From the verses of Quran and the hadiths of Prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him) we come to know that fulfilling promises and covenants is obligatory and it is a grave sin if anyone breaks them or does not take them seriously or fails to fulfill them.
Failing to fulfil a promise may go as far as to constitute kufr as happened to the children of Israel who broke the covenant with their lord and abandoned Him. The consequences of breaking their promises and their disbelieve were severe.
Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And fulfill (every) covenant. Verily! the covenant will be questioned about”
“and fulfill the Covenant of Allâh”
[al-An ‘am 6:152]
And He says, praising His believing slaves (interpretation of the meaning):
“Those who fulfil the Covenant of Allâh and break not the Mîthâq (bond, treaty, covenant)”
[al-Ra ‘d 13:20].
Many texts of the Qur’aan and Sunnah clearly indicate that it is obligatory to fulfill promises and covenants, and it is haraam to break them and act in a treacherous manner. All the verses that mention promises and covenants indicate that both explicitly and implicitly.
One can clearly see how Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and his companions lived and fulfilled their promises. Their life is a testimony of this.
Fulfilling promises has great benefits in this world and in the hereafter. Some of which are:
1. It is the attribute of the pious. It is the greatest means of attaining taqwa(being conscious of Allah). It means that a person fears Allah. It is the means of attaining love of Allah. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Yes, whoever fulfils his pledge and fears Allâh much; verily, then Allâh loves those who are Al-Muttaqûn (the pious)” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:76].
2. It is the means of attaining security in this world and preventing bloodshed and a trustworthy and stable society. It is the means of protecting the rights of people, both Muslims, and kaafirs, as Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“but if they seek your help in religion, it is your duty to help them except against a people with whom you have a treaty of mutual alliance, and Allâh is the All-Seer of what you do”
3. It is a means of expiating bad deeds and gaining admittance to Paradise, as we see in the words of Allah in Soorat al-Baqarah (interpretation of the meaning):
“and fulfill (your obligations to) My Covenant (with you) so that I fulfill (My Obligations to) your covenant (with Me)”
Ibn Jareer said: His covenant with them is that if they do that, He will admit them to Paradise.
In Soorat al-Maa’idah, Allah, may He be glorified, states that He took a covenant from Bani Israa’eel, then He explained that covenant and stated the reward for fulfilling it, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, I will expiate your sins and admit you to Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise)”
The breaking of promise/Betrayal or Treachery:
It is opposite of trustworthiness and loyality. We said trustworthiness and loyalty are the traits of pious and faithful then without any doubt betrayal and treachery are the qualities of hypocrisy and evil. May Allah protect us.
It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allah ibn Amr (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “There are four characteristics, whoever has them all is a pure hypocrite: when he speaks he lies, when he makes a promise he breaks it, when he makes a covenant he betrays it, and when he disputes he resorts to obscene speech. Whoever has one of them has one of the characteristics of hypocrisy, until he gives it up.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3178; Muslim, 58.
It was narrated that ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever breaks the covenant of a Muslim, upon him be the curse of Allah, the angels and all the people, and Allah will not accept any obligatory or naafil act of worship from him.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1870; Muslim, 1370.
It was narrated from ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:
“Allaah will set up a banner for the betrayer on the Day of Resurrection, and it will be said: This is the betrayer of So and so.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6178; Muslim, 1735.
These ahadith indicate the gravity of breaking a promise or being treacherous. Indeed our deeds are not hidden from the one who is above all.
We ask Allah to make us among the righteous and pious. We ask Allah to protect us from being treacherous and a hypocrite. We ask Allah to bless us with the good in this world and in the hereafter.
Praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds.
Indeed Allah is the source of strength.
May Allah protect us all.