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The Virtues Of Kindness

Human beings are endowed with many wonderful qualities and abilities. Inspite of the limitations imposed upon the actions of humankind by time and space, people are, nevertheless able to create, convey and inspire great beauty.

Because human nature is complex and weak, comprised as it is of the spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical aspects, it cannot easily be brought into balance or controlled without a coherent system. This system of self-governance is bestowed upon humankind by the Creator: Religion. Adhering to it provides the framework within which human potential may be realised and peace, of which kindness is an essential component, may both be attained as well as maintained.

The Creator of all the worlds is possessed of an infinity of Beautiful Attributes and Perfect Names. The ones oft-mentioned, most closely associated with Allah SWT in the Qur'an are Ar-Rahman, The Most Gracious, and Ar-Raheem, The Most Merciful. Each and every Chapter, except Surah 9 At-Tawbah, begins with the invocation: Bismi-Llah Ir-Rahman Ir-Raheem: In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful.

In addition, HE is Ar-Rauf, The Compassionate, Al-Wadud, The Loving, Al-Haleem, The Forbearing One, At-Tawwab, The Acceptor Of Repentance, Al-Ghaffar, The Oft-Forgiving, Al-Ghaffur, The All-Forgiving, Al-Wali, The Protector, Al-Hafiz, The Preserver, As-Salaam, The Source Of Peace, Al-Barr, The Source Of Goodness, and so on. The Qualities of Allah SWT manifest HIS exceedingly, intensely and extensively loving, compassionate Nature - HE Is, above all else, Kind, Tender and Gentle. Creation and creatures exist only as an outcome of the Mercy of The Most Merciful.

The verb Rahima means -
To have mercy,
have compassion,
to be merciful.

Rahmah -
human understanding,

Raheem -

Surah 6 Al-An'aam, Verse 12
Say: "To whom belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth?" Say: "To Allah, Who has willed upon Himself the Law of Grace and Mercy"

The above Statement is repeated in Verse 54 of the same Surah, in order that the infinite and eternal qualities of Allah SWT's Grace and Mercy may be emphasised. To illustrate these Perfect Attributes and bring them to life, as it were, Allah SWT chose human beings, elevated them to the status of Messenger and bestowed upon them HIS Revelations - so that mankind may know right from wrong, true from false, bad from good, and thus establish just and equitable systems wherewith to attain prosperity and success, in all endeavours and in every field of activity.

The role models for believers are the Prophets (pbut) Their lives represent true sincerity and real humility. The manner in which they conveyed the Messages entrusted to them - as narrated in the Qur'an - abundantly explains, in clear terms, exactly why they were chosen by Allah SWT. They were patiant with their wayward compatriots, whilst they exhibited great forbearance with their bitterest enemies and opponents. They were kind to their peoples, and were invariably protective of the vulnerable members of their communities. Being kind translates into being good to others - and the Prophets exemplified goodness to the utmost extent -

Surah 11 Hud, Verses 74-75
And when the fear had left Abraham, and the glad tiding had been conveyed to him, he began to plead with US for Lot's people:
for, behold, Abraham was most clement, most tender-hearted, intent upon turning to Allah again and again.

Surah 9 At-Tawbah, Verse 128
Indeed, there has come to you (O mankind) an Apostle from among yourselves: heavily weighs upon him (the thought) that you might suffer (in the life to come) full of concern for you (is he, and) full of compassion and mercy towards the believers.

Surah 26 Ash-Shu'ara, Verses 214-220
And warn (whomever you can reach, beginning with) your kinsfolk, and spread the wings of your tenderness over all the believers who may follow you, but if they disobey you, say: "I am free of responsibility for aught that you may do!" and place your trust in the Almighty, the Dispenser of Grace, who sees you when you stand (alone) and (sees) your behaviour among those who prostrate themselves (before HIM) for, verily, HE Alone Is All-Hearing, All-Knowing!

