As human beings, it is often easier for some of us to be good, kind and nice to each other when everything is going well; however, the ultimate test of someone’s character comes when some of us are tested by hardship, difficulty and change that seemingly threatens our existence, routines and painful experiences that hurt us.
It is in these circumstances during these unprecedented times with the corona virus pandemic when we are experiencing self-isolation, uncertainty, a great deal of worry and hardship, that the true character and kindness of a person is demonstrated and manifested.
The test of a sound character is truly crystallised when we move beyond the realms of our self-centred needs and put ourselves to be at the service of others especially when we perceive ourselves to be in need or in pain.
Prophet Muhammad (SallAllahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) was the greatest human being to walk the earth and is the best example for us to follow in practising mercy, compassion and kindness even at times of extreme difficulty and stress.
The Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) has said:
“Whoever relieves a believer’s distress of the distressful aspects of this world, Allāh will rescue him from a difficulty of the difficulties of the Hereafter. Whoever alleviates [the situation of] one in dire straits who cannot repay his debt, Allāh will alleviate his lot in both this world and in the Hereafter. Whoever conceals [the faults of] a Muslim, Allāh will conceal [his faults] in this life and the Hereafter.” [Muslim]
It is one of the attributes and values of our faith to help our fellow human beings regardless of their faith, background or ethnic origin.
Below are some examples of Islamic acts of kindness that we can do to help others during this pandemic.
Some of these acts of kindness are obvious, and others are often overlooked, but of great importance too and a reminder to us all.
In the Quran, Allāh (SWT) says: “Help one another in acts of piety and righteousness. And do not assist each other in acts of sinfulness and transgression. And be aware of Allāh. Verily, Allāh is Severe in punishment.” [Qur’an, 5:2]
- BE KIND TO OTHERS:
“O Aisha, Allāh is gentle, and He loves gentleness. He rewards for gentleness what is not granted for harshness and He does not reward anything else like it.” [Muslim]
It is important to recognise that in our everyday lives, we will encounter many people, and we are not always aware of what turmoil they may be going through. The simple act of being kind can sometimes be life changing to someone.
One of the ways this can be done in the current climate is through engaging in positive conversations and checking in on people via the phone, or even simply smiling and acknowledging someone from afar.
- INITIATE THE SALAAM:
In the current circumstances, do not miss out on spreading the salaam while adhering to the guidelines on social distancing by utilising the phone and technology verbally without shaking hands. It increases love between people, and it reminds us that we are all in need of Allāh’s peace and blessings in our lives. Do this with those whom you know and whom you do not know, as long as it is appropriate; there is a great virtue in this.
“You will not enter Paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I not tell you about something which, if you do it, you will love one another? Spread salaam amongst yourselves.” [Muslim]
- MAKE DU’A FOR OTHERS IN PRIVATE:
At these challenging times, all of us are in need of du’a now, individually and collectively. When you make du’a for someone in private, Allāh sends an angel to you who replies “Ameen and same to you”. If you help someone, Allāh helps you. Supplicating for someone is a beautiful way to aide your brother or sister at this difficult time.
- Enquire About People and Ask Them What They Are Struggling With and Find Ways to Assist Them:
In these difficult times, we are aware of people’s struggles, and we just need to pick up the phone and ask. There is a wonderful story from the life of Abu Bakr (RadhiAllahu Anhu) who would visit a blind elderly woman and take care of her chores and household duties. She was unaware of who he was, and he kept his deeds private, as it was only discovered and relayed by another companion when he witnessed this.
- GIVE IN CHARITY:
“Protect yourself from hellfire even by giving a piece of date as charity.” [Bukhari and Muslim].
One of the pathways to help someone and safeguard yourself and those you love from calamity, illness and hardship is through the noble act of giving charity, by means of Zakat or Sadaqah.
The Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) also said, “We (Muslims) are the last (to come) but will be the foremost on the Day of Resurrection.” The narrators of this Hadith said: Allāh said (to man), Spend (in charity), for then I will compensate you (generously).” [Bukhari]
- PAY FOR SOMEONE’S GROCERIES:
Engage in a random act of kindness that can make a huge difference to a vulnerable or a needy person’s life.
- SEEK FORGIVENESS:
It is imperative that we seek forgiveness as a means of purification, asking Allāh (SWT) that the cloud of this virus is lifted and a greater chance of our deeds being accepted. It is important that we remember that we must help ourselves first while helping others. When we repent, we are cleansed. Repentance acts like a polish for the heart, the same way we polish and shine a mirror, we know when we do this, we make it shinier than when it is left untouched and unattended to.
The above should inspire us to reflect on our Islamic footprint in the world at this unprecedented time and how much we are doing for others for the sake of Allāh. When we serve the creation, we are serving our Creator Allāh (SWT).
May Allāh (SWT) allow us all to be forthcoming in helping others and being leaders in kindness, compassion and empathy. Aameen