The second moral quality is that known as goodness, i.e. to do good to others, or, in other words, to do good for God’s sake which represents the justice in its simplest meaning. Then comes forward–towards the moral development – the higher quality of kindness, followed by the highest quality named tenderness. Thus in the Glorious Qu’ran, the Almighty God commands men to repay good for good and [if we can avail ourselves of an opportunity of doing more than mere justice], to do good for the sake of goodness, i.e. without having received any benefit and [if it befits the occasion] to bestow gifts with the natural tenderness of kindred. He forbids rudeness and abomination and wrongdoing [16:90], God commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition.
These commandments call attention to three stages in the doing of goodness. The lowest stage is that in which man does good to his benefactors only. Even an ordinary man who has the sense to appreciate the goodness of others can acquire this quality and do good in return for good. From this there is advancement to the second stage in which man takes the initiative to do good to other. It consists in bestowing favours upon persons who cannot claim them as a right. This quality, excellent as it is, occupies a middle position. To it often attaches the imperfection that the doer expects thanks or prayers in return for the good he does, and the slightest opposition from the object of compassion is termed ungratefulness. He would gladly have an acknowledgment of the benefit given and is let sometimes to take advantage of his position by laying upon him some burden, which the other could not have otherwise willingly carry. To remedy this effect, the Glorious Qu’ran has warned the doer of goodness saying:
“Make not your alms or benefits void by reminding those whom you relieve of your obligation, and by injuring them” [2:264]. If there is no sincerity in the deed, alms are of no effect, being mere show. In brief, this is an imperfection attached to the noble deed of doing goodness to another that the doer is led sometimes to remind the person relieved of the obligation, or to boast of it. A third stage has, therefore, been taught by the Glorious Word of God which is free from every imperfection. To attain this perfection man should not think of the goodness he has done, nor expect even an expression of thankfulness from the person upon whom the benefit is given. The idea of doing good should proceed from sincere sympathy like that which is shown by the nearest relatives: by a mother, for instance, towards her children. This is the highest and the last stage of showing kindness to the creatures of God. Such sympathetic and sincere benefactors are highly praised by the Lord in the Qu’ran where it states that: The servants of God [whom He loves] are those who on account of their love for God bestow their food on the needy wretch and the orphan and the bondsman, though longing for it themselves, and who say: “we do not confer any obligation upon you, but our desire is that God may be pleased with us and we do it only for the sake of God, and this is a service for which we seek from you neither recompense nor thanks” [76:8-9]. “God loves those who, when they spend, are neither prodigal nor niggard and keep the mean” [25:67]; “And those of whose property there is a due portion for those who beg and for those who are needy and outcast” [70:24-25]; “And those who spend in ease and in adversity” [3:134], “You shall by no means attain goodness till you expend in the cause of your fellow-being out of that which you love” [3:92]. “And give your kindred what they require in time of need and also to the poor and the wayfarer and do not squander wastefully” [17:26]
This verse forbids wastefulness and squandering away of wealth in luxury or in proper occasion. Therefore, any excess in the doing of that which would otherwise have been most beneficial is condemned by the law. Nor, it should be borne in mind, is the mere doing of good in any of the forms above mentioned a high moral quality of goodness unless attested to as much by the appropriateness of the occasion as by exercise of judgment. In another verse the word of God enjoins upon the believers to: “be good to the parents and to the kindred and to the orphans and to the poor and to the neighbours who are your relatives and to the neighbours who are strangers and the companions in a journey and to the wayfarer; and whatever you rightly possess [be they your servants or horses or other domestic animals]”, “this is what God loves you to do, and He does not love the vain boasters and the selfish and does not like those who are niggardly themselves and bid others to be niggards, and hide away what God of His bounty has given them, saying to the poor and the needy, “We have nothing to give you’” [4:36, 37].
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