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By Shaykh ‘Alee bin Abdur-Rahmaan Al-Hudhayfee
Rabee‘ul-awwal 8, 1424 (May 9, 2003)

All praise is due to Allaah, Lord of all the worlds. Peace and blessings of Allaah be upon the Messenger, his household and companions.

Fellow Muslims! The greatest goal of Islaam is to extend kindness to self and kindness to the creatures. It is this goal that determines the position of one before Allaah in this world and the Hereafter. It is also this kindness that determines man’s position among his fellow human beings. All obligatory and forbidden things are based on this kindness. Allaah has made it obligatory in all His legislations.

The Messenger of Allaah said, “Allaah has ordained kindness on everything. When you kill (an animal) kill (it) kindly and when you slaughter (an animal), slaughter (it) kindly. Let anyone of you sharpen his knife and let him give rest to his slaughtered animal.”

The Prophet’s statement, “Allaah ordained kindness on everything” has two meanings:

One: That Allaah has ordained perfection on every obligatory duty and that a Muslim should do it in the best perfect form; that he should endeavour to do as much supererogatory aspects of it as he can and that he should refrain from all aspects of forbidden things. Allaah says,

“Leave (O mankind, all kinds of) sin, open and secret.” (Al-An‘aam 6:120)

Performing obligatory acts in the perfect form and refraining from forbidden things are the greatest acts of doing kindness to oneself. The greatest act of kindness to oneself is to actualise the belief in the Oneness of Allaah by worshipping Him alone without associating any partner to Him. Other things follow this great fundamental.

Two: Every one is commanded to be kind to all creatures. Allaah gives an absolute and general command about kindness when He says,

“And do good. Truly, Allaah loves the good-doers.” (Al-Baqarah 2:195)

He also says,

“Indeed, Allaah orders and good conduct.” (An-Nahl 16:90)

Allaah also ordains kindness in a specified and detailed form. He ordains that the parents, the relatives, the neighbours, the poor, the weak, the distressed, the orphans and others should all be treated with kindness. Being kind to the creatures entails being generous to them and refraining from harming them. The most comprehensive verse on kindness in the Qur’aan is the word of Allaah that says,

“Worship Allaah and join none with Him in worship; and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those (slaves) whom your right hands possess. Verily, Allaah does not like such as are proud and boastful.” (An-Nisaa 4:36)

And His word, “Verily, Allaah enjoins Al-'dl (i.e. justice and worshipping none but Allaah Alone - Islaamic Monotheism) and Al-Ihsân (i.e. to be patient in performing your duties to Allaah, totally for Allaah's sake and in accordance with the Sunnah (legal ways) of the Prophet (peace be upon him in a perfect manner), and giving (help) to kith and kin (i.e. all that Allaah has ordered you to give them e.g., wealth, visiting, looking after them, or any other kind of help), and forbids Al-Fahshâ' (i.e. all evil deeds, e.g. illegal sexual acts, disobedience of parents, polytheism, to tell lies, to give false witness, to kill a life without right), and Al-Munkar (i.e. all that is prohibited by Islaamic law: polytheism of every kind, disbelief and every kind of evil deeds), and Al-Baghy (i.e. all kinds of oppression), He admonishes you, that you may take heed.” (An-Nahl 16:90)

The neighbour who is near is the Muslim neighbour who is a relative and the neighbour who is a stranger is the one who is an unbeliever. The Prophet said, “Neighbours are three:

1. A neighbour who has only one right. That neighbour has the least right.

2. A neighbour who has two rights.

3. A neighbour who has three rights. This is the neighbour who has most rights.

The neighbour who has only one right is a neighbour who is an unbeliever and who is not a relative. He should enjoy the right of neighbourliness. The neighbour who has two rights is the Muslim neighbour who has the right of brotherhood in Islaam and the right of neighbourliness. The neighbour who has three rights is the one who is Muslim and is a relative. This neighbour has the right of Islaamic brotherhood, the right of neighbourliness and the right of blood relation.” (Al-Bazzaar and others)

Some scholars interpreted the ‘companion by the side’ as the wife while some interpreted it to be travel companion. It can also be interpreted, with a greater reason, as the companion at home.

Among the greatest act of kindness to the people is to treat them according to the teachings of Islaam. This include being truthful with them, respecting them, being patient with them, saying kind words to them and treating them the way one will like to be treated. Allaah says,

“O you who believe! Fulfil (your) obligations.” (Al-Maaidah 5:1)

Allaah also says,

“O you who believe! Be afraid of Allaah, and be with those who are true (in words and deeds).” (At-Tawbah 9:119)

Allaah also says,

“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allaah as just witnesses; and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety.” (Al-Maaidah 5:8)

He also says,

“You (true believers in Islaamic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his Sunnah) are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind.” (Aal ‘Imraan 3:110)

The Messenger of Allaah said, “The compassionate people will be shown mercy by the Merciful Lord.”

Allaah also says,

“And the (faithful) slaves of the Most Gracious (Allaah) are those who walk on the earth in humility and sedateness, and when the foolish address them (with bad words) they reply back with mild words of gentleness.” (Al-Furqaan 25:63)

Allaah also says,

“And eat up not one another's property unjustly.” (Al-Baqarah 2:188)

‘Uqbah bin ‘Aamir narrated that the Messenger of Allaah said, “O ‘Uqbah! Shall I not tell you of the best of the conduct of this world and the Hereafter? It is to join the tie of kinship with one who severs it, to give him who deprives you and to forgive him who does wrong to you.” (Ahmad and Al-Haakim)

The Messenger of Allaah also said, “There is nothing in the scale (of good deeds) that is heavier than good conduct. The one who has good conduct can achieve, through his good conduct, the position of one who performs (voluntary) fasting and prayers.” (Ahmad and others)

The Messenger of Allaah also said, “I have seen a man moving about in Paradise simply as a result of a harmful tree which he removed from people’s way.” (Muslim)

Dear brethren! Be kind to yourselves and others in the light of the acts of worship, which Allaah enjoined on you. Allaah says,

“And march forth in the way (which leads to) forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth, prepared for the pious; those who spend (in Allaah's Cause) in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger, and who pardon men; verily, Allaah loves the good-doers.” (Aal ‘Imraan 3:133-134)

Brethren in faith! Fear Allaah as He should be feared and get prepared for the horrors of the Day of Judgement. For this world will soon come to an end and the Hereafter is near with its everlasting bliss or painful punishment.

Brethren in faith! Kindness, which Allaah enjoined, must be shown to both humans and animals. Allaah says,

“So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant) shall see it. And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it.” (Az-Zalzalah 99:7-8)

The Messenger of Allaah said, “While a man was walking on a road. He became very thirsty. Then he came across a well, got down into it, drank (of its water) and then came out. Meanwhile he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. The man said to himself "This dog is suffering from the same state of thirst as I did." So he went down the well (again) and filled his shoe (with water) and held it in his mouth and watered the dog. Allah thanked him for that deed and forgave him." The people asked, "O Allah's Apostle! Is there a reward for us in serving the animals?" He said, "(Yes) There is a reward for serving any animate (living being).” (Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim)

The Prophet also said, “Any man who grows a tree or plants a plant and then a bird or a human being eats from it, it will be counted as charity in his credit.”

Dear brethren! Fear Allaah and always be kind to yourselves by carrying out righteous deeds and refraining from forbidden things. Also be kind to your fellow creatures, that your Lord may let you enter the Honourable Abode and ward away from you a painful punishment.