We are successful to the
degree that we are dutiful to Allah, and after that, to how we interact with
His slaves. We can easily combine words and embellish our speech to please an
audience; the difficult thing is to back up our words with virtuous deeds and a
(Enjoin you Al-Birr (piety and righteousness and each and
every act of obedience to Allah) on the people and you forget (to practice it) yourselves,
while you recite the Scripture [Torah]! Have you then no sense?)
(Qur'an 2: 44)
A severe punishment awaits a
person who orders others to do good without doing it himself; and who forbids
others from evil while he perpetrates it himself. The dwellers of the Fire who
had known him on earth for his sermons will ask why he is being punished so painfully.
He himself will answer: "I had ordered you to do good without doing it
myself, and I had forbidden you from evil while perpetrating it myself."
An Arab poet said:
"O' you who are a
teacher of others, Would that you had sought first for yourself instruction?
The famous orator Mu'aadh
ar-Raazi would cry and make others cry during his sermons. In one sermon he
recited these verses:
"An unrighteous man
ordering people to righteousness, a doctor treating people while he is
When some of our pious
predecessors wanted to exhort others to give charity, they would first give it
themselves. Some of them related that the people would then voluntarily respond
to their call.
I read of an orator from the
early centuries of Islam who wanted to persuade others to free their slaves. He
saved money for a period of time, and after he had saved enough, he purchased a
slave, whom he immediately freed. In a moving speech, he then exhorted others
to do the same; as a result, many slaves were freed.