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How the Heart is Corrupt and Deceitful

Today, I’m going to talk about one verse, an expression in this verse that really captured me. It’s the longest verse of the Quran – the verse of law and business agreement found at the end of chapter Al-Baqarah.

Within and right after that long verse, Allah actually says:

Don’t hide testimonial. And whoever would hide it, then sinful penalized his heart is.

Now, the idea of hiding testimony is withholding something that your tongue was supposed to say, and withholding testimony is a sin of your tongue.

But remarkably, Allah didn’t say his tongue is sinful for not doing what it should have. He says what is sinful is his heart.

Now, you could just say “he’s sinful” and that’s simple, but when Allah takes a limb and attributes a sin to a limb… you have to appreciate the rhetorical benefit here.

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You know, when you say “you did that with your hands”, then you’re making somebody’s hands responsible, you’re highlighting almost the imagery of their act doing something wrong… “You said that with your mouth?” “Those words came out of your mouth?”

You could just say “you said those words”, but when you say “those words came out of your mouth”, then you’re almost being drawn to the image of someone using their mouth to say something heinous, to say something hideous. That’s the idea behind pointing out a limb.

Now, “his heart is sinful”. The image is of the heart itself having the sin not the tongue, not him, his heart. There is something deep inside his heart. Why?

Because this verse is about business deals. And in business deals, when someone hides testimony is because they have greed and greed rests deep inside the heart, and it’s that virus of that greed pulled on his tongue and held it back. So actually, Allah is not blaming his tongue, He’s blaming the real culprit (the heart). Subhanallah!

It’s so epic how Allah didn’t just talk about the crime, He talked about the root of that crime and who’s going to hold responsible. Why is that so scary?

That’s really scary because this is one of those crimes that isn’t just another sin, because if it was just another sin, your tongue did it, your hands did it, your feet did it, your eyes did it… this time, the sin is done by your heart.

Why is that such a big deal? Because Allah says on Judgment Day, there is nothing that’s going to be a benefit to anyone:

{Except who comes before Allah with a sound heart.}

So, when the heart is sinful, the entire being is in trouble.

What emphasis has the master of all the world placed on honesty in business deals in this verse? What does Islam have to say with treating people honestly when doing business with them? We’re treating employees with honesty, we’re treating employers honestly, we’re treating business partners honestly, we’re treating clients honestly, we’re dealing with people that we have contracts with man…

You know, people go to court… “you promised me that the budget is going to be this, but then you showed up with four times more the price, this is on paper” and then he makes an alternative contract that I don’t know, I never agreed to that… look I have a signature of yours and I did it in Photoshop, his. Photoshop in not the criminal, that heart is the sinner. Subhanallah!

Allah has highlighted something so powerful here and if you understand that then you understand something very grand about the world.

In my own assessment, you don’t have to agree with this, one of my own assessment one of the world’s biggest problems today is unrestricted greed. Companies want more, they only care about the bottom line, nations want more, individuals want more, husbands want more, wives want more, children want more…

We’re ripping the earth apart, and we’re ripping each other apart out of this greed. And Allah is highlighting that that greed rests deep in some crevice inside your heart and that’s what’s sinful. We need to fix that. Until you fix that, greed is not going to get curbed, greed will never go away when you can curb it, you control it…