BY: AL-BALAGH FOUNDATION
In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
"The day when every soul will find what it has done of good brought forward, and what it has done of evil; it will wish there was a far space between itself and it (evil). And Allah warns you to beware of Him; and Allah is Compassionate with His servants".
Holy Qur'an (3:30)
"They ask you what they should spend. Say: Whatever of wealth you spend, is for the parents, relatives, orphans, the needy and the traveller, and whatever good you do, Allah is surely Omniscient of it".
Holy Qur'an (2:215)
A man once asked the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.):
"What people does Allah love most ?". He said, "They are the most useful ones to people."(1)
It is also narrated from the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) that he said:
All mankind belong to Allah, therefore the most favored by Allah is the one who is good to his or her own family"(2)
It is also narrated that the Messenger (s.a.w.) said:
"Whoever guides (others) towards good is like the one who does it."(3)
It is also narrated that:
"The doer of good is better than good itself and the evil-doer is worse than evil itself"(4)
It is also narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said:
"Do not do anything of good so as to be seen by people, nor give it up because of shyness"(5)
It is narrated from Imam Ali ibn Abi-Talib (a.s.) that he said:
"Speak much of good in order to be known by it and do good to be identified with its followers."(6)
Ideologies. laws. systems. ideas and theories- created by human beings in the fields of ethics, politics. sociology. economic, psychology and the arts etc... all express their author's ideological. psychological and social inclinations.
It is also obvious that the nature of human creation is defective and incomplete. People generally differ among themselves in their psychological. ideological. ethical and social background and education.
Therefore, some ideologies and theories reflect the twisted and complex ethics of their authors and originators who produced these ideals either under the influence of their environment or by inheritance and education.
Thus, we see some of these ideologies bear the spirit of spite and revenge. while others are characterized by chaos and disorder...still others reflect the greedy and selfish nature of their originators. In every aspect they mirror the nature. personality. disposition and psychological state of their authors.
Thought is essentially a self-portrait. All the tragedies, sufferings and evil borne by humanity are the result of poisoned thinking transformed into philosophies, designed either to deceive the human being or be imposed on him by force. People are victims of unbalanced personalities like Marx. Nietzsche, Freud, Sartre, Durckheim and other theorists and philosophers which urge people towards destruction and chaos.
The main difference between Islam and other ideologies is its being the Message of Allah to mankind and a call to reform humanity towards following the Divine Path.
Therefore Islam, through its laws and principles, expresses the perfectness of the Great Creator. Who is the source of good, knowledge, mercy, love. and beauty in this world. His characteristics are made clear by the call of the prophets and messengers in the spirit of goodness love and peace.
Thus among the foundations on which the moral and social system of Islam is built, is its call to do good, to make the human being a source of power. and reformation in this world. Islam frees him from the wicked tendencies which cause him to abstain from doing good to people and society.
A major social problem for the human being is created by his selfishness, desiring good only for himself and sometimes forbidding that good be rendered to others.
This wicked tendency which the Holy Qur'an collectively describes as 'shu'h' (greediness) is condemned. The Qur'an also condemns whoever is characterized by it, considering him to be among the criminals and the aggressors who stand against human principles and life itself. and promises him intense punishment in the hereafter, as it views 'shu'h' as the source of all tribulations. the root cause of poverty and aggression, hatred, spite, covetousness, deprivation and sufferings in this present life.
The Almighty Allah has said:
"Do cast into hell every ungratefull, rebellious one. Forbidder of good, exceeder of limits, doubter."
Holy Qur'an (50:24-25)
The Almighty has also said:
"..and reconciliation is better, and souls are prone to avarice. And if you do good and be God-fearing, then surely Allah is Cognizant of what you do"
Holy Qur'an (4:128)
For the same reason, Islam considers prosperity and success as a protection against such harmful moral sickness.
The Almighty Allah has said:
"...and whoever is saved from the greediness of his soul, these it is that are the successful."
