Would you like to explain the verse 72 of Chapter Al-Ahzab?

The Details of the Question
In the verse 72 of Chapter Al-Ahzab, Allah says; “We did indeed offer the Trust (Amanah) 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. Would you like to explain this verse? and What sort of "trust" is that?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The meaning of amanah in the dictionary is being trustworthy, or something left to someone to keep or to protect. The opposite of amanah is betrayal or treason… That is, not to keep the amanah, to use it not in the way that the person who left it wanted but in a way that he (the person to whom the amanah was left) wanted...

As a term amanah has various meanings. The most important ones are as follows:

”All of the religious obligations”, “fardhs (compulsory deeds)”,” Islam’s orders”, “everything that was granted to human beings”, “mind”, “the ability to become a khalifah on the earth.

A light from the sun of the Quran:
On no soul doth Allah place a burden greater than it can bear.
(Chapter Al-Baqara, 286)

One of those souls is the eye; it was not assigned the duty to hear. Another is the ear; it was not imposed the duty to understand. The soul of the sheep was not assigned the duty to contemplate; the mountains and the stones were not assigned the duty to illuminate… Each being was assigned a duty in accordance with their ability. The soul of a human being is different from that of other beings. He was given the partial will (iradah juz’iyyah). He was left free whether to do the duty assigned to him or not. The reason why he is unjust and foolish is that he uses this partial will in a wrong way and lets his soul use it…

Amanah is assigned to a being that has the iradah (will). You cannot say for the money that you put in the safe “I entrusted the money to the safe.” That is to say, a nonliving thing cannot be entrusted anything… Angels are not much more different than nonliving things… Their assignment does not depend on offer but on order.

In the verse about the amanah it is mentioned that the amanah was “offered” to the heavens, the earth and the mountains not “imposed”. If it had been imposed, it would have been impossible to think that they would have rejected it. There is another meaning in the word “offer”. A Sultan calls a soldier before him and offers him a duty to do. For instance he says “Can you work as a clerk?” The soldier apologizes to the Sultan and says, “Unfortunately I cannot read or write; if I could, I would carry out your order.” This offer is not like “Bring me some water”. Any soldier can bring water but not all of them can work as a clerk.

In the verse about the amanah, Allah wanted the heavens, the earth and the mountains to do a duty. He offered them an amanah. We cannot know the true nature of this offer, nor can we evaluate their abdication from the duty as disobedience. The duty that was offered to them was not something that they could do with their abilities, capitals and strength. However, the nature of a human being, his organs, his abilities are suitable for this duty. Thus he undertook the duty that the heavens had abdicated from.

What is this duty? Bediuzzaman points out in the twelfth truth of the Booklet of Resurrection that this amanah is the “ability of the human beings” and explained the duty assigned to this ability as “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”.

Let’s 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 also the mighty palace of the universe has a Maker. That Maker knows it, sees it, makes it, administers it, and so on...

By making this and other comparisons, the heavens, the earth and the mountains could not undertake the duty to know the endless attributes of Allah and His workings; for they did not have the ability to do these things…

In this verse, the significance of man which is higher than the heavens and the divine duty of man which surpasses the universe is stated and man is advised not to pursue small, unimportant things. Otherwise he is taught and warned that by not using the abilities he is granted properly, he will have tortured them spiritually and that he will have become foolish by buying the hell instead of the paradise.
Alaaddin Başar (Prof.Dr.)

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