Amanah or Trusts


A person came and gave you something to keep as an amanah and you accepted it. It is now wajib on you to safeguard it. If you display any shortcoming in safeguarding the item and it gets lost, you will have to compensate for it. However, if you did not display any shortcoming in safeguarding the item and it still gets lost either by being stolen or getting burnt when your house caught on fire, etc. then that person cannot demand any compensation from you. In fact, even if at the time of accepting the amanah you said to the person that you are responsible for it and that he can take the money for it if it gets lost, he does not have the right to demand any compensation. Compensating him out of your own free will is another matter.

A person comes and says: “I am going for some work. Please keep this item for me.” You reply: “Okay leave it here.” Alternatively, you do not say anything but merely remain silent. That person leaves it with you and goes away. This becomes an amanah. However, if you clearly state that you are not going to keep it and that he should keep it with someone else or you do not accept it and yet the person keeps it with you and goes away, then that item will not be an amanah. However, if you pick up that item and keep it away after the departure of the person, it will become an amanah.

Several women were sitting together. A lady comes, keeps an item with them and goes away. It is wajib on all of them to safeguard that item. If they leave that item behind and go away and it disappears thereafter, they will have to pay compensation. If all of them did not leave at once but left one after the other, it will be the responsibility of the last person to safeguard the item. If she leaves that place and the item disappears, compensation will be taken from her.


The person who has an amanah with her has the right to keep the item with her and safeguard it or to give it to her mother, sister, husband or any such relative who lives in the same house as hers and by whom she also keeps her possessions at the time of need. However, if any of the relatives are not trustworthy, it will not be permissible to keep it with them. If she intentionally gives it to such an unreliable person, she will have to pay compensation in the event of that item disappearing.

It is not permissible to keep an amanah by anyone else (besides the above- mentioned) without the permission of the owner. This is irrespective of whether the person is a total stranger or a distant relative. If an amanah is kept with such a person, she will have to pay compensation in the event of that item disappearing. However, if this person is such that she herself entrusts her with her own possessions, then it will be permissible to keep an amanah with that person.

A person came and gave you an item to be kept as an amanah. You forgetfully left it behind and went away. If it disappears, you will have to pay compensation. Alternatively, you left the lock of the closet or safe open and went away. And there are several persons sitting over there. Furthermore, the item is such that it generally cannot be safeguarded without being locked. In the event of it disappearing, you will have to pay compensation.

Your house caught on fire. At such a time, it is permissible to keep the amanah with strangers as well. However, once this excuse (house being on fire) is no more, you should immediately go and take that amanah from that person. If you do not go and take it, you will have to pay compensation in the event of it disappearing. Similarly, if at the time of your death, none of your house folk are present, it will be permissible to give it to your neighbour.

If a person gives you gold or silver coins to be kept as an amanah, it will be wajib on you to safeguard those very gold or silver coins. You cannot mix them with your gold or silver coins nor can you spend them. You should not think that all gold or silver coins are the same and therefore you will use them and when he asks you for them you will give him your own. This is not permissible. If the person permits you to use them, it will be permissible. However, the rule with regard to this is that if you keep those very coins aside, it will be regarded as an amanah. If they disappear, you will not have to pay any compensation. But if you seek his permission and use them, it will now be regarded as a debt and not an amanah. You will therefore have to pay him irrespective of whether they disappear or not. After using his coins, you kept aside the same amount in his name (with the intention that it is his). It will still not be regarded as an amanah. They will be regarded as your coins. If they are stolen, your coins will be considered to be stolen and you will still have to pay him. In short, once you use his coins, it will be regarded as your responsibility as long as you do not repay him.

A person kept R100 as an amanah with you. You sought his permission to use R50 and spent it. R50 will be regarded as a debt on your shoulders and R50 will be regarded as an amanah. Later when you obtain R50, do not mix it with his R50 which you kept as an amanah. If you mix it, the entire amount (R100) will not be regarded as an amanah and you will be responsible for the entire R100. If this amount disappears, you will have to repay the entire R100. This is because by mixing the money of amanah with your own, the entire amount becomes a debt and you will have to repay the entire amount irrespective of whether it disappears or not.