The Quran about covenants
In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful
A treaty is an instrument designed to regulate relations between people. Modern life is inconceivable without such a mechanism, because otherwise there can be complete anarchy in society. But there is another side of the coin, this relationship regulator can be unfair, because it is possible to arrange it for the sake of someone’s interests. Such things are unacceptable for a person loyal to God.
Let us turn to the Prescription of God on the subject of treaties. First, consider its Arabic equivalent, used in the Quran. The word “covenant” sounds like “miisaakun“.
One of the most important treaties is the contract between God and the messengers:
When God took a covenant from the prophets, “This is what I give you of the Prescription and judgement. Then there comes to you a messenger confirming what is with you. You will surely believe him and help him”, He asked, “Have you acknowledged and taken upon that My obligation?”
They said, “We have acknowledged it!”
He said, “Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses.” And whoever turns away after that – will be an apostate!” (3:81-82)
And We made a covenant with the prophets: with you (Muhammad), with Noah, with Abraham, with Moses and Jesus, the son of Mary. We concluded rigid covenant with them. (33:7)
As we see, the messengers were not some kind of mechanical dolls, but they had the freedom of choice even in the matter of their mission – the reporting of the truth.
An indicative story for people is the events related to the children of Israel:
When We made a covenant with you, that you do not shed each other’s blood or evict one another from your homes, then you acknowledged and witnessed it. (2:84)
When God took a covenant from those who were given the Prescription that they must make it clear to the people and not conceal it, but they threw it away behind their backs and exchanged it for a small price. And wretched is that which they purchased. (3:187)
When We made a covenant with them, We raised over them the mount, saying, “Enter the gate and prostrate!”, and We said to them, “Do not transgress on the sabbath”, and We took from them a great covenant. (4:154)
God had already taken a covenant from the children of Israel. We delegated from among them twelve seniors. And God said, “I am with you. If you establish prayer and give purifying expenditures and believe My messengers and support them and loan God a goodly loan, I will surely remove from you your misdeeds and admit you to gardens beneath which rivers flow. But whoever of you closes himself after that has certainly strayed from the straight way.” (5:12)
Indeed, We had already taken the covenant from the children of Israel and had sent to them messengers. Whenever there came to them a messenger with what they did not desire, a party of them they called liars, and another party they killed. (5:70)
…Was not the covenant of the Prescription taken from them that they would not say about God except the truth, and they studied what was in it? And the home of the hereafter is better for those who circumspect. So will you not use reason? (7:169)
The edification of people in these messages is that the agreement with God imposes great responsibility at all times, and so far the terms of the concluded treaty for the children of Israel have not been cancelled. The responsibility for breaching of the covenant is quite severe.
But as for those who closed themselves, they say, “What did God intend by this as an example?” He misleads many thereby and guides many thereby. And He misleads not except the apostates.
Who break the obligation before God after ratifying it and sever that which God has ordered to be joined and cause corruption on earth. It is those who are the losers! (2:26-27)
This applies not only to the children of Israel, but to any believer who has concluded the treaty:
And how could you take it while you have gone in unto each other and women have taken from you a solemn covenant? (4:21)
But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, except for those who are related to people with whom you made a covenant or those who come to you restraining from fighting you or fighting their own people. And take not from among them any patron or helper! (4:90)
And never is it for a believer to kill a believer except by mistake. And whoever kills a believer by mistake – then the freeing of a deprived believer and a ransom to his owner, unless he counts it as charity. But if the deceased was from a people at war with you and he was a believer – then the freeing of a deprived believer. If he was from a people with whom you have a covenant – then the freeing of a deprived believer and a ransom to his owner. And whoever does not find a ransom – must fast for two months consecutively, as repentance before God. And God is ever Knowing and Wise! (4:92)
…and if they seek help of you for the fulfilment of the duty, then you must help, except against a people with whom you have a covenant. And God is Seeing of what you do. (8:72)
…those who fulfil the obligations before God and do not break the covenant… (13:20)
In addition, the term “, ukuudun” is used in the Qur’an, meaning – an agreement:
O you who have believed! Fulfil agreements… (5:1)
These signs of God set the believer on a serious attitude to his own words and actions. If each of the citizens and the authorities will be guided by the Prescription of God, then the Lord will certainly raise this society and give its people wisdom and strength.