Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine
Rajab / Shaban 1423 H
October 2002
Volume 15-10 No:190

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Opinion


Be Nice to People


Be Nice to People

Islam stresses on human relations, kindness and tolerance.
It is important that we teach our people to be kind

By Khaled Al Maeena

The Prime Minister of Singapore urged Singaporeans to be nicer to people as he launched Kindness Week. He added that ‘Kindness is the thread from which we should weave our social fabric. The more threads we weave, the stronger will be our social fabric. I have visited Singapore many times and find its people to be in the forefront of civilized people. The young respect the old. People do not shout or gesture at each other while talking. They respect traffic laws. There is a sense of well being in the community. The Chinese, by nature, are a very disciplined people. However, at times even the rational can behave irrationally. This happens at times during sports or promotional events. I think we also need to look into such a week. We have tree-planting week, health week, traffic week, etc.

Why not have a kindness week? First, we have to teach people tolerance, patience and understanding. If they acquire these qualities, it will reflect on their driving. In turn, they will learn to stop at traffic lights and show more courtesy on the roads. They will also stop pushing and shoving each other in queues whether it be at banks or when trying to renew their documents in government offices. They should learn to respect each other and be kind and show some empathy. They can start by not parking their cars in front of other peoples drive-ways. This is very irritating and at times raises blood pressure, sugar level and results in people coming to blows! By the same token, employees should also be kind. Whether they work in the public or private sector, they must be tolerant and know that processing people’s paperwork in an efficient and quick manner is itself an act of kindness. And a smile can make a lot of difference. I have noticed that, over the years, smiles have become a rare commodity.

This is unfortunate because a smile is free and does not take effort. I asked someone, and he said that many believe that if they have a serious look and act in an authoritarian way, they will receive more respect. Nonsense, I responded. Our religion itself stresses human relations, kindness and tolerance. And if we apply these principles, it will make life easier and relations between people calmer. It is vitally important that we teach our people to be kind. As they say in America: ‘You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.’ I have been reading a good deal about young people, their worries, their hopes and ambitions. The lightning speed of change around the globe has had a ripple effect everywhere Nonetheless, many young graduates and school-leavers are now entering the job market. Many are qualified. Many others may need some orientation. So we will have to invest time and money in them.

And in our society there are also many young people who go about doing their duties quietly. They study and work hoping for a better future. Many of them aspire to an education in the West so as to equip themselves with the latest knowledge, thus enabling them to work really hard and produce what their countries need. One such young man came to my office a few weeks ago. He was a polite, well behaved individual who first asked permission to relate his story which ran as follows: He had been studying abroad for two years and doing well. Unfortunately, however, his funds ran out and he was unable to continue. He came back and is now working to save money to complete his education. What struck me about this young man was his zeal for, and love for, education. Showing me his documents and other relevant papers, he stated that if any company or businessman or well-to-do-person would finance his remaining two years, he would be willing to come back and work for them until the debt was paid. His educational cost was about US$28,000 a year including accommodation. Later, he came to me many times and I sat and asked him many questions. I found this young man to have a good character and a religious upbringing and I compared him to many others I know.

I came to the conclusion that he really had the potential for growth. In the United States and elsewhere, such people are nurtured by companies, organizations and even philanthropists. And I realized if such individuals as this young man could be given a start in life, they would be willing to pay back every penny they had borrowed. And I do hope that there will be in our midst, people who help these people to realize their goals. The final beneficiary will be our society.

The writer is Editor - in - Chief
Arab News

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