What is Ihsan(DW# 802)
Sep 22, 2020
Yesterday we started our discussion on verse 16:90 of the Quran where it says:
Indeed Allah enjoins justice (Adl) and kindness (Ihsan) and generosity towards relatives, and He forbids indecency, wrong, and aggression. He advises you, so that you may take admonition.
Yesterday we talked about the first injunction in this verse, which was that of Adlor justice, a foundation of a healthy family and society.
Today, let us explore second injunction of the verse, that of Ihsan.
The Arabic word Ihsanis rather challenging to translate into English. It is derived from the root word h-s-n which appears almost 200 times in the Quran in many derived forms. Some of these are ahsana ("does good"), ahsanu ("is best"), husnan ("good") and al muhsineen ("the good doers").
The word Ihsanis a verb which means to do or to establish what is good and beautiful. It is often translated as virtue or excellence but one of its key literal meanings is "making beautiful" sincehusnmeans beauty. The word ihsan can also be understood as "that which makes the soul beautiful".
The opposite of Ihsan is either qubh (repulsiveness) or su’(ugliness or evil).
In our discussions on The Pursuit and Practice of Ihsan, I will be using various different translations of Ihsan, including excellence, goodness, beauty, grace and virtue, since all of these are included in the meaning of the word Ihsan, although no one word captures the meaning completely.
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