Serving and treating fellow human beings with courtesy and kindness is an essential part of a good moral conduct. All world religions share and support this concept. The Holy Qur’an details the teachings of Prophet Ibrahim (AS) and all succeeding prophets from his son, Prophet Ishaque (AS)’s progeny. Their covenant is mentioned in Aayah 83-84 of Surah Al-Baqarah in these words:
“Remember when We took a pledge from the Children of Israel: ‘Worship none but one Allah; be good to your parents and kinsfolk, to orphans and the poor; speak good words to all people; keep good words to all people; keep up the prayer and pay the prescribed alms. Then all but a few of you turned away and paid no heed.”
The Holy Qur’an emphasizes two essential principles to live by after charting the course of life according to fundamental Islamic beliefs. First is to have strong relationship with Allah (SWT), and fulfilling those rights which He has upon us. We are required to have firm belief in the monotheistic doctrine and submitting and worshipping Allah (SWT) alone. The second principle is to be good, kind, and helpful to fellow human beings. This entails fulfilling obligations and duties we owe to our parents, relatives, neighbors, orphans, widows, poor, sick and the needy.
Aayah 36 of Surah Nisa’ briefly identifies those who deserve help:
“Worship Allah; join nothing with Him. Be good to your parents, to relatives, to orphans, to the needy, to neighbors near and far, to travelers in need, and to our slaves.”
The mission of Islamic life is to be of service and a source of comfort, and not a cause of hardship or discomfort to others. All human beings are not alike; some are well to do while others are under-privileged. Islam demands from the former to serve the latter and provide them what they need for survival. The blessings we enjoy day and night are given by Allah (SWT), and we did not earn, nor did any thing special to deserve them. It is Allah’s mercy for which we should be thankful and the best way to thank Him is to let the “have-nots” share those blessings with those of us who have. No one can claim that he deserves what Allah (SWT) has given him, unless he is an arrogant ungrateful rebel and mentally blind. The man should first look at himself and the miraculous body which he has been given. Each part performs its functions precisely and tirelessly – the eyes, ears, heart, brain, hands and legs to mention a few. Imagine life without them. Then he should look beyond to the world around him which has been made to serve him. And if he does not feel the need to serve and lack the will to help others, he then is a thankless person who does not recognize his Creator.
Qur’an warns on such insensitivity, and exhorts Muslims to serve mankind. Aayahs 8-20 of Surah Al-Balad says:
“Did we not give him eyes, a tongue, lips, and point out to him the two clear ways [of good and evil]? Yet he has not attempted the steep path. What will explain to you what the steep path is? It is to free a slave, to feed at a time of hunger an orphaned relative or a poor person in distress, and to be one of those who believe and urge on another to steadfastness and compassion. Those who do this will be on the right-hand side, but those who disbelieve in Our revelations will be on the left-hand side, and the Fire will close in on them.”
Serving and helping others is serving Allah in the sight of Islam. If some one stretches his hand out to you to seek help, and if it returns empty, you than have refused to help Allah. To please Allah is through pleasing His bondsmen. The One in heaven becomes kind to you if you are kind to those who inhabit the earth. As narrated by Abu Hureyrah (RA), Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:
“Verily, Allah the Exalted and Glorious will say on the Day of Resurrection: ‘O son of Adam, I was indisposed but you did not visit Me.’ He would say: ‘O my Lord, how could I visit You as You are the Lord of the world?’ Thereupon Allah would say: ‘Did you not know that such and such slave of Mine was ill but you did not visit him? Did you not realize that if you had visited him, you would have found [its reward] with Me? O son of Adam, I asked food from you but you did not feed Me.’ He would submit: ‘My Lord, how could I feed You as You are the Lord of the worlds?’ Allah would say: ‘Did you not know that such and such a slave of Mine asked you for food but you did not feed him? Did you not realize that if you had fed him, you would have found [its reward] with Me? O son of Adam, I asked for water from you but you did not give it to Me.’ He would say: ‘My Lord, how could I give you (water) as You are the Lord of worlds.’ There upon Allah (SWT) would say: ‘Such and such a slave of Mine asked you for water to drink but you did not give it to him. Did you not realize that if you had given him the drink you would have found (its reward) with Me.”[Muslim]