A lot of us may in one way or another believe in standing up for what’s right either from a religious perspective or from a fairness/justice perspective. With my interaction with people in my social circles this past month, I have come to the conclusion that a fair portion of them believe in going with the flow and turning a blind eye to the “wrong” that they encounter.
How many times have you been in a situation where you have accepted something in your life because you did not have the courage or patience to fight for what you believe in? What I observed as I progressed in life from high school to university to the corporate world is that the more people get accustomed to the norms that surround them, the more they tend to neglect the things they stand for. These norms could be anything from work culture and social customs to tribal affiliations and status-associated greed. Although most people would disagree with me, I believe it is imperative to stand up for the truth or for what is right in a strong and persistent manner regardless of whether you believe you can have an impact or not.
Some examples of daily life encounters that people do not stop or stand up against include misreporting of financial information to stakeholders, using corporate services for personal benefit, creating opportunities through conflicts of interest, bribery, adultery and cheating, domestic violence, revering politicians based on tribal affiliation, or any other socially accepted practice that most moral systems conflict with.
A few reasons why people do not engage in standing up for the truth are fear of rejection from society, personal monetary or material gain, lack of patience to deal with the consequences and resistance they will be faced with, and no real regard for the truth.
As difficult and costly as it may be to stand up for the truth boldly and bluntly, I believe it must be done for 3 main reasons.
First, it is imperative to understand that standing up for what is right is a divine command in Islam. It allows the alignment of good conduct with the eternal gain of the hereafter. Standing up for the truth is a basic concept of Islam that encourages honest behavior and proactive support for the truth as well as proactive rejection of falsehood. Islam also goes further to encourage debate and dispute in the path of protecting the truth as well as changing falsehood.
“And cover not Truth with falsehood, nor conceal the Truth when ye know (what it is).” – The Holy Quran (2:42)
Second, I believe that standing up for the truth and avoiding the “herd” mentality is consistent with the exalted nature of mankind as compared with living animals. This consistency creates equilibrium between our subconscious selves and our conscious selves. What differentiates humans is the cognitive ability that allows them to take full ownership and control of their actions and its consequences. Standing up for the truth creates a realization of self, which in turn leads to confidence that can influence others to do the same. In essence, this creates a “counter-culture” which promotes good and contributes towards the feeling of achievement.
Third, not only does the individual benefit but also the society as a whole. If standing up for the truth was something that was done on a wide scale in society, the level of social issues and domestic problems would decrease drastically, people’s rights would be preserved through fair opportunities, and the society would prosper as a whole. Each building block of the society (household) would act as reinforcement to a solid structure built on promoting what is good and standing up for the truth proactively.
In today’s world, we have seen a shift towards selfishness and greed for a multitude of reasons. This in turn has trickled down to compromising and trivializing certain values. People, in general, have moved from standing up for what is right to not caring as long as there is a maximum personal gain. I strongly believe that the only way to undo that is to promote a culture of standing up for the truth. Through that culture, we can achieve eternal gain in the hereafter, be in peace with our subconscious selves, and promote widespread good in society.
Don’t you think it’s worth putting some conscious effort into standing up for the truth? The choice is yours.
“Such is Allah, your real Cherisher and Sustainer: apart from truth, what (remains) but error? How then are ye turned away?” – The Holy Quran (10:32)
Mohammed’s bi-monthly column aims to openly and honestly target issues around the native culture, society, religion, economy, and policy that have resulted as a consequence of the constantly changing demographics of the region. The column is characterized by a point-like articulate approach that gives the reader a comprehensive understanding of the discussed issues.