Holy Qur'an (64:16)
When the Messenger(s.a.w.) talks about good and its doers in society. He wants to teach Muslims and Islamic society that an Islamic society is a cooperative one... The social service performed by a scientist. farmer, doctor. teacher, thinker, social reformer , and one who participates in charitable projects, or helps the poor and the needy. all these works are considered good deeds to which generous people in society contribute. Therefore, those who are doing good and are inspired in their work by knowledge of Allah and who like to do good seeking His pleasure. these are the best people because of their social usefulness.
The glorious Prophet (s.a.w.) has guided our social preferences through his example. i.e. serving the society and encouraging social advancement while seeking Allah's pleasure.
The Islamic view which sees society as one family and creation (the human being, animal, plant) as belonging to Allah and depends on Him. It aims to shape this world with all its individuals and elements into a unity and completeness, to deepen the cultured comprehension and consciousness of man and to confirm his role in serving to develop the world. Thus man is in need of mutual good advantages. to help his brother progress in humanistic ways. The animal and plant kingdoms are also in need of and prosper through this enlightened attitude.
Man is the master of this earth and it is his responsibility to improve it. Thus we see that Prophet Salih (a.s.) when addressing his people, explains to them this fact which the Holy Qur'an narrates as a profound lesson for humanity.
The Almighty Allah has said:
"And to Thamud (We sent} their brother Salih. He said: O my people! worship Allah, you have no god other than Him; He brought you forth from the earth, and settled you therein; so ask forgiveness of Him, then repent to Him; surely my Lord is Near, Responsive."
Holy Qur'an (11:61)
We also see that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) ordered people to do good and considered the one who does so as the best one among people. It should be noted that the truth of his call 'to do good' encompasses animals and plants which is clear through his speech. Once a man asked the Prophet (s.a.w.): Can we consider watering a thirsty dog as a charity? he answered:
"To water every thirsty liver, there is a reward in it."
The truth of this prophetic character is incarnated in the Messenger's behaviour and in his august biography...It happened once that a thirsty cat crossed near him, he bent down holding a plate full of water with his noble hand and allowed it to drink.
The Messenger's call to do deeds beneficial to people gives life. value and meaning through which people will feel the value of existence and the meaning of humanity.
If in the struggle for being fertile ground is not found, goodness does not prosper and the human being becomes voracious, life will be transformed into unbearable evil and greed.
According to Islamic principles. a human being is considered as a source of goodness and a continual blessing. Any good word which increases love and peace; or reduces the pains and the sufferings of souls which are burdened with afflictions; or engenders calmness and confidence in the hearts; or eliminates fear and narrowness; or reforms the wicked one from among the people; or removes enmity among people is the word which expresses the spirit of goodness of the speaker.
Any genuine smile and constant cheerfulness in the face of your Muslim brother will reduce his weariness, sufferings and problems of life, is considered a good deed whose author should be praised and is deserving of the respect of people.
Any attempt to provide the needs of the poor and to help the aggrieved one relieve his sorrow. is an act of beneficence which is loved by Allah and for which people will give thanks. Any display of sympathy, which a man shows to an oppressed human or animal, is considered an act of good loved by Allah and His Messenger and received with gratefulness by the people.
To resist by bearing the responsibility of doing good and to call others to Islam is an act of goodness which is loved by Allah, Who invites people to do so.
"And from among you there should be a party inviting to good and bidding what is right anf fibidding what is wrong and those are the successful"
Holy Qur'an (3:104)
To direct others to do good or to initiate it, whether through speech, or guiding, or b. y explaining its ways; all are acts of benevolence loved by Allah and appreciated by people.
There are different ways of doing good and its door is open for all. Every one has the capacity to do so or participate in it by directing others towards it. or by standing against his greediness and its wickedness and in this way he will protect himself from destructive ethical sickness.
It is in man's capacity to be a source of benefit through his innate power, ability and position. Let us then increase our doing of goodness and continue to do so because the charitable person is superior to the action itself A flower is said to be better than the fragnance which arises from it due to its being the origin of the sweet smell.
