I’ve always been afraid to make a promise. I’m not sure exactly when that fear started but I remember even as a child thinking that nothing could be worse than making a promise to Allah and not being able to keep it. It could have been while listening to stories of the Caliphs or while learning about the life of Prophet Muhammad SAW, I don’t remember precisely which story instilled that fear in me; I simply remember how it has shaped my life. I don’t make promises because I am fearful of being unable to keep them. I marvel at the people who swear “Wallahi” or “By Allah” with every other word and in every sentence without any provocation. What if you’re wrong, I wonder, what if you got some details wrong? What then?
I also remember with great trepidation reading that if you tell a lie 3 times, the Angels will witness that you are a liar and you will henceforth be known to them as a liar! What can be worse than having the hosts of heaven consider you a liar?
The very definition of a gentleman is someone who does what he says he will do.
These two things made such an impact on me that I do not make promises and take my word very seriously. If I tell you I will do something then internally I consider it as a promise and do everything in my power to ensure that I do it. But to make a promise to you is something I do only with the utmost sincerity and I can remember making less than five promises in my life. Either in situations where I had already done something and was assuring someone that I had taken care of it and they shouldn’t worry or when I was 99.9% sure I would be able to keep the promise. But rarely do I come out and say I promise because the moment those words are out, I can’t take them back and instead must carry them as a burden that I cannot put down until I make that promise a reality.
When I look at people today who have no issues swearing up and down, even when sometimes you know they are wrong or when they seem to have no regard for the words that come out of their mouths it makes me really sad. If you cannot trust someone to do what they say they will do, then is there any point conversing with them? Do their words have any meaning and by extension their actions? Each time someone tells me that they will do something, no matter how trivial, when they do not do it, I feel let down, like my faith in humanity has been shaken yet again. If someone chooses to utter words of their own free will without any provocation, then surely, they should utter words that are meaningful and purposeful? It reminds me of the Hadith that says you should speak good or be quiet. Surely if your words are not truthful, then it is best if you keep them to yourself.
The very definition of a gentleman is someone who does what he says he will do. When I interact with most men nowadays, it is mostly clear externally that they are not gentlemen either because of the way they dress or because of their attitudes towards life and women. What really bothers me though is not a person’s dress sense or their opinions about the world, what bothers me is when someone does not do what they say they are going to do. Because once someone does not keep their word, you know you cannot trust them, and if you do not trust someone you cannot respect them.
As a guy if you want to impress a woman, you don’t need to go out and buy a new wardrobe or shower her with lavish gifts, but you do need to be a gentleman, a man of your word and someone who does what they say they will do. Not only will your woman trust you, but with each time you keep your word, her respect for you and her faith in you increase. So the next time you are trying to impress, be a gentleman and keep your word.
For more tips on how to be a perfect gentleman, check out these four links: