Breach means to break, and a breach of trust is essentially a broken trust, a way in which someone fails to fulfill promises connected to something or someone entrusted to him/her. In the business sense you’ll see the term breach of trust sometimes associated specifically with the administration of trusts. For instance the trustee of an estate could spend all the money in it, or merely fail to do his/her job. Breach of trust may also be used in other business contexts, not merely administration of trust funds, to show how a person deliberately or through neglect failed to act in the terms specified in agreements; an accountant who embezzles funds breaks trust with his clients.
There are many examples of the way in which a broken trust may occur, but they all have things in common. The breach of trust violates the terms of the agreement between the parties involved. Second, the person who breaks the trust has been entrusted with something: administering funds, investing someone else’s money, supervising employees, taking care of a child, giving medical care, teaching, taking care of an animal, or acting as a pastor for a community.
In order to get through life, most of us must trust, at some point, some aspect of our lives to others. Even a manager/employee relationship is one of certain types of trust, governed by employment and anti-discrimination laws. When you give someone else some authority or power in your life, they have a certain amount of control over you, which when not honored is a breach of trust.
Breaking trust isn’t always intentional. Sometimes the person in authority violates the trust of someone else simply by failing to do his or her job well or accurately. Other times, actions are intentional breaches and an abuse of the person’s position of trust.
In the legal setting, the term breach of trust may be used to describe business relationships where one party failed to fulfill or intentionally broke terms of a contract. In other settings, trust can be violated in numerous ways, mostly when a person in power abuses his/her position.
The Twenty-Second Greater Sin:Khayanat
The twenty-second greater sin, is defalcation or misappropriation of property. Misappropriation of property as a greater sin is stated in the Qur’an and the authentic tradition related by Abdul Az”«m from Imam Muhammad Taqi (a.s.) and also from the traditions of Imam Sadiq (a.s.), Imam Kadhim (a.s.) and Imam Ri”a (a.s.).
Khayanat is itself an Arabic word. In the tradition of Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) as related by Amash the word ‘Khayanat’ is used in the list of the greater sins. Another Arabic word used for misappropriation is ‘ghulul.’ ‘Ghulul’ is used in the narration of Fazl Ibn Shaz”n where he quotes Imam Ri”a (a.s.). According to some lexicographers ‘ghul’ denotes misappropriation of a property obtained as spoils of war against the disbelievers which is not yet been distributed among the Muslims. However other scholars maintain that ‘ghulul’ applies to every kind of embezzlement.
The punishment of misappropriation according to the Holy Qur’an
The Almighty Allah (S.w.T.) says
“…and he who eats unfaithfully shall bring that in respect of which he has acted unfaithfully on the Day of Resurrection; then every soul be paid fully what it has earned, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly. Is then he who follows the pleasure of Allah like him who has made himself deserving of displeasure from Allah, and his abode is hell; and it is an evil destination.”
(Surah “¢’¬li-‘Imr”n 3:161-162)
In Surah at-Tahr”«m we find the verse:
“Allah sets forth an example to those who disbelieve, the wife of Nuh and the wife of Lut: they were both under two of Our righteous servants, but they acted treacherously towards them so they availed them naught against Allah, and it was said: Enter both the fire with those who enter.”
(Surah at-Tahr”«m 66:10)
Also Allah (S.w.T.) says:
“… Surely Allah does not love the treacherous.”
(Surah al-Anf”l 8:58)
“O you who believe! Be not unfaithful to Allah and the Apostle, nor be unfaithful to your trusts while you know.”
(Surah al-Anf”l 8:27)
Similarly the Qur’an says,
“…but if one of you trusts another, then he who is trusted should deliver his trusts, and let him be careful (of his duty to) Allah, his Lord…”
(Surah al-Baqarah 2:283)
At another place the Divine Book states,
“Surely Allah commands you to make over trusts to their owners…”
(Surah an-Nis”‘ 4:58)
Breach of trust denounced in the traditions
The Holy Prophet (S) says:
“One who embezzles a property in his charge and does not deliver it to its owner and dies in such a condition, then he does not die in my community (he does not die a Muslim). When such a person meets Allah, He shall be infuriated with him. And one who purchases an embezzled property knowing that it is embezzled is just like the (actual) embezzler.”
Another tradition states,
“And it will be ordered to throw him in the fire; he will remain in the deep pit of Hell forever.”
The Prophet (S) is also reported to have remarked,
“If one is Muslim, he must not practice deceit and defalcation. For I have heard from Jibr”«l that deceit and cheating belong to hell.”
Then he (S) continued,
“One who cheats a Muslim is not from us, and one who embezzles the believers is (also) not from us.”
The following tradition is recorded in the book al-K”fi:
“There are Three qualities that are the sign of a hypocrite even if he prays and fasts and calls himself a Muslim: lying, violating promises and defalcation.”
This tradition had already been mentioned in the previous discussion.
Amir ul-Mu’min”«n ‘Ali (a.s.) says;
“There are four things and even if one of them enters a house it causes economic catastrophe and it never remains blessed: defalcation, thievery, wine and adultery.
Thus if one or more members of a household indulge in one of these sins, such a household is deprived from divine blessings. It brings about an economic ruin. It must also be clarified, however, that the house of the thief is deprived of ‘barakat’ (divine blessings) and not the place where robbery occurs.
Misappropriation causes misfortune
The Holy Prophet (S) remarks,
“Trustworthiness causes one to be self sufficient (financially) and misappropriation causes poverty.”
The narrator says that I said to Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.),
“There is a lady in Madinah, with whom people leave their daughters for training (and education). We have observed that she could maintain herself with so less, but we have never known her to have any financial problem.”
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) remarked,
“It is because she is truthful and trustworthy. These two qualities increase sustenance.”
Another tradition from the same Imam (a.s.) is as follows:
“Do not be deceived by the prolonged sajda and Ruk — «’ of a man, they may be a part of his habits (that he could not avoid). See his truth and trustworthiness.”
Thus it is these qualities that prove righteousness and piety.