The origin of the word amanah is the Arabic word amn (tranquility of heart and demise of fear). In its noun form, al-amn or amanah means security, safety, shelter, peace and protection and so on. Some said amanah literally means al-adalah (honesty, straightness and integrity). The linguistic meaning of al-amanah in Arabic refers to "honesty", its opposite being al-khayanah meaning "treachery" or "dishonesty".
The notion of amanah is found in the following Qur'anic verse:
"We did offer trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, but they refused to bear its burden and were afraid of it, and man picked it up. Indeed he is unjust (to himself), unaware (of the end)" (Qur’an 33: 72)
The historian and mufassir al-Tabari (839–923 AD) observed there to be many interpretations of this ayah. Some said Allah offered amanah to the heavens, earth and mountains to perform his ta’atihi (obedience) and faraidihi (duties) rewarded or punished accordingly. They refused to accept due to fear of its heavy burden however humans accepted the offer.
Mufassirins like Ibn Abbas, Mujahid, Sai’d ibn Jubair, Dihhaak, Hassan al-Basri and Qataadah said al-amanah was the faraid duties Allah commands humans.
Ibn Kathir concluded the sayings do not contradict each other, instead refer to accepting of commands and avoiding prohibitions: if humans abided by these they get rewarded, otherwise they receive some sort of punishment.
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