Goodness (Maliki)

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What is goodnes?

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said; “The best of you is the one, whose goodness is hoped for, and people are safe from his evil. And the worst of you is he whose goodness is not hoped for, and people are not safe from his evil.”[1] The term ‘goodness’ is one of the richly textured words most frequently used the Qurʾan and in the Prophetic traditions. It is mentioned a hundred and seventy-six times in the Qurʾan with its different meanings. It is possible to categorize those meanings under such terms as, good, beautiful, precious and valuable. It also carries the meaning of revelation,[2] wisdom,[3] and beneficial.[4]

‘Goodness’ is one of the most prominent concepts mentioned in many hadiths. The Prophet often opened his statements with the following words; “The best people among you….,” “the best of the worships…”, and, “The best Muslim is…”, while giving lessons to the Muslims on issues related to worship and morality. In one hadith on integrity and solidarity the Prophet said; “The best thing to do in Islam is to feed others, and greet everyone.”[5] At another time he (peace and blessings be upon him) said; “The best of your worship is salah”[6] and yet in another hadith he said; “Ḥayāʾ brings ḥayāʾ.”[7] The Prophet equated the virtue of ‘ḥayāʾ with goodness by saying; “hayāʾ is pure goodness.”[8] Through their intentions and deeds people acquire goodness, the Prophet described this as; “Surely, goodness is filled treasures. Those treasures have keys; glad tidings to those, in whose hands Allah places the keys to good, and, woe unto those, in whose hands Allah places the keys to do evil.”[9] Moreover, the Prophet said that goodness is related to how a Muslim positively responds to any incident or event, he said; “How content is the believer! All of his deeds are good and blessed. This is the privilege of a believer. If a believer feels thankful upon the reception of a blessing, this is good for him. If he is thankful upon receiving infliction and hardship, this is good for him too.”[10] Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), relates that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), taught her the following prayer; “O God, I ask You for all that is good, in this world and in the Hereafter, what I know and what I do not know. O God, I seek refuge with You from all evil, in this world and in the Hereafter, what I know and what I do not know. O God, I ask You for the good that Your slave and Prophet have asked You for, and I seek refuge with You from the evil from which Your slave and Prophet sought refuge. O God, I ask You for Paradise and for that which brings one closer to it, in word and deed, and I seek refuge in You from Hell and from that which brings one closer to it, in word and deed. And I ask You to make every decree that You decree concerning me good.”[11] The new Muslim should know that Muslims are asked to use their ikhtiyār (free will) towards acquiring goodness; it is interesting to note that, ‘ikhtiyār’ stems from the word, ‘khayr’ (goodness) and means to choose the good between a numbers of options.

[1].      Sunan al-Tirmidhī, al-Fitan, 76.[2].      Q. 2:105; 16:30.[3].      Q. 2:269.[4].      Q. 6:17;10:107; 17:11.[5].      Sahih al-Bukhari, al-Iman, 6; al-Isti’zan, 9.[6].      Sunan Ibn Maja, al-Tahara, 4.[7].      Sahih Muslim, al-Iman, 60; Ibn Hanbal, IV, 427.[8].      Sahih Muslim, al-Iman, 61.[9].      Sunan Ibn Maja, Sunnah, 19.[10].     Sahih Muslim, al-Zuhd, 64.[11].     Ibn Maja, al-Du’ā, 4.

Source: Islam For New Muslims An Educational Guide,Assoc. Prof. Amjad M. Hussain, Erkam Publications

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