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Honesty and Deception

By: His Eminence, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)

Edited by: Manal Samhat

Do not betray God in His oneness, do not betray in His worship and do not betray God in His loyalty by being loyal to the wrongdoers. Allah, the Most Exalted, says: “O believers, do not betray Allah and the apostle, nor knowingly betray your trust. Know that your children and your worldly goods are but a temptation, and that Allah’s reward is great. Believers, if you fear Allah, He will give you discrimination and cleans you of your sins and forgive you. The bounty of Allah is great” (8:27-29).

These verses deal with the responsibility of life, which one ought to comply with. They cast the light on man’s commitment towards his Creator, his commitment towards the messengers and his commitment towards the people around him. These commitments are man’s covenant; a covenant that man should honestly uphold before God, the Most Exalted. Although man was born free, his freedom ought to be channeled since he has many responsibilities as a social being. Our existence in this universe is built on the responsibility we are carrying. Through His creation, Allah aims at making us build a life as He envisages it. Accordingly, He sent His messengers in order that they would instruct and guide us. Furthermore, Allah, the Most Exalted, does not bind us; He allows us to think, to create, and to be open to the Islamic legislations and conceptions, which are sent via His holy messengers. Every now and then, Allah, the Most Exalted, reminds us of our commitments towards Him.

The following verse, which is addressed to the children of Israel, shows the importance of responsibility which every person, not only the children of Israel, should uphold: “Keep your covenant; and I will be true to My covenant with you...” (2:40). The mention of “covenant” has a particular signification. There is a covenant between Allah, the Most Exalted, the Creator, and man, the created. This covenant states that Allah would give man whatever he needs in this life to be rewarded according to his deeds: “Those who say: “Our Lord is Allah” and take the right path to Him” (4:30).

Dear loved ones, have a look at this verse: “Keep your covenant, and I will be true to My covenant with you”. A thoughtful reading to it does not only show that Allah elevates man to a high rank of humanity, but most importantly it also shows that Allah, the Most Exalted, considers man a mindful being with free will and free choice in spite of the absolute truth that Allah gives man his existence and that He has the power to terminate this existence. Allah, the Most Exalted, does not ignore man, but guides him and to practice his humanity properly.

Thus, we are God’s creation of an absolute humanity. For more clarification, we all know the difference between “slavery” and “subservience”. Slavery means the enslavement of a human to another human, whereas subservience to God, the Most Exalted, is something different and absolute, since Allah is the essence of our existence; we are His beings, and His existence is beyond our capacity. Although God, the Most Exalted, has made us from nothing, and although He is the generator of our existence, He does not consider us his slaves but His beings. Therefore, he made a covenant with man, with us, and gave us the freedom to choose our relation with Him and to choose our destiny as well. This is mostly clarified in the following verse: “Say: This is the truth from your Lord. Let him who will believe in it and him who will deny it”, and: “whoever does an atom’s weight of good shall see it, and whoever does an atom’s weight of evil shall see it also” (99:7-8).

Allah, the Most Exalted, calls upon us to behave in this life as we wish, but at the same time, He states that our behaviors and attitudes would determine our destiny. For this reason, when God, the Most Exalted, says that He made a covenant with us, He means that He profoundly respects us and assures us our humanity. God orders us to be free beings, provided that our freedom should be controlled against any possible deviation. Dear loved ones, freedom is neither a mere temperamental agitation nor a mere inclination to the desire of freedom. Freedom is a choice and choice means a thoughtful study. A thoughtful study means a comprehensive observation to all the issues from all sides so that you could be able to choose the good ones.

Accordingly, whenever we attempt at seeing what we mean to Allah, we have to know Allah in all His greatness and blessing. We have also to be faithful to Him. Furthermore, we have to perceive that Allah, the Most Exalted, did not only give us everything, but He also facilitated to us all the means that open wide all the horizons of life. Upon realizing this fact, we can do nothing except loving Allah.

Dear loved ones, have you ever asked yourselves why you love someone? You might love him for his beauty, and God, the Most Exalted, creates all this beauty. Or you might love someone for his knowledge, and all his knowledge is just a drop in the ocean of God’s knowledge: “He has the key of the unseen: none knows them but He” (6:59). Or you might love someone for his might and strength, and: “that might is His alone” (2:165). Similarly, you might love someone for his glory, and: “surely all glory belongs to Allah” (4:139), or for his riches and wealth and: “Allah alone is self-sufficient and worthy of praise” (60:6). And now after understanding this truth, you can do nothing except love Allah. Unfortunately, some people misunderstand this fact; they consider Allah, the Most Exalted, just as they consider any other created object or being: “they have not justly estimated the might of Allah. But on the Day of Resurrection, He will have the entire earth in His grasp and fold up the heavens in His right hand” (39:67).