Good Will and Helping Others

Musa Kâzım GÜLÇÜR

Muslims want the best for everyone and feel pleasure in helping others. To help one another and intercede for one another is one of the directives of Islam and to do so is demanded by the brotherhood that exists between Muslims. One who wants something good for themselves but does not want the same thing for others has violated the basic social principles of Islam.

What the right thing to do is, or its manner and method, can change according to the circumstances and the environment. It is not always necessary to be direct. When practicing the feelings of goodness and mercy, there are certainly motifs that need to be attended to. These are sensitivity of heart, sincerity, loving goodness, and the desire to seek God’s pleasure. Also important are concerns like avoiding the expectation of repayment, looking for thanks, or pursuing worldly profit and advantage. There is also a faith dimension to helpfulness and the desire to work for the comfort and peace of others. One of the sayings of the Prophet is, “If one of you does not want or love for his brother (or neighbour) what he wants and loves for himself, he cannot be a true believer.”

It is important to be resolute in the gaining of God’s pleasure, to be full of merciful feelings toward the needy, and to be ready to put others before oneself, helping them with their problems whenever necessary. It will certainly benefit us if we try to complete our duties of helping others, constantly seeking opportunities to please God, and taking shelter in God’s mercy. People who practice such behaviour will be given rewards “like no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human mind can possibly imagine” in Paradise.

According to a narration by Abu Hurayra, God’s Messenger said, “All people owe a debt of gratitude to God in return for the benefit of every limb and joint of their body every day, and their giving thanks or acknowledging all these blessings is an important sadaqa (charity). For example, it is sadaqa to make peace between two who are fighting. It is also a great sadaqa to help someone to climb onto their animal or to lift their load. A good word is also a sadaqa. Every step taken to get to prayers (for any salat such as congregational prayers, funeral prayers, Eid prayers) is sadaqa. The removal of a harmful object from the road so it will not bother others is even accepted as sadaqa.” [Bukhari, Sulh, 11; Jihad, 72, 128; Muslim, Zakat, 56; Musafirin, 84; Abu Dawud, Tatawwu, 12; Adab, 160; Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, 2/316, 350, 4/423, 5/178] Having been granted such blessings, the sadaqa that we owe is to use them to work for good. The debt of gratitude owed for such blessings is a key to understanding some essential aspects of social adab. For example, every step a person takes to get to prayers is counted as sadaqa, resulting in the forgiveness of a sin and raising the person’s degree.

Translated by Jessica ÖZALP

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