One of the characteristics of a believer is to be gentle and easy-going rather than petty and hard. Allah (SWT) in the Holy Quran praised the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) for being gentle and calm. “It is out of Allah’s mercy that you ˹O Prophet˺ have been lenient with them. Had you been cruel or hard-hearted, they would have certainly abandoned you. So pardon them, ask Allah’s forgiveness for them, and consult with them in ˹conducting˺ matters. Once you make a decision, put your trust in Allah. Surely Allah loves those who “ (Surah Ale-Imran Ayat 159).
Allah (SWT) is explaining that out of His (SWT) mercy, He (SWT) made our Nabi (SAW) soft, gentle, and easy-going, and since the Prophet (SAW) is our role model then we should also adopt these traits with everybody and thus, in light of Eid ul-Fitr festivities over the next few days, this is an opportune time to start practicing this character trait, especially with estranged friends and families.
Similarly, if we look at the example of Musa (AS), Allah (SWT) gives him (AS) the following advice when confronting Pharoah, “Go, both of you, to Pharaoh. Indeed, he has transgressed. And speak to him with gentle speech, that perhaps he may be reminded or fear [Allah].” (Surah Taha Ayats 43-44). Even though Allah (SWT) knows that Pharoah will never accept the truth, He (SWT) still advises Musa (AS) to speak to Pharaoh via gentle, soft, delicate, tender speech in the hope that Pharoah might change.
In a lovely hadith, our Nabi (SAW) informs us that Jannah is the reward for being a kind and soft person. “Shall I not tell you of one forbidden for Hellfire or Hellfire is forbidden for him? It is everyone accessible, polite, and easy-going.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2488). This is the reality, there are people around us who are soft and gentle and we love them, while others who are hard, we try to avoid.
In another hadith, the Prophet (SAW) likened the believer to a date-palm tree. “There is a tree among trees, the leaves of which do not wither; and that is like a Muslim; tell me which that (tree) can be? The people began to think of the trees of the forest. Abdullah said: I thought that it could be the date-palm tree, but I felt hesitant (to say that).
They (the Companions) then said: Allah’s Messenger, (kindly) tell us who that can be? Thereupon he said: It is the date-palm tree.” (Sahih Muslim Hadith No. 6747). Our Nabi (SAW) through this analogy of the date-palm tree, is explaining to us that just like the date-palm tree bends with the wind, the Muslim also bends with every new trial. However, regarding the hypocrites, the Prophet (SAW) used the example of the cedar tree because it doesn’t budge at all until it breaks. A believer is supposed to adapt to the circumstances and go with the flow.
The Prophet (SAW) spoke politely to the leader of the hypocrites when he requested a meeting with him (SAW). After the meeting, Hazrat Aisha (AS) asked our Nabi (SAW) why he (SAW) showed kindness to the leader of the hypocrite? The Prophet replied, “O ‘Aisha! Have you ever seen me speaking bad and dirty language? (Remember that) the worst people in Allah’s sight on the Day of Resurrection will be those whom the people leave (undisturbed) to be away from their evil (deeds).” (Sahih Bukhari No. 6032).
Being soft and easy-going is a good virtue when it comes to transacting business, as our Nabi (SAW) stated in this hadith, “May Allah’s mercy be on him who is lenient in his buying, selling, and in demanding back his money.” (Sahih Bukhari Volume 3, Book 34, Number 290). Also, the Prophet (SAW) narrated the story of a wealthy man from previous generations. “A man from the time before you were called to account in the Hereafter. Nothing good was found with him, except that he was lenient in his business with people, and he would order his servants to relieve the debts of those in hardship. Allah Almighty said: We are more worthy of such actions, so overlook his sins.” (Sahih Bukhari 2261)
One of the great traits that a believer should possess is kindness as Allah (SWT) is Kind and likes kindness in all things (Sahih Bukhari). The Prophet (SAW) explained to Hazrat Aisha (RA) that never gentleness is added to something except that it beautifies it, and never harshness is added to something except that it disfigures it. Let us start from this Eid ul-Fitr to become gentle and kind in the light of the Quran and Sunnah to all people regardless of religion, race, or creed, and continue for the remainder of our lives. Eid Mubarak to all Muslims around the world.