Sometimes generosity and kindness are shown in one’s heart. Humans can be generous in their hearts. Some of the heartfelt types of generosity are as follows:
1) Forgiveness and Sacrifice
Forgiveness and sacrifice are types of heartfelt generosity. In fact, charity work and forgiveness have a common element. Charity is ignoring one’s own belongings and forgiveness is ignoring others’ mistakes. Therefore, the element of sacrifice is common in both of them. Forgiveness is considered one of the steps of piety and salvation because humans become separated from the earth and fly wholeheartedly toward the skies:
وَ یَسْئَلُونَکَ مَا ذَا یُنفِقُونَ قُلِ الْعَفْو
They ask thee how much they are to spend; Say: "What is beyond your needs."
(Holy Quran 1:219)
Interpreters have mentioned several meanings for forgiveness: Respecting the moderation limit, a clean property, what is easy and giving the excessive part to the needy person. Forgiveness is also mentioned as a meaning of this term. Imam Ali (A.S.) said:
The real forgiveness and glory is to do so when you are in power.
Imam Ali (A.S.) regarded forgiveness at the time of power the best type of forgiveness:
أَحْسَنُ الْجُودِ عَفْوٌ بَعْدَ مَقْدُرَةٍ
The best type of forgiveness is to do so when one is in power.
The first Imam of Shias considered forgiveness the best type of kindness. Imam Reza (A.S.) quoted the Last Prophet as saying, “Do not lose great virtues because God has sent me for great virtues.” Then he started mentioning some of these great virtues:
“Of these great virtues, one is to forgive the one who has harmed you, to give to those who have deprive you and to form relationships with those who have broken their relationships and to visit those who have not come to see you.”
All of the above-mentioned cases are examples of generosity and forgiveness in Hadiths. In other words, paying attention to this good trait will lead one to honor. One day, a man was brought to Ma’mun with Imam Reza (A.S.) being present. Ma’mun decided to kill him. Before doing so he said Imam Reza (A.S.) what he thought about it. Imam replied in return: “I think God will honor you if you forgive him.”
Compromise is one of the aspects of kindness. Compromise means cooperation, coexistence, kindness and leniency toward others. One of the great characteristics of men is to be kind toward others, be patient, not get irritated by others’ mistakes, be his companion at the times of sorrows and bliss, and try to make them happy by his sacrifices. The Last Prophet (P.B.U.H.) has revealed an obvious fact about this:
“He who dies compromising with others in his life has died like a martyr and compromise is equal to giving charity to the poor.”
Having emphasized on the importance of compromise, Imam Hassan Askari (A.S.) said that the most virtuous charity is compromising with the enemies of God. Thus, compromise is considered good even if it is done for the enemies of God and is one of the representations of charity.
From Imam Reza’s (A.S.) point of view, a believer in God has three characteristics. One of them is related to God, another related to the Prophet and the last related to Imams. The tradition which is related to the divine prophets is compromise because God the Almighty has sent prophets to talk with their people with compromise.
We should understand others when we communicate with them, sympathize with them, stop using violence, try our best not to reject them and let them stay with us, not treat them with ignorance and indifference, know their needs, try not to judge them, be active in solving their problems, do not make them disappointed, reassure them, let them have good spirits, spend some time with them, create a peaceful and comfortable condition and in one word we had better sympathize with them.
Once, Imam Reza (A.S.) was asked about the nature of wisdom. Imam (A.S.) mentioned three items for wisdom:
“Tolerating the sorrow, neglecting the enemies and compromising with one’s friends”
3) No envy
Envying and jealousy are when someone sees an advantage in another person and tries to acquire that characteristic or destroy his personality. Jealousy cannot be accompanied by generosity; in this way, having no jealousy is one of the characteristics of generosity. A generous person tries to reduce his jealousy and in return focuses on himself and tries to develop his own character. In other words, a stingy person looks at the others and tries to irritate them while a generous person focuses on himself and tries to strengthen his own characteristics within himself. Imam Ali (A.S.) said: “A generous person is not jealous.”
Imam Reza (A.S.) also said: “There is no comfort for the stingy and no pleasure for the jealous.”
Overlooking means that someone is aware of something but due to some reasons shows oneself oblivious of the matter so that the other person thinks he does not know anything about it. In other words, it is neglecting others’ mistakes due to compromise.
In some cases, we should overlook others’ mistakes. Overlooking one’s mistakes is equal to forgiveness. Overlooking serves two purposes: 1) the person who overlooks does not get irritated and the person whose mistake is overlooked comes to realize his own mistake and ignores it. Imam Ali (A.S.) said:
“The noblest trait of an ethical manner is to overlook others’ mistakes.”
A person came to visit Imam Reza (A.S.) and complained about his unfulfilled needs and said, “It’s been a while I have stretched my hand toward God for help but I have received no answer and delay in answering my needs has made me feel doubtful.” Imam said, “Do not let Satan find a way toward you” then advised some points to him one of which was as follows:
“Avoid disclosing others’ mistakes.”
Concealing others’ mistakes is interpreted in two ways: one is not to reveal others’ mistakes and the other is to overlook one’s mistakes and not tell their flaws to their faces. This behavior is also considered a type of forgiveness.
One of the divine characteristics which have a significant effect on human lives is chastity. This characteristic is inextricably linked with faith, piety and forgiveness in religious teachings. If somebody respects chastity is regarded as generous. Forgiveness is one of the representations of chastity. Imam Ali (A.S.) showed the relationship between chastity and forgiveness as follows:
“Chastity is the best companion for forgiveness.”
Imam Reza (A.S.) considered chastity part of one’s faith and said:
“Chastity is part of faith.”
He who is patient in difficult times is regarded as generous and kind. Generosity is when one shows forgiveness and sacrifice at the times of crises, predicaments and with toleration shows patience.
One of the aspects of patience is to tolerate the annoyance that other people make. Imam Reza (A.S.) stated in an interesting Hadith that the Last Prophet (P.B.U.H.) advised people to have great virtues and mentioned examples for it. For instance, one can make mention of forgiving someone who has annoyed you and deprived you and forming a bond with the one who has cut relationships with you.
All the above- mentioned examples of patience in the words of the Last Prophet (P.B.U.H) are instances of forgiveness and kindness toward others.