Today the ayah that I am sharing, took me off guard when I was reading it. I might have read it many times before, but somehow, this time, Alhamdulillah what it actually meant struck me. The first look at it, was like, how come? Which was followed by Astagfirullah! And if you have not guessed yet, it is a little scary. For me it is, and I think for most of you as well, it should be so.May Allah swt save our souls. Ameen.
Enjoin you Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and each and every act of obedience to Allah) on the people and you forget (to practise it) yourselves, while you recite the Scripture [the Taurat (Torah)]! Have you then no sense? (Al Baqarah 2:44)
Enjoining every thing that is good, and forbidding every thing that is bad, on others, as reminders, as advice is a good thing right? Yes, of course. Allah swt loves it when you do it and rewards you for it as well. But! When you just preach and do not practice it yourself, it is something that earns you Allah swt’s displeasure.Clearly, as is mentioned in this ayah, Allah swt has questioned the people who preach righteousness to others and do not follow it themselves. It makes no sense to preach to others what you don’t yourself follow or believe in!
One would think, like me till today, that even if I advice and suggest good things to others or advice them against the wrong ones, Allah would be pleased with me, whether or not, I follow the same myself. Subhan Allah! An eye opener today! Even if it be a reminder intended for good. Unless you are doing what you are asking others to do, you are not doing it right. As simple as I can put it in English is, Practice what you Preach! Else, you are better off quiet. Silence, Subhan Allah, is no doubt always a better option for us. May Allah swt guide us. Ameen.
When we command someone to do something, we should be implementing the same in our lives too. I think, without us practicing it, may not be as impacting a reminder to them, as it would be, when we are ourselves into it. It is like a guy, a chain smoker, for example, advising his young brother not to smoke. It does not make sense that we order righteousness on others but refrain ourselves from it. By doing so, we are wronging no one but ourselves. Take a look at this hadeeth.
Imam Ahmad reported that Abu Wa’il said,
“While I was riding behind Usamah, he was asked, `Why not advise `Uthman?’
He said, `Do you think that if I advise him I should allow you to hear it I advise him in secret, and I will not start something that I would hate to be the first to start. I will not say to a man, `You are the best man,’ even if he was my leader, after what I heard from the Messenger of Allah.’
They said, `What did he say?’
He said, `I heard him say,
A man will be brought on the Day of Resurrection and thrown in the Fire. His intestines will fall out and he will continue circling pulling them behind him, just as the donkey goes around the pole. The people of the Fire will go to that man and ask him, `What happened to you? Did you not used to command us to do righteous acts and forbid us from committing evil?’
He will say, `Yes. I used to enjoin righteousness, but refrained from performing righteousness, and I used to forbid you to perform from evil while I myself did it.”‘
(This Hadith was recorded by Al-Bukhari (9:218) and Muslim)
The tafseer for this verse gave an example of a scholar and I quote. “We should state that Allah is not criticizing the People of the Book for ordering righteousness, because enjoining good is a part of righteousness and is an obligation for the scholars. However, the scholar is himself required to heed, and adhere to, what he invites others to. Therefore, enjoining righteousness and performing righteousness are both required.”
Therefore, my dear people, we should never ask someone to do something that we are neither not doing, nor have the will to do. It goes both ways, for enjoining good and shunning evil.
May Allah swt guide us all to truth. And help us to adhere to what is pleasing to Him swt. From now on, be careful of your words. Even if they are good, be mindful of what you are saying. It is like Umar RA has said, ” I have never regretted by silence. As for my speech I have regretted it again and again.”
May Allah swt forgive us for our mistakes that we knowingly and unknowingly commit. May He swt rectify our intentions and accept our deeds. May He swt make it easy for all of us to walk on the deen by the rules He swt has laid down for us. May He swt guide us to truth and keep it on. May He swt grant us all an understanding of the Quran, and keep us steadfast on it.