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Kindness and Compassion in Dealing with Others

(Part 3)

Our Family

After offering good treatment to our parents, we must treat our families well. Allah states in the Quran after Tawheed and the rights of the parents, comes our duty to our family.

Worship Allah and join none with Him in worship, and do good to parents, kins-folk […] (4: 36)

The continued juxtaposition of maintaining belief in the oneness of Allah and the treatment of parents and family makes the matter a serious one.

The Muslim should take nothing more seriously than Tawheed. And by mentioning the treatment of family in tandem with Tawheed it elevates the level of seriousness of the matter.

Adil Salahi, editor of Arab News writes, “A person’s relatives are collectively called in Arabic his rahim. Linguistically, this word means “womb.”

When it is used to indicate a person’s relatives, it includes all his relatives whether close or distant, heirs or not […] The Arabic root from which the word rahim is derived indicates mercy and compassion […] The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: 

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Allah says: I am Ar-Rahman (the Most Merciful) and I have created kinship (that is rahim) and given it a name which is derived from My name. He who fosters it I will bless, and he who severs it I will sever. (At-Tidmidhi)

To me, the fact that family shares the name rahim with one of Allah’s most glorified attributes reminds me, during the aggravation of family gatherings, to have mercy, to smile, to foster familial love, and not to turn green in the face of family discord.

The Needy and the Neighbors

Finally, we come to those who deserve our kindness and good treatment after parents and family. And once again Allah places the importance of good treatment toward this category of people along with the importance of Tawheed.

Worship God alone and do not associate with Him any partners. Be kind to your parents and near of kin, to orphans, the needy, the neighbor who is related to you and the neighbor who is a stranger, the friend by your side, the wayfarer, and those whom your right hands possess. God does not love those who are arrogant and boastful. (4: 36)

We all too often have a tendency to look down on people. But it is to those we look down on, the needy, who are so much in need of our kindness. It is the neighbor that needs us to look out for their safety. It is the friend who needs the kind greeting. The wayfarer that needs us to offer to share our food. It is the orphan that needs our love and affection. But these are the people that are all too often overlooked.

Allah is redirecting our attention to them. Allah is reminding us that He does not love those who think they are better, those who look down on these people and treat them harshly.

You may notice that the most emphasis on being kind is given to those who are closest to us. The closer we are to people the easier it is to treat them well.

Try living in tight quarters with the most beloved and easy going person. And then try not getting into a fight. It is hard.

But if we are kind to those who are closest to us, if we control our inner monster, no matter how they treat us, we are building the foundations of a strong community.

This kind treatment is infectious and will radiate outward into the world.

Imagine a kindness revolution that starts at home, in your family, in your neighborhood… despite the green, mean, anger machine inside all of us.

(From Discovering Islam’s archive)

Read: Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 4

Pages: 1 2
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 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.