"And do not make mischief in the earth after its reformation, and call on Him fearing and hoping;
surely the mercy of Allah is nigh to the Muhsineen ( those who do good (to others))." [Al-Quran 7:56]
Abu Dharr reported that Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "He has been successful whose heart Allah has made sincere towards faith, whose heart He has made free from unbelief, his tongue truthful, his soul calm, his nature straight, whose ear He has made attentive and his eye observant. The ear is a funnel and the eye is a repository for what the heart learns. He is successful whose heart is made retentive." [al Tirmidhi - 5200]
Ihsaan is to be generous with others, doing favours secretly or openly, without asking for any compensation for the generosity. Being generous is a marvelous characteristic of a human being, which is free from selfishness, greediness and arrogance. A generous person (Muhsin), not only respects the rights of others but also gives more from his own generousity, purely for the sake of Allah. For such a person who spends his/her wealth, efforts, time etc for the benefits of Allah's Creatures, is there anyone who can reward him/her better than Allah himself?
Sayyidina Isa (Jesus, May Allah's blessings be upon him) is quoted in the Qur'an as saying:
قال اني عبدالله اتاني الكتاب وجعلني نبيا ¤ وجعلني مباركا اين ماكنت واوصاني بالصلاة والزكاة مادمت حيا
"He (Iesa (Jesus)) said: Verily! I am a slave of Allah, He has given me the Scripture and made me a Prophet;" ¤ "And He has made me blessed wheresoever I be, and has enjoined on me Salat (prayer), and Zakat, as long as I live." Al-Quran [ سورة مريم (Maryam) - 19:30-31]
The saying, "And He has made me blessed wheresoever I be...", reminds us about the generosity of the Prophets, as we know the simplicity of the Prophet Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them), they both had a simple life, but filled with generousity and compassion for those who were around them and this is the path of any Muhsin (or Muslim). Allah has commanded us to be generous with those who are around us (spreading nice fragrance...), starting from those who are nearest to us (such as Our parents, children, relatives, neighbours, travellers, etc), as Ar-Rahmaan (the Most Compassionate) has said:
واعبدوا الله ولاتشركوا به شيئا وبالوالدين احسانا وبذي القربى واليتامى والمساكين والجار ذي القربى والجار الجنب والصاحب بالجنب وابن السبيل وماملكت ايمانكم ان الله لايحب من كان مختالا فخورا
And serve Allah. Ascribe no thing as partner unto Him. (Show) kindness unto parents, and unto near kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and unto the neighbour who is of kin (unto you) and the neighbour who is not of kin, and the fellow-traveller and the wayfarer and (the slaves) whom your right hands possess. Lo! Allah loveth not such as are proud and boastful, Al-Quran [ سورة النساء (Nisaa) - 4:36]
وسارعوا الى مغفرة من ربكم وجنة عرضها السماوات والارض اعدت للمتقين ¤ الذين ينفقون في السراء والضراء والكاظمين الغيظ والعافين عن الناس والله يحب المحسنين
And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord; and a Garden, the extensiveness of which is (as) the heavens and the earth, it is prepared for those who guard (against evil). ¤ Those who spend (benevolently) in ease as well as in straitness, and those who restrain (their) anger and pardon men; and Allah loves the Muhsineen (doers of good (to others)). Al-Quran [ سورة آل عمران (Aal-e-Imran) - 3:133-134]
وانفقوا في سبيل الله ولاتلقوا بايديكم الى التهلكة واحسنوا ان الله يحب المحسنين
And spend in the way of Allah and cast not yourselves to perdition with your own hands, and do good (to others); surely Allah loves the Muhsineen (doers of good). Al-Quran [ سورة البقرة (Baqarah) - 2:195]
Generosity is not limited to just paying some money, but rather there are many ways to be kind such as speaking kindly, smiling, forgiving, encouraging goodness, protecting from evil, strengthening in sadness, helping elders etc. In fact, Islam teaches us to be kind even with the animals.
The Prophet said, "A man felt very thirsty while he was on the way, there he came across a well. He went down the well, quenched his thirst and came out. Meanwhile he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. He said to himself, "This dog is suffering from thirst as I did." So, he went down the well again and filled his shoe with water and watered it. Allah thanked him for that deed and forgave him. The people said, "O Allah's Apostle! Is there a reward for us in serving the animals?" He replied: "Yes, there is a reward for serving any animate (living being)." [Sahih Bukhari - 003_043_646]
Allah's Apostle said, "Anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should not harm his neighbor, and anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should entertain his guest generously and anybody who believes in Allah and the Last Day should talk what is good or keep quiet. [Sahih Bukhari - 008_073_047]
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: The believer is simple and generous, but the profligate is deceitful and ignoble.[Abu Dawud - 041_4772]
Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, "The generous man is near Allah, near Paradise, near men and far from Hell, but the miserly man is far from Allah, far from Paradise, far from men and near Hell. Indeed, an ignorant man who is generous is dearer to Allah than a worshipper who is miserly." [Tirmidhi - 1869]
Ibn Abbas narrated:
Allah's Apostle was the most generous of all the people, and he used to reach the peak in generosity in the month of Ramadan when Gabriel met him. Gabriel used to meet him every night of Ramadan to teach him the Qur'an. Allah's Apostle was the most generous person, even more generous than the strong uncontrollable wind (in readiness and haste to do charitable deeds). [Sahih Bukhari - 001_001_005]
Once again, for such a person who spends his/her wealth, efforts, time etc for the benefits of Allah's Creatures, is there anyone who can reward him/her better than Allah himself?
There is atleast one big reward, which will please every seeker of wisdom, insha' Allah. Allah the Most High, has said in at least two places that knowledge and wisdom is granted to such Muhsineen (generous).
ولما بلغ اشده اتيناه حكما وعلما وكذلك نجزي المحسنين
And when he (Yusuf/Joseph) had attained his maturity, We gave him wisdom and knowledge: and thus do We reward the Muhsineen. Al-Quran [ سورة يوسف (Yusuf) - 12:22]
ولما بلغ اشده واستوى اتيناه حكما وعلما وكذلك نجزي المحسنين
And when he (Musa/Moses) attained his maturity and became full grown, We granted him wisdom and knowledge; and thus do We reward Muhsineen. Al-Quran [ سورة القصص (Qusas) - 28:14]