A Million Acts of Kindness

Beautiful lake and forest in Canada

Corner Brook, Canada

By Wael Abdelgawad for IslamicSunrays.com

TV news will have you believe that that the world is nothing but crime, tragedy and disasters. Don’t believe it. For every evil there are a million kindnesses.

A single day on this planet witnesses so many acts of human kindness that they could not be counted. They don’t make the news because they are neither glamorous nor shocking. There are everyday kindnesses, like a mother feeding her child, a father working hard to put food on the table, a teacher who strives to help children learn, or one friend who sits down with another, makes her a cup of tea and says, “You seem a little down, tell me what’s going on.” These common mercies may not be newsworthy, but they are profound nonetheless.

One time my daughter, who is four years old now, saw a two-year old girl in her preschool looking a little confused at clean-up time. She took the girl’s hand and led her around, showing her how to do clean-up. She explained everything to the little girl very carefully, showing her how to choose a clean-up task from the chart, and how to use the broom and dustpan. Another time one of the kids was a little sick, so my daughter went out to the yard, collected a few leaves and blades of grass, put them on a plate, then went to the sick child and said, “I made you a salad to help you get better.”

Silly, I know, but these are pure and innocent acts of kindness.

Some people say that human  beings are born with the burden of original sin, and with a predisposition to wickedness. Don’t believe it. Compassion is engraved on the human heart from birth. Everyday acts of kindness are repeated a billion times a day, ten billion times a day, from Sweden to Swaziland.

Even animals have a degree of inherent kindness that goes beyond the instinctive compassion of a mother for her young. Check out this story of a dolphin that saved two stranded whales by leading them back to the open sea. This is an amazing example of an animal showing empathy and compassion for others that are not even of its own species. SubhanAllah!

Beyond kindness, there is heroism. There are people who travel to far-off countries to work in disaster relief, to help the locals learn how to farm sustainably or prevent the spread of disease. There are journalists and human rights workers who persist in their work in spite of extreme dangers (I am reminded of people like Dr. Eyad Sarraj of Palestine, Natalia Estemirova and Anna Politkovskaya). There are doctors and aid workers who go into frightening war zones to treat victims of brutality and starvation.

Once again, these acts of heroism are seen even among animals.  Take a look at this amazing series of photos, showing a mother squirrel confronting a large dog in order to save her baby.

Don’t give up on this world, this beautiful ball spinning in the ink of space. This planet of wonders and miracles.

Don’t give up on the human race. Though we can be abominable beyond belief, we also produce Prophets, martyrs and heroes. We have far yet to go, by Allah’s will, and no one knows what the future will bring.

Don’t give up on yourself. You were created on fitrah (the natural, pure way); you have a striving spirit and a good heart. You have unique gifts and talents that the world needs. Your presence here is not an accident. Your life has meaning and purpose, as much as the mountains, the sea and the stars.

Don’t give up on Allah. He wants only good for us. He gives us life, guides us, helps us, answers our prayers, and waits for our repentance. He is a Merciful and Compassionate God. Have faith in Him, as He has faith in you.

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Article by Wael

Wael Abdelgawad is an Egyptian-American living in Fresno, California. He is the founder of several Islamic websites, including Zawaj.com and IslamicAnswers.com, and also of various technology and travel websites. He is a writer and poet, and has been a web developer since 1997. This project, IslamicSunrays.com, is very dear to his heart, as it has allowed him to express ideas that have growing inside him for many years. Wael is divorced and has one lovely young daughter. He practices and teaches martial arts (somewhat obsessively), and loves Islamic books, science fiction, and vanilla fudge ice cream. Wael is an advocate for human rights and blogs about these issues at AbolishTorture.com. He is also a volunteer with the MyDeen Muslim youth organization in Fresno. Wael tagged this post with: , , , Read 259 articles by
9 Comments Post a Comment
  1. SisterZ says:

    Excellent Maash’Allah! :0) This would brilliant for some of the sisters we were replying to yesterday of IslamicAnswers.com.

