Islamic Topics- Brief Topics- Lecture (29): The Absolute Ihsaan (Benevolence)
Last update:2017-06-07
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Praise be to Allah, the Lord of Creations, and Peace and blessings be upon our prophet Muhammad, the faithful and the honest.
 Oh, Allah, we know nothing but what You teach us. You are the All- Knower, the Wise. Oh Allah, teach us what is good for us, and benefit us from what You taught us, and increase our knowledge. Show us the righteous things as righteous and help us to do them, and show us the bad things as bad and help us to keep away from them.
  O Allah our Lord, lead us out from the depths of darkness and illusion, unto the lights of erudition and knowledge, and from the muddy shallows of lusts unto the heavens of Your Vicinity.

The absolute Ihsaan (Benevolence):

 Dear brothers, in a previous lesson I told you that you cannot get closer to Allah, unless you have perfection derived from Him. The mighty endear any person to them upon declaring his loyalty to them without verifying his behavior, while Allah the Almighty does not endear a slave to him unless he has perfection derived from Him.

 One of the companions asked the Prophet PBUH to mutilate the disbelievers' bodies (after the battle of Uhud as they mutilated the body of his uncle Hamzah) but the Prophet PBUH said:

((I will never mutilate their bodies, lest Allah would do the same for me even if I am a Prophet.))

[Mentioned in the relic]

 It is impossible that Allah the Al-Mighty accepts you as a true believer except for your perfection, so you find the believer distinguished by his steadfastness, his faith, his truthfulness, his devoutness and his fear of Allah. The believer is Muhsen (benevolent)in every sense of the word. Allah says:

(And do good)

[Al-Baqarah, 195]

 To whom should we be benevolent? Allah does not mention to whom, nor does He specify the kind of goodness we should do. He only says, "and do good."
  Hence, today's lesson is about the absolute Ihsaan (benevolence), so if someone has a craft, benevolence is manifested in perfecting it, which is part of religion.

 I have a friend whose daughter was in the eighth grade, and Allah the Al-Mighty bestowed great kindness and beauty upon her. On a stormy day, that girl was killed when a satellite dish that was not fixed properly fell on her. The owner of the satellite dish fixed it with two screws instead of four, and so he is considered in Allah's Sight a killer for not perfecting his job.

 Sometimes the mechanic asks a small boy to assist him and put a part of a car in its place, but the boy may not put it properly, and this mistake may cause the death of those who are in the car when the driver drives the car fast. Hence, that mechanic will be called to account for being the killer of those people.

 In fact, Al-Ihsaan is absolute, and the first level of Ihsaan is to perfect your work, and you should offer Muslims sincere pieces of advice. Keep in mind that Allah is the One Who call you to account for being dishonest to them asking you; why did you cheat them? Why did you take money from them more than what you really needed? Why did you sell them bad goods, but you claimed that they are good? Therefore, perfecting your career and being honest while dealing with people are some of the manifestations of Al-Ihsaan.

Al-Ihsaan at home:

 Let me move now to tackle Al-Ihsaan at home. One should be a perfect father, a perfect husband, a perfect brother, and a perfect wife. Thus, Al-Ihsaan is to fulfil your duty perfectly and sincerely:

((Allah's Apostle said, ''Surely! Everyone of you is a guardian and is responsible for his charges: The Imam (ruler) of the people is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects; a man is the guardian of his family (household) and is responsible for his subjects; a woman is the guardian of her husband's home and of his children and is responsible for them; and the slave of a man is a guardian of his master's property and is responsible for it.'' I thought that he also said, ''A man is the guardian of his father's property and is responsible for it. Surely, everyone of you is a guardian and responsible for his charges.''))

[Agreed upon, by Ibn Umar]

 A worker in a shop may consume some goods in an inappropriate way, he may even take what is not his and he may misuse the machines. Also, an employer may dry his hands after washing them by the papers which are made to be used for writing, not for drying his hands. What I would like to say is that if Man truly knows Allah he will become a Muhsen in all domains of life; he will be Muhsen at home, at work and so on. Actually if people perfect their work, and they are devoted to Allah with sincerity, we will become in a better situation.

