10 acts of kindness to ready yourself for Ramadhan

An act of kindness can move you. It may seem insignificant for the doer, however, for the receiver, it can mean the world. Holding the door open for someone who is carry a heavy load, smiling at someone who is having a bad day, offering a compliment to uplift someone, and reaching out for conversation to someone who is isolated; an act of kindness can make you feel protected, cherished and loved.

Random Acts of Kindness day celebrates kindnesses, and showcases the impact they can have on someone. We have witnessed an outpouring of kindness all over the world, during this pandemic. People are coming together to clap for the NHS, help the elderly and vulnerable with their groceries, and to reach out to others virtually for emotional support. It has unlocked a shared humanity; reminded us that beyond the materialistic, fast-paced society we live in, there exists within us an innate sense of responsibility towards others.

Evidence shows that helping others can have a positive impact on your mental well-being. The research shows that helping others can help reduce isolation, and offer one a sense of belonging.  By doing good for others, you are ultimately doing good for yourself. It really is a win-win.

On a spiritual level, we are taught that good character is a pinnacle part of our faith. We have been sent the greatest role model of all mankind. The Prophet (saw) was the most loving, compassionate and kind person to walk this earth.

The Qur’an mentions his kind and gentle behavior (saw): “O Messenger of Allah! It is a great Mercy of God that you are gentle and kind towards them; for, had you been harsh and hard-hearted, they would all have broken away from you.” (Qur’an 3:159).

He (saw) was merciful and kind to all, especially to the poor and weak. We, as members of his beloved Ummah, endeavor to follow in his footsteps, as he is the best model for us to follow in practicing kindness, mercy and compassion especially during turbulent times.

Random Acts of Kindness Day falls in February, a mere two months from the blessed month of Ramadhan. More than ever, we look forward to Ramadhan, praying it brings with it clarity and hope for the future. We crave the peace and contentment it brings, the sense of unity and belonging for Muslims all over the world.

Although we are unsure what this Ramadhan will look like, we should be prepared spiritually to welcome it with open arms. We can do this by being kind to others, and by being selfless. We may think a kind gesture can be time consuming, but in fact there are many acts of kindness which are practical, free, and easy to do.

To help you prepare for Ramadhan, and encourage you to partake in Random Acts of Kindness, we have collated 10 acts of kindness to ready yourself for Ramadhan

  1. Check in on someone

Many of us are extremely busy in our daily lives, unintentionally we can go days and weeks without reaching out to others.  However, many of our closest loved ones, may be suffering from isolation and loneliness. This is particularly true for the elderly within our community who look forward to hearing the voices of their loved ones.

The most deserving of this, are our parents. In Islam, we are reminded of the status of our parents, and our responsibility towards then.  Make it a habit to try and reach out to them and others, even if it is a quick text or phone call, to check how they are doing, and let them know that you are available to talk. This can help reduce isolation, and make the other person feel connected and heard.  A few minutes out of your day, can seem insignificant to you, but those few minutes can change the course of someone elses day.  

“The best companion to Allah is the best to his companions.” (Tirmidhi)

2. Smiling

Although it sounds simple enough, many of us can’t remember the last time we made the effort to smile at someone. When you smile, you improve your own mood by releasing endorphins, and reduce blood pressure and stress.  Begin by smiling at those within your own household, and then strangers who you may interact with.  Smiling can help elevate the mood of others around you, and encourage others to do the same. It also is a Sunnah!  You can earn rewards, boost your own mood, and bring happiness to others – all at the same time.

“Do not belittle any good deed, even meeting your brother with a cheerful face”. (Muslim)

3. Greet your family

In a world of technology, often those within our own households, communicate through texting. If you walk into a household right now, mostly all members of the family, ranging from teenagers to the parents will be glued to their screens. You can go hours, without uttering a single word to your sibling or parent.  However, we should try to greet our families, make conversation and communicate throughout the day. 

When you enter your home, greet your family with the salutation of ‘Assalamu alaikum’. This will be a source of blessings for you and your family” (Tirmidhi).

  4. Gift presents

We do not need to wait for a special occasion, or specific date to give a gift to a loved one. You may not be able to deliver gifts in person at the present time, but you can order something online, and have it delivered. This can be a nice surprise for someone, and let them know you are thinking of them.

“Exchange presents with one another, for they remove ill feelings from the hearts” (Tirmidhi).

