Good Deeds Challenge #13

” O you who believe! Fulfill your promises…” -Quran 5:1

The Prophet (SAW) said: “Three traits single out a hypocrite, even if he prays or fasts and claims to be Muslim: If he speaks, he lies. If he makes a promise, he does not keep it. If he is entrusted, he betrays the trust.” -Al-Bukhari and Muslim

We all know that fulfilling promises is an inextricable part of our faith. But in the frenetic pace of our lives, sometimes our words get the better of us. How many times have you told a friend, “Yeah, I’ll call you next week so we can get together,” and then you don’t. These types of relatively innocuous promises can become habitual. I am the first to admit that this is a huge problem for me. I certainly do not premeditate my lack of following through, but I too often allow other trite issues to usurp priority over these “everyday” pledges of action.

It’s time to take stock of how we use our words. Do we mean what we say? Do we follow-through? If we tell our children we’ll take them to the park tomorrow, do we? What I realized is that, as Muslims, we have a very clear code of ethics, as delineated by the Quran and the Sunnah. Our characters are a combination of many things: ethics, values, morals, and integrity (they are, technically, very different, though many people use them interchangeably). So, though we may be able to avert willingly breaking promises, it’s the little things that I’m talking about now. I’m asking you to engage in quality control. Don’t say you are going to do something unless you are CERTAIN you will be doing it. I think we’ll all find that it may be harder than we think.

I don’t want us to underestimate how even these very slight broken oaths (and though they may not be phrased in the language of promises and oaths, they ARE our words- implicit assurance that we will do what we say) threaten to erode our integrity, trustworthiness, and genuineness. If you are a parent, it is even more important to take stock of the weight of your words in the eyes of your children. It is our responsibility to them to exhibit Islamic morals and imbibe Islamic values. Above all else, it is our duty to ALLAH (SWT), and in the end, it is He that will take account of our deeds.

May ALLAH (SWT) help us to take the time to think before we speak, enabling us to fulfill our every promise, thereby honoring us with dignity, trustworthiness, and unwavering integrity through our deen. For those of you who know me, please forgive me for any unfulfilled promises I have made in the past, and treat me with mercy if I fail again in the future. Ameen.

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~ by deedschallenge on May 17, 2008.

4 Responses to “Good Deeds Challenge #13”

  1. subhaanAllah… this always scares me. Rather than tell someone that I really can’t do something, I always say, “I’ll try inshaaAllah…” even when I know it’s not possible. We need to be straight with people so no one misunderstands us and waits around for our help/company/visit/etc. As you wrote, “Don’t say you are going to do something unless you are CERTAIN you will be doing it.” We muslims really misuse “inshaaAllah” nowadays. It’s become a way of putting things off (later, inshaaAllah… tomorrow, inshaaAllah) and a way of avoiding conflict (sure, I’ll visit you someday inshaaAllah) rather than the usage it was intended for: appending all of our sincere plans of action with the reminder that nothing happens unless Allah wills it to happen.

  2. You really hit the nail on the head when speaking about “Insha’ALLAH.” Within the first years of my conversion,I had a hard time saying “No” to anyone, for fear that it would be judged as a lack of generosity or caring. A great segue into the foray of flat-out “no’s” was the “insha’ALLAH.” It was a complete disengagement from the conversation, and, as you so eloquently stated, a dishonor to its intended meaning. I guess I used it often to mitigate my discomfort, indecisiveness, or fear of confrontation. If I used it on my kids (“Yeah, maybe, insha’ALLAH”), they would look at each other and say, “Oh… that means no.”

    SubhanALLAH. Jazaki ALLAHu khairan for pointing that out. I think that our intentions are primarily good when we make these promises of action (ex. don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings), but our code of conduct, the Quran and Sunnah, hold us to higher standards. Urging each other to reignite the basics of honesty in our words and actions, will lead us to higher ground, insha’ALLAH.

  3. Subhana Allah, every new challenge comes just at the right time for me sister Gena. It is as if the challenges are tailor made for me. I have lately been plagued with guilt at letting my social obligations take back stage in my life. I keep saying to friends in sha Allah we will get together soon, and I truly mean it, yet something always comes up. I ask Allah who knows us better than we know ourself, to help each and every one of us in this challenge to keep our promises. Jazaki Allah khairan sister Gena, I love you, and all my sisters and brothers for the sake of Allah.

  4. Jazakumullaahu Khayran for the challenges. They’re really great. I know I don’t write on the blog nearly enough, so I decided to give it a shot today =)

    This is also something I have trouble with. I often tell people I’ll do something, then promptly forget all about it. May Allah forgive me and purify my heart from hypocrisy.

    As for the “inshaa Allah” SO TRUE! It’s my nice way of saying “maybe” as opposed to “Yes unless Allah somehow prevents this from happening”…

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