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Kindness: A Manifestation Of Faith In Islam



I used to think that being good to my family and friends, helping out my neighbors and teachers, and being cooperative would automatically qualify me as “kind.” Engaging in these behaviors made me believe that I had indeed achieved kindness. I stumbled upon a quote that deeply resonated with me: “Kindness is a mark of faith, and whoever lacks kindness has no faith.” This popular quote is a sentiment emphasized in a hadith attributed to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which states, “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself” or he ﷺ said, “For his neighbor, what he loves for himself.” as told by Anas bin Malik [(Sunan Ibn Majah 66].

This hadith highlights the significance of genuine kindness for a sincere follower. The impact of this hadith triggered a deep reflection, causing me to question the true nature of my character. Was I genuinely a kind person, as I had assumed, or was there more to it than just outward actions? And how has it had a deep connection to faith? True kindness is more than just mere actions and external displays of politeness for other people. It also means being sensitive to their feelings and aware of the difficulties they face while offering them help without expecting anything in return, and genuinely caring about their well-being. Kindness stems from sincerity and faith, reflecting one’s strong beliefs and values.  

The hadith also suggests a lack of kindness may indicate a deficiency in one’s faith. Someone who lacks concern for or fails to display empathy towards others might be missing out on a fundamental aspect of their spiritual journey. Islam encourages its followers to cultivate:

  •         empathy and compassion toward all living beings,
  •         practice forgiveness in their interactions, and
  •         love unconditionally.
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These moral principles serve as a map for Muslims, guiding them to show the core of their faith.

Empathy and Compassion

Islam is based on having empathy and compassion ingrained in all aspects. This basic principle says that Muslims must understand and share the pain and struggles of all people, regardless of origin, religion, or social standing.

Think for a second about a situation in which your only concerns are protecting your friends while condemning your enemies. Or picture yourself for a moment in a situation where all you can do is console someone who has been hurt without digging into the reasons of whoever inflicted their pain. Neither fair nor inclusive, that is not kindness.

The thing is, people who intentionally hurt others are often in emotional anguish themselves, while those who engage in bullying or tormenting behaviors often do so as a way of coping with their personal pain. True compassion calls for a huge heart willing to put in the effort to understand other people and what drives them to behave as they do.

When Scout in Harper Lee’s book “To Kill a Mockingbird,” is struggling to understand the actions of certain people in their racially divided town. Atticus Finch, advised his daughter, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” This quote means that to really get where other people are coming from, we need to put ourselves in their situation and try to see things as they do.

By metaphorically suggesting that one should climb into someone’s skin, Harper Lee paints a powerful image of deeply immersing yourself in someone else’s experiences. Just like putting on someone’s skin, you try to take on their life, feelings, and circumstances, as if you were living their reality. It is necessary to engage in the experiences of others rather than merely observe them from a distance, as demonstrated by the metaphoric phrase “and walk around in it”. It requires making the time and effort to understand their surroundings and find out about the factors that influence their actions and choices.

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ set the best example of being kind to all. He ﷺ was kind and caring with children. Anas bin Malik raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) narrated that he never saw anyone who was more compassionate toward children than Allah’s Messenger ﷺ. Muhammad’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) son Ibrahim was in the care of a wet nurse in the hills around Madinah. He ﷺ would visit his son, pick him up, hug him, and then return.” [Sahih Muslim 2316] This hadith depicts Muhammad’s ﷺ affection for his young son Ibrahim. He set an example for all parents by visiting his son despite his busy schedule and great responsibilities.

In a narration by Abu Musa al-Ash’ari, the Prophet ﷺ said that glorifying Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) involves showing honor to a grey-haired Muslim [Sunan Abi Dawud 4843]. By respecting and honoring the elderly, the Prophet ﷺ demonstrated the value of wisdom and life experience in Islam.

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ displayed kindness even to his enemies, hoping to heal rifts through compassion and understanding. During the conquest of Makkah, he ﷺ demonstrated extraordinary compassion and forgiveness toward his former adversaries. In a narration by Al-Qasim ibn Salam, when his enemies came to the Ka’bah, the Prophet ﷺ said to them,kindness - surah yusuf




“I say to you as Yusuf (Joseph) said to his brothers: No blame upon you today. Allah will forgive you, for he is the most merciful of the merciful.” [Surah Yusuf: 12;92]

In another narration, the Prophet ﷺ said to them, “Go, you are free.” [Elias] With this declaration, he ﷺ pardoned all Makkans, including his fiercest foes. His deeds of mercy and forgiveness helped to mend hearts and unite people, contributing to the peaceful spread of Islam throughout the area.

