Maulana Khalid Dhorat|
Sometimes when people repeatedly get hurt by their loved ones, they end up shielding their hearts, terrified of getting hurt again, and refuse to submit to their compassionate natures. Slowly they become numb. They convince themselves that ‘strength’ is synonymous with ‘not caring’, when in fact it’s the exact opposite. A wise man once said: “Love and compassion are necessities not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”
Many philosophers have spent many years researching, studying and observing before cracking the following happiness code: The source of your happiness stems from making others happy. But 1400 years ago, a blessed Prophet who wasn’t a psychologist or a neurologist or a sociologist or any kind of ‘-ologist’ conveyed the same sacred words of Allah Ta’ala, describing the same pattern that defines us till this day: “Have you seen the one who denies the Recompense? For that is the one who drives away the orphan. And does not encourage the feeding of the poor. So woe to those who pray, [But] who are heedless of their prayer – Those who make show [of their deeds]. And withhold [simple] assistance (small kindnesses’).” (107: 1-7)
The key to our happiness may just lie in the awesome power of small acts of kindnesses, as mentioned in the above chapter of the Qur’an.
Just like abuse and bullying can have negative long-term effects on society, where those in pain ‘pay it back’ with more hurt and anger, kindness will do the opposite of that if you ‘pay it forward’. You have to admire the choice of the word ‘withhold’ in the above verse because it perfectly describes how we suppress our kind-hearted natures when we deny the reality of this life. We forget that we are all connected, we have the ability to be kind, that kindness is not only in huge things, and that the joy you spread will eventually find its way back to you. Life is a chain reaction. You and I have the power to conquer poverty, hunger, disease and wars by causing a ripple effect with one small, good selfless deed.
The next time you pass by a poor homeless man on the street and avoid eye contact because it’s ‘awkward’, try pausing from your busy life for a minute to ask “how can I help?” We are all the slaves of Allah Ta’ala and we have an important job to do. We have to help one another, whether the person appreciates it or not, whether we know the person or not.
We plant trees to overcome pollution, take vitamins to beat fatigue, vacuum the house to clean the dust – it makes sense to conquer the negative with a positive, and what’s more beautiful than a fresh batch of hope to revive this ummah? Here’s a list to get you started which you may add on:
For your lovely parents and grandparents:
1. Thank your mom every day for the food she cooked. Kiss her hands that have done so much for you.
2. Ask your dad daily: “What can I do to make your day better?” Help him out with organizing his stuff, clearing his email or even just discussing things he loves to talk about.
3. Visit them out of the blue if you are living away from them.
4. Call and visit your grandparents often.
5. Be patient with them if they are sickly or senile. them! Make them feel special before they’re gone.
6. Make them feel wanted and relevant by asking them to tell you stories – because there’s nothing they want more!
For your spouse and children
1. Hide a note with a funny joke, compliment or piece of advice in your kids’ backpacks or clothes.
2. Text your husband or wife saying ‘I Love You’ or how much you appreciate what they do.
3. A minimum of three hugs a day for each member of the family;
4. Be kind to your children whenever they nag about being hungry or tired. It’s the best time to teach them patience!
5. Ask if your spouse needs any help in the kitchen or would like a nice warm foot massage after a tiring day at work. Keep your love alive.
For relatives, neighbors and friends:
1. Send flowers or just a note to a distant relative with a card saying “Just a little something to make you smile”.
2. Offer to mow your neighbor’s lawn or wash their cars.
3. Go out of your way to restore ties of kinship.
4. Tell your friends how much they mean to you and make dua for them.
5. Take some gifts like a miswaak for all those who regularly come to the Masjid.
For co-workers and other workers:
1. Bring homemade cookies to share at work.
2. Praise clerks, assistants and workers and thank them for their hard work. Try doing this everyday!
For absolute strangers:
1. Greet people with a smile (same gender only!!).
2. Give up your seat for the elderly or a pregnant woman or just anyone who looks like they need to sit down!
3. Hand out balloons to kids on the street.
4. Distribute packs of dates and water along your street to those who pass by.
For Allah’s beautiful creations:
1. Leave a bowl of water outside for the birds and cats. Animals don’t fast!!
2. Make tasbih (glorify Allah) outdoors. Trees, insects, even the mountains and soil will join and bloom.
For those in dire need of small kindnesses:
1. Leave a couple of colors and coloring books in the waiting room of a public hospital.
2. Do some fun story-telling at an orphanage and bring them toys or snacks.
3. Share a meal with a homeless person and sit with them on the ground.
4. Listen attentively to someone who is sad or lonely.
The ideas are endless. Just doing one simple act of kindness a day without expecting anything in return can truly change the world, and is beyond joyful and fulfilling. It’s in fact the number one reason behind success, inner peace and sound sleep! Helping others feel better is simply the meaning of happiness.
Allah says in the Qur’an: “Is there any reward for good other than good?” (55:60) Kindness and happiness begets kindness and happiness, provided you initiate it. Believe in Allah’s promise, have compassion, pray from the heart and invest in those simple acts of kindness during the year.