    Look at how much mercy a mother shows her baby, she gives up her sleep for her, breastfeeds her, sacrifices her social life, her job, worries about her, this goes on throughout her child’s baby years, youth through to adulthood. And yet, this and all the acts of kindness we are capable of come from the one part of Mercy that Allah has given us. Allah has the rest, so imagine how much Mercy He(swt) is capable of bestowing on us and does so without many of us realising it.

    Great article Wael, maash’Allah!

    • wael says:

      The mercy of a mother for her child is the ultimate, surpassed only by Allah’s mercy. That’s why Paradise is under the feet of the mothers.

  2. SisterZ says:

    Sorry for the typos!!

  3. María says:

    As salamu alaykum,

    If you alloud me, I have a question and a comment, if you have to change the expression “don´t give up” in a positive expression which would you use? “believe”, “have faith”, “give an opportunity”,…. I´m curious and ignorant about the proper expression. I rather use positive expressions since I discover that the subconscious likes everything in possitive, specially when receiving orders, the subconscious forgets the “don´t” . I know,…. but you can try both ways and see which one functions best. Put everything in positive give us the chance to know how much we put in negative, it is good homework for consciousness, insha´Allah.
    I like your article, simple life, simple acts, simple people, hope, faith,…what else do we want?
    Thanks you, Salma and all the goodness of the whole world.
    La Paz sea con Vosotros, Hermano.
    María

    • wael says:

      Maria, I understand your point, and in fact I have used this concept when creating affirmations. Affirmations should always be phrased positively, rather than negatively.

      But everyone has their own style, and for me the phrase, “Don’t give up” also has power.

      I will never forget the first time I read Winston Churchill’s speech given in 1941 to a group of school children. This was during the height of World War II – when he gave the speech, not when I read it 🙂 – with the German bombing of England going on day after day, month after month.

      Among other things, he said (I’ve edited it slightly, removing a few paragraphs):

      ***

      “You cannot tell from appearances how things will go. Sometimes imagination makes things out far worse than they are; yet without imagination not much can be done.

      Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

      We stood all alone a year ago, and to many countries it seemed that our account was closed, we were finished. All this tradition of ours, our songs, our School history, this part of the history of this country, were gone and finished and liquidated.

      Very different is the mood today. Britain, other nations thought, had drawn a sponge across her slate. But instead our country stood in the gap. There was no flinching and no thought of giving in; and by what seemed almost a miracle to those outside these Islands, though we ourselves never doubted it, we now find ourselves in a position where I say that we can be sure that we have only to persevere to conquer.

      Do not let us speak of darker days: let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days; these are great days–the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race.”

      ***

      That’s an incredible speech, and the one part of it that caught the world’s imagination and has been widely quoted is this:

      “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in.”

      The first time I saw that quotation I was in a difficult place, a hard time in my life, and it hit me like a blast. I have never forgotten it. It may be phrased in “negative” terms, but it is powerful.

      So I think everything has its place.

      • María M says:

        I know Wael, but I just wanted to listen to your opinion, I love your style, I love your writings, and I respect all about it, I am sorry if it seemed the opposite. Love the speech, you can tell about him reading this. I am glad he was there to help you.

        Just wanted to share my own experience and choice and offering you a different choice, I didn´t know you had the choice already. You have hard experiences linked to this phrase that was a salvation table for you, in your subconscious is linked to a high positive reinforcement, you talk through your own experience, I highly respect that.

        Tell me something, when you read the speech, did you feel he was there?

        Thank you very much for sharing and for answering.

        Beslama

        • wael says:

          I didn’t feel he was there, but I could see him in my mind, raising his voice, refusing to be defeated.

          I printed that phrase in large letters: “Never, never, never, never give in.” and I put it on my wall. I used to look at it every day, along with many other things on the way that gave me hope, inspiration and determination.

  4. SisterZ says:

    Found it!

    Narrated by Abu Huraira (ra, that the Prophet(saw) said:

    “ALLAH has divided mercy into 100 parts and he kept 99 parts with him and sent down one part on the earth!”

    (Sahih Al Bukhaari)

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