What is the meaning of the trust mentioned in verses of 72 of the chapter of al-Ahzab?

The Details of the Question

The following is stated in verses 72 of the chapter of al-Ahzab: “We did indeed offer the Trust to the Heavens and the Earth and the Mountains; but they refused to undertake it, being afraid thereof: but man undertook it;- He was indeed unjust and foolish.” What is the meaning of the trust mentioned in this verse?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Amanah (trust) lexically means being trustworthy, something entrusted to someone for protection. The opposite of trustworthiness is treason... That is, not taking care of the trust, using it as one’s own soul desires, not in accordance with what the one who has entrusted it wants.

The word trust is explained in several ways terminologically. The most famous of them are as follows:

“All of the religious obligations”, “fards”, “commands of Islam”, “every blessing bestowed on man”, “intellect”, “the ability of being a caliph on earth.”

A light from the sun of the Quran:

“On no soul doth Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear.” (al-Baqara, 2/286)

One of those souls is the eye; it has not been given the duty of hearing. Another is the ear; understanding has not been given as a duty to it. The soul of the sheep is not responsible for contemplation; the mountains and stones are not responsible for giving light.

Every being has been assigned a task according to the ability given to it. The human soul has a significant difference from other beings. He has been given partial free will. He has been rendered free to do or not to do the task assigned to him. The source of his cruelty and ignorance is his misuse of this partial free will and subordinating it to the soul...

The trust is given to a being having will. You do not say, “I entrusted my money to the safe” for the money you put in the safe. So, things cannot be entrusted to nonliving beings. Angels are not much different from them... Their assignment is not based on offer, but command.

In the verse about trust, it is said that trust was “offered” to the heavens, earth and mountains, not “proposed”. If it had been proposed, their rejection would have been unthinkable. There is another meaning in proposing. A sultan proposes a duty to a soldier he invites to his presence. For example, he may say, “Can you work as a clerk?” That soldier apologizes to the sultan and says, “Unfortunately, I am illiterate; If I were literate, I would fulfill your order.” This offer is not like “Bring me some water.” Every soldier can bring water, but not everyone can work as a clerk.

In the verse about trust, God Almighty proposed a duty to the heavens, the earth and the mountains. He proposed them a trust. We cannot know the nature of this proposal, and we cannot regard their avoidance of this duty as disobedience. The task proposed to them is not something they can do with their abilities, capital and strength. However, the nature of man’s creation, the faculties bestowed upon to him and the abilities given to him are suitable for this task. As a matter of fact, he undertook this trust, which the heavens avoided.

What is this task? Badiuzzaman Said Nursi points out in the Eleventh Truth of His Resurrection Treatise that this trust is “man’s ability” and explains the duty assigned to that ability as follows: “in order to measure and know, with his slight and petty measures and crafts, the all encompassing attributes, the universal workings, and the infinite manifestations of the Creator the creator.”

Let us explain it with his own example:

“Just as I make this house and know how to make it, and I see it and own it and administer it, so the mighty palace of the universe has a Maker. Its Maker knows it, sees it, makes it, administers it.” And so on.

By making this comparison and many similar ones, the heavens, the earth and the mountains could not undertake the duty of knowing Allah’s eternal attributes and deeds because they did not have the ability to do it...

With this verse, the importance of man, which is higher than the heavens, and his lofty duty, which leaves the universe far behind, are declared, and man is advised not to pursue unimportant things. Otherwise, he is taught and warned that he will be ignorant since he will not use the abilities given to him, that he will wrong them spiritually and that he will leave Paradise and buy Hell.

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