Surah 33 Al-Ahzaab, Verse 21
Verily, in the Apostle of Allah you have a good example for everyone who looks forward (with hope and awe) to Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah unceasingly.

Surah 12 Yusuf, Verse 111
Indeed, in the stories of these men there is a lesson for those who are endowed with insight.

Islam, Submission, Salaam, Peace, and Muslim, one who submits (to the Will of Allah SWT) are derived from the verb Salima, which means -
to be safe and sound,

Surah 16 An-Nahl, Verse 125-126
Call you (all mankind) to your Sustainer's Path with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in the most kindly manner: for, behold, your Sustainer knows best as to who strays from HIS Path, and best knows HE as to who are the right-guided.
Hence, if you have to respond to an attack (in argument) respond only to the extent of the attack levelled against you; but to bear yourselves with patience is indeed better for (you, since Allah is with) those who are patient in adversity.

The religion of Islam is a continuation, confirmation and conclusion of the earlier monotheistic faiths represented by Judaism and Christianity. The ideals of abiding peace, amongst and between similar as well as diverse peoples, may only be attained by adhering to the principles and precepts upon which the Deen of Islam is founded. True people of Faith, therefore, are characterised by their humility, patiance, forbearance, generosity, and kindness.

Surah 49, Al-Hujuraat, Verse 10
The believers are brothers of one another; so set the (strained) relations right between your brothers and fear Allah.

Surah 41 Al-Fussilat, Verse 34
But (since) good and evil cannot be equal, repel you (evil) with something that is better - and lo! he between whom and yourself was enmity (may then become) as though he had (always) been close (to you), a true freind!

Kindness means -

Kindness has many levels, various states and is manifested in a multitude of ways:
1) Being kind to oneself - treating the self with justice; this justice radiates outwardly.
2) Being kind to parents - granting them their rights; fulfilling responsibilities through constant acts of generosity and patiance. Q17:23-24
3) Being kind to relatives, Q17:26
4) Being kind to freinds - acknowledging the blessings of companionship; helping and supporting them in times of difficulty and need.
5) Being kind to neighbours - ensuring that they are well: safe-guarding their property and privacy.
6) Being kind to the meek, innocent, weak, poor - realising that the state of vulnerability is one in which all human beings enter into at some time in their lives. Q17:28
7) Being kind to the community - contributing positively and constructively in order to build strong societies.
8) Being kind to humanity - irrespective of race and religion. Thus, honouring the commond bond which exists across nations and continents.

Surah 4 An-Nisaa, Verse 36
And worship Allah (alone) and do not ascribe divinity, in any way, to aught beside HIM. And do good to your parents, and near of kin, and to orphans, and the needy, and the neighbour who is a stranger, and the freind by your side, and the wayfarer, and those whom you rightfully possess. Verily, Allah does not love any of those who, full of self-conceit, act in a boastful manner.

Unkindness has been categorically condemned by Allah SWT -

Surah 107 Al-Ma'un, Verses 1-7
Have you ever considered (the kind of man) who gives the lie to all moral law?
Behold, it is this (kind of man) that thrusts the orphan away,
and feels no urge to feed the needy.
Woe, then, to those praying ones
whose hearts from their prayer are remote -
those who want only to be seen and praised,
and, withal, deny all assistance (to their fellow-men)!

The unity of humankind is best acknowledged and understood when the virtues of kindness extends to all:

Surah 49, Al-Hujuraat, Verses 13
O men! Behold, WE have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another. Verily, the noblest of you in the Sight of Allah is the one who is most deeply conscious of HIM. Behold, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.

Allahu 'Alam

Translations from:
"The Message Of The Qur'an" by Muhammad Asad.

Dictionary definitions from:
" Hans Wehr: A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic" Edited by J.Milton Cowan.
"The Oxford Compact Dictionary & Thesaurus" Oxford University Press, 1997.

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