By Jawad Rasul
February 27, 2021
In the Quran, Allah (the Arabic name for God), states that the lowest and the most egregious pit of fire will not be filled with those who denied God and His blessings, rather it will be for hypocrites – those who are two-faced and preach what they do not (nor ever intend to) practice. The traits of hypocrites and warnings to them are found throughout the Quran.
In one such passage, Allah chastises a group of people who claimed to be the dearest to Allah saying, "Do you command people to do good things while you forget yourselves though you are the ones reading the Book? Don’t you think?”
This was directed toward the learned people among the Israelites but indirectly is a warning to all of us who claim to be smart, knowledgeable and wise. The most ironic thing is that these people were the learned scholars who used to read the scripture to the people and interpret what God wanted them to do, while neglecting to do so themselves.
In another passage, Allah states that “He hates that you say what you do not do.”
The preachers like me are the most at risk for falling into things like this because we preach all the time. However, all parents, teachers, politicians and even the average person are involved in some level of preaching. As a result, we all need to watch out.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told us about a man who will be brought on the Day of Resurrection and thrown in the (Hell) Fire, The people of (Hell) Fire will gather around him and say: O so-and-so! What is wrong with you? Didn't you use to order us to do good deeds and forbid us to do bad deeds? He will reply: Yes, I used to order you to do good deeds, but I did not do them myself, and I used to forbid you to do bad deeds, yet I used to do them myself."
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) told us some tell-tale signs of those who are fake, two-faced, hypocrites. He said that a two-faced person lies frequently, doesn’t fulfil his/her promises, is untrustworthy, and gets nasty when in a disagreement. Such people are always worried about pleasing the people who are watching them and try to hide who they really are. As a result, they have to keep lying to project a false image.
A few things we can do about these types of people:
(1) Do not be like them. Avoid all those traits and work hard to live as honest upright individuals. What’s worse than being bad is being bad but pretending to be good. Let's try to be truly and honestly good or at least not harm others.
(2) If you have these people in your circle, be careful and stay away. These people can be toxic and can get others in trouble just to save themselves. It's also important to teach kids at some point about the difference between friends and acquaintances. Friends are chosen carefully, while others are school, work or neighbourhood acquaintances.
(3) Be humble. When I see what ties all the scandalized preachers, the common thread among them is arrogance and pointing fingers at others. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said that we should not air others’ dirty laundries, for if we do, Allah will expose our most private sins in this life and in the hereafter. Not only one should not expose others or publicize the sinners while “reminding" them, but we should also be humble and not think of ourselves as better than them.
Let's face it, there is no doubt that every single one of us is a sinner and has secrets/habits/weaknesses. We are weak and have been created by God as humans and not angels. Let’s focus on ourselves and be easy on others the way we would like others to be on us if our inner secrets were exposed.
Lastly, if we are not practicing something, we should work on ourselves before we preach it to others. Or at least have the sincere intention to practice it ourselves instead of just putting on a good show for the congregation. If we all lived such a life, the world would be a much better place.
Jawad Rasul is the Imam of the Islamic Society of Augusta. He can be reached at (706) 210-5030. Learn more at VisitISA.com.
Original headline: Jawad Rasul: O fellow preachers, practice what you preach
Source: Augusta chronicle
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