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Surah Baqarah 002: Verse 195
إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
Indeed, Allah loves the doers of good.
Narrated Abu Huraira:One day while the Prophet (ﷺ) was sitting in the company of some people, (The angel) Gabriel came and asked, “What is faith?” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) replied, ‘Faith is to believe in Allah, His angels, (the) meeting with Him, His Apostles, and to believe in Resurrection.” Then he further asked, “What is Islam?” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) replied, “To worship Allah Alone and none else, to offer prayers perfectly to pay the compulsory charity (Zakat) and to observe fasts during the month of Ramadan.” Then he further asked, “What is Ihsan (perfection)?” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) replied, “To worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you cannot achieve this state of devotion then you must consider that He is looking at you.” [Bukhari]
Submitting to Allaah and thus following Islam is what makes us a Muslim! But acting on the level of Ihsan is what makes a Muslim, a Muhsin! I mentioned this hadith first, as the translation does no justice to this word. Ihsan is beyond goodness.
Real Ihsan is to obey and worship Allaah as we see him and if we can’t do that, then at least consider that He’s watching us.
Imagine someone whom you not only respect, but also love in a way, that you fear hurting or disobeying them. And that someone asks you to do something. Assume that it’s your mother, father or any higher respectable authority whose love, attention and care is something you long for. What quality of work would you produce for them? Especially when they are monitoring you/are around you? While you know that, they know that you know. You get that? Can you now distinguish a bit between the two states?
Ihsan is not only in our worship – our prayer or fast etc. It is beautifying every deed for the sake of Allaah alone hence becoming independent of anyone’s appreciation of our efforts. That’s simply not the target. We rise above. We go beyond. Alhamdulillah for this is where the contentment lies. In doing things for the sake of Allaah.
Few Practical Examples of Goodness from the Research Point of View:
* Data from 255 metropolitan areas across the US found that communities that pull together — essentially doing nice little things for each other like volunteering and helping a neighbor out —are happier. Social capital has a protective effect: people are happier when they do the right thing. [PSYblog]
* While doing good and feeling good both make us feel happy, it’s doing good that benefits us at the genetic level. [PSYblog]
And when that doing good is for the sake of Allah, it’s effects reach far and across.
Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Indeed Allah has decreed Ihsan in everything. So when you kill, then do the killing well, and when you slaughter, then do the slaughtering well. Let one of you sharpen his blade, and let him comfort his animal (before slaughtering).” [Tirmidhi]
Have you ever spent a significant amount of time to help others, only to find out they take you for granted? Have you ever done something so kind, only to be branded as fake? Have you ever put so much effort, only to see others take credit for it?
When one does such things for the sake of Allah, many of such daily stresses dissolve. Don’t ever give up because the world expects a different version of you for themselves. We need to keep reminding ourselves that we are made honorable to serve our Rabb and not be slaves to people or our desires. If our actions and intentions are truly for the sake of Allah, then with time, the results will stop to bother us. Because results aren’t in our hands. This world slips right through our fingers and we should just learn to let it slip by. It’s not ours to keep and others are not here to serve us or make us happy. We are here to serve Allah and be happy as a result.
If that means silence amidst rage, leaving an argument when you’re right, smiling when someone is rude, or making peace with someone who has wronged you, then it’s relatively a smaller price to pay. People may not deserve all of you but Allah does! Give him the best you!