Forty Hadiths or Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad about Compassionate Living

Collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

The world appears to be a more dangerous place since September 11, 2001, more so than any time that I can remember.  Our human family appears to be in dire need of mutual love and compassion.  In this pursuit I had made a collection last year, titled, Two Hundred Verses about Compassionate Living in the Quran.

Today, I propose to collect 40 Hadiths or sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, on the theme of compassion, mutual love, kindness, mercy and altruism.

1. Abu Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet said: Allah will say to his servant when He will be taking account of him on the Day of Judgment, ‘O’ son of Adam, I was hungry and you did not feed me.’ He will answer: ‘How could I feed you? You are the Lord of the worlds!’ He will say: ‘Did you not know that my servant so and so who is the son of so and so felt hunger, and you did not feed him. Alas, had you fed him you would have found that (i.e. reward) with Me.’ ‘O’ son of Adam, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink.’ He will reply: ‘How could I give You drink? You are the Lord of the worlds!’ He will say: ‘Did you not know that my servant so and so, the son of so and so was thirsty and you did not give him drink. Alas, if you had given him, you would have found that (i.e. reward) with me.’ ‘O’ son of Adam, I became sick and you did not visit Me.’ He will answer: ‘How could I visit You? You are the Lord of the worlds!’ He will say: ‘Did you not know that my servant so and so, the son of so and so became sick and you did not visit him. Alas, had you visited him, you would have found Me with him (Bokhari).

Our Christian readers will recall that similar teachings are also found in the Gospel of Matthews.

2. Now, I quote a Hadith, which can be considered to be an expression of the Golden rule.

The Golden Rule or ethic of reciprocity is a maxim,[1] ethical code or morality[2] that essentially states either of the following:

  • One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself (directive form).[1]
  • One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated (cautionary form, also known as the Silver Rule).[1]

This concept describes a “reciprocal”, or “two-way”, relationship between one’s self and others that involves both sides equally, and in a mutual fashion.[3][4]

Here is the Hadith with the directive form of the Golden rule:

Anas relates that the Holy Prophet said: No one believes truly until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself (Bokhari and Muslim).

This Golden rule can be explained from the perspective of psychology, philosophy, sociology and religion. Psychologically, it involves a person empathizing with others. Philosophically, it involves a person perceiving their neighbor as also an “I” or “self”.[3][4]Sociologically, this principle is applicable between individuals, between groups, and also between individuals and groups. (For example, a person living by this rule treats all people with consideration, not just members of his or her in-group.)

Other narrations of the Golden rule can also be found in Hadiths:

Whoever wishes to be delivered from the fire and to enter paradise should treat other people as they wish to be treated themselves (Muslim).

Do unto all men as you would wish to have done unto you; and reject for others what you would reject for yourself (Abu Dawud)

3. Abu Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet kissed his grandson Hasan ibn Ali Aqr’a ibn Habis, who was with him at the time, and he said: I have ten sons and have never kissed any of them. The Holy Prophet looked at him and said: He who has no compassion will receive none (Bokhari and Muslim).

4. Ayesha relates that some desert Arabs came to the Holy Prophet and asked: Do you kiss your children? He answered: Yes. They said: We never kiss them. He said: Can I help it if Allah has stripped your hearts of compassion (Bokhari and Muslim)

5. Jarir ibn Abdullah relates that the Holy Prophet said: Allah has no mercy for him who has no mercy for his fellows (Bokhari and Muslim).

6. Abu Qatadah Harith ibn Ribi’ relates that the Holy Prophet said: I stand up to lead the Prayer having it in mind to lengthen it. Then I hear the cry of an infant and I shorten the Prayer fearing lest I should make it burdensome for its mother (Bokhari).

Read further

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PM New Zealand: ‘The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion, and sympathy are just like one body’

Video: Prince William Draws Upon Princess Diana’s Death In Powerful Speech in New Zealand Mosque

Two Hundred Verses about Compassionate Living in the Quran

A Message of Compassion and Love from the Holy Bible

True Fasting: A Message of Compassion and Love from the Old Testament

Abou Ben Adhem, A Compassionate Man

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