of wealth and children and looking forward to the great reward of Allah which He saves for his sincere servants who fulfill their duties and keep the trusts they are assigned to. They are the patient, selfless and modest people “And know that your properties and your children are but a trial and that Allah has with Him a great reward.” (Verse 28)
This Quran addresses the human entity with what her Creator knows of her hidden structure, nature and paths.
He knows the weak side of the human entity and He knows that the care for wealth and children is the weakest side in her. Thus, Allah clarifies for the human soul the truth of the blessing of wealth and children. Almighty Allah gave these blessings to people to test them and see what they would do with them. They are part of the pleasures of the worldly life which is a place of tests and tribulations so that Allah sees the deeds of His servants and their behaviors. Are they going to thank Him and fulfill the obligation of keeping the blessings and thanking Him for them? Or they become preoccupied with these blessings and forget to fulfill the obligations set by Allah? “Every soul will taste death. And We test you with evil and with good as trial; and to Us you will be returned.” (Al-‘Anbaya: 35) Trials do not have to be in the form of hardships and deprivation; they can also be abundance and great bestowal. Having wealth and children is a sort of bestowal.
This is the first warning: “And know that your properties and your children are but a trial and that Allah has with Him a great reward.” (Verse 28). If the heart pays attention to trials and tribulations, this will help him become cautious, attentive and careful against becoming indulged and forgetful of the trials and tests as forgetfulness and negligence lead to failure.
Then, Allah does not leave the heart without help and reward lest he becomes weak in terms of performance – after gaining heedfulness – because of the heavy sacrifice and huge obligation especially when it comes to the weakness towards wealth and children. Allah clarifies to him what is more beneficial for him and more rewarding to seek help over the tribulation and become stronger “and that Allah has with Him a great reward.” (Verse 28)
Glorified is He for He is the One that gives wealth and children. For those who overcome and pass the trial of wealth and children there is a great reward. So, no one should abandon the obligation of keeping trusts and the sacrifices of jihad. This is the help and support for the weak human as His Creator knows his weak side: “And Allah wants to lighten for you [your difficulties]; and mankind was created weak.” (An-Nisa’: 28)
It is, then, a fully integrated code that comprises concepts of beliefs, directives and education, as well as duties and responsibilities. It is a code that has been devised by Allah who knows what suits man, because it is He who has created man: “Does He who created not know, while He is the Subtle, the Acquainted?” (Al-Mulk: 14)