Whoever reckons himself strictly in life, his reckoning will be easy in the Hereafter:

 Nowadays, the process of buying and selling has become a battlefield, and everyone has become a mine you do not know when it will explode. You may buy an adulterated commodity, or a good that has been expired. Furthermore, you may buy a medicine whose expiry date has been erased and sold to people as a new product. I thought that if the medicine which is expired was taken, it would do no harm to the patient, but this is not true. It has been proven that the ingredients of the expired medicine disintegrate, becoming poisonous. Who will call whoever sells an expired medicine to account on the Day of Resurrection? Allah the Al-Mighty will.

 Religion is all about Ihsaan, and when you call yourself to a severe account in the worldly life, Allah will make things easy for you in the in the Hereafter. It is narrated that Abu Hanifah -may Allah be pleased with him, never sat in the shadow of a mortgaged property to him, in order not to get benefit from it, because benefiting from a mortgaged property is a kind of Riba (usury). That was a reflection of his fear of Allah

((Once, Ibn Umar met a shepherd, and he asked him, "May you sell me one of your sheep?" The shepherd said, "It is not mine." Ibn Umar then said, "Tell its owner that the wolf has eaten it." At that moment the shepherd raised his head up to the sky and said, "Can I escape Allah's Torment? Ibn Umar said, "By Allah, I am more entitled than you to ask whether I can escape Allah's Torment or not." Ibn Umar bought the shepherd and the sheep and he set him free and gave him the sheep.))

 This is a fact; when you fear Allah, He will make you fearless of all people. Let me say it again; when you fear Allah, He will make you fear no one, but when you do not fear Him, He will make you afraid of the most despicable people.

Ihsaan should be manifested in dealing with all creatures:

 When Allah says in the abovementioned Ayah, "and do good", He refers to the wide meaning of the word Ihsaan, but the naive man understands it as paying Sadaqah (giving charity). On the contrary, Al-Ihsaan means to perfect your craft, to say the truth, to be honest, to be sincere, to give everyone his right and to fulfil your duties towards your family and children, such as looking after them. These are manifestations of Al-Ihsaan. Regarding your duties towards your children, the Prophet PBUH said:

((It is sufficient sin for a man that he neglects whom he maintains))

[Abui Dawud]

 One morning, I had a call from a woman who said, "My son is in jail." I asked her, "Why? What did he do?" She answered, "He robbed a house." I asked her, "Do you not want him to be released?" She answered, "No, I do not, because if he is set free, he will do more evil things." I asked her, "Why so?"– She replied, "Because his father is oblique." Seemingly, she is a good wife, but her husband is a corrupted man. The deviation of the son was the outcome of the father's deviation. What should the mother do to her son the thief? Then, I told her, "Sometimes, people learned bad things in the prison", but she said, "Well, he has already known about all these bad things outside the prison." I said to myself, "Glory be to Allah!" That father would be called to account for the deviation of his son, and you too as father, a husband, a brother, a son, and a lawyer will be called to account.

 Regarding the dishonest lawyer, he knows for sure that he will lose the lawsuit, and that the opinion of the cassation court does not allow the judge to take a certain judgement, so, why does he accept to defend such a lawsuit, take pre-paid fees, and leave the client wait for years? In such a case he takes Haram (unlawful) money. Similarly, the teacher who is pretty sure that a certain student will never pass the exam, but he deludes the father that his lazy son will pass the exams if he gives him private lessons, will be called to account for his dishonesty. The same goes for the doctor who asks his patients to perform unnecessary tests, for he will be called to account for that.

 I am giving you these example in order to make you understand the wide meaning of Al-Ihsaan; it include honesty, piety and uprightness. Also it means to avoid lying, cheating Muslims and selling goods as high quality ones while they are not. Actually, there are countless kinds of cheating concerning people's interests, crafts and industries. Hence, dear brothers, when Allah says, "and do good", He means the absolute Ihsaan which embraces doing good to all creatures:

((Verily Allah has prescribed Ihsaan (proficiency, perfection) in all things. So if you kill then kill well...))

