Keeping Appointments


In the first verse of Surah Al-Mai’da, Allah called upon the believers ‘O Believers! Fulfil (your) promises.’ ►{Chapter 5 , Surah Al-Mai’da : Verse 1}

In Surah Al-Maryam Allah also praised Prophet Ismail(may peace be upon him) ‘Surely he was true to (his) promise and was a Messenger and Prophet.’►{Surah Al-Maryam Chapter 19: Verse 54}

To keep an appointment is vital to our lives, since time is the most precious commodity, once wasted it could not be replaced. If you made an appointment, whether to a friend, colleague or for business you should do your utmost to keep this appointment. This is the right of the other person who gave you part of their time and may have declined other appointments. Not only have you disrupted their schedule but you have marred your image and personality. If your punctuality becomes lousy you will lose people’s respect. You should keep all your appointments whether it was with an important person, a close friend or someone else.

You will be responding to the call of Allah in Surah Al-Isra’  ‘… And do fulfil the promise. No doubt the promise will be questioned about.”►{Chapter 17 : Surah Al-Isra : Verse 34}

The Prophet of God(peace be upon him) never addressed us except that he said, ‘Whoever is not trustworthy has no faith, and, whoever breaks his covenants is bankrupt as regards religion.’”►{Ahmed, Musnad, vol. 19, p. 375, no (12383).}

It is enough to know that our kind Prophet(peace be upon him) once gave an appointment to one of his companions. The companion came three days later.


Hadrat Abdullah bin Abi al-Humasa(Radiyallahu Anhu) once said, “I once bought something from the Prophet(peace be upon him) prior to the proclamation of Prophethood. I was short of money and gave whatever I had ,promising to return during the day and fulfill the amount and also requested him to not leave the area where he was. Afterwards, I had unintentionally forgotten my promise to him and returned three days later , to find Prophet(peace be upon him) waiting in that very place!

He showed no anger on his face for this and simply said, ‘You have caused me some trouble. I have been waiting expecting you since three days.’►{Sunan Abu Dawood, Kitab Al-Adab, Hadith #1561}

The companion probably had an excuse for this delay. Then, he had no means to inform the Prophet(peace be upon him) about his inability to meet the appointment. But, today, fast and reliable communication means are available everywhere. As soon as you realize you will not be able to keep an appointment, you should inform the other parties to enable them to utilize their time. Do not be careless or irresponsible. Do not think that the appointment is so unimportant that it does not merit a notice or an apology. This is totally irrelevant. Regardless of its importance an appointment is a commitment. It must be kept or cancelled properly in advance.

Seriousness of turning back on promises

“Muslim Standard Time” has become something of an accepted custom amongst Muslims – viewing it as acceptable to be late to appointments and other arrangements.

This is something that goes directly against the etiquettes of a Muslim, as it displays opens disrespect towards those transgressed against, and also shows a lack of appreciation of the value of time.

Unfortunately, this has also become commonplace amongst students of knowledge and often scholars of religion. So let this be a reminder to us, one & all.

Never make a promise while you do not intend to keep it or fulfill it. This is forbidden as it falls within lying and hypocrisy. Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated that the Prophet(peace be upon him) said:‘The signs of the hypocrite are three: When he speaks he lies, when he promises he fails to perform, and, when he is entrusted he betrays.’

►{Bukhari, Sahih (Kitab Al-Iman, chapter on “The traits of a hypocrite’), vol. 1, p. 16, no (33). Muslim, Sahih (Kitab Al-Iman, chapter on “Stating the traits of a hypocrite’), vol. 1, p. 78, no (59).}

Imam Ghazali in Al-Ihya said that “This Hadith fits those who promise while intending not to fulfill it, or those who, without excuse, decide later not to fulfill a promise. Those who promise but could not fulfill, their promise due to a proper excuse are not hypocrites. But we should be careful not to create excuses that are not valid. Allah knows our inner thoughts and intentions.”