Kindness -- such a simple, yet such a powerful word. In Islam, kindness is a very important part of a Muslim’s expression of faith. One of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was, “The believers, in their love, mercy, and kindness to one another are like a body: if any part of it is ill, the whole body shares its sleeplessness and fever.” Islam teaches Muslims to be kind to all of God's creations, including their parents, relatives, neighbors, animals and the environment.
Kindness and respect towards parents is stressed throughout the Quran. The Quran says you should honor your parents, speak with them respectfully and "lower to them the wing of humility, and say: ‘My Lord! bestow on them thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood.’" Islam gives the highest level of honor to mothers. In one hadith (saying of the Prophet), it states that a man came to Prophet Muhammad and asked him, "O Allah's Apostle! Who is more entitled to be treated with the best companionship by me?" The Prophet said, "your mother" three times before saying, “your father.”
Muslims strive to be like Prophet Muhammad and follow his examples. Many examples show the compassion Prophet Muhammad had for children, especially orphans. Prophet Muhammad said, "Anyone who does not show mercy to our children is not one of us." He also said, “I and the person who looks after an orphan and provides for him, will be in Paradise like this (putting his index and middle finger together).”
Animals and the Environment
The Prophet said there is a reward for kindness to every living animal or human. He was was tender and kind towards cats and often lowered his vessel to give cats a drink. A narrative from the Prophet’s time describes an instance when a thirsty man went down a well for water. When he came back out, he saw a panting dog eating mud to quench its thirst. The man said, “This dog is feeling the same thirst that I felt.” So he went down into the well again, filled his shoe with water, climbed back up and gave the dog water. Allah forgave this man of his sins for this act of compassion and kindness. In Islam, hunting birds and animals for pleasure or sport is not allowed. Hunting is only allowed as a means of sustenance. Similarly, Islam prohibits the cutting or destruction of trees and plants that yield fruit, unless there is an absolute need for it.
In the Quran, Allah ordains for Muslims to do good to “neighbors who are near” and “neighbors who are strangers.” The Prophet said, “He is not a believer who eats his fill when his neighbor beside him is hungry" and "whose neighbors are not safe from his injurious conduct." He also said, "Whoever believes in Allah and the Day of Judgment should do good to his neighbor."
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