By Imam Zaid Shakir
One of the signs of true faith is that it leads its possessor to manifest piety wherever he or she may be, because of the awareness that God has the ability to see, hear and witness us at all times.
Hence, for the righteous there is no difference in their public and private behavior. One of the great tribulations befalling many people in our time is that they appear as saints in public, but in the privacy of their homes they are tyrants and oppressors.
Such behavior is totally unacceptable and one behaving thus will be taken to task by God. The Prophet, peace upon him, has admonished us to be mindful of God, both publicly and privately.
One of his prayers was the following:
“O God! I ask you to grant me reverence of You, privately and publicly.”
Imam al-Shafi’i mentioned, “The three most precious things are giving charity during times of need; being impeccably mindful of God in private; and speaking the truth in the face of one you hope to benefit from, or one you fear.”