Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues (Print ISSN: 1544-0036; Online ISSN: 1544-0044)

Research Article: 2019 Vol: 22 Issue: 1

Concept of Al-Amanah (Trustworthiness) and Al-Mas'uliyyah (Responsibility) for Human's Character from Ethical Islamic Perspective

Mohd Hasrul Shuhari, University of Sultan Zainal Abidin

Mohd Fauzi Hamat, University of Malaya

Muhammad Nasri Hassan Basri, University of Sultan Zainal Abidin

Wan Mohd Khairul Firdaus Wan Khairuldin, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin

Muhammad Rashidi Wahab, University of Sultan Zainal Abidin

Engku Ahmad Zaki Engku Alwi, University of Sultan Zainal Abidin

Akila Mamat, University of Sultan Zainal Abidin


Al-Amanah (trusts) and al-mas'uliyyah (responsibilities) refer to the ethical character of the human character that must be practiced in daily life, especially by every Muslim. Both of these noble qualities will help someone avoid something that can cause him to be regarded as a badly-touted individual. This article will discuss the concept of al-Amanah (trustworthiness) and al-mas’uliyyah (responsibility) according to the ethical Islamic perspective. This article analyzes the thoughts of several Islamic scholars such as al-Ghazali (505H) and several exegetes (mufassirin) in understanding the two terms through their works. Finally, this study concludes that the concept of al-amanah (trust) and al-mas'uliyyah (responsibility) is capable of creating the quality of human character among Muslim individuals according to the ethical Islamic perspective.


al-amanah (Trustworthiness), al-mas’uliyyah (Responsibility), Human's Character, Ethic.


al-amanah (trustworthiness) and al-mas’uliyyah (responsibility) are obligatory for every Muslim. Both of these noble qualities show a character that will determine good morals in a person in daily affairs. Islam demands its ummah to be characterized by the nature of trust that is mentioned in the Qur'anic verses and also the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (Nurzatil, 2017). In addition, to determine the future of society, it is also a determinant of the sustainability of management in an organization. Administrative affairs of a business must be handled with care so as not to be contaminated with the treacherous elements of the members of the organization. This is because institutional management activities are an important component that is directly related to elements of Islamic law. Often we see so many cases of breaking the trust into the headlines in the press (Andi, 2015)

The corruption phenomenon in politics and economy is one of the consequences of lack of integrity (include al-amanah and al-mas’uliyyah). There are countries that are seen to be in close proximity to bribery in their jobs until such practices become common in their lives. Bribery threats exist in various sectors and areas such as social, economic, political and administrative affairs of a country. It has become a problem not only for a country but it is a problem internationally (Mustafar, 2005). Collapse of political leadership among them is due to various reasons among them is because of the political damage. This is in line with Ibn Khaldun's view (d. 808H) which states that political power or leadership will not be dominated by one party only. In his analysis, this process can occur in three generations or stages that take the longest period of 40 years each. So, it will take 120 years to complete the three generations (Ahmad and Norhayati, 2006; Hasrul, 2014). The major objective of this study is to discuss the concept of al-amanah (trustworthiness) and al-mas’uliyyah (responsibility). The thoughts of al-Ghazali and several exegetes (mufassirin) will be analyzed through a selection of their books. The study is centrally structured on the perception of al-Ghazali and several exegetes (mufassirin) in relation to human's character within Muslim individuals from ethical Islamic perspective.

Definition of al-amanah and al-mas’uliyyah

al-amanah and al-mas'uliyyah are interconnected as a trust that will be carried out responsibly. It is the basic foundation of human social relations (Ivan, 2016). Amanah is one of the most basic buildings in interacting with God, human, environment and self (Sahri, 2018). If a person fails to preserve the mandate then he will be liable to be repaid in person. The word al-amanah was derived from the word al-amn, it refers to someone who feels secure from the treatment of other’s violation of his rights. While al-khiyanah, taken from the word al-khawn (deficiency), which means reduce which refers to someone betraying the other, he has reduced or lessen the rights of others (Su`ad al-Hakim, 1981; al-Ghazali, 1990; Hasrul & Fauzi, 2015; Hasrul & Fauzi, 2017). The Quranic verse that mentions about al-amanah is as Allah said;

Indeed, we offered the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, and they declined to bear it and feared it; but man [undertook to] bear it. Indeed, he was unjust and ignorant.”

This verse explains the rejection of al-amanah given by Allah SWT to the heavens, the earth and the mountains. They are all concerned with their inabilities to take on al-amanah and fear of causing al-khiyanah (treacherous) that cause them to be punished later. al-amanah in this verse refers to the practice of devotion and religious obligation that must be implemented where it also implies reward and sin. Al-Ghazali (1990) quoted al-Qurtubi’s opinion which is also the opinion of jumhur ‘ulama (majority of muslim scholars) that al-amanah covers all parts of the wazaif al-din (religious duties). He also relates al-amanah with al-iman (faith), which the al-iman will not be perfect for anyone without al-amanah. This is because al-amanah was also derived from the word al-iman. Hence, whoever preserves the trust granted by Allah, Allah will then preserve his al-iman (faith) (Su`ad al-Hakim, 1981).The difference between man, the heavens, the earth and the mountains is that the man is willing to take al-amanah i.e. al-ma `rifah and al-tawhid, while the others are not able to do it. Al-Mas'uliyyah refers to the accountability in English language. al-mas’uliyyah is a passive participle (al-ism al-maf’ul) and it is derived from al-su’al which means a sentence, phrase or word that asks for information (Al-Hamlawi, 2014). In the aspect of morality, someone will be held accountable for every word and deed. While in legal aspects, the responsibility is to correct others' faults based on the established legislation (Ba`albaki, 1991; Inggeris, 2002; Hasrul & Fauzi, 2015, Hasrul & Fauzi, 2017). Allah S.W.T had said:

