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Faith

Religion of Peace: Exploring Islam’s Teachings on Kindness

“Righteousness is not in turning your faces towards the east or the west … It is they who are true in faith, and it is they who are mindful of Allah.” (Quran, 2:177)

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“Righteousness is not in turning your faces towards the east or the west … It is they who are true in faith, and it is they who are mindful of Allah.” (Quran, 2:177)

“And the (favorite) servants of the Most Kind (Lord) are those who walk gently on the earth, and when the ignorant (i.e., impolite) people say to them something (unlikable), they (get aside), saying: ‘Peace.’”‏ (Quran, 25:63)

Islam is a complete code of life that guides us in every aspect of life. And in order to maintain a human society, it is very important to have good relations between the people living there.

Islam highlights the importance of human rights. Allah calls Himself Al-Rahman & Al-Rahim, and His Prophet Muhammad ﷺ as ‘Rahmat al-‘Alamin’ (mercy to all of mankind). Allah and His Prophet have advised the followers of Islam to treat other humans with kindness regardless of their religion and race. Islam even urges us to treat animals with kindness. The word “Islam” is derived from the Arabic root word “s-l-m,” which means “peace” and “submission.”

Allah says in the Holy Quran, “‘O believers! Enter Islam perfectly and wholly.” (Quran 2:208)

A Beacon of Kindness

The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should not hurt his neighbor and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should serve his guest generously and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, should speak what is good or keep silent.” (Sahih al Bhukhari 6136)

This hadith serves as an illuminator, reminding us of our responsibilities to create a society built on compassion, justice, and unity.

During the period of ignorance (pre-Islamic era), individuals’ lives, possessions, respect, and dignity were not secure. Islam protected and secured the well-being of individuals.

“O believers! Do not devour one another’s wealth unlawfully amongst yourselves unless it is a trade by your mutual agreement and do not kill yourselves. Surely, Allah is Kind to you.‏” (Quran 4:29)

Islam declared it virtuous to benefit others and strongly discouraged harming others.

Islam Promotes Economic Justice

Islam emphasizes the economic well-being of individuals, recognizing poverty as a social disease. It is important to seek refuge from poverty, just as one would from physical diseases. The Prophet ﷺ sought protection from poverty, hunger, helplessness, laziness, and debt. 

A Hadith states, “It is likely that poverty and hunger will lead a person towards disbelief.” (Bayhaqi, Shu’ab al-Iman)

Poverty can lead a person to commit sins. If someone is hungry, they can go to any extent to satisfy their hunger. This gives rise to many social evils. Islam promotes charity and declares it as an integral part of faith.

Allah says in the Holy Quran:

“Righteousness is not merely that you turn your faces to the east or the west. But true righteousness is that a person believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book (revealed by Allah) and the Messengers. Driven by love for Allah, he spends (his) wealth on the kindred, the orphans, the needy, the wayfarers and those who ask and in (liberating slaves’) necks, and establishes Prayer and pays Zakat (the Alms-due). And when they make a promise, they fulfill it and are steadfast in hardship (i.e., poverty) and suffering (i.e., ailment) and at the time of fierce fighting (i.e., jihad). It is these who are truthful and it is these who are righteous.‏” (Quran 2:177)

This Quranic verse emphasizes that genuine righteousness is not entirely based on external practices, but rather on one’s faith, actions, and character. It highlights the importance of belief in Allah, compassion towards others, fulfilling obligations, and perseverance in the face of hardships. These qualities are seen as the true markers of righteousness in Islam.

Prophet Muhammed has said, “The believer is not he who eats his fill while his neighbor is hungry.” (Al-Albani)

Imam Ali (AS) said, Allah has made it obligatory for the wealthy to adequately meet the economic needs of the poor. If they fail to do so, they will be held accountable before Allah.”

Taking care of the basic needs of the poor is a part of faith. As all individuals are connected through the bond of neighborhood, it is the responsibility of the entire community to ensure that no one is deprived of their basic right to a livelihood.

Islam Promotes Equality and Justice for All

Islam is a religion that promotes peace and human rights. It encourages good behavior to every individual and urges other sections of society to provide basic rights to minorities within the Islamic state which can be envisioned in a utopian society.

Allah says in the Quran:

“There is no compulsion in Din (Religion). Surely, the guidance has been evidently distinguished from error.” (Quran 2:256)

There are numerous Hadith regarding the rights of non-Muslims.

“Whoever hurts a non-Muslim citizen of a Muslim state, I am his adversary, and I shall be his adversary on the Day of Resurrection.” (Abu-Dawood, Al-Sunan)

This Hadith conveys a clear message about the rights of non-Muslims and the consequences of mistreating them. 

It is not just a warning but a law that was in force in the Islamic State during the blessed era of the Prophet, which continued to be implemented later and is still a part of the Islamic State.

In an Islamic state, non-Muslims are given full freedom to perform their religious duties. There is no coercion in Islam. Forcing someone to convert to Islam is against the teachings of Islam, and it’s completely prohibited and declared a crime.

Allah says in the Holy Quran:

“(So) you have your din (religion), and I have my Din (Religion).” (Quran 109:6)

‏One notable incident is the Covenant of Medina, where Prophet Muhammad (SAWW) granted religious freedom to non-Muslims, allowing them to practice their faith and maintain their places of worship, including the Jews and other communities in the city. This exemplifies the Prophet’s commitment to tolerance and coexistence. 

The protection of their lives, property, honor, and dignity has been declared the responsibility of the state. 

Imam Ali (AS) said, “The blood of our non-Muslim subjects is equal to our blood, and their lives are as sacred as ours.”

Conclusion

Today, humanity needs such a world system for its survival, which is based on Islam. The system that humanity needs today can only be fulfilled by a system based on the teachings given by the Holy Prophet. The biggest proof of this is the universal charter of human rights, the last sermon (Khutabul Wada) of Prophet Muhammad, which every Muslim should read in order to better understand how to treat our community members and fellow human beings.

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