moral compass

Ethics of Compassion Care

Ethics of Compassion Care

Journey of life Zishaan E Fatema Karim is a writer and a poet, passionate about making a difference and believes in beginning at the roots. She has a Montessori Diploma in Early Childhood Education and 4 decades’ experience in teaching as a Madrasah teacher She also writes children’s stories and creates comic strips and video stories for little children. She facilitates Teaching Skills Practice programs under the MCE of WF and Leadership and Mentorship Development Programs under CBG of AFed. “Small changes by many people equals a Big Change,” is her motto. With that, she anticipates the reappearance of Al Hujjah (atfs) and wishes to be a part of his system of governance.

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n the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Within the healthcare community, compassion is defined as “The recognition, understanding, and emotional resonance with another’s concerns, distress, pain or suffering, coupled with relational action to ameliorate these states.” (Lown, 2016)

However, care and compassion go beyond the horizons of one’s health and physical or mental wellbeing. Islam considers Mankind to be the best of creations as stated in the Holy Qur’an:

Certainly, We created Man in the best make.

Surah At-Tin, Verse 4

When Man is created in the best form, then every aspect of his being is the best. Also, he is to be looked at holistically, in the fact that all aspects of his being- physical, spiritual, mental or intellectual- are all important and all need to be catered for.

Being the Best of Creation, one needs to portray the best character to excel and have a meaningful life. For this, Allah (swt) provided man with both internal and external guides: Internal in the form of experiences and ability to reflect and ponder, and external as Prophets, Imams and Books.

In these areas of guidance, our theme values, CARE & COMPASSION, are the most important ones and form a foundation for the character of man who wants to excel as the Best of Creation.

Every chapter, but Surah al Bara’ah, begins with a Bismillah, which highlights the elements of Compassion and Mercy of Allah (swt). The traits of care & compassion are the results of His two Most Divine attributes, Ar Rahman and Ar Raheem.

In Hadeeth Qudsiy, Allah (swt) says, ‘Mould yourselves to the character of Allah.’

Allah (swt)’s character is known through His Beautiful names, as these are His Divine Attributes. Two powerful ones have been mentioned by Himself in the Bismillah, that precedes not only every chapter of the Holy Qur’an but also every move of a Practicing Muslim. It is a known practice to utter Bismillah before every move; this can be cooking, eating, driving, reading or getting ready- you name it and it should begin with a Bismillah. In addition to the Bismillah giving the value of barakah and blessings to the action, the recitation becomes a reminder to the reciter, for care and compassion in what he is going to perform.

A popular hadeeth also reflects the same when it says, ‘Treat others the way you want to be treated,’ underscores the intrinsic values of care and compassion and necessitates the need for treating others with the same.

The Roots of Deen, the Usool, form the foundation for all values. Divine values become incumbent upon a practicing Muslim to adopt, and Allah (swt)’s Messengers & Guides are role models for these. When one wants to lead a God-centric life, his purpose in life is to move higher and adopt the Divine qualities, in his struggle to meet God and say, ‘Awed by Your presence, I tried to match up as much as I could! Here I am, with the best I could adopt”

The struggle to meet God is depicted in Surah Al-Inshiqaq: Verse 6, urging for continuous striving.

O Man! Surely you must strive (to attain) to your Lord, a hard striving until you meet Him.

The Tenets of Deen, The Furoo, structure life, instilling the power to discern and balance actions in alignment with divine principles, adopting restrain where required.

When one identifies Allah (swt) as His Lord and himself as the slave, he willfully wants to perform actions that will please Allah (swt).

We are familiar with quotes like, “God could not come down to earth, so He created mothers,” or “You have been created to serve the creation, O man. Indeed, to worship, there was no lack of Angels.’

These are words worthy of reflection by those who understood the very purpose of man on earth. A mother is the most compassionate being in a child’s life and cares for the child like no other. The bond between mother and child is that of Care and Compassion for ever. A mother is always loving and caring in all situations. These are Divine values given to her so as to bring up her offspring in the best possible way. When Allah wants to establish the strength of His Mercy and Compassion, He says that He is 70 times more loving and caring than a mother!

When these two values are God-centric, they become a driving force to push man to do charity, perform humanitarian acts, post the right things on the social media, follow the right course, stand up for the oppressed and also pick the right profession for oneself.

Where the Moral compass is the guiding factor, care and compassion are like two hands of a clock that tell the precise personality of a human and his direction in life.

In a world witnessing inhumane actions, the absence of care and compassion is evident. The question arises: Can care and compassion exist without recognizing God? The answer, rooted in the moral compass, suggests a resounding yes, evident in movements against oppression and injustices.

Yes! It is care and compassion that has brought such an uproar against the apartheid in Palestine. This has enabled protests across the globe, posts in abundance on the social media, loud uproar in whatever way possible, all to bring the occupation and oppression to an end.

It is Care and Compassion that has made it possible for thousands of people to boycott popular items of daily use. Some have looked for substitutes, and some abandoned them out of humanity.

However, there is a difference between having ethical values and exhibiting them for reasons like empathy, sympathy, guilt and feeling elevated by doing the right actions, and being God centric and selflessly submissive to the cause of attaining nearness to Him.

The choice lies with individuals, as failure to align with one’s purpose leads to a degradation described in Surah At-Tin, Verse 5

Then We render him the lowest of the low.

Although I started writing this with a bismillah, I will end it with Bismillah too. This serves as a reminder that care and compassion are indispensable values for fostering a peaceful world, transcending boundaries and promoting the well-being of humanity.

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

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