Do What You Say


Surah al-Saff – Verse 2

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ

Rebuking those who do not stand on their own words, the blessed Verse is asking them:

2 – “O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not act upon it?”

Although the blessed Verses were revealed concerning the jihad and desertion from the Battle of Uhud, but the Occasions of Revelation never restrict the broad contextual meanings of the blessed Verses. Consequently, any vain word deserves censure and rebuke, be it in terms of steadfastness in battlefield or any other positive and constructive act.

According to Imam Sadiq (as), the blessed Verse, among other issues, alludes to failure to keep one’s word, saying that a believer’s promise is like a vow, though expiation is not required for it.1

Surah al-Saff – Verse 3

كَبُرَ مَقْتًا عِندَ اللَّهِ أَن تَقُولُوا مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ

  1. Most detestable it is with Allah that you say what you do not act upon it.

The Arabic word maqt denotes abomination and odiousness. Faith is to be accompanied by action and sincerity, otherwise it will deserve censure and rebuke. Some people utter empty words in friendly get-togethers but they fail to act upon their words when it is necessary to take action.

One of the significant tokens of true believers is that their words and deeds are totally in harmony and the more one distances from such principle, the more he distances from faith.

It is in this vein that in his epistle to Malik Ashtar, Imam ‘Ali (as) said unto him:

“Refrain from making promises and failure to keep you word, since such failure will lead to severe wrath by God Almighty and the people as it is said in the Holy Qur’an (this ayah).


keep word

Don’t we see ourselves making statements such as:

  • Don’t worry, task will be done by tomorrow.
  • I will call you shortly
  • It is a done deal

Yet days pass and nothing happens….

Another common set of statements; YOU contact someone after long time and he/she says:

  • Long time no see
  • You didn’t call me for ages
  • Never visited us since long
  • Where have you been
  • Etc etc

Do What You Say…

Upon hearing such statements, one of my late uncle used to say “the road that leads to my house also goes to your house”. Meaning, you could have bothered to visit me if I didn’t.

So Brothers & Sisters “Your words are your pledge – Do What You Say…”