Practice small acts of kindness [99:7]

blog Apr 22, 2023

Here is today's reflection from the Quran:

In Sura Zilzal, [99:7] Allah says: So. he who has done an atom's weight of good shall see it

Reflection: Scholars explain that this verse (and the one following it) means that on the Day of Judgement Man will recognize the impact of his actions - he will be shown the actual outcome of his good and bad actions on the Day. And the implication is that even the smallest of deeds will incur more reward than we can imagine.

Human beings are naturally shortsighted - we generally have no idea the impact that the smallest of our actions have and this verse reminds us to be mindful of the impact of good actions and to keep doing these seemingly insignificant kindnesses and good deeds even if we don't think they will amount to much.

The virtue of deeds with Him is never in the quantity but is always focused on the intention behind it. In other words, the smallest of good deeds done with a pure intention are weightier than the largest of deeds done for the wrong reasons, such as to look good, to attract accolades or to indebt others to ourselves.

It also implies that two people may do the exact same action outwardly but the internal spirit of the action may be very different and the impact and the reward will follow the internal spirit with which they are undertaken.

Interestingly, research in science is now suggesting that we do not wait until the Hereafter to see the impact of our good actions.

When we do small acts of kindness, it turns out that there are so many benefits that accrue to us immediately in this life.

Feeling good: Up until recently social science research has been focused on the impact of receiving acts of generosity or kindness.

For example, when physicians are kind to patients, they are more likely to recover faster. Marital love and showing care to one's spouse is a protective factor for heart disease for the spouse who receives such care.

It is only in recent years that interest has shifted to the performer of small acts of kindness and altruism. Research has shown that regularly doing small acts of kindness, good deeds or altruism has major impacts on our own health and wellbeing and on the larger society as well. There is loads of credible research on the physical and emotional health benefits of volunteering for example.

Interestingly, the research also suggests that the positive benefits of volunteering don't come from what is called "dry action" - where the act is out of duty in the narrowest sense, or to look good. The benefits come from working to cultivate a generous quality and a purity of intention. This seems to suggest that the intention with which you are doing the good deed, matters even in this world. Our bodies and our physiology is so attuned to the Creator and His system of Mercy. Alhamdullilah!

Brain chemicals also enter into this picture of altruism. A recent study has identified high levels of the "bonding" and healing hormone oxytocin in people who are kind and generous toward others. Oxytocin is the hormone best known for its role in preparing mothers for motherhood. Studies have also shown that this hormone helps both men and women establish trusting relationships and it also fosters a sense of wellbeing. Our mothers were right: it is better to give than to receive!

Starting a virtuous cycle: Also, interestingly, when people see others doing acts of kindness, they are more likely to also do more acts of kindness themelves so these tiny acts start a type of virtuous cycle of goodness.

According to the mounting research, it appears that we "see" and feel the impact of our good actions even in this world.

How: So once we set an intention to practice more acts of kindness, we can fine tune our awareness to look for opportunities since we are told to seize opportunities to do good actions because opportunities are like clouds, they leave just as soon as they come.

Once we start these small acts of kindness on a regular basis, it is easy to make them into habits because we enter a state called "the helper's high" - a flood of positive emotions which follow selfless service to others. (Greater health and increased longevity are associated with this psychological state).

The more acts of kindness we do, the better we feel and this in turn leads to doing more acts of kindness and so the virtuous cycle continues.


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.