WHY ARE MORAL VALUES SO IMPORTANT TO MUSLIMS?
These values are a part of who we are as Muslims and as human beings. We have all been gifted within us the capacity to do tremendous good with these values for ourselves and for others. Embodying these values is how we uphold Islam. It is the correct way of being a Muslim, because it is a direct reflection of the level of our faith.
LET'S START WITH KINDNESS
Kindness is defines as the quality of being generous, considerate, gracious & warm. Unfortunately, sometimes kindness has been associated with weakness & naivety but that is not the case. The truth is, kindness often requires strength & courage.
Kindness facilitates human understanding and reduces the chances of friction & conflict. Islam enjoins kindness towards all living creatures. This quality is particularly emphasised in the Quran. Allah urged the Prophet s.a.w to stress kindness among believers the daily actions.
“Keep to forgiveness (O Muhammad” and enjoin kindness and turn away from the ignorant.” [Quran 7:199]
To be kind is to be sincere. Being kind is doing intentional, voluntary acts of kindness, not only when it is convenient, but when it is hard to be.
Kindness is a movement. It acts like a chain reaction. One small act of kindness can start a ripple effect that impacts an entire community.
Kindness is grace. We are not free of mistakes; we are only human after all. But, we can choose to be kind in our response to mistakes, both to ourselves and others.
Think before we speak.
Forgive before seeking revenge.
Think about long-term relationships instead of short-term pride.
Let’s not forget that none of us are perfect, so be gracious and be kind.
KINDNESS BEGINS WITH YOU
Kindness begins by displaying it to ourselves and our immediate surroundings. It is human nature to learn by watching others (also known as associative learning) so while we are displaying kindness, others can learn from our actions and choices. This is especially effectual in nurturing kindness in children.
What are some simple ways to display kindness? Practice, practice, practice. Actions like volunteering and donating to charity are very impactful actions of kindness. They help so many people including the volunteer/donor in various aspects and everyone should engage in such acts for the benefit of humankind. However, kindness need not be grand gestures.
Kindness starts with a simple smile, offering compliments or even holding the door for someone. Even if the receiver of your kindness may not respond with kindness in return, you have already injected some subconscious positivity into their day and it will impact them, either by improving their serotonin levels or even possibly by indirectly giving them inspiration to pass it on.
We are often told to use polite words. But there is more to “thank you” than being polite. It is an expression of gratitude and gratitude brings about positive energy.
Be generous in saying thank you even for the smallest of things. It gives positive affirmation to people, in turn encouraging them to do more good deeds and it reminds us to act with intention.
THE VIRTUE OF SINCERE KINDNESS
Kindness is a virtue that Allah has taught us to embody. He has taught us to be compassionate, forgiving, loving and to do good without any expectations.
Let us be careful not to subconsciously harbour hopes of a reward for our acts of kindness as true kindness is sincerity. It is normal at times for us to subconsciously hope for a reward or return of some kind. In such moments, be honest with yourself about this feeling and simply remind yourself that your good deeds should be kept between you and Allah for only He can provide you with Jannah, not anyone else.
Part of being a kind person is to always be polite. When we interact with others, care for their feelings by using polite words and a gentle tone as much as possible. A humble and courteous manner of speaking can bring calm and peace to any situation.
Let us not forget that forgiveness is also kindness. Let us not fixate over determining who’s right or who’s wrong but instead, above all, choose kindness. “Kind speech and forgiveness are better than charity, followed by injury. And Allah is free of need & forbearing”. [Quran2:263]
KINDNESS IS A MARK OF FAITH
Our Prophet s.a.w personified the essence of thoughtfulness and compassion in almost every action.
Remember, regardless what we are faced with, our response should always be in kindness, for kindness more than a mere gesture or sentiment, it is a profound act of faith.
“You do not do evil to those who do evil to you, but you deal with them with forgiveness and kindness.” - Bukhari
KINDNESS IS FOR EVERYONE.
Kindness does not discriminate; it is meant to be given to everyone.
Kindness to our parents
This is especially more so when they attain old age and become a liability. Their sacrifices towards us is insurmountable and the very least we must do is give them unending kindness. As written in the Quran: “Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and do good to parents. If any one of them or both of them reach old age, do not say to them: uff (a word or expression of anger or contempt) and do not scold them, and address them with respectful words.” [Quran 17:23]
Kindness to the intellectually challenged
Speak kindly to them and treat them with empathy.
“And do not give the weak-minded your property, which Allah has made a means of sustenance for you, but provide for them with it and clothe them and speak to them words of appropriate kindness” [Quran 4:5]
We must display kindness in marriage
While a man has heavy responsibilities and rights over his wife, he is to discharge his duties with kindness and beware to never abuse his role.
Kindness to humans, animals, jinn and our environment
As Muslims, we are taught not only to be kind to humans, but also to animals, jinn and our environment.
“A prostitute was forgiven by Allah, because while passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head cover, she drew out some water for it. So Allah forgave her that” - Bukhari
This indicates how merciful Allah S.W.T is and how He forgives us based on our kindness no matter how many sins we have committed.
“A woman was tortured and put in Hell because of the cat which she locked up and tied until it died of hunger” - Bukhari
Just as Allah rewards his people for showing kindness and thoughtfulness to other living creatures, there is punishment for those who are cruel and barbaric.
Allah is merciful and forgives us based on our kindness no matter how many sins we have committed. Just as He rewards kindness, there is punishment for cruelty.
Constantly reflect on our actions and intentions to learn how we can continue to
evolve and be better. Ask ourselves these questions:
Did you commit any acts of kindness today/recently?
Did you knowing or unknowingly perform an act of kindness hoping for it to be recognised by someone?
How can you show kindness to someone who is being unkind to others?
What was the last time I freely gave compliments to my loved ones?
What unkind act or gesture have I committed recently?
How could I be better?
ON A PARTING NOTE...
We are taught to strive to maintain a healthy balance in society and in each and every facet of human dealing.
Let us all embody moral values and integrate them into our daily lives, via our actions and thoughts. Let us learn to use these values as our internal governing system that influences the choices we make. Let us be the Ummah that our Prophet S.A.W would be proud of and that Allah S.W.T will love and be pleased with on the day of Judgement. Amin Ya Rabbal 'Alamin.