Small Kindness

Category: Featured, World Affairs Topics: Quran Values: Hospitality, Kindness, Mercy Views: 8552

Qura'nic Translation Surah (Chapter) 107

In the Name of God the Compassionate the Caring

Do you see him who calls the reckoning a lie?
He is the one who casts the orphan away
who fails to urge the feeding of one in need
Cursed are those who perform the prayer unmindfully
who make of themselves a big show
but hold back the small kindness

The small kindness relates a series of activities in a way that grounds much of Islamic moral theology. The first act is rejecting or calling a lie the din, a word that can mean either the religion or the day of reckoning. Just as the word often translated as "believe" is more passive than the Qur'anic conception of holding fast to the belief or keeping the faith, so the concept of calling the reckoning (or religion) a lie is more active than standard English translation such as "unbelief." Those who reject the reckoning - which, in early Meccan revelations, is the foundation of religion - are those who abuse the orphan, who are indifferent to those suffering in their midst, and who are neglectful in performing the prayer. This neglectfulness has been interpreted in two ways by Qur'anic commentators: either as neglecting the proper timing and posture in performing the physical movements or as performing them mechanically while thinking about other things, without following through on the implications of the prayer for other aspects of life and behavior. The second interpretation is supported by the fact that the verse on prayer is followed by two verses on self-display and neglecting the small kindness.

Display, particularly of one's own acts of worship or piety, betrays a lack of true generosity. Self-display ends as a form of self-delusion, as a person ignores what the Qur'an announces will be ultimate in the evaluation of each life at the moment of reckoning : a genuine act of kindness, however small it might seem. There is a moral circle of causality implied in the Qur'anic on this issue. The refusal to acknowledge the moment of reckoning results in blindness to the small act of kindness. On the other hand, the true weight of that small act will be revealed on the day of reckoning to those who have carried it out and to those who have neglected it alike.


Excerpted from 'Approaching The Qura'n" by Professor Michael Sells, who is a Professor of Comparative Religions at Haverford College.

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  9 Comments   Comment

  1. mwesigye shamim from uganda

    Irealy like every thing u have sent me please keep up e good work

  2. Musa Muhammad Dandikko from NIGERIA

    This is an excellent article indeed. it reminded me of the saying of the Messenger of Allah (SAW), Any person who simplifies for another Allah will simplify for hom in this and the next world. Any who removes a muslim from one of the difficulties of this world, Allah will relieve him from difficulty in both this and the next world. Muslims should take note that Islam did not left any stone unturned. Therefore increase volume of their almsgiving.

  3. Alh. Momoh mumuni from Nigeria

    I am happy to see such a thorough work. i will be very grateful if can have an access to such detail work i.e the Quran and other islamic books on the Holy PROPHET OF ISLAM send to mankind. other include the comparative religious books at a minimal cost to enable us intesify on our Daw'ah program in the EAST where christian are in majority.wishing u Allah guardian in all ur religious struggle. i need a reply.


  4. abdulfattah from nigeria

    you are doing a great job.may Allah accept it as an act of ibadaah.keep it up.please kindly talk on islamic stand on online transaction.5356

  5. Abdulraheem Sefiu Igboho from Nigeria

    This is a very interesting article

  6. Uncle Logic from UK

    I think it's a very good article, the problem is that because it's a very good article, there's not much for me to say apart from it's a very good article. That's why I don't usually give positive feed back but ok I do admit this one along with others is praise worthy.

  7. Nizam from USA

    It is nice article. However, in addition to that, i think what this verse say is self-explainatory. Many of us pray five times daily but when it comes to taking care of poor or orphan, we are not generous. Therefore praying five times is not enough to become a good muslim, unless he or she feels for the poor and needy and acts accordingly. Even a sweet word in difficult times worth millions than million dollar perhaps. Therefore, small kindness is not really always small, which therefore will be counted on the day of reckoning.

    I would like to thank for such a nice and thought provoking article.

  8. Abdhakeem from United kingdom

    The excerpt is simply beautiful. I think and Allah knows best, that this message is very importnat for Muslims word wide.

  9. sister in islam from united Kingdom

    What a thought provoking article. there are so many of us within

    the muslim ummah who strive to follow the teachings of the quran

    and the sunnah but are continually distracted by the enjoyments of

    this life , the material gains, selfishness etc.

    May Allah SWT protect us from following the desires of our hearts,

    make us strong in our imaan and give us hikmah .

    salaam alaikum