Akhlaaq

Kindness 101 – a class in righteousness

Akhlaaq

Amongst the most profound teachings of the Holy Qur’an, is the teaching of kindness. Indeed, the opening verse of Bismillah, alludes to the kindness of the Creator – His mercy and compassion towards all creatures in the world. Whether you are a layman or from the clergy, the incumbency of kindness cannot be overemphasized for it necessarily forms the basis of all other social virtues including generosity and charity.

Kindness is a type of behaviour marked by acts of generosity, consideration, or concern for others, without expecting praise or reward (Akhlaaq). It is what we do when rendering ourselves in the way of others. Allah, the Almighty, the Kind proclaims in His Holy Book

“And [there is a share for] those who come after them, saying, “Our Lord, forgive us and our brothers who preceded us in faith and put not in our hearts [any] resentment toward those who have believed. Our Lord, indeed You are Kind and Merciful.” – 59:10,

“Kind speech and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury. And Allah is Free of need and Forbearing.” – 2:263

“And when [other] relatives and orphans and the needy are present at the [time of] division, then provide for them [something] out of it [i.e., the estate] and speak to them words of appropriate kindness.” – 4:8

In short, the Holy Qur’an is populated by diverse mentions of extending kindness to others, meaning that it is an important trait to have and to nurture if we are true to the teachings left for us.

In this modern day and age, practicing kindness to ourselves and others can provide physical and mental improvements in our body like lowered stress levels and increased production of feel-good hormones like dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin. Being kind also boosts the immune system, reduces blood pressure, and reduces anxiety.

But how monumentally difficult it is to find kindness in our midst today, despite the heralding of many anecdotal mentions each day of the week. If the proponents and preachers of kindness are intent on rooting for their own personal PR, then their message will bounce back and not generate the goodness that they so eagerly portray to be concerned about. Having the benefit of the doubt for others, understanding the plight of those afflicted with tribulations, restraining from making quick accusations, allegations, and judgments about others, being sincere and honest, and emerging to be of true moral, material, and social help for others when most needed, are some of the facets of kindness that we all seem to lack so how very evidently.

As times become more and more complicated because of changing value systems and cultural habits and in the backdrop of an obstinate affinity to old cultural practices, Kindness (Akhlaaq) seems to be the last item on the agenda for most of us. But if there is any take-home lesson for any of us from the glorious lives of the guides that were sent to us, then it is crystal clear, that kindness ranks up there, and unless we yearn to create that spirit in us, for others, we cannot continue being the claimants of righteousnesses.

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About the author

Mohamedarif is a marketing professional and educationalist with a penchant for writing as a hobby since childhood. As he experimented writing about sporting events at first and then current affairs, he quickly developed a skill for observation of his environment and began to write on reform topics, especially in connection with the community. To further feed his pursuit of writing, he founded several newsletters and bulletins at his school and at the Husayni Madrasah in the 1980's, all the time learning from others already in the field not just about writing, but also about pre-press and production processes. He was also the editor-in-chief of the Knowledge Magazine in 1995–1996. A decade later, importing a flurry of ideas into his new home, Nairobi, he first founded a two page community newspaper then became a regular writer of the Friday Faculty before establishing the Community on Friday, a fully fledged Madrasah magazine in 1996. And while his writing at the community continued, he simultaneously started writing for a business weekly, pairing in with his newfound role as a marketing professional. During his time in Nairobi, he wrote several speeches for sitting chairmen and presidents while also giving some himself, developing his concurrent role as a public speaker and trainer.

With changing times and a decrease in advertising sponsorship, as well as a fall in overall readership, Mohamedarif transformed this publication into an electronic blog. Thus was born the Community on Friday in its present format.

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