Hands, Tongue, and Heart

by Jeannine Sherman
Wednesday April 27, 2022

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever among you sees evil, let him change it with his hand. If he is unable to do so, then with his tongue. If he is unable to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest level of faith.” (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 49)

“Whoever among you sees evil”

How does this hadith apply to MLFA?

This Ramadan as you journey with us through our mission, learning about our cases, have you been feeling what our brothers and sisters may have felt? For example, how would you feel if the police knocked on your door and accused you of a crime you didn’t commit? How would you feel if you were unable to see your family members for years on end or if you felt like you had to choose between your job and your faith?

I see evil in the targeting of Muslims and the separation of Muslim families. I see evil in laws that mean that you are guilty by default and suspicious simply because of your faith. I see this evil.

“… let him change it with his hand”

I also see these hands of mine. They make iftar; they herd children; they write out these thoughts. What can these hands of mine do to change this evil? What can your hands do to change this evil?

We can take action when we see injustice. We can donate. We can stand up with the attorneys at the MLFA-funded Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America (CLCMA) who are determined to push back against injustice and change the laws themselves if need be. When the Prophet (SAW) is telling us to change it with our hands, it’s not offered as one of three options. It’s the highest calling of our faith. When I see evil, I need to change it with my hands. We need your hands to continue to do this work.

“If he is unable to do so, then with his tongue.”

If I have no way of fighting injustice by taking action, if I am unable to donate, if I am underwater with my own struggles, then I use my tongue. I speak up, and I tell these stories. We can’t let others impose fear on us. We say what is true, however inconvenient that may be. Speak. Write. Read and learn so that you can engage. Use your words as a force against injustice. May Allah make it easy, and may He give us strong brothers and sisters to support us.

“If he is unable to do so, then with his heart, and that is the weakest level of faith.”

Let us cultivate carefully what we allow to settle in our hearts – isn’t this part of our work during this blessed time? Reject the spreading of fear and hatred, in your heart and with your tongue and with your hands. In these last nights of Ramadan, let’s struggle beyond the “weakest level of faith”. Let’s use our hands to change the evil that we see, to set innocent people free or to stand beside a brother or sister who’s facing racist policies and unjust laws.