The following reflection was originally published in Ramadan 2017. To read reflections from the 2021 series click here.
By Dallas Wright
You certainly came across the ayat: “O you who have believed, why do you say what you do not do? Great is hatred in the sight of Allah that you say what you do not do” (61:2–3).
Your Creator has asked you to look inward, analyze and confront your many shortcomings and regular inconsistencies. Scholars of interpreting the Qur’an (mufassiroon) have explained that these ayat describe those people surrounding the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم who were prone to exaggerating and lying about their bravery on the battlefield. Similarly, you affirm for yourself a role in the struggle for racial and economic justice, so consider what sacrifices you’ve made and what risks you’ve taken thus far. Have you done what you say that you do?
Personal sincerity is not guaranteed by the company you keep, no matter the caliber of individuals and organizations with which you’ve surrounded yourself. How many people before you attached themselves to the greatest of company — Prophets and Messengers of Allah — yet that did not protect them from a demise destined by the spiritual illness they attempted to hide?
“Allah presents an example of those who disbelieved: the wife of Noah and the wife of Lot. They were under two of Our righteous servants but betrayed them, so those prophets did not avail them from Allah at all, and it was said, “Enter the Fire with those who enter.” — 66:10
Personal sincerity is not guaranteed by the company you keep, no matter the caliber of individuals and organizations with which you’ve surrounded yourself.
While it struck your heart with fear, Surah al-Munafiqoon (The Hypocrites; 63) was revealed by your Lord with perfect Mercy. He exposed the outward and inward traits of those who earned His Anger, so that you might put your own soul on notice and strive hard to avoid their fate. Will you listen?
He, Most Subtle and Gracious, warns you of your own loved ones and material privilege: “Your wealth and your children are but a trial, and Allah has with Him a great reward” (64:15).
He encourages you toward true sincerity in the most clear, plain speech: “So believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Qur’an which We have sent down. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do” (64:8).
And He, Owner of all that exists, brings the good news of a generous reward if you align your actions with your words: “If you loan Allah a goodly loan, He will multiply it for you and forgive you. And Allah is Most Appreciative and Forbearing” (64:17).
You may not live up to your words at every moment, but to declare — publicly and privately — that you’ve devoted your life to Truth and Justice is itself a bold step, and a necessary one. Remember the advice of your Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and keep fighting: “…Say that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, then remain upright” (Recorded in Sahih Muslim on the authority of Sufyan ibn Abdillah, may Allah be pleased with him)
Dallas Wright is a lifelong Chicagoan with over 6 years of experience in the city’s nonprofit sector. While working at Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) to help support the health needs of South Side families, he earned an M.A. from DePaul University in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Currently, he is a research project manager with Northwestern Neighborhood and Network Initiative. His research interests include violence reduction, public health, and incarceration’s impact on psychological wellbeing. Dallas is an avid basketball fan, and also enjoys spending his free time gardening and attempting to learn Arabic.