Sympathy is a trait that should surge from us like a gushing fountain. Like a mother's love for her child, it should be spontaneous and impulsive. Seeing a person in distress should perturb and agitate us. Even if we are helpless to practically do anything to redress the situation, concern should pour out from us and anxiety should stir us up. We too should writhe in agony – as if we ourselves were going through it. If such a situation does not affect us in any way, then surely there is something terribly wrong. We should then make a positive effort to awaken this dormant trait.

We can revive and enhance the radiance of this trait in us by simply opening our eyes to the world around us.

We can learn sympathy from the prophets of God who were an embodiment of this attribute. They were selfless well-wishers of their people. They wanted to secure their people from the wrath of God. What greater an expression of sympathy than to awaken people from their deep slumber and to prepare them for the kingdom of heaven?

We can learn sympathy from a mother; how she continues to wait on her children and serve their needs even when this means sacrificing her own needs, forsaking her own comfort and giving up her own priorities.

We can learn sympathy from individuals who, risking their own lives, attend to the sick and wounded both in times of peace and war.

And if all this is not enough to inculcate or enhance this trait in us we may think of a selfish motive: being sympathetic and kind to others makes us forget our own worries. It gives us peace of mind which is so elusive a thing these days.

And of course instances at which we need to show sympathy abound:

Attending persistently to sick relatives and friends; treating pets and beasts of burden with utmost humanity; doing whatever can be done for those afflicted with some calamity and praying to God if nothing else can be done; using our influence to help those in distress; not forsaking sinners for they need sympathy the most; treating those subservient to us especially servants with extreme kindness and affection; merely lending an ear to a person going through some agony; supporting the oppressed against the wicked; lending a hand to the old, the disabled and the handicapped; ignoring the weaknesses of others; welcoming guests wholeheartedly; tending vigilantly to plants … of course there is no end to this list.

May God grant us the courage and will to overcome any shortcoming in being sympathetic that we may have and help us adhere to the dictum:

Do all the good you can

By all the means you can

In all the ways you can

In all the places you can

At all the times you can

To all the people you can

As long as you can

(Dr Shehzad Saleem)


Articles by this author


An Occasion of Revelation in Surah Hujurat

Freedom of Expression



Qur’an Transmission through the Ages

Essentials of Empathy

Positive Thinking

Critical Evaluation of the Occasion of Revelation of Surah Abu Lahab

Power of Adaptability

Sharing is Caring


Crisis Management

Life-Long Learning

Lets be Just, Come what May!

Respecting Human Beings

Unsung Heroes


Man with a Mission


Selections from Hadith



Your Questions Answered


Successful Parents

Colours of Life


The Responsibles!


The Art of Positive Thinking

Humanity Unplugged


A Purposeful Life


Winning Hearts


Your Questions Answered

Selections from Hadith

Overcoming Prejudice

Overcoming Greed

Overcoming Greed


Spiritual Advancement

To Young Adults

Fasting in Extreme Conditions

Humanity First

A Critical Analysis of The “First Revelation” Narratives (3/3)

A Critical Analysis of The “First Revelation” Narratives (2/3)

A Critical Analysis of The “First Revelation” Narratives (1/3)

Introduction to the Special Issue




The Hagar-Zam Zam Narrative

Introduction to the Qur’an

Overcoming Despair and Dejection


The Better Human

Poise and Balance

When the Tough get Going!

Surah Bani Isra’il (3/3)

Surah Bani Isra’il (2/3)

The Importance of the Word “Self”

Prayers can Move Mountains!

Animal Rights

Qualities of a Good Teacher

Let us Live for Others!

The Art of Positive Thinking

Virtues of Silence

The Person in the Mirror

Some Requests to Young Adults

Some Requests to Wives

Humanity burnt at the Stake*

A Summary of some Exegetical Views on Verses 16-19 of Surah Qiyamah (2/2)

A Summary of some Exegetical Views on Verses 16-19 of Surah Qiyamah (1/2)

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Four Steps to Selflessness

The Five Essentials of Constructive Criticism

An Introduction to Ghamidi’s Mizan

How to overcome Selfishness

Your Question Answered

Explanation of Some Qur’anic Words

Anger Management

Some Suggestions for Married Couples

God’s Domain

Let us Light up our Prayers!

Successful Parents

The “Successful Spouse” Test

Let us Value what We have

Dear Husbands … If I may say!

The “Blind Drill”

Life goes on all the same!

Prayers can Move Mountains!

Two types of “Junk Food”

Reforming Our Conduct

Supplications from the Hadith

Supplications from the Qur’an

A Small Act of Kindness

Respecting the Privacy of our Mature Children

Explanation of Some Jarh Terms

Selections from Hadith

Your Questions Answered

Two Tough Trials

Benefiting from Criticism

Your Questions Answered

The Cause of Truth

Your Questions Answered

Selections from Hadith

Restraining our Wounded Pride

Selections from Hadith

The Power of One

Preparing for the Inevitable!

Selections from Hadith

Let us Refuse to Lose!

The Sound of Silence

Selections from Hadith

Let us Enjoy every Moment of our Lives

Lets be Just, Come what May!

Selections from Hadith

Beware of the three C’s: Cynicism, Criticism and Complaint

Never Give Up!

Do We have a Spiritual Part of the Day?

Tears of Old Parents … for their Children

Life goes on all the same!

The Decorum of Criticizing Others

Tears that would not stop!

Selections from Hadith

Hobbies we must have!

Death in Innocence

“Thank you” Culture

Visit to an Old Home

We Owe it to Our Society

Experiencing God

Discovering our Inner Talent

The Battle for Honesty Continues!

Saintly Sinners

Secret to Inner Peace

Your Questions Answered

Small Acts of Kindness

Illness can be a Boon!

Philosophy of Animal Sacrifice on ‘Id

Tears of Gratitude!

Lookout to Leap for Others!


Turning Foes into Friends

Let us then Live for Others!


A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (1/4)

A Re-Evaluation of Early Developments in Qur’anic Orthography (2/4)