Preaching to People and forgetting One’s Self
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reprimands the scholars of the People of the Book that they preach to others to do righteous deeds and acts of piety but do not follow their own advice. Religion is same for all. One must not simply preach to others, but also apply the command on himself.
Often times, we expect others to change without making any efforts on our part. We want people to speak the truth, to uphold their promises, to not cheat others, to be punctual and committed to their goals, but we don’t follow our own advice.
In Surah as-Saf, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ
“O you who have believed, why do you say what you do not do?” (61: 2)
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala ends ayah 44 by saying, “Then will you not reason?” meaning you forbid others from going against the Book while you do not follow it yourself. The caller to goodness must first set an example himself, and not merely preach to others.
The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,
“A man will be brought on the Day of Resurrection and thrown in the (Hell) Fire, so that his intestines will come out, and he will go around like a donkey goes around a millstone. 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.” [Bukhari]
[Read the full hadeeth]
POINT OF REFLECTION:
We recite the Book – the Qur’an, but do we live by its commands?