“Religion without morality is a superstition and a curse, and morality without religion is impossible.” (Hopkins)
Have you ever asked yourself these questions; How can we differentiate what is right from what is wrong? What are the sound principles that we should follow in life? I am sure you did. The right answer to these questions can be summarized in just one term which is “the moral values”. Moral values are the principles that guide our life in the righteous path, help us to handle any situation and do not allow us to do any harm to others.
In addition, these values help us to stand as unique creatures in this world. So, from where do we get these values that we learn since childhood? Every religion has its own basic values and in Islam, the Holy Qur’an and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) serve as the primary source of these values. There are several morals values we should follow and in this essay we will concentrate on three of them which are Honesty, kindness and forgiveness.
Honesty implies the meaning of sincerity in everything man does. It is related to all aspects of his life such as his actions, transactions and other dealings in which one should be fair and avoid deception and falsehood.
In addition, Honesty serves as an umbrella term that has some basic components such as fulfilling commitments, telling truth, keeping the promise, doing one’s work as sincerely as possible, carrying out the duties as fully and completely as possible whether the person is under supervision or not and giving everyone their full deserved rights without their asking for them.
The importance of honesty lies in the fact that it has a great place in the Holy Qur’an as it is the core of the message of Islam and the main characteristic of Muslims. It also has a great role in strengthening the relationship between individuals and society members. The Holy Qur’an and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) orders people to be honest in their dealings with each other and always tell the truth even if it is against their own will or benefit.
Thus, Honesty is one of the greatest traits one must have as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was known as “the trustworthy Muhammad” and Allah the Almighty said in the Holy Qur’an:
“O you who believe! Fear God, and be with those who are true (in word and deeds).” (Quran 9:119)
Kindness is one of the greatest moral values that man should have. The term kindness, in Islam, implies the meaning of giving charity and when the word kindness is mentioned, the first thing that comes into mind is giving or helping those in need from the provisions and sustenance bestowed by Allah to the rich. Allah the Almighty encourages the believers to practice kindness by declaring competition with each other in performing good deeds. This means that we are responsible for the money that Allah the Almighty bestowed upon us and on the Day of Judgment, we will be asked about how we earned and spent it.
Furthermore, the importance of kindness lies in the fact that when we give charity, we are rewarded in return. The forms of this reward are that charity atones for our sins, increases our good deeds, purifies our hearts from greed, increases our sensation of the poor, protects us from Hell and the Angels pray on behalf of us when we give charity.
In Islam, The greatest character who gave charity is our prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Some features of kindness in the Prophet’s life are that He fed the poor, gave water to the needy, took care of the widows, helped the orphans and said: “None of you have faith until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself.’’ (Muslim)
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Every act of kindness is a Sadaqa (charity)” (Bukhari, Muslim). This text from the tradition of the Prophet (PBUH) shows the importance of kindness in Muslims’ life.
We live in a world in which there are people with whom we have to interact. As a result of this interaction, there will be some fights or abuses due to any reason that will cause anger and violence. There may be some injuries or others harms and it will be difficult to forgive the offenders; However, Allah the Almighty orders us to forgive those who abused us and He will bless us with a lot of mercy after forgiving them due to complying with Allah’s command.
Forgiveness in Islam can be taken into two forms; Allah’s forgiveness of our sins and people’s forgiveness of those who harm them and the earlier can be a result of the latter. Allah the Almighty said in the Holy Qur’an “whoever pardons [his foe] and makes peace, his reward rests with God – for, verily, He does not love evildoers” (Qur’an 42:40)
The importance of forgiveness is that it is a form of high morals that the human soul needs to get rid of all impurities and grudges that may be attached to the heart from the impact of harm. It is also a way to enjoy goodness and love between people. There is no doubt that preferring forgiveness and tolerance to punishment will prevent the individuals from the acute conflicts that may arise among them. Furthermore, forgiveness has a great effect in man’s life as it helps to strengthen the social ties that are weakened and broken by abusing one another and it is reason for obtaining the pardon of Allah, his forgiveness and consent.
This shows us that forgiveness helps us to deserve Allah’s mercy upon us as Prophet Muhammad PBUH said:
“Have mercy on those on the earth, and the One in heaven will have mercy on you” [Tirmidhi]
The role model of forgiveness in Islam is our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who was always forgiving those who wronged him and meets wrong with good deeds even the disbelievers. Prophet Muhammad was described as a “Mercy for all the Worlds”. His mercy wasn’t limited to his Muslim nation, but was extended to the non-Muslim nation. Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said that the Prophet never took revenge on his own behalf on anyone.
In the earlier portion of his mission, the Prophet traveled to the city of Taif, a city located in the mountains nearby to Mecca, in order to invite them to accept Islam. The leaders of Taif were tough and mistreated the Prophet Muhammad PBUH and the children followed him, threw stones and hurt him. The prophet endured all these injuries and more obstacles than he had to endure in Mecca. Out of his great tolerance and mercy, prophet Muhammad refused to punish them as one day, they may be guided to the right path. This shows us the importance of forgiveness in the earthy life and the hereafter.
In short, the importance of the three above-mentioned moral values, the sayings of the Prophet, the Qur’anic verses and the reward of these values urge all people to follow them.