Moreover, kindness is not limited to interactions with fellow human beings alone. Islam promotes compassion towards animals and the environment as well. A hadith reported by Abu Huraira exemplifies the importance of being kind to all creatures. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said that a man who quenched a thirsty dog’s thirst was appreciated by Allah and forgiven his sins. When asked if showing kindness to the animals would also be rewarded, Heﷺ replied that a reward is given in connection with every living creature. [Sahih al-Bukhari 2466]

This holistic approach to compassion reinforces the idea that we have a moral obligation to care for and defend Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) creation at every level.

The Power of Forgiveness


PC: Steve Dimaatteo (unsplash)

Forgiveness is strongly emphasized in Islam and is considered the height of kindness. The Qur’an consistently highlights its importance, encouraging a culture of compassion, understanding, and reconciliation. “… And let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like Allah to forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Surah An-Nur: 24:22] This verse highlights the significance of forgiving others and refraining from dwelling on their mistakes. Muslims should consider their dependence on Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mercy and forgiveness, recognizing that extending forgiveness to others is a virtuous act that aligns with divine attributes.

Forgiving people who’ve hurt or wronged us can be seriously tough. It’s a huge obstacle we have to face. Hanging onto grievances is a struggle because all those intense emotions, like resentment, anger, and pain, just keep holding us back from moving forward. Islam teaches forgiveness towards others as a highly rewarding deed in the eyes of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

Dr. Sombat Jitmoud’s story is a compelling example of this principle. In January 2015, his son was tragically murdered. The perpetrator, Trey Relford, was sentenced to 31 years in prison. However, Dr. Jitmoud surprised everyone when he expressed his forgiveness towards Relford, stating that “Forgiveness is the greatest gift of charity in Islam.” (Eltagouri) His remarkable act of compassion and kindness exemplified his commitment to his faith’s teachings and desire for inner peace amid unimaginable grief. This act of forgiveness showcased the power of forgiveness to transform and rise above animosity and hatred. 

Forgiveness allows for reconciliation and mending of relationships. It opens communication, restores harmony and unity, and is a powerful tool for healing.  

Unconditional Love for Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) Sake

A true and elevated form of love is to love solely for Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) sake. This genuine love is selfless, without expecting in return, and not for worldly reasons. This love drives you to be kind and forgiving to those around you. It’s a meaningful way to put your faith into action, and it’s rooted in devotion to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and the desire to follow His teachings and seek His pleasure.

Kindness needs not to be massive. It can be as effortless as giving a friendly greeting, saying words of praise, or reminding others of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). As taught by Prophet Muhammad ﷺ , a genuine smile is considered an act of charity, just as removing harmful objects from the road is an aspect of faith. When we show kindness, however insignificant we think it is, with the intention of expressing our love for Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), our actions take on a deeper meaning and become a means for spiritual growth and connection.


Kindness is a key part of faith in Islam. Muslims show empathy and compassion to reflect Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) love for all. Forgiveness helps them let go of negativity and promotes reconciliation. And, unconditional love for Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) sake brings care for each other extending even to those who may not reciprocate the same affection. A Muslim’s response to injustice is supposed to be mercy, hatred to be love, and ignorance to be wisdom. The examples of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ have been instrumental in illustrating the true essence of kindness.

As the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “Be kind, for whenever kindness becomes part of something, it beautifies it.” [Sahih Muslim Book 32, Hadith Number 6274] 

A better, beautiful world can be created one act of kindness at a time, so let’s all do our part. Each act of kindness reaffirms the innate goodness that connects us all.



– Lessons On Compassion For Our Troubled World From The Prophet Muhammad

Cultivating Mental Well-Being In The Muslim Community [Part 2]: Back To Basics – Be Kind And Gentle To The Struggling

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Famidah Mundir- Dirampaten, a Bangsamoro woman who was reared in the northern part of the Philippines but is originally from Marawi City in the South of the country. With exposure to a diverse mix of cultures, religions, and ways of life, she developed a passion for interfaith understanding. Her journey led her to study and earn a certificate in the Nonprofit Organization Development Program in Virginia. She studied for a Master's degree in Religious Studies with a concentration in interfaith peacebuilding and nonprofit leadership from UTS in New York City. She is currently based in Doha and more than anything else, she finds immense joy and fulfillment in her role as a mother.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Talha

    September 29, 2023 at 11:33 PM

    Jazakallah. We said, sister. We should be kind to others to satisfy Allah (SWT) as well as ourselves.

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