The other day, a young woman in the mosque asked me whether I can help her and I answered: “InshaAllah”.
So, she asked me: “Please tell me, how can I be kind?”
I was surprised about her question and told her that I was still struggling myself to become a kind person.
So, how can I advise her?
But then I paused for a while. I could feel that she really searched for an answer. All I could think about telling her at the moment was to do abundant istighfar, seeking Allah’s forgiveness. Her question made me ponder.
This article is first and foremost a reminder for myself of the things I have learned from my spiritual teachers, especially Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed, of how we can be a kind person.
To do istighfar is a major element if one aims to become a kind person. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to recite istighfar at least a hundred times a day despite the fact that he was ma’sum, unable to commit any sin.
In another Hadith, the Prophet stated that he seeks forgiveness more than seventy times a day. Why?
In another Hadith, he explained to us that Allah Almighty created human beings with the capacity to commit sin, so that we seek His forgiveness and He can forgive us.
Allah loves the one who turns to Him asking for forgiveness. He loves the one who repents (2: 222). Therefore, to do and to feel the istighfar, inshaAllah, can help us to become a kind person.
Don’t Feel You Are Better
How to be kind?
This question did not leave me and I pondered about what other elements are necessary to become a kind person. And I remembered my Shaykh’s lectures on being humble.
We should try to never feel better than any other person or any other of Allah’s creatures. It is important to understand that Allah’s guidance is a huge and tremendous gift that He bestowed upon us. It is nothing we have achieved on our own.
Divine guidance is a gift. So, we should never see a person of a different faith or no faith of being inferior to us. We don’t have the right to feel better than that person because we never know whether Allah will grant that person His guidance and raise them to much higher ranks than us. We never know whether we are destined to die as a Muslim. That is why we should always recite the beautiful dua that our beloved Prophet has taught us:
O Turner of the hearts, keep my heart on Your religion.
We should also not feel better than another person because of our education, our societal status or our economic advantage. These are all gifts from Allah.
And oftentimes, Allah loves the inconspicuous of His servants the most. We don’t know whether the cleaning lady in our company is the secret beloved of Allah. We should be kind to her.
Another way to try and erase the feeling of superiority or pride from our heart is by initiating salam when we meet our fellow Muslim brother or sister.
No matter if they are our students, our teachers, our staff, our family or just a fellow Muslim we meet on the street. We should try to greet her/him first because it erases the feeling of pride from our heart.
A Hadith from our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) says that:
The one who initiates the salam is free from pride.
When we say salam to our fellow Muslim brothers and sisters, we also water the flower of love between fellow Muslims. We show that we care. We show that we notice them. When we give them a sincere smile it might make their day and ours certainly, too.
Be of Benefit to Others
The question of how to be kind and how to become kind is closely connected to our very Muslim identity.
The best Muslim is the one that is of most benefit to others.
Therefore, if we strive to become kind we need to be of benefit to others. There are several ways we can benefit others depending on our own personal situation. I always admired the women in my local mosque who prepared all the delicious cakes and cookies to be consumed after religious lectures or for iftar. They really benefited others because they spend their time, money, energy, knowledge and love in making these goodies.
If you are a student help your fellow classmates. If you are eating in a restaurant, keep your place as clean as possible, so the person in charge of cleaning does not have more work to do than necessary.
Help your old neighbor carrying her shopping bags. Leave your seat to the pregnant lady in the bus. Cook for your sick friend or neighbor. Think of new, creative ways to be of benefit to other people, especially in this blessed month of Ramadan.
A very important way to help others is to spend our money on them. This we should do regardless of whether we have lots of money or little. Feed a poor person. Cloth a poor person. Spend on a poor orphan. Help a needy neighbor.
And first and foremost, spend on your family that is in need. The poor have a right over some of our wealth. And, Alhamdulillah, helping other people financially, helps us to become a kind person, InshaAllah.
Most important is our good intention, and that we are only doing it to seek Allah’s pleasure and not to ask people to be thankful to us or praise us.
If we really want to become kind persons, we have to try to always remember Allah Almighty.
Those who remember Allah while standing or sitting or (lying) on their sides and ponder about the creations of the heavens and the earth. (3: 191)
If we remember Allah, we are aware that He is watching us at all times. If we are aware of the fact that He is All-Seeing, All-Knowing, and All-Hearing, it becomes much more difficult to do sin, to be unfriendly to people, to behave badly or to be unjust. Because nothing escapes Him.
There are many other things we can do to improve ourselves.
If you can take some useful information, this comes from Allah Almighty. Alhamdulillah.
If there is anything unclear, wrong or expressed in an impolite way, I ask Allah for His forgiveness.