Sound Character & Good Deeds
Having sound character and performing good deeds in an important aspect of Islam. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) taught us to carry out good deeds, no matter how small. In fact, even a smile to a neighbor or removing a harmful object from one’s path is considered charity in Islam. In many places, God-Almighty explicitly places being good to your neighbors in the same verses about establishing prayer, giving alms, and caring for the poor and sick. Our mother, Aisha, may God-Almighty be pleased with her, is reported to have said, while relating a hadith (saying of the Prophet) that you should do whatever good deeds you can, for God-Almighty does not tire (of giving reward) until you tire of doing them (Bukhari, Muslim).
God-Almighty will say on the Day of Judgment, ‘O son of Adam, I was sick and you did not visit Me.’ He will say, ‘O my Lord, how could I visit You, when you are the Lord of the Worlds.’ God-Almighty will say, ‘Did you not know that My servant so-and-so was sick and you did not visit him? Did you not know that if you had visited him, you would have found Me there?’
God-Almighty will say, ‘O son of Adam, I asked you for food and you fed Me not.’ He shall say, ‘O my Lord, how could I feed you when you are the Lord of the Worlds?’ and God-Almighty will say, ‘Did you not know that My servant so-and-so was in need of food and you did not feed him? Did you not know that if you had fed him, you would have found that sustenance to have been for Me?’
‘O son of Adam, I asked you for water and you did not give Me to drink.’ The man shall say, ‘O my Lord, how could I give You water, when You are the Lord of the Worlds?’ God-Almighty will say, ‘My servant so-and-so asked you for water and you did not give him water to drink. Did you not know that if you had given him water, you would have found that water to have been for Me?’ (Muslim)
Good Treatment of Others
The following are just a few verses from the Qur’an enjoining good treatment and kindness to our neighbors and family…
And (remember) when We took a promise from the Children of Israel: You shall worship none save God (as the only Deity, Lord and Sovereign), and do good to parents in the best way possible, and to the near (relatives), to the orphans, and to the destitute; and speak kindly and well to the people; and establish the Prayer in conformity with its conditions; and pay the Prescribed Purifying Alms. (2:83)
Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him alone, and treat parents with the best of kindness. Should one of them, or both, attain old age in your lifetime, do not say “Ugh!” to them (as an indication of complaint or impatience), nor push them away; and always address them in gracious words. (17:23)
The (true) servants of the All-Merciful are they who move on the earth gently and humbly, and when the ignorant, foolish ones address them (with insolence or vulgarity, as befits their ignorance and foolishness), they respond with (words of) peace (without engaging in hostility with them) (25:63) (1)
Islam encourages its followers to develop and participate in society, and create an atmosphere where every individual works towards helping and taking care each other. Many people do not realize that social harmony and peace with nature, between people, and within individuals only come about when your material and spiritual worlds are collided together.
The Islamic term for altruism, “ithar” means to prefer others to you. (2) An underlying lack of altruism is a major factor in a lack of unity, disagreements, and intolerance towards others. When our hearts become hard, we run the risk of losing what makes us human. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) warned us that the heart is a piece of flesh that if it is sound, the entire body will be sound, but if it is corrupt, our entire body will become corrupt. We must purify our intentions and clean our hearts of dirt and contamination. God-Almighty looks at ones heart and will judge us not according to our physical stature and beauty, but by the purity of our hearts. Once a person has purity of heart, the natural occurrence of gaining feelings of compassion toward humanity will take place. Instead of only living for themselves, they will begin to live for humanity. It will become a part of their daily lives. The spirit of altruism depends on this.
Unal, Ali. “The Miraculous Quran.” The Miraculous Quran.
Gulen, Fethullah. The Broken Jug. 2015.