The Arabic word ‘amanath’ is derived from the root ‘amuna’ which means to be faithful, reliable, trustworthy or loyal. Amanath assumes special significance in Arabic-in that it refers to money, goods or property entrusted to a person for safe custody and for upkeeping, to be returned to the rightful owner at the right time.
In English, the word ‘trust’ means a firm belief or full confidence in someone or something (Oxford Dictionary).
The importance of amanath is emphasised in the holy Quran and in the Traditions of the Prophet (Pbuh).
Here is an incident relating to al-amanath, narrated by the Prophet (Pbuh).
Long ago, there lived a businessman who engaged workers for his business on daily wages. He used to pay the wages promptly to these workers on completion of their work. Among them, was a worker who after completing his work left the place all of a sudden, without receiving his wages. The businessman who engaged the worker was very honest and kind. He did not wish to keep that worker’s wages himself and to make any benefit from it. So he set apart this wages and invested the amount in his business. The business flourished, with it, the worker’s wages increased and multiplied in due course of time.
After a period, the worker became poorer and was badly in need of money. He then remembered of his work for which he had not received his wages. He wanted to meet the businessman for whom he worked in order to get his wages back. The worker wondered if the person could recollect the incident or recognize him. He also had the fear that the businessman would turn him back empty handed. The worker picked up courage and made up his mind. He approached the businessman with the hope that he would get atleast a few dirhams that was then due to him. He recalled the incident to that man and requested him to pay the wages. The businessman could easily recognize the worker. He pointed to the worker: “ Look there, whatever you see there-the camels, the cows, the sheep and the slaves are yours and from your wages.” The worker could not believe his ears and eyes. He was astonished and puzzled. He thought that the man was joking. The businessman then confirmed that what the worker could see before him-the camels, the cows, the sheep and the slaves were for him and were his only. The man further convinced the worker that the wages due to him was set apart and was invested in his business that yielded this huge wealth. The worker was very pleased with the conduct of his master and took with him all his camels, cows, sheep and slaves.
Allah was also pleased with the conduct of this honest businessman.
Days passed. One day, this businessman was caught in a cave in which a huge piece of rock fell close to the cave and closed the cave. He did not lose heart. He recalled his good gesture to the worker and prayed to Almighty Allah: “ O Allah, If what I had done to the worker was out of fear for You and for Your sake, let this rock give way for me!”
Allah, readily answered his prayer. The rock moved slowly and the man came out of the cave, heaving a sigh of reliefachieved.