For many Muslim parents, this exchange sounds all too familiar. In fact, whether we realize it or not, there are many promises we make throughout the day. When we make a promise, especially to our children, it is highly important that we see it through. If we do not, it can raise feelings of uncertainty, distrust, and conflict. More importantly, it teaches children that it is okay to do the same.
But did you know that keeping promises is also an Islamic duty?
In this book, we teach the importance of being honest with our words. Islam strongly encourages us to be honorable people by keeping our promises. It is strongly disliked by Allah (SWT) when one makes a promise loosely, and/or with intentions of breaking it. We are instructed, “Fulfill the covenant of Allah when you have taken it, and do not break oaths after their confirmation while you have made Allah a witness over you. Verily, Allah knows what you do” (Qur’an 16:91). Breaking promises to others makes one untrustworthy and lets people down. Moreover, breaking promises to Allah (SWT) can also become a sin as it places one under the category of a hypocrite (munāfiq).
Our first lesson shows that good relationships are based on trust and honesty. In the first story, “Liar, Liar,” Amin plays a trick on his classmates by lying about their class pet tarantula going missing. When the spider actually does disappear, Amin tries to get help from his friends, but nobody believes him.
Our second lesson shows that breaking a promise causes you to hurt the other person, even if you didn’t break it on purpose. In the story, “A Promise to Keep,” Shireen and Amira are excited about their joint castle project for school. However, Shireen fails to complete her part of the project, disappointing her best friend. Through this failure, she learns the significance of keeping her word.