Bismillah Hir Rahman Ir Raheem
Peace and blessings be upon you all
“A Muslim is a one from whose tongue and hands the Muslims are safe” (Al Bukhari and Muslim Book 1, Hadith 221)
In light of this year’s theme of SIST, I’d like to talk to you all about what it means to be kind.
Kindness is the state of mind of we, not me
Kindness is not spreading your day’s anger and disappointment on others
Kindness is the belief that one small act can change the world or simply one’s perspective in life
As Muslims, we believe that every part of our body has a committed service to show kindness to others and help them out;
Our hands and limbs show kindness by lifting up our neighbor’s heavy groceries.
Our eyes show kindness by looking at the person who’s talking to us to let them know we are listening with interest.
Our nose shows kindness by not making weird gestures when we smell something bad from a person, and
Our lips show kindness when we share words of wisdom and advice and hold our tongue to backbiting and slander.
It is important that we exhibit this essential trait so that we are able to co-exist as a society comfortably and are not a source of harm, fear and disturbance to others. None of us is living alone on a deserted island or in a dark forest and no faith commands anyone to go out and live in isolation for the rest of their lives. If that were so then Allah would’ve created an entire universe for each of us to live in isolation which defeats the purpose of our creation.
So if we live together, the only way we can live so is by being kind to others. What is the beauty of the circle of life? With an ecosystem of multiple kingdoms and species, the main thing providing stability is kindness; to feed and protect the young, to build homes for the whole clan, to migrate in search for better resources and even to live so that they’ll die as energy and nourishment to others. The ecosystem survives with each member working on its niche.
“Every act of kindness of Sadaqah/Charity“
Take for example a man who received his driving license illegally, who overtakes every car on the highway without giving an indicator and assuming that every car will make space for him, who crosses every red light and drives off instead of stopping when he accidentally scratches someone’s car. This man demands that the entire universe functions according to his world and demands kindness from everyone while refusing to abide by the rules of the road and not reciprocating that kindness. Kindness isn’t necessarily a two-way relationship but when a small stain of contempt exists in society, it is likely to spread if people forget about this relationship.
I’ve witnessed this myself. With increase in prices of everything, lack of employment or simply daily stressors, people are becoming more selfish everyday and crime rates are escalating. It’s no longer starting to matter how others feel as long as you benefit in the end whereas in the end, you are still unhappy.
The beauty of kindness is that you live and strive for others’ sake, often with no expectations of being treated the same way, i.e you are being charitable. You aim to lock away your negative self and make the world a better place no matter what you feel and you automatically feel positive of what you’ve done. If you spare one person from harm, you save whole of humanity from its repercussions.
However，kindness is not always about others. It is often about one’s self as we are a part of that society that has to co-exist. We as individuals are not safe from the dangers and trials of the world and that tends to take its tole on us. For that, we need to take a break and focus on ourselves, to nourish out mind, body and soul so that we can rejuvenate with a fresher brighter radiance and become stronger and better people. Islam stresses upon taking care of ourselves as if saving one life saves humanity then that means one life is as important as the infinite lives in the universe spanned across time.
Whether that takes away from being kind to others instead of one’s self is something one learns with experience. Sometimes one need overpowers the other, for e.g you shouldn’t help others sell illegal drugs or do Shirk out of kindness to them. Also, you shouldn’t help the poor & needy because you just don’t want to.
Hence, it is important that we constantly evaluate ourselves and put kindness on a high pedestal for us to work on so that we create a stable and healthy functional society of stable and healthy functional individuals.