By Aseel Elborno
“Whosoever of you sees an evil, let him change it with his hand ( ie engaging your representatives, going to marches, signing petitions, voting, volunteering); and if he is not able to do so, then [let him change it] with his tongue ( ie speaking up in social gatherings, writing on social media) and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart ( ie thoughts and prayers) — and that is the weakest of faith.” [Muslim]
Islam is a faith that calls for action in the face of injustice. A simple google search with the words Islam and justice will dish out hundreds of references from the Quran and Hadith on what we are called to do. In a world that is ridden with abuse, hunger, and insecurity, it’s easy to feel helpless and hopeless. It’s easy to go down that road. But today I’m urging you to reconsider.
Each of us, every single one of us, can do something. We teach our children from a young age that they too can pitch in to the upkeep of the home, assigning them simple tasks like putting their toys away. No matter your profession, whether you are an engineer or a singer, you have the responsibility to do something in the face of injustice. Don’t wait on the ‘activists’ or the ‘leaders of the community’ to do it. Pick a cause and focus your efforts on it.
Maybe you’re moved to action by the latest school shooting and want to help push Congress to enforce better gun safety laws so you write a letter or call your representative. Maybe your heart is broken when you see the homeless vets in the streets and begin volunteering at a shelter. Perhaps you’ve come to realize that our criminal justice system is broken and prejudiced towards our black brothers so you decide to donate to a civil rights organization. And even if you can’t do any of those things for whatever reason, then speak up!
The next time you hear someone say something racist, call them out. The next time you read a comment on Facebook that is clearly hate-filled, respond. The next time you see an article about a genocide occurring in the world, take a break from entertainment news and educate yourself on what’s happening. And if for some reason you can’t even do those things, then please, at least keep those who are most unfortunate, most marginalized, most affected by injustice in your prayers. But to sit idly by watching as injustices occur and do absolutely nothing isn’t an option.
Visit IRUSA.ORG to donate, volunteer, or learn about other ways to activate your faith by becoming a contributing member of society!