And if Allah had so willed, He would have made you a people, but He misleads whom He wills, and guides whom He wills, and verily ye shall be questioned of what ye used to do.” (Al-Nahl, 16: 93)

Al-amanah and al-mas’uliyyah for Human’s Character

Defending and preserving al-amanah properly are the nature character of the angels, the prophets and messengers, and the people of taqwa (piety, fearing Allah). al-amanah for leaders is to perform da’wah (educating and preaching of Islam) in order to chasten the unjust and protect the rights of Muslims and orphans. The ‘ulama (muslim scholars) preserve al-amanah by teaching Islam to the society. Parents are entrusted to keep their al-amanah by providing education for their children. In fact, al-amanah for al-imam who lead a congregational prayer is someone who is spiritually free from fasiq (disobedient to Allah), major sin and does not sustain the minor sins. This is because the al-imam is like a delegate that helps others. Thus, surely he should be one of the best in the community (Al-Ghazali, 1990; Hasrul & Fauzi, 2017).
Allah S.W.T had said:

"Verily! Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those, to whom they are due; and that when you judge between men, you judge with justice. Verily, how excellent is the teaching which He (Allah) gives you! Truly, Allah is Ever All-Hearer, All-Seer." (al-Nisa, 4: 58)

A person who gives al-amanah to an unauthorized person will also be held accountable, in which al-Ghazali (n.d.) told us the story of a Bedouin man who reprimands a “sultan”. He informed the sultan that there were people around the sultan who were more concerned about the world. So, he advised the sultan to be careful when granting al-amanah to them in doing something because the sultan would be held responsible for his nonchalant nature in granting al-amanah. Al-Ghazali (n.d.) also presented a hadith which showed that every man was responsible for al-amanah executed by them (Hasrul & Fauzi, 2015:2017):

"Ibn ‘Umar said, I heard the Messenger of Allah S.A.W says: “All of you are shepherds and each of you is responsible for his flock. An Imam is a shepherd and he is responsible for those in his care. A man is a shepherd in respect of his family and is responsible for those in his care. The woman is a shepherd in respect of her husband’s house and is responsible for those in her care. The servant is a shepherd in respect of his master’s property and is responsible for what is in his care. All of you are shepherds and each of you is responsible for his flock.” (Al-Bukhari, 2000).

People will be asked about the whole practices they have done (Kathir, 2000). Whatever Allah S.W.T sets his commandments and prohibitions on man, will be asked whether they do it or vice versa. They will be rewarded with the obedience and punished with the disobedience they have done (al-Tabari, 2001). Even on the Day of the Judgment, their limbs will answer the questions of Allah S.W.T. Allah S.W.T had said (Hasrul & Fauzi, 2015:2017);

That Day shall we set a seal on their mouths. But their hands will speak to us, and their feet bear witness, to all that they did.” (Yasin, 36: 65)

In the world, the disbelievers have closed their hearts while their mouths speak, while in the hereafter, the turn of their mouths are closed, and the speaker who represents them is their other members. Humans have hearts, tongues and limbs, so if the heart and the tongue no longer can speak, then the limbs will assume the role to answer the questions of Allah S.W.T (al-Razi, 1981). Al-Ghazali (2008) described in the book “Bidayat al-Hidayah” ways of leaving the external and internal envy. According to him, external envy refers to the immoral actions of seven limbs, eyes, ears, tongue, abdomen, genitals, both hands and feet. The members of the body are the blessings and trusts that are awarded by God S.W.T to humans. If it is used by humans to commit immorality then they have betrayed the trust that has been given (Hasrul & Fauzi, 2015:2017).

The conclusion is that al-amanah and al-mas'uliyyah refer to something that is granted to a person to be performed or preserved and that person will be held responsible or accountable for errors or treacherous. In the event of such, then a person entrusted with al-amanah will be held accountable and must face the punishment of his guilt accordingly. al-amanah here is meant to be all duties assigned by Allah S.W.T to mankind, and they will be tortured for failure to obey. Those who succeed will receive the reward, not to mention that al-amanah is highly correlated with al-iman in which if taken care, then their al-iman will be taken care of. Both of these elements will motivate a person not to commit treachery and the like.


The thought of al-Ghazali and several exegetes (mufassirin) are appropriate to be learnt by Muslims in Malaysia. Human’s character is a person who possess the elements of al-amanah (trustworthiness) and al-mas’uliyyah (responsibility) within themselves. The elements of al-amanah and al-mas’uliyyah refer to something that are granted to a person to be performed or properly cared for and he will be held responsible for errors or treacherous. These elements will help individuals by preventing them from doing something against the attributes of human’s character such as treacherous and the like. Eventually, that person deserves to be a Muslim individual of human's character from ethical Islamic perspective.


This paper is founded on the research project of the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme FRGS/1/2017/SSI03/UNISZA/03/1 (RR233). Rekabentuk Model Pembinaan Karakter ‘Ibad al-Rahman Berdasarkan Pengalaman Pendidikan al-Ghazali, al-Shafie, Ibn Sina dan Muhammad al-Fatih. Special appreciation is owed to Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia (MOHE) and Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA) for sponsoring and supporting this research.


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