Our Prophet's
"And you are truly ˹a man˺ of outstanding character"
[Surah Al-Qalam 68:4]
Being Ungrateful is a bad characteristic but ...
By: Shaikh Zafar Ul Hasan Al Madani

The term Ihsan has a deep (profound) meaning to explain goodness in a broader sense. It includes returning good with better, returning evil with good and obliging others without expecting any favour.

‘Ihsan faramosh’- a very common term used in sub continent of India.

Ihsan is not meant to be done with a hope of a favour in return of a favour. Many times it has been seen that if a person is unable to return our favour, most people would opt not to assist him, even if they have the means; And in some instances, the person is treated harshly and rudely, even criticised bitterly. In these verses, the Prophet ﷺ is being instructed by Allah, not to expect favours in return for his good deeds. Ihsan, without any expectations or any strings attached, is truly a part of good Akhlaq (character).

Ihsan misused can be bane and difficult for the society

In the subcontinent of India, an old-age tradition is that when a person, along his family, join as guests in a wedding feast, he offers a gift (or money) to the bride or groom to express felicitation and good wishes. Although it appears to be good, but this tradition has now taken a different direction. Now, families keep a register with an accountant. Every person who comes as a guest, needs to get his name registered, along the gift (or cash) that he extended. When the (former)guest invites his host to his party on any other occasion, the (former) host would first check his register to see what amount was he gifted with, and would then proceed to gift him with the same amount (or a little more) of cash, or a gift of similar worth. Anything less than that would label him as a miser. This desire to expect better returns from the given gifts is getting widespread like an epidemic. It should be condemned.

Similarly, during Eid, people now keep a register to note the amount of ‘Eidee’ given to the children by their relatives; So that the same amount could be returned in the form of Eidee. An innocent gift exchange has been turned into a business and that is precisely what Allah stopped his Prophet ﷺ from. Bragging about your gifts’ worth, complaining about the gifts (or favours) that were not reciprocated, or grumbling about gifts of lesser value or lower quality actually annuls your ihsan. This should be avoided at all costs.

Ihsan means to oblige someone without expecting a return

Ihsan done with an expectation of getting more returns from the beneficiary, is counted as a form of Riba in Surah Rum. The main purpose of Ihsan should only be, for the sake of Allah. It is a form of bad Akhlaq (character) that one helps someone only when he has a hope to gain a favour in return from him. Consider this Hadith from Sahih Muslim:

“Abu Dhar Ghifari said that he heard from the Prophet ﷺ. ‘Three types of people with whom Allah will not talk to them on the day of judgement, Nor will He have a look at them on that day nor will He purify them from their sins and nor will he save them from the punishment of grave. One, al Mannan, one who does Ihsan with someone and then he harms him because (of his constant) reminders of his Ihsan. One whose trousers drags below his ankles. Third is,  One who swears falsely to succeed.”