Goodness or kindness is a natural result of faith and outstanding virtues of humanity. The Arabic word in common use for goodness is (‘Ihsan), which may stand for several meanings such as: excellence in work, charity affairs, bestowing favour, mercifulness, doing things well... Another equal word is (birr).
When a man performs his duty towards Allah and people as well, he is regarded in Islam to have done and achieved favour to himself. Allah says:
“Who so does good it is for himself and who does evil it is against it and your Lord is not an unjust to His servants.” (Surah Fussilat: 46)
Some Muslims argue that (‘Ihsan) meaning goodness has two phases namely:
1- Bestowing favour on others, and 2- Excellence in work –
The Qur’an quotes tell us:
1- “Lo! Allah enjoins justice and kindness....” (Surah An-Nahl: 90)
2- “Lo! Allah favours those who go righteously and those who are kind.” (Surah An-Nahl: 128)
3- “... And do fair deeds, for sure Allah loves the fair-doers.” (Surah Al-Baqarah: 195)
In Islam, however, goodness, in the broadest meaning, is one of the highest levels of worship. It is the essence spirit and accomplishment of faith.
4- “Is the reward of fairness aught save fairness?” (Surah Ar-Rahman: 60)
The Prophet Muhammad (Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him) said concerning goodness: “That you worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you do not see Him, He sees you”. This points out to the absolute presence with Allah, and the necessity of bearing Him in mind, to fear, and still to love, Him, and thus to submit and become sincere to Him.
However, Allah knows everything and He says, for example:
1- “We verily created man and We know that his self-whispers to him and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.” (Surah Qaf: 16)
2- “Have you not seen that Allah knows what is in heavens and what is in the earth; there is no secret conference of the three but He is their fourth, nor of five but He is their sixth, nor of less than that or more but He is with them wheresoever they may be, and later, on the day of Resurrection, He will inform them of what they did. Lo! Allah is Knower of all things.” (Surah Al-Mujadalah: 7)
On top of all this, goodness also means spending money in aspects of vital importance to the community such that the giver, the taker and the whole nation achieve happiness. Allah says:
“It is not righteousness that you turn your faces to the east and the west but righteous is he who believes in Allah and the Last Day and the Angels and the Book and the Prophets and gives wealth, for love Him, to kinsflok and to the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask and to set slaves free, and observes (proper) prayer and pays the poor-due and those who keep their covenant when they make one, and the patient in tribulation and adversity and time of distress; such are they who are sincere; such are the pious.” (Surah Al-Baqarah: 177)
Goodness may also mean originality, depth the accuracy in our deeds. This particular meaning is made clear in the Prophet’s Tradition, such as: (For sure Allah wishes from anyone of you doing something to accomplish it excellently).
Goodness may also mean giving gallantly, warding off evil and paying an ill-deed with a good one. Thus, one reads in the Qur’an what means:
1- “And the good deed and the evil deed are not alike; repel the evil deed with one which is better, then Lo! he between whom you there was enmity (will become) as though he was a close friend. But none is granted it save those who are steadfast and none is granted it save the owner of a great fortune.” (Surah Fussilat: 34 - 35)
2- “It was by the mercy of Allah that you were lenient with them (O Muhammad), for if you had been stern and fierce of heart, they would have dispersed from round about you.” (Surah Al-‘Imran: 159)
3- Allah describes the Prophet Muhammad (Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him) in a verse which says that means:
“You are of a magnificent character.” (Surah Al-Qalam: 4)
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