The author, Alireza Maktabdar (Qom, Iran), is a Philosopher and researcher at the Institute of Islamic Studies. He has written a number of books including ‘Sincerity for the sake of God’, ‘Inner and Outer Beauty in Islam’ and ‘Good-naturedness in Islam’.
The signs of good-naturedness
Imam Ali said, “Good-temperedness relies on three things: avoiding sins, pursuing permissible (halal) sustenance, and generosity towards the family.”
Below are some specific guidelines to achieve good-naturedness:
-Being humble towards people
-Knowing how to talk, that is, how to choose kind and pleasant words and avoid being sarcastic or rude.
-Smiling and cheerfulness: The expression on a person’s face can positively or negatively affect people’s energy. A beautiful yet unhappy face does not have the same effect that an average-looking cheerful face. A calm and happy demeanour has a soothing effect on others, eventually gaining people’s love, because good nature is real beauty.
All in all, we do not need to be told that greed, jealousy, aggression, idleness, hatred, swearing and backbiting are vices to be avoided. Qualities such as talking less, thinking more, patience, cheerfulness, wanting good for others, and loving and disliking for the sake of God are admirable qualities. Those who try to equip themselves with these virtues will naturally have good manners and become attractive to others.
Social and personal effects of good nature
There are many rewards for a person who is good-natured both in this world and the hereafter. Some of these rewards are listed in the following:
Effects in this world
People dislike aggression and bad manners, and they tend to distance themselves from people who hold those characteristics. On the other hand, good manners attract people and strengthen friendships as the Prophet said, “Good manners make friendships last longer.”
Being pleasant and gentle is one of the most practical traits to have in socializing that attracts people’s affection and makes one’s words more effective. Therefore, the Prophet said, “O sons of Abdul Muttallib, you cannot make everyone’s life easier by your wealth, so make it easier by your kindness.”
The Prophet also said, “The best among you are those whose behaviour is more pleasant, those whom people surround them and approach them; they associate with people and people associate with them.”
A developed society
A society can only develop and progress through forgiveness, collective work, sacrifice, and good manners.
Vices such as greed, jealousy, and holding grudges can reduces a person’s energy due to its mental pressures, resulting in exhausting the body, eventually having a direct impact on longevity. On the other hand, eliminating these vices results in a healthier and longer life. Imam Sadiq said, “Indeed, good manners develop lands and increase longevity.”
It is natural to want a larger share of blessings in this world and in the hereafter. Given the trustworthiness of good-natured people, in business people tend to commerce more with them. Even in daily shopping, people prefer to buy from an approachable and welcoming shopkeeper.
In most big and small companies, employees are trained to treat clients well and to gain their trust and loyalty through gentleness. Imam Ali said, “The treasures of sustenance are kept within good manners.”
Better social status
There have always been people who, without wealth, good looks, or status found their place in society through their good conduct and charm.
Imam Ali said, “How many humble people there were whose kind behaviour elevated them.”
Good nature means that you do not become angry easily and you do not accuse people in your mind. Naturally, this means that no grudge and enmity will be formed and therefore, fewer problems will arise. On the other hand, if anger, grudge, and jealousy become part of one’s mind-set, life will become miserable and intolerable for him.
Imam Ali said, “He whose behaviour is pleasant will reach his goals easier.”
Effects in the hereafter
On the Day of Judgment, God will judge lightly those who have good nature. Imam Ali said, “Improve your manners and God will be lenient on you with regards to evaluating your actions.”
Forgiveness is another reward for good nature. Imam Sadiq said, “Indeed, good-naturedness melts sins as the sun melts ice.” Those who are good- natured not only will his sins be forgiven, but he will also be given, as Imam Sadiq said, “…the reward of a warrior who has fought for the sake of God.”
Because of this good nature, he will eventually be sent to heaven. The Prophet said, “The qualities that make people go to heaven the most are God-wariness (taqwa) and good nature (Husn al-Khulq).”
God loves virtues and the virtuous. A person who is good-natured is loved by God and has its place in heaven. His good nature also benefits him in this world as well. Having good nature is one of the virtues that apart from the role it has in building one’s character, it has many practical outcomes in one’s social and personal life.
It will make life easier on an individual basis free from anxiety or enmity caused by jealousy, greed, or anger. On a social level, it brings people who otherwise may not have been friendly even closer consequently bringing people together easily and ultimately improving the society by establishing peace, safety, and security.