Reflection No. 91 on Q 61:2 – Matching your Actions with your Words

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ

O you who believe! why do you say that which you do not do?
Sura Saff, verse 2

Many believers want to do good, and say they will, but they lack the determination to follow on what they say. This weakness is reproached in this verse, where Allah asks believers why they say what they do not do. The verse that follows this verse emphasizes it even more, saying that Allah dislikes it greatly when believers say that which they don’t do.

Strong faith means to follow on what you have said you will do. It is easy to get carried away and give your word for doing particular things, but you must have the strength of will and the resoluteness to act on what you have said. Once you say something and give your word or make a promise, you cannot take it lightly. The word of a believer is a mighty thing and must be taken very seriously, especially by the speaker himself.

If you are sometimes guilty of saying what you don’t actually do, ask yourself why. Is it that you have very good intentions but don’t seem to have the will to act on it? Then you need to increase your determination and be firm in abiding by what you have said. Or is it that you want to show off a little, so you say much, but you don’t actually do all you say? That is quite serious, and needs an instant remedy. You cannot pretend to be what you are not. That has the subtle danger of hypocrisy, something a believer stays away from completely. Analyse the reasons behind not doing what you say, and find a solution.

Recite this verse to remind yourself of the necessity to match actions to your words. Before you speak about what you will do, commit yourself to something, make promises, even talk generally about things you are doing, think about this verse. If you know deep down in your heart that you may not really be able to do it, answer God’s question. Why are you saying that which you don’t do? That thought will be enough to keep you away from unfulfilled words and broken promises.