Orland Park Prayer Center

The Prayer Center of Orland Park

Complacency is a feeling of self-satisfaction without awareness of potential danger or defect.

Individuals, communities, and governments are considered complacent when they stand neutral in the face of injustice, ethnic cleansing, genocide, or any form of oppression. The history of Prophecy is a history of standing up to all forms of oppression being political, economic, or social. Prophets and Messengers were and remain excellent role models for humanity in confronting oppressive rulers and coming forward to solve the problems of their people. Standing aside watching what is happening means the acceptance of the status quo and the potentially dangerous consequences.

Prophet Moses (PBUH) came back to the palace of the Pharoh in Egypt and asked him to release the Children of Israel from the bondage of slavery.  “You send with us the Children of Israel.” [26:17]

The Pharoh was surprised to hear this from the person he and his wife adopted and raised since he was a baby under their care in the palace. “He said: Did we not cherish you as a newborn among us, and did you not stay in our midst many years of your life.” [26:18]

What was the response of Moses (PBUH)?

Moses refused to be complacent with the practices of the Pharoh and his elites. Moses (PBUH) acknowledged all the good things his adopting parents did for him- thank you for your hospitality and all the favors you bestowed on me. But enslaving my people is not a favor, and I cannot accept it and sit idle doing nothing about it. “And this is a favor with which you reproach me- that you have enslaved the Children of Israel.” [26:22]

Another example from the project of prophecy is Prophet Joseph (PBUH).

Joseph (PBUH) saw through the dream of the King an impending famine striking the whole kingdom. He could not remain neutral i.e., complacent. He wanted to be part of the solution if not the solution of this challenging calamity. He proposed to the King to put him in charge of the coffers of the kingdom.  “He said: Set me over the storehouses of the land: I will indeed guard them as one who knows.” [12:55]

Joseph (PBUH) supported his proposal to the King with his “CV” which consisted of two parts:

Part one shows his habit of doing or character: “Hafeez” حفيظ)) which reflects his honesty and integrity.

Part two shows his habit of making: “Aleem” (عليم) which reflects his level of knowledge and “know how”.

Joseph (PBUH) did not put any conditions for his help. Knowing that the King was following his own religion, Joseph (PBUH) did not ask him to change his religion as a prerequisite to his contribution.

Standing up against injustice and refusing to be complacent is a challenging matter. The Quran provides us with a very balanced recipe to do that.

The Quran asks the believers to stand up to any form of injustice or oppression. “And those who, when an oppressive wrong is inflicted on them, they help and defend themselves.” [42:39]

Anger in this situation is a highly possible natural emotional response. The Quran preemptively trains the believers to forgive and forgo, and not to act in an evil way when they get angry. “Those who avoid the greater crimes and shameful deeds, and when they are angry even then forgive.” [42:37]

Between the verse that recommends forgiveness at the time of anger and the verse that encourages standing up to oppression, we see the verse that advises the believers to conduct their affairs by consultation. Consulting the right people, especially those who are experts in their respective domains will obviously minimize the chances for wrongdoing or going astray. “Those who respond to their Lord and establish prayer; who conduct their affairs by mutual consultation; who spend out of what We bestow on them for sustenance.” [42:38]

Notice that mutual consultation شورى)) is sandwiched between prayer and charity. This must give the impression that the practice of mutual consultation is not less important than Salat or Zakat.

In conclusion, neutrality in the face of oppression is complacency. Standing up to injustice must be balanced with the capacity to forgive. Mutual consultation is a necessary tool to avoid blind spots and committing mistakes.

By Dr. Walid Khayr

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