Right from the days when Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a young man in Makkah, he was known to be trustworthy. No one ever accused him of betraying trust in any way or form. On the contrary, he was known by his nickname, Al-Ameen, which means the trustworthy. His community gave him this nickname long before he began to receive divine revelations. Indeed Khadeejah was keen to become his wife when she realized how honest and trustworthy he was. She had sent him on a business trip, looking after her trade on one of the traditional, annual trips the people of Makkah used to make, sending merchandise to Syria and bringing home commodities people needed. When she received reports of how he behaved himself, she realized that he was a man of great fidelity, conscientiously faithful to his trust. Hence, she took steps that led to her becoming his first wife. He valued her companionship and they were the happiest of couples.

A few years before Muhammad was given his mission and became the last Prophet, the people of Makkah wanted to renovate the building of the Kaaba, the holy place. They did so, and all clans shared in the work, taking pride in it. However, when finally they wanted to put the Black Stone in place, they ran into dispute. They considered that action a source of honor, and every clan wanted it for itself. No length of argument could get them to agree on a solution. The dispute threatened to develop into a real battle. However, some wise men among them suggested that they should refer the matter to arbitration. They all agreed to this, and further agreed to make the first person to enter through a certain door the arbiter. Soon Muhammad came in and they were delighted when they saw him, because they recognized his objectivity and fair mindedness. They said: “Here is Al-Ameen, and we agree to his rule.” It should be noted that they did not say, ‘Here is Muhammad’, but rather they referred to him by his nickname, which highlighted his main quality of faithfulness to trust and assured reliability.

Muhammad listened to their argument and soon came up with the solution that satisfied them all. He placed the Black Stone on a robe and asked every clan to nominate one of its members. These nominees lifted the robe together, and took it to its position, when he himself placed it in its proper corner. Thus, the dispute was settled and a flare up was avoided.

Throughout his life in Makkah, people gave Muhammad their valuables for safe-keeping. At the time, there were no banks, safes or secure storage. Hence, when anyone had something, which he feared to be lost or stolen if left at home, he would give it to Muhammad, knowing for certain that it was safe with him. His reputation for trustworthiness was never called in doubt. People simply gave him whatever they needed to be kept safe. They continued to do so after he started to preach his message. The overwhelming majority of the people in Makkah did not accept his message. Many accused him of lying. Still they trusted him with their valuables. How come? Their accusation meant that he fabricated something and attributed it to God. In other words, they asserted he was lying to God, yet they trusted him.

Their trust was well placed. They had no reason to fear that Muhammad would betray it. When things came to a head and his people decided to assassinate him, they chose a man from every clan to share in the ghastly crime. These men went and besieged his home. The Prophet managed to move out, but before doing so he asked his cousin, Ali, to sleep in his bed to give the impression that he was still there. He also asked Ali to return to the people of Makkah all their valuables they had given him for safe-keeping. It is amazing that these people could not see the facts they recognized and acknowledged, that Muhammad was the symbol of trust and that he never told a lie, meant that what he told them about the message God entrusted to him was the absolute truth.

Yet trustworthiness means more than returning goods and articles to their owners. It involves being true in all actions and transactions. Muhammad was the very symbol of that. He never breached a promise he gave and never told a lie, not even in jest. Whatever he said or did was based on truth, good will and reliability. Hence, no one who dealt with him in any manner ever complained of any breach of even the highest standards of reliability.

This quality he emanated to all members of his household. His wives continued to follow his example for the rest of their lives. Some of them lived several decades after he had passed away, but they continued on the same lines. Those who served him in one capacity or another, did likewise. They all realized that they could not have a better role model in dealing with people. He was the best teacher and they all learnt from him what served them well in their lives.

Published in Saudi News Paper By: Adil Salahi