Friday 13 November 2015

World Kindness Day 2015: Small Actions and Big Ripples

Today is World Kindness Day. I do find that there seems to be a day for everything whether serious, frivolous or just commercial, but this is one that I really like. When I look at the world today, I think there cannot be too much kindness and perhaps it would go a way towards solving a few of our problems too.

For Muslim's kindness is part of good character and good behaviour.  The first we are told will weigh heavier on our scales when we account before our Creator than anything else.  The second comes under good deeds and actions which we are supposed to spend our lives performing:

Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Every act of kindness is a Sadaqa (charity)” (Bukhari, Muslim).

Kindness is sometimes associated with weakness, but sometimes the ripples of a small act can be so far-reaching as to be life-changing. An incident from my own childhood comes to mind. For a school trip, I had to take the bus and meet my class at the train station. I found that the bus driver would not take the £10 note my mum had given for the day. I started to panic, thinking that I would miss my trip and be left behind, the only child in school. A lady getting on behind me stepped up and told he driver not to worry and paid my (at the time) 20p fare for me. A small thing that anyone might have done but as the late Maya Angelou once said:

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

I went from feeling panic and embarrassment to relief and gratefulness. The lady who paid the fare probably never gave it a second thought, but what she did stayed with me. As an adult I resolved to pass the same kindness forward to anyone I came across who needed it – whether a bus fare, letting them jump the queue in front of me at the supermarket, offering my seat on the train or bus or offering money if they are slightly short to pay for their tea or coffee in the work canteen. Small things that take little effort, but small things that let people breathe a small sigh of relief, or help you to look at each other in a new light of understanding or create the opportunity for connection. In my case a small thing that I never forget and taught me to “pay it forward” when it came to kindness.

"And what will explain to you the path that is steep? It is: freeing the bondman; Or the giving of food in a day of privation, To the orphan with claims of relationship, Or to the indigent (down) in the dust. Then will he be of those who believe, and enjoin patience, (constancy, and self-restraint), and enjoin deeds of kindness and compassion." (Quran - 90:12-17)

"Those who are kind and considerate to Allah's creatures, Allah bestows His kindness and affection on them. Show kindness to the creatures on the earth so that Allah may be kind to you." (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi).


  1. This post is even more meaningful considering you posted it not knowing what would unfold hours later in Paris, and in the aftermath of attacks in Lebanon, Iraq and so many more places. The world needs more people like you who believe in kindness! Loved your story about the nice lady on the bus when you were a child. Things like that always stick out in our memories don't they!:)

    1. Hey Aisling, thank you for taking the time to comment. I felt a bit naive for posting this in light of what happened a few hours later.
      I would return the compliment and say the world needs more people like you who are willing to be understanding and see the good in others.