However, if you are unable to purchase a gift, then offer someone a compliment.  A compliment can help improve someone’s mood and pick them up if they are feeling low. Offering a kind word to someone is also regarded as a charity!

The Prophet (saw) said: “Charity is due upon every joint of the people for every day upon which the sun rises. Justly reconciling two people is charity. Helping a man with his animal and lifting his luggage upon it is charity. A kind word is charity. Every step that you take towards the mosque is charity, and removing harmful things from the road is charity.” (Bukhari) 

5. Supplicate for others

Du’a is the weapon for the believer, and an opportunity for us to connect with our Lord.  However, we often limit our Du’a for ourselves, and those closest to us.  However, we should extend to our Du’a to others, those who are struggling, especially during this pandemic. Supplicating for others can benefit you also, as the angels will supplicate on your behalf.

The Prophet (SAW) said: “No Muslim servant supplicates for his brother behind his back but that the angel says: And for you the same.” (Muslim)

6. Give in charity

This pandemic has left many in dire circumstances. Already struggling from financial instability, it has further put pressure on their household.  Giving in charity is a great act of kindness and will have a direct impact on someones life. It also holds great reward, and will benefit you in this world and the hereafter.

The Prophet (saw) said: “When a man dies, his deeds come to an end except for three things: Sadaqah Jariyah (ceaseless charity); a knowledge which is beneficial, or a virtuous descendant who prays for him (for the deceased).”

7. Forgive and reconnect

This pandemic has reminded us of the fragility of life. Our lives were turned upside down and we were forced to reevaluate our priorities. Many have lost loves ones, and it is a harsh reminder that life is too short. We are not guaranteed another day or night. With such a mindset, we should approach how we treat others, and overlook their mistakes and shortcomings.  

As humans, we all make mistakes and are prone to hurt or offend others, be it deliberately or unintentionally. However, if we expect Allah (SWT) to forgive us, shouldn’t we also extend this to others?

“Let them pardon and overlook. Would you not love for Allah to forgive you? Allah is All-Forgiving and Merciful.” (Surat An-Nur 24:22)

8. Offer a helping hand

When you are overwhelmed with chores and tasks, a helping hand can make all the difference. If you can help around the house, and lighten the load for your parents or spouse, then offer your assistance and let them know that you are willing to help out. Something as simple as washing dishes, or helping your sibling with their school work, can be a great help and reduce the pressure for someone else.

“Whoever helps ease one in difficulty, Allah will make it easy for him in this world and in the Hereafter.” (Muslim)

9. Delay or forgive a debt

When someone is in debt, they have a dark cloud looming over them, until that debt is repaid, especially if there is a deadline which they must meet. Moreover, during this pandemic, many have lost their jobs, or have been furloughed and are suffering financially more than ever.

If you can remit a debt, then it would certainly benefit you in the Hereafter. If you are unable to, however, then even giving the recipient more time to repay that debt can bring ease to their situation.

“If anyone would like Allah to save him from the hardships of the Day of Resurrection, he should give more time to his debtor who is short of money, or remit his debt altogether” (Muslim).

10. Stay calm and watch your tongue

We are going through turbulent times, and many of us are under far more pressure than we have ever been before. We are spending more time with others, within a confined space, which can result in tension between both parties. You may be unable unwind and de-stress as you normally would, and little things may begin to annoy you.  As a parent, you may be experiencing testing times with your children, as they grow frustrated with their situation, resulting in tantrums.

Although it can be difficult, during those times, we should opt to remain calm, and watch our tongue. Using harsh words can be detrimental to our relationship with others, and often escalate a situation.  If you need a bit of space, of a breather remove yourself from the situation and return when you are more level headed. This will help eliminate or reduce the likelihood to say or do something which can be hurtful.

“Desist from doing evil to people, for it is charity which you give to yourself.”

Putting kindness into action

Kindness can be contagious.  If you begin the journey of striving to be kinder and more thoughtful, you will inevitability be a positive force for those around you, which can encourage others to do the same.

The pandemic has taught us that we are stronger, collectively. During difficult times, if we are there for each other, and considerate of each other’s needs, we can get through the challenging times, and adapt. If we are focused on our own lives only, however, and our own wants and needs, it can limit how much progress we can make.

Implement some of these tips within your daily life, and get set for Ramadhan.