In Surah Al-Maidah, Allah reminds us:
يَا أَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَوْفُواْ بِٱلْعُقُودِ
"O you who believe! Fulfill your Promises!" [5:1]
In Surah Al-Maryam, Allah praises Prophet Ismail,
َ إِنَّهُ كَانَ صَادِقَ ٱلْوَعْدِ وَكَانَ رَسُولاً نَّبِيّا
"He was true to his promise, He was a Messenger and a Prophet." [19:54]
By being punctual, you will be responding to the call of Allah in Surah Al-Israa,
وَأَوْفُواْ بِالْعَهْدِ إِنَّ ٱلْعَهْدَ كَانَ مَسْؤُولاً
"And keep the promise; the promise is a responsibility!" [17:34]
Keeping appointments is vital to our lives. Time is the most precious commodity; once wasted, it can never be recovered.
If we make an appointment, we should do our utmost to keep this appointment. This is the right of the other persons who, despite other commitments, favored you with a part of their valuable time.
If you do not come on time, not only have you disrupted their schedule but you have also marred your image and reputation. If your punctuality becomes poor, you will lose people's respect.
Our kind Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) once gave an appointment to one of his companions. The companion came three days later. The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) gently told him, "You have caused me some trouble. I have been waiting for you for three days."
Today, fast and reliable means of communication are available everywhere. Therefore, as soon as one realizes one will be unable to make it to an appointment, one should inform the other parties to enable them to utilize their time elsewhere.
Do not be careless or irresponsible assuming that since the appointment is relatively unimportant, it does not merit a notice or an apology! Cancel it in advance, if required.
Never make a promise intending not to keep it.
Often you invite a person to a gathering and hear the following in response, "Yes, In-sha-Allah (God willing) I will be there, "(knowing full well he has no intention of being there) and he or she never shows up! This is forbidden in Islam, as it falls within lying and hypocrisy.
The Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said,"Three traits single out a hypocrite, even if he prays of fasts and claims to be a Muslim:
(1) If he speaks, he lies;
(2) if he makes a promise, he does not keep it;
(3) if he is entrusted, he betrays the trust."
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Imam Al-Ghazali (Rahmatullah alayh) in Al-Ihya explains that this Hadith is applicable to those who promise while intending not to fulfill it, or those who, without excuse, decide later not to fulfill the promise.
Therefore, we should be careful not to present a false excuse, as Allah knows our thoughts and intentions.
[Compiled from "Islamic Manners" by Sheikh Abdul Fattah]
Source: Al-Islaah publications