Why A Helping Hand Is Always Better Than Praying Lips

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With the current crisis going on in Gaza, Iraq/Syria, and all around the world, I often hear statements like “Please make dua (prayer) for them”, or “Pray for the destruction of the oppressors”, and think to myself: “What good is a prayer without action?”

We have imams supplicating their hearts out at the weekly Friday prayer, imploring God to restore the condition of the “Muslim Ummah” and pleading God to help the Muslims. But that doesn’t seem to do anything whatsoever. The atrocities keep happening, and the “Muslim world” keeps plunging into deeper issues.

Why?

Well, let’s see! Because we’re not doing anything about it!

Prayer, as I understand it, is your self-talk with God to provide you a direction towards your goal. To act as a constant reminder, a motivator even. An example would suffice for the skeptic. Ask all your friends and family to pray that you pass an exam, but do not put any effort into studying the material. Do you reckon you will pass? No one does that, because deep down inside you are perfectly aware that it is doomed for failure. So, why persist in this dogma when it comes to the well-being of others?

As long as prayer inspires you to actually do something, or increase your empathy with those who are suffering, it can be considered useful. But in and of itself, prayer is not a magical mantra that would automatically set things aright. From a very early age, we’re brainwashed to pray for this and pray for that. Most of us are not taught activism, unfortunately! Hence, this type of mindset breeds lazy individuals who put everything in the “hands of God” in the face of oppression, greed, and tyranny.

So, what is the problem exactly? Has God stopped listening to us? Or, could it possibly be that we’ve forgotten the vital aspect that WE were supposed to be the vicegerents (Khalifa) of this earth (2:30)? Certainly, you would not ask your boss to do something that was delegated to you!

God has endowed us with body, mind, and soul. Body to be mobile, active. Mind, to ponder and come up with solutions. And Soul, to feel the pain of others. We are assigned a role to help humanity and have been given the necessary tools to collectively achieve this goal. But, what do we do in return? Ask God to intervene somehow to restore order. How ironic! And how utterly ungrateful we have become…

The prophets, our supposed role models, did not pray all day long asking God to put an end to the oppression of human beings. No, they were intelligent beings who knew that prayer without action is a mockery of the “self”. Musa (Peace be upon him) is the prime example for this. An ordinary man with practically no following whatsoever decided to face the tyrant Firaun one on one. With his utmost dedication and determination, he freed the children of Israel from the oppression of Firaun.

These are the role models we have to revive, if we are to improve the sanctity of human life. This is what we call following the example of the prophets. Following their character! And, here too, we have deviated from the right course. Instead of following their character, we try to imitate their personality by dressing up like them. But, I digress.

In conclusion, we have to stop acting as if God will take care of everything eventually. This is not our purpose as human beings. Sure, prayer is a great practice — as long as it is complemented with activism. Contribute your time, your resources, to the well-being of others. Only then will we reach self-actualization. And only then can we hope to have a clear conscience.

 

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5 thoughts on “Why A Helping Hand Is Always Better Than Praying Lips

  1. Pingback: Quran: The Book That Weeps, Hidden Inside Its Shelf! | Muslim Reformation

  2. I would like to add that organization and unity of purpose is what is needed in actually. As we know with voting systems random actions do not lead to change. This is why the Quran tells us to fight in God’s cause as a solidly cemented structure. But unity does require some modicum of philosophical unity, and herein lies the problem. This is where sectarianism comes in and is why I think it is good and bad. Extremist sectarianism as you point out in one of your articles is bad. The kind that allows for you only to focus on differences and not similarities, topped off with scoop of violence and at very best belligerent attitudes. But sectarianism can also create unity of purpose if it is populated with quality people and leadership. In Arabic it’s all about the word that you use. In essence there is no difference between hizb, shi’ah, ummah. And the laws/rules/philosophies you live by are your millah or deen. As you and I know our religious organizations are rife with corruption, personality worship, miseducation and underservicing of their own communities. Also we know that in most of these countries where our “fellow” Muslims are suffering they are up against governments with huge funds and backing whereas we are nothing but small, splintered religious groups. The majority of our fellow Muslims have been satured with cultural norms that in some cases are good representations of the teachings of the Quran and humanity and in many other cases are gross violations of the teachings of the Quran, and all of these cultural norms they take as Islam. The anti-human and tyrannical tendencies of racism, colorism, tribal antagonism, ethnocentrism, abuse of women, children, abuse of all poor or lower class people comfortably coincide with these people’s ideas of Islam. And to be honest, only huge cultural forces can change these things. It will take a large, powerful, well-connected and well-oiled Quranist organization to help change these things. Without this, we will inevitably end up as victims of the charity rackets, the jihadist rackets or the pro-tyrannical government rackets, all of which are large, powerful, well connected and well oiled organizations.

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  3. Pingback: Does Praying For The Deceased Make A Difference? | My Interpretation of Islam

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