Devotional — A beacon of hope

Published 4:18 pm Friday, July 5, 2024

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Years ago, I volunteered as a prison chaplain. There was one aspect of this responsibility that always intrigued me. Some of the inmates astutely articulated the tenets of their religion yet were unable to adhere to them when released from incarceration. Many of them were repeat offenders.

The inconsistencies in this behavior are not limited to prison inmates. Others have difficulty living lives guided by Divine moral and ethical standards required of people of faith. As a nation, we profess piety and loyalty to our God-conscious beliefs, but exhibit characteristics of greed, selfishness, and intolerance. Rather than respecting the inherent human value of all people, we sometimes pursue goals that may infringe upon the rights and well-being of others.

In scripture we find, “Those who believe and do good will certainly have a never-ending reward” (Qur’an 41:8). We also find in James 2:14, “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man says he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?”

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These two verses admonish men and women of faith to put their beliefs into action by engaging in good works. What are good works? They are activities that enhance the well-being of oneself and their community. To say one believes and then exhibits selfish, avaricious characteristics is not righteous behavior

As a youngster, I recall reciting our Pledge of Allegiance in which we declared ourselves to be “one nation under God.” In those days, it was not uncommon to recite a prayer at the start of our school day. Many of our long-established organizations continue this practice. Yet, as I advance in years, I must ask myself if this devotional activity truly reflects the majority sentiment.

Daily prayer has been removed from our schools and public forums. The importance of spiritual boundaries in our public and private lives has moved from the public domain to individual practices. There is no longer a common desire to live in a community guided by Divine mandates. Unfortunately, the devaluation of religion has predictively led us to become a morally sick nation; one in which a big lie can garner supporters.

Let us, a community of God-conscious people in Southside Virginia, champion a new standard. One in which we work cooperatively for the well-being of ourselves and our neighbors. Let our cooperative efforts become a beacon of hope for a brighter tomorrow for all. 

Qadir Abdus-Sabur, Ph.D. is an Imam at the Islamic Center of Prince Edward. His email address is