Article in brief: we hear a lot about the importance of kindness in the community, but what is it really about, and how can we utilize it in our own lives?
The nature of the world has changed dramatically in the past century. Since the start of the industrial revolution we have seen a dramatic change in human behavior. Greed has become the driving force for individuals and corporations working towards maximum profit. People spend more time working and making a living and focusing on their own needs, which leaves little time for more selfless gestures.
I have learned that nothing in this world makes you feel as good as a simple act of kindness. As Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Every act of kindness is a Sadaqa (charity)” (Bukhari, Muslim). Our faith is based on acts of peace, kindness, and empathy so why do we tend to forget that?
Acts of kindness could be as simple as offering someone in need a glass of water. Helping someone carry their grocery bags across the parking lot. Helping the general community by removing harmful things from the road which is also a form of Sadaqa (charity).
Personally, the last selfless deed I did was along those lines. I was at a petrol station waiting for my car to be fueled and was late for an appointment. I then glimpsed the station staff sweating heavily from the heat, and although he had water, it looked warm. I felt so bad that I’m sitting in air conditioned areas the whole day and he had to work his shift in this heat. So I got him a few bottles of cold water from the station’s mart, and I later gained this practice as a habit, doing it almost everytime I stop at a gas station.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
― Leo Buscaglia
Life is a passing moment, a glimpse made up of memories we make. Why not make memories that others will remember too. We all want to live forever so why not live through people’s remembrance of us. Their constant reminder of our selfless deeds. Success and greatness can only hold your memory for as long as someone greater comes along. But, making a direct difference in people’s lives will keep your memory forever.
“On no soul doth Allah Place a burden greater than it can bear” – 286 Al-Baqarah
On the other hand, being too kind or compassionate could be a curse. Some are too compassionate about fixing and helping everyone that they tend to forget that the world’s problems are not theirs to fix. One cannot give what one does not have. What I tend to notice that people drain you when they see you are always there for them. They abuse any sense of compassion you might have to constantly fix their own problems. So make sure to help only to the limits you can give.
“Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.”
― Andrew Boyd, Daily Afflictions: The Agony of Being Connected to Everything in the Universe
Shamma holds a Masters Degree in Human Rights and a BA in International Affairs. She currently works as an instructor at Zayed University. Having volunteered with people with disability for more than 10 years, she devotes her career and free time to work closely with vulnerable groups to create a visible impact in society. Having interests in philosophy, human psyche, sociology, and literature her column “12 Lessons” will focus on issues that we face as a part of the trial and error process that is life.
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