Home Quranet Chapter 13 What can we say to someone who interprets kindness as weakness?
What can we say to someone who interprets kindness as weakness?
Chapter 13

وَإِذَا أَنْعَمْنَا عَلَى الإِنسَانِ أَعْرَضَ وَنَأَى بِجَانِبِهِ وَإِذَا مَسَّهُ الشَّرُّ كَانَ يَؤُوساً (سورة الاسراء, آية 83)

Yet when We bestow Our favours on man, he turns away and becomes remote on his side (instead of coming to Us), and when evil seizes him he gives himself up to despair! (Surah 17, Verse 83)

Amer, a fifth-grader, lost his father and brother in a shocking accident several months ago. His class teacher explained to his classmates that it would be difficult for Amer to endure the next few months without their help and since then they have been treating him with great consideration. But, surprisingly enough, Amer has begun to behave intolerably. At first he displayed physical violence towards the weaker children in the class and now he interprets their treatment of him wrongly. He says that all the other children are afraid of him and that is why they buy him things and help him. For example, when Yusuf brought him candy he claimed that Yusuf was afraid that if he didn't give it, Amer would take it from him anyway and hit him. This week Amer tormented Hilmi for refusing to copy material from the blackboard into a notebook for him.

His classmates decided that they were no longer ready to help him and they wanted to teach him a lesson. So whenever he asked one of them for something, the other refused. When Amer reacted with insults or physical violence, the entire class rallied against him. The situation continued for a month till Amer began to understand that he had behaved badly and caused the group to reject him. He felt bad about himself, stayed home and did not go out to play. He began to be depressed.

Then, one day, someone knocked on the door of his room and Amer called out "Come in", in a weak, despairing voice. It was Saber, his good friend. Amer turned on him: "What's wrong with you? Have you also stopped being my friend? Why don't you come any more?" Saber replied: "Because of the way you behave". When Amer said he didn't understand, Saber quoted: "when We bestow Our favours on man, he turns away and becomes remote on his side (instead of coming to Us), and when evil seizes him he gives himself up to despair! He explained why Amer's classmates were treating him like that and what his mistake had been. Amer clutched his own head and muttered: "Oh, how bad I've been. Now I know how mistaken I was and how to change".

Explanation: Amer suffered a tragedy and his friends rallied to help him in the hope that he would appreciate their help and not interpret kindness as weakness, as people often do. This important Quran verse says that if we bestow favors on others, they sometimes turn away from us, and when something bad happens to them, they find it hard to understand that it may be connected to their behavior. Saber did well in explaining to Amer by means of this verse what his mistake had been, thereby enabling him to change his behavior.