[Muslim and At-Tirmidhi, on the authority of Abu Ya'la Shaddad bin Aws]

 Once I wanted to buy fish from the fishery, so the seller brought a basket, put some fresh fish before me, and said, "Shall I clean them for you, sir? I answered, "Yes, please. Oh, wait a minute the fish are still alive." He said, "Yes, so what?!" I replied, "They should not be tormented twice." By Allah, I had to wait for an hour, so that the fish lie down on their sides, but the seller did not wait for the fish of the other customers to do the same, so he got the living fish, opened their abdomen and snatched their entrails! Indeed, he decimated it.

((Once, the prophet became angry about seeing someone slaughtering a sheep in front of another one, so he said, "May you keep it away from the other sheep sisters; do you want to kill it twice?"))

 Accordingly, you should never slaughter any sheep in front of another. I told a brother who has a slaughterhouse, "It is recommended to have a room for slaughtering the sheep and another room for the sheep that are to be slaughtered later on." It is just like the fitting rooms in shops. The point is to have a separated place for the sheep to be slaughtered away from the other sheep, for it is Sunnah.

 Someone told me, "The angels make Du'a for the one who teaches people goodness", but when I said that to the fisherman once, he said "May you explain to me the relation between the fishermen and teachers according to the saying you just mentioned?" I answered, "It is so simple. If someone wants to buy a fish, and the seller does not torment it buy waiting for it to set down on its side, and then he cleans up its entrails, it makes Du'a for him."

 By Allah, when I was once in the hey market, I saw with my own eyes a man who threw the hen in the boiling water immediately after he slaughtered it in order to easily pluck its feathers. By Allah, he threw the slaughtered hen in the boiling water after slaughtering it without waiting for even few seconds. I seek refuge with Allah from such people, because they are criminals. Allah has created these creatures for us, so we have to be kind to them. This is how we should understand the wide meaning of Ihsaan, which is really extended to such an extent that it includes being Muhsen in the way you eat, drink, sleep, raise your children, earn and spend your money, and perform your job.

Ihsaan is to perfect work:

 One day, I was at a school where the administration commissioned a contractor to renew the doors, but all the doors were new, so they ordered a worker to install locks for the doors. I was there in the class when the worker accomplished that mission, but he hit the screw four times to install the lock, and one week later the lock dropped, because the screw formed a hole in the door. I asked him, "Why did it drop?" He answered, "Forget about it sir, for this is normal here." Having such a mentality is really scary!

 I keep repeating, Ihsaan is not to give Sadaqah (charity) to the poor, but rather Ihsaan is to perfect your work. If a worker does not press the pipes properly, the tiles will crack later on, and so the house will be destroyed. Our problem is that we do not understand that our religion is a religion of perfection, so if we do not perfect our work, we do not believe in this religion at all In some cases the manufacturers use 3 per 1000 of sodium benzoates in canned food instead of 1 per 1000, in order to preserve food for longer time, but this rate makes them poisonous.

 Many farmers add a certain kind of insecticides to grapes to prevent hornets from eating them, but do you believe that this kind of insecticides is systemic? What does systemic mean? It means that the insecticides are absorbed by the plant from the soil, entering deeply into its structure, so you can never remove these chemicals from the fruit even if you wash the grapes a hundred times. If someone eats that fruit before passing two months since adding this kind of insecticides, he will have cancer. Has anybody thought of it? Those farmers say, "Forget about it; we just want to sell the fruit. Are you still asking why Allah has abandoned Muslims?!

 People eat food which is full of hormones and carcinogens although these materials are not allowed to be imported, and I am not accusing the authorities of being responsible for that, for all these materials entered into our country by smugglers who have no faith in or fear of Allah.

 Some manufacturers add "ceruse" to the sesame paste to make its color lighter and to sell it at a higher price. This material enters into our stomach like many other dangerous materials used in food industries who no one knows but Allah Alone. People who use such materials lack faith, and it is ironic to see someone of the owners of such factories (those which add dangerous materials to food) pray in congregation. Actually, all their prayers are not accepted.

 I would like to remind you, dear brothers, of the fact that the meaning of Ihsaan is so wide:

((Verily Allah has prescribed Ihsaan (proficiency, perfection) in all things. So if you kill then kill well...))

[Muslim and At-Tirmidhi, on the authority of Abu Ya'la Shaddad bin Aws]

Translation  : Noha Amer
Edited by      : Kawthar Hajj Saleh