Rectifying Our Hearts to What is Right

Do not incline towards those who do wrong lest you be touched by the fire, and you will not have other than Allah any protectors; then you will not be helped. (Surah Hud, 11:113)

Humans have always been faced with tests irrespective of their nationalities and religious orientations. These tests include who people actively chose to keep company with and who aligns with who based upon business or political interests. What can pose problems from a spiritual perspective are the degrees in which social and political expediency dictates these.

Abdullah bin Abbas (may Allah be pleased with both of them) stated that "do not incline towards those who do wrong" means that Allah (Mighty & Sublime) commands us not to lean towards nor rely upon those who do wrong, for it reflects affection and sympathy within the heart. Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (may Allah be pleased with him) stated that this also means not to incline towards your self (nafs), for it is a doer of wrong.

Who we socialize with to those we seek support from politically really speaks more about what resides inside of ourselves more than making judgment against others. Affiliating with persons or groups based upon transcending principles is a reflection of our own values and integrity or lack thereof. Hence, the early pious Islamic scholars advised rulers to keep their distance from them, for they viewed that staying in the company of kings was a sign of internal corruption.

What made Muhammad Ali (may Allah forgive and have mercy upon him) such a beloved figure to hundreds of millions of people worldwide was not simply his boxing skills and eloquence before he had Parkinson’s disease. Ali reflected values which are intrinsic in all humans—to incline towards justice over injustice and to sympathize with the oppressed over the oppressor. His refusal to fight in the Vietnam War because he found it to be unjust and against his bona fide religious beliefs was done at the expense of losing the worldwide heavyweight boxing title and all of his wealth, as well as the risk of federal prison time. Despite facing pressure from one of the most powerful governments in the world and much public opinion against him, he did not incline towards oppression in this matter.

Once reviled by millions, Ali was eulogized by Muslims and people of other faiths, by blacks and non-blacks and by Americans and several other nationalities. He was a champion for the little man which earned him authentic respect from common people.

A lesson in this is that success comes from sticking with the noble principles of what is correct and just, not inclining towards bad company nor supporting or campaigning for known wrongdoers and oppressors. Allah (Mighty & Sublime) wants good for us, and good comes to us through keeping good company and supporting those who uphold justice and are not involved in profiting off of the misery of others. In this time in which right is being confused for wrong and wrong is being confused for right in society, we have to be especially cautious of whom we incline ourselves towards, especially during an election season.