"Is there any reward for Ihsaan other than Ihsaan" [55:60]
Whoever submits himself to God and is a Muhsin (one who is good) then his reward is with his Lord, on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve [2:112]
IHSAAN is a basic theme in the Quran. It relates to those human qualities and behavior, which are related to goodness and desired by God. A person who practices Ihsaan is called a Muhsin and its plural is Muhseneen. We can judge the importance of Ihsaan by the fact that God has expressed love for Muhseneen in the Quran, greater than any other human quality[i]. (read about Qualities God loves)
Literal Meaning In Arabic Ihsaan has a wide meaning. Its root word is H-S-N, which includes[ii]:
To do right
To be in a desirable condition or in a proper state
To decorate or embellish
To treat with kindliness
Qualities associated with Ihsaan in the Quran
Following qualities are associated with Ihsaan in the Quran [iii]:
To be righteous, to fear God and be patient [12/90]
To establish As-Salat and pay Zakat [31/3, 11/114-115]
Reward for practicing Ihsaan
There are many rewards promised for those who are Mushin[iv]. A Mushin:
Shall have no fear nor shall he/she grieve [2/112]
Muhsin is considered the best person in God’s system [4/125]
A Muhsin has the most trustworthy support [31/22]
The Ihsaan can never go waste [77/44, 51/16, 46/112]
Relevance to us An environment free from fear, prejudice and favoritism is impossible without Ihsan. We need forgiveness, generosity, struggle, humbleness and sense of righteousness for promoting this environment. For this we need to change ourselves As God said:
"God does not change a people's lot unless they change what is in their hearts" [13/11]
Ihsaan is the most desirable quality in a Muslim. To be a Mushin, a person must practice acts of goodness towards humankind, be humble, fear God and strive against evil in the way of God. Such a person is promised an immense reward from God.
[i] In five verses of Quran God has expressed love for Muhseneen 2/195, 3/134, 3/148, 5/13, 5/93
[ii] Hans Wehr dictionary of Modern Arabic
[iii] Forgiveness 5:13 … and forgive them and overlook. Verily, God loves Al-Muhsineen 3:134 Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men;- for Allah loves Al-Muhsineen;-
Spending wealth for Charitable causes 2:195 And spend of your substance in the cause of Allah, and make not your own hands contribute to (your) destruction; but do good; for Allah loveth those who are Muhseneen 3:134 Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men;- for Allah loves those who do good;-
Those who strive in the God’s cause 29:69 And those who strive in Our (cause),- We will certainly guide them to our Paths: For verily Allah is with Al-Muhseneen. 9:120 That is because they suffer neither thirst nor fatigue, nor hunger in the cause of God, nor they take any step to raise the anger of disbelievers nor inflict any injury upon an enemy but is written to their credit as a deed of righteousness. Surely, God wastes not the reward of the Al-Muhsineen
Generosity 2:236 There is no blame on you if ye divorce women before consummation or the fixation of their dower; but bestow on them (A suitable gift), the wealthy according to his means, and the poor according to his means;- A gift of a reasonable amount is due from those who wish to be Muhsineen.
Humility and Sincerity 2:58 And remember We said: "Enter this town, and eat of the plenty therein as ye wish; but enter the gate with humility, in posture and in words, and We shall forgive you your faults and increase (the portion of) those who are Al- Muhseneen." 9:91 There is no blame on those who are weak or ill or who find no resources to spend, if they are sincere and true to God and His Messenger. No ground can there be against the Muhsineen. And god is oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. 5:82-85 …. You will find the nearest to the believers those who say: “We are Christians…they are not proud….their eyes flowing with tears….God rewarded them Gardens under which rivers flow, they will abide therein forever. Such is the reward of Al-Muhseneen. 7:56 Do no mischief on the earth, after it hath been set in order, but call on Him with fear and longing (in your hearts): for the Mercy of Allah is (always) near to those are Muhseneen.
Righteousness and Patience 12:90 They said: "Art thou indeed Joseph?" He said, "I am Joseph, and this is my brother: Allah has indeed been gracious to us (all): behold, he that is righteous and patient,- never will Allah suffer the reward to be lost, of those who are Muhseneen."
Performing As-Salat 11:114-15 And perform As-Salat at the two ends of the day and in some hours of the night. Verily, the good deeds remove the evil deeds. That is a reminder for the mindful and be patient; verily, god loses not the reward of the AlMuhseneen.
[iv] 2/112 Nay,-whoever submits His whole self to Allah and is a Muhsin,- He will get his reward with his Lord; on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. 4/125 And who can be better in deen than one who submits his face to God; and he is a Muhsin. And follows the deen of Ibrahim Hanifa. And God did take Ibrahim as a Khalil – friend. 31/22 Whoever submits his whole self to Allah, and is a Mushin, has grasped indeed the most trustworthy hand-hold: and with Allah rests the End and Decision of (all) affairs.
Disclaimer: Some interpretations of the Quran seek esoteric meanings for the concept of 'Ihsaan' which is not the purpose of this article. Esoteric means hidden or deeper knowledge or teachings that are possessed or understood only by a few.