Fulfilling the needs of others
The life of a human being is meaningful only till their exists the hue of humanity inside him. Only one who leads a life based on virtue and goodness towards others can be called human.
The religion of Islam has emphasised a lot on performing good deeds. We find its mention in many verses of the Quran and the traditions of the Ahle Bayt (a.s.).
For instance, the Holy Quran states
"…do good (to others); surely Allah loves the doers of good"
(Baqarah : 195)
On yet another occasion the Holy Quran promises
"Whoever brings a good deed, he will have ten like it …"
(Anam : 161)
Moreover, the 90th verse of Surah Nahl commands us to enjoin goodness to others along with justice towards them. This implies that goodness to others in the eyes of Allah is as important as justice and righteousness for both justice and righteousness are the pre-requisites for the very existence and continuation of a society. Similarly, goodness and bestowal of favours to others is essential for the survival of civilisation.
Friendship, love, loyalty, being a well-wisher, visiting the sick, consoling the aggrieved, caring for the orphans, maintaining contact with relatives etc. are illustrations of goodness. Unfortunately, in this jet-age, humans are reduced to being mere parts of a well-oiled machine and have little time for others. Gradually, man has distanced himself away from humanity. Even in such a scenario, the ethical teachings of Islam have the capability to revive the dead mankind.
Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) advises us,
"Perform good deeds and do not consider them to be contemptible because even an ordinary good deed is great and although less, it is more."
(Nahjul Balaagah, Kalemaat-e-Qisaar)
Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has recommended
"Raise your hands only towards good deeds and utilise your tongue only for rightness."
It is narrated from Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.):
"One of the doors of heaven is named as "Ma’roof" and only those who have performed goodness will be permitted to enter from it."
(Fusoolul Mohimma, p. 270)
FULFILLING THE NEED OF OTHERS
To fulfill the needs and necessities of others is the choicest of good deeds. The religion of Islam does not advocate self-interest and self-centeredness. The best person is the one who is more useful to others. A person, who restricts his efforts only to serve himself and his family, is like an animal.
Imam Mohammed Baqer (a.s.) said,
"The most beloved action in front of Allah is to please the servant of Allah, feeding him and paying off his debts."
Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) said, "There are some special servants of Allah, the All-knowing, who keep fulfilling the needs of other people. They will be saved from the difficulties of the Day of Judgement. If, someone pleases a believing servant, Allah the All-knowing will make his heart happy on the day of Judgement.
(Usul-e-Kafi, vol. 2, Chapter of fulfilling the needs of a believer)
Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) has narrated
"If a believer narrates his needs to his brother-in-faith, and the latter despite being capable of doing so, does not help the former, then Allah will bring him on the Day of Judgement with his hands and feet tied."
(Behaarul Anwaar, Vol. 74)
However, nowadays, the moral and ethical situation is such that if somebody is asked for some favours, he feels irritated and annoyed.
Ameerul Momineen Ali (a.s.) says
"If people come to you with needs, then it is mercy of Allah that is being showered upon you. "
Another tradition reveals,
"The more a person is blessed by Allah with bounties, the larger will be the number of people coming to him with their needs and requests."
INTEREST-FREE DEBT (QARZA-E-HASANA)
Lending is one of the means of fulfilling one’s needs of the world. In Islam, lending is preferred to alms and charity.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) declares,
"I prefer giving one thousand dirhams twice, as loan, rather than giving the full amount at once in alms"
(Tahzeebul Ahkam Vol. 2, p. 61)
The rationale behind this could be that by taking a loan, a person’s honour, self-respect and self-esteem remain protected, while the same is not true with charity.
It is narrated from Imam Mohammed Baqer (a.s.),
"If a person lends to another a certain amount, and allows him to repay it whenever he is able to, such an amount will be treated as Zakat till the same is not repaid (he will constantly receive reward for good deeds). The angels, too, will constantly shower blessings and salutations upon him."
(Man La Yahzorohul Faqih)
Qarzae-Hasanah means that only the principal amount of loan is repaid and nothing beyond that. The responsibility of the borrower is to return the loan as soon as he can, without any delay.
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) warns,
"If a person borrows an amount and does not intend to repay the same, then such a person is akin to a thief."
(Furu-e-Kafi, Vol. 1)
Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) asserts,
"If a person, despite having the capacity to repay the loan, does not refund it, he is committing a sin everyday."
(Wasailush Shia, Abwaab-ud-dain)
WORK AND ITS IMPORTANCE
Work is the foundation of human life. Any activity related to developing one’s hereafter or for success in this world is defined as ‘Work’. The Holy Quran, on various occasions has discussed ‘Good deeds’ along with ‘Belief’. Work does not imply only laborious jobs. In fact, a teacher teaching a student, an engineer drawing a design, a scholar busy in referring books in a library, a philosopher involved in research at a research centre, a farmer working in a farm, a labourer toiling, etc. are all busy in some kind of activity and none of them can be considered as unoccupied or idle. On the contrary, if a person is busy roaming the streets aimlessly or simply loafing around, while he is perspiring all over and exhausted, he is still considered as idle.
Islam has given special importance to work and condemned the idle wanderers. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said
"One who earns lawful sustenance through hard work and efforts, the doors of heaven will be opened for him and he will be permitted to enter from any door he wishes."
(Mustadrakul Wasail, Vol. 2 p. 17)
In another tradition, he (s.a.w.s.) declares,
"A person who earns his sustenance through hard work and efforts, will pass the bridge (Siraat) quickly as fast as lightning."
(Mustadrakul Wasaail, Vol. 2 p. 17)
It is narrated from Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.)
"A person working hard to fulfill the requirements of his family members is similar to one who is waging a holy war (Jehad) in the way of Allah."
(Wasaail, Vol. 12 p. 43)
Prayers, fasting, Hajj, charity, etc. are not the only means of worship. Hard work and labour, undergoing trouble and hardships to fulfill the needs and requirement of one’s family members is also worship of Allah.
When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) kisses a person’s hand and respects him, it goes to show the respect and honour of that hand in front of Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.s.). When the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) returned from the battle of Tabuk, Sa’d Ansari received him (s.a.w.s.) and shook hands with him (s.a.w.s.). The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) asked him ‘Why is your hand so rough and why does it have blisters on it?’ Sa’d replied, ‘I work with the spade and the axe for arranging food for my family members.’ On hearing this, the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) kissed his hand and said
‘This is the hand, which will not be touched by the fire of hell."
(Usudul Ghaabah, vol. 2, p. 269)
The religion of Islam does not teach us to abandon this world. On the contrary, we find a tradition declaring, ‘The person who leaves this world for the hereafter or leaves the hereafter for this world is not from us.’
(Wasailush Shia, Vol. 12 p. 14)
Those who abandon their work, do not bother about their family members and have taken to mosques, while their needs and expenses are fulfilled by others, are also castigated.
"Allah dislikes those who sleep more and who are idle."
(Wasaailush Shia, Vol. 12 p. 37)
The religion of Islam, besides praising hard work and criticizing idleness, in no uncertain terms, has also condemned the undertaking of unlawful activity, even if it involves a lot of effort and endeavour. In fact, idleness is much better than undertaking unlawful activity and earning unlawful sustenance.