Home Quranet Chapter 9 How can we encourage someone to repay evil with good?
How can we encourage someone to repay evil with good?
Chapter 9

مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحاً فَلِنَفْسِهِ وَمَنْ أَسَاء فَعَلَيْهَا وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِظَلَّامٍ لِّلْعَبِيدِ (سورۃ فصلت, آية 46)

Whoever works righteousness benefits his own soul; whoever works evil, it is against his own soul: nor is thy Lord ever unjust (in the least) to His Servants (Surah 41, Verse 46)

Ahmed, a sixth-grader, was referred to the school counselor after behaving violently towards his classmates. His class teacher claimed that he had not behaved like that in the past and said she didn't know what had happened to him. The counselor talked to him and found that he had recently begun to stammer for reasons still unclear, and his classmates had been mocking him and imitating his speech. The teachers had also been impatient and found it hard to wait till he finished a sentence. Ahmed felt hurt and frustrated and consequently was reacting violently.

The counselor explained to Ahmed that even if we are very hurt, we must restrain ourselves and control our actions so as not to resemble the people who are mocking us, who are due for severe punishment from God. She opened the Quran and read out to him: "Whoever works righteousness benefits his own soul; whoever works evil, it is against his own soul: nor is thy Lord ever unjust (in the least) to His Servants". "Think about the verse", she requested and sent him back to his classroom.

Ahmed suddenly realized that if he returned good for evil he would be doing himself good since his mood would improve, but if he retaliated with evil, he would be injuring himself. To a friend who laughed at him in recess, he quoted the verse to make him understand that by laughing at him, he was acting against his own soul.

Explanation: a wonderful and very true verse regarding interpersonal relations. When we are good to others, we are benefiting ourselves because we feel good about ourselves. When we are evil towards others, we are left with bad feelings instead of transmitting them to the evildoer. One could write a whole tome in psychology based on this verse in the Quran. The verse links one's inner experience with the outer experience and teaches us that there is reciprocity between interior and exterior.