Kindness and Compassion in Dealing with Others

(Part 3)

A few years back I was dragged to the movies by my family.

They were all excited to see ‘another’ new Marvel comic brought to life on the silver screen- The Avengers.

Despite Tony Stark’s snarky humor, I was pretty bored with the whole affair. That was until it was time for the Hulk to finally transform into his big, green monster state and start kicking bad guy rear end and leave the taking of names to the authorities.

In the scene, all the other Avengers were worried that Bruce Banner (The Hulk as a man) wouldn’t be able to get mad enough in time to transform. And they were asking him what normally triggers his rage in order to transform. Bruce Banner stated, “I am always angry” then boom, the mild-mannered man transforms into the green, fearsome giant and sets to smashing up stuff.

I thought this was a magnificent example of self control.

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Despite his constant anger at his situation, Bruce Banner was in complete control of the monster inside of him. He knew that if he wasn’t in control of himself (his nafs) those he loved would bear the brunt of the blind rage he experiences as the Hulk.

Finding Hulk’s Lesson in Islam

This is a fundamental lesson for human beings that Islam touches on time and time again.

For example we see this very situation commented on by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):

The strong person is not the good wrestler. Rather, the strong person is the one who controls himself when he is angry. (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)

We as Muslims, and indeed as human beings, are not asked to never feel emotions. But we are asked to be in control of ourselves despite what our emotions tell us to do. We are taught that our emotions can lead to bad actions that can not only hurt us, but also hurt those around us.

Islam guides us to understand that the way we deal with others is of the utmost importance, because everything we do should be for the sake of Allah. Our lives, including our treatment of others, should be an act of worship.

Danielle LoDuca, Muslim convert and blogger at YourAmericanMuslimNeighbor.com says:

“Islam taught me that I should be kind, patient and merciful towards others, even when they are harsh or unjust towards me.” She is an example of showing kindness despite the inner hulk we all wrestle with.

Submission and Belief  

Allah states in the Quran:

The Bedouins say, ‘We have believed.’ Say: ‘You have not [yet] believed; but say [instead], ‘We have submitted,’ for faith has not yet entered your hearts. (49:14)

Salman Al-Oadah writes, in an article entitled “Keeping Calm is a Skill”:

“This [verse] means that true faith is a moral practice carried out on a high level that entails concern for how we deal with others and acknowledge their rights.”

In this verse and explanation we can understand that belief will not be apparent until we incorporate it into how we act toward others. We, like the Bedouins (nomadic Arabs), can say we believe all we want, but it will only be on the tongue and not in the hearts until we put in into action in the good treatment of others.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

Whoever wishes to be saved from Hell and admitted into Paradise as desired, they should believe in Allah and the Last Day and treat other people the way they themselves would like to be treated. (Muslim)

In this hadith, the Prophet makes no distinction between Muslim and non-Muslim, Arab or non-Arab, we must treat everyone well no matter how they treat us. But there are those who have the most rights over us and to whom we own the best of treatment.

Our Parents

Being a parent is one of the most difficult things one can do.

No one wants to carry and suffer physical and emotional pain for anyone else. But parents do it willingly out of love for their children.

No one wants to lose sleep, or spend out of their money for another person’s needs. No one wants to clean another person up when they are sick or put up with someone else’s temper tantrums. But parents do it everyday out of love for their children.

And as we get older, we forget all that our parents have done for us. As we age, our memories of our impertinence, refusal to go to bed, and all the expenses we had as children fade from our memories.

But our parents’ bodies show the signs of our upbringing. They are hunched and weary from the work. But still we do not remember. And we tend to see them and treat them as a nuisance, even getting angry at them for having need of us.

We owe our parents so much that Allah, in the Quran, tells us how we should treat them:

And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: ‘My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small.’ (17:24)

Many times we see in the Quran Allah telling us, after Tawheed, good treatment of parents is of the utmost importance.

Thy Lord has decreed, that you worship none save Him, and (that you show) kindness to parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age with thee, say not ‘Fie’ unto them nor repulse them, but speak unto them a gracious word. (17: 23)

After Allah, to our parents we owe our life. To them we are indebted. And to them we must offer the best treatment whether that means taking care of them in old age with patience or visiting them and offering a kind word and gifts to brighten their day.

In front of them more than anyone else, we must keep our inner hulk at bay.

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About Theresa Corbin
Theresa Corbin is the author of The Islamic, Adult Coloring Book and co-author of The New Muslim’s Field Guide. Corbin is a French-creole American and Muslimah who converted in 2001. She holds a BA in English Lit and is a writer, editor, and graphic artist who focuses on themes of conversion to Islam, Islamophobia, women's issues, and bridging gaps between peoples of different faiths and cultures. She is a regular contributor for AboutIslam.net and Al Jumuah magazine. Her work has also been featured on CNN and Washington Post, among other publications. Visit her blog, islamwich, where she discusses the intersection of culture and religion.