Why should we be kind? The most important reason is because Allah is kind and enjoins kindness on us.
Do you not see that Allah has subjected to you whatever is on the earth and the ships which run through the sea by His command? And He restrains the sky from falling upon the earth, unless by His permission. Indeed Allah, to the people, is Kind and Merciful. [Quran, 22:65]
Another reason is because our Prophet (peace be upon him) was kind, and we are asked to model ourselves on him.
There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned over you and to the believers is kind and merciful. [Quran, 9:128]
It’s one thing to know we should be kind, but what specific instructions does the Quran give us for living in kindness?
Be generous, but prudent.
Don’t give away what Allah has given you for your own sustenance, but do what you can for the needy, and do so with gladness.
And do not give the weak-minded your property, which Allah has made a means of sustenance for you, but provide for them with it and clothe them and speak to them words of appropriate kindness. [Quran, 4:5]
Don’t be cold about it
Needy people have feelings. Charity done in a spirit of resentment or superiority is dead charity. Give your charity life— be sincerely nice to the people to whom you’re giving.
And when [other] relatives and orphans and the needy are present at the [time of] division, then provide for them [something] out of the estate and speak to them words of appropriate kindness. [Quran, 4:8]
Be kind to your parents.
Yes, be kind and just with your parents, even if they’re bad parents or want you to commit shirk! Be as kind to them as you can be while being a wholehearted slave of Allah.
But if they endeavor to make you associate with Me that of which you have no knowledge, do not obey them but accompany them in [this] world with appropriate kindness and follow the way of those who turn back to Me [in repentance] . . . [Quran, 31:15]
Don’t rely on your feelings alone.
Do you secretly have a favourite friend? Child? Sibling? Teacher? Don’t use your feelings as an excuse to freeze out the others.
And you will never be able to be equal [in feeling] between wives, even if you should strive [to do so]. So do not incline completely [toward one] and leave another hanging . . . [Quran, 4:129]
Be kind to leaders, no matter how foolish they may be.
Yes, Musa was instructed to speak gently to Pharoah, a man who couldn’t have been more wrongheaded.
And speak to him with gentle speech that perhaps he may be reminded or fear [Allah]. [Quran, 20:44]
Get with the Quran’s program! Take time to examine your relationships with others and root out any behaviours that smack of unkindness.
May your mind be opened and your heart enriched,
The Quran Academy Team