One Hadith proclaims:
"The doer of good is better than the deed itself."
And thus an evil-doer is described as to be worse than evil itself, resembling carrion which is considered worse than its bad smell as it is the sourse both of person and terrible odor.
It is narrated from the Messenger (s.a.w.) that:
"To smile in the face of your brother; to encourage others to do good and forbid them from doing evil; to guide a man who has gone astray; to remove a stone, a thorn or a bone from the road; to pour water from your bucket into your friend's bucket, all these acts are considered to be deeds of charity."(7)
Everyone can be among the best of people in doing good and, as a result, will be gladdened by it and respected by all people. Accordingly then, we should not let any day pass without utilizing it in doing good and not let any opportunity pass without utilizing it to benefit people.
By visiting one of your friends you can bring joy to his heart and to visit a sick person. you can reduce the suffering of illness. Reconciling differences among people can remove the source of dispute. To say a word of consolation to comfort a sad soul; to contribute what you can to supply the needs of a poor man; to think how to initiate a charitable project; or to solve the political, economic and moral problems of a society; or to defend against economic. political and social corruption; to give shelter to a stranger who is grieved by being far from his family or country; to instill pleasure and happiness in the heart of an angry man; to secure a frightened man who has lost the sweetness of security and peace; to brighten the life of an orphan with sympathy and compassion; to hide the mistakes or errors of others which may happen in front of you without letting people know... all of these are noble and charitable deeds.
Let us all then hasten to establish individual or cooperative foundations. We should form committees which collect money and alms, donate to mosques. clubs. charitable associations and villages and spend these resources in the fields allowed by Islamic law. These initiatives are considered deeds of kindness which lead to the reform of society, and the solution of its problems.
Our goal should be to establish cooperative projects which distribute financial assistance to the poor and the needy. All can participate in such undertakings whether young or old and according to their abilities. These works can include agricultural and industrial projects which will help solve the problems of poverty and unemployment. Schools, mosques, hospitals and camps for refugees and the disabled could also be built. All these initiatives are among the deeds of charity and benevolence whose doers are loved by Allah. To establish banks which lend the poor and the needy and those who work but do not have enough money to live or to help unmarried youths to get married in order to build Muslim families ...all these are measures against usury , economic injustice and will go a long way in securing the roots for a peaceful Islamic life.
So, among the charitable projects loved by the Almighty Allah are: Establishing associations, organizations, schools, libraries for the sake of spreading Islamic culture. doing good, forbidding evil"..
Included among Allah's rights over us that we donate part of our properties. abilities and experiences for benefitting people. supplying their needs. reforming society and solving its problems.
All can participate in performing such good deeds. which are considered as charity the best of which is continuous and whose benefit unstinting. It is narrated that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said:
"If a man dies, his deeds will vanish except three: A continuous alms-giving, or a righteous son who prays for him after his death or knowledge from which people can benefit".
Therefore, among the problems of our society which prevent its progress and development are foreign dependence, neither participating in doing good-deeds, nor establishing charitable associations or bearing responsibilities.
Every one is duty-bowed to get rid of such unhealthy conditions. Let those who have abilities participate in such projects or at least call others to participate in them.
Surely Almighty Allah is the source of goodness and benevolence in this life. Try to direct yourself towards Him. Certainly doing good is the right way leading to perfection and happiness. Let the speech of our Holy Messenger be an example in your daily life and a guide in your way of living.
"Behave like Allah behaves."
Let us start doing good, and continue the endeavour in order to spread charity and do good deeds.
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1) Al-Hur al-Amili Wasa'il al-Shi'a, p.6 Kitab al-Amri bil-Ma'ruf 2) Ibid3) Ibid.4) Al-Harani Tuhaf al-Uqul an Aalial-Rasool p.40.5) Ibid p.41.6) Al-Tabrasi Mishkat al-Anwar, p.144, 2nd edition.7) Al-Mutaqi al-Hindi, Kanz al-Ummal, vol. 6/ An'wae al-Sadaqah.