It is a term that describes desirable good manners and good actions, to attain blessings and reach opportunities.
The lexical meaning of “to be nice” comes from the Arabic root word ‘hüsn’ and the feminine adjective form of the word is ‘hasen’. It is used both as a name and an adjective. As a name, it means “kindness, good manners, and good entity” (Kāmus Translation IV, 590). Fahr ad-Din ar-Razi states that linguistics describes the word hasene as “it is what nature and the mind find beautiful”. Ragib al-Isfahani says, kindness is that every kind of blessing that makes the human happy and is connected with the human spirit, body and behavior; the opposite meaning in Arabic is seyyie. These words a commonly used to describe all kinds of goodness and beauty, evilness and ugliness (Curriculum, “hsn” md). These words which express good and evil are determined by either the human mind and religion or inclination which comes from our innate natural disposition. The word hasene is used to describe both a special act of kindness or good deed or to express a good condition and attitude; with this usage maruf is the synonym for hayir likewise ser and munkar are synonyms for seyyie. However, the term hayir represents the action that is directly related to its useful attribute and kind quality. The term maruf ascertains actions that are admired and widely accepted, hasene signifies any action or intentions that are pleasing, satisfying to the eye and caresses the soul and invokes admiration; thus when it is used in the context of ethics, it evokes the relationship between morality and aesthetics.
In the Holy Quran, the word hasana in its singular tense is used in twenty-eight verses and in its plural tense (hasenat) appears in three verses. Hasene has three different meanings in the context of these verses, hadith and other relevant Islamic literature.
a) In its entirety it is good and nice actions, behavior, and demeanor. According to the verse: “Indeed, Allah does not do injustice, [even] as much as an atom’s weight; while if there is a good deed, He multiplies it and gives from Himself a great reward” (Surah Nisa 4:40). Similarly, Allah says: “Whoever comes [on the Day of Judgement] with a good deed will have ten times the like thereof [to his credit], and whoever comes with an evil deed will not be recompensed except the like thereof; and they will not be wronged” (Surah An’am 6:160). In these verses hasena encompasses all kinds of goodness and niceness without specifying the behavior or action. Although some scholars interpret the word of hasene in the second verse as “kalimah-i tawheed”, in the same verse the word seyyie is construed as “blasphemy and polytheism” nevertheless there is no reason to attach a general wording of the verse (Fahreddin er-Râzî, XIV, 8). Tabari narrates a report based on this verse from a companion. Abu Zerr inquired, “O Messenger of Allah! Is the saying ‘there is no god but Allah’ from hasena? The Messenger replied, ‘Yes, it is the highest form of hasene”. This narration illustrates that hasene embodies the “kalimah tawheed” (CâmiǾu’l-beyân, VIII, 81). In surah Hud (11:114), after prescribing the time of prayers, without any specification; good deeds do away with misdeeds. That is to say, good deeds will lead to the removal of evil deeds and sins that have been committed. Similar explanations can be found in hadiths (bk. Wensinck, el-MuǾcem, “ĥsn” md.). One of these hadiths states that, “Envy consumes good deeds just as fire burns wood” (Ebû Dâvûd, “Edeb”, 44; Ibn Mâce, “Zühd”, 22). In surah Ra’d (13:20-22), Allah puts forward certain conditions for entering heaven and gaining paradise such as keeping promises, not breaking agreements/contracts, maintaining God-servant relations, preserving human relationships, being God fearing, being patient, establishing prayer, giving charity and responding to evil with kindness. In Fetĥu’l-ķadîr, III, 78, Shawkani suggests that this verse envelops every kind and goodness and evilness such as; if a person does something against another person or a person does something against himself, he should respond in the following way; an evil act with a good act, harm with benefit, forbid evil by commanding good, injustice with forgiveness, sin with repentance. Again, the Quran says that, without making any specifications, “goodness and evilness cannot be one”. And then it advises to respond to evilness with goodness. It also explains the moral justification for it as follows: “thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend (Fussilat 41:34). Thus, superiority of goodness is stressed on the condition of peace and friendship. A true believer is he who is happy when he does a virtuous deed but is very sad when he commits a sin. In the explanation of this hadith, the word hasene and seyyiye is used in the widest contents and this hadith interestingly shows the relationship between morals and faith in Islam. In addition to this concept, using goodness and kindness as tool to expiate evil and ugliness can lead to an environment of social peace and tranquillity. The Quran says: “It is that of which Allah gives good tidings to His servants who believe and do righteous deeds. Say, [O Muhammad], “I do not ask you for this message any payment [but] only good will through kinship.” And whoever commits a good deed – We will increase for him good therein” (Ashu-Shura 42:23).
b) Hasene and seyyie is a certain attitude, behaviour and or condition. In the Quran, nice intercession is being described as an intermediary for good and lawful actions whereas ugly intercession is described as an intermediary for bad and non-legitimate actions. In both cases, “whoever intercedes for a good cause will have a reward there from; and whoever intercedes for an evil cause will have a burden there from” (An-Nisa 4:85). The similar usage of Hasene and seyyie, can be seen in hadiths regarding religion in Islam in terms of social, conventional, political and moral guidance. Both these words describe sunnah as “customs, ways, epoch” in the following hadith, “Whoever initiates a good practice in Islam and is emulated by others in doing so will get the reward of it and the reward of all those who act upon it without their rewards being diminished in any respect.” (Müslim, “Zekât”, 69; “Ǿİlim”, 15; İbn Mâce, “Muķaddime”, 14; Nesâî, “Zekât”, 64). Similarly, one of the three methods of the honourable messenger used when inviting people to the faith is persuasive and convincing advice (an – Nahl 16/125). Muslims should take the prophets as a role model in their belief, attitudes and behaviours. Prophet Abraham and his followers are also a good example (al-Ahzâb 33/21; el-Mümtehine 60/4, 6).
c) The third usage of the term Hasene generally refers to purposes, ambitions which conform with the requests, desires and demands of the human body and spirit like favors, rewards, well-fare, good and happy endings. In various verses and hadiths, the word hasene is used to evoke different blessings according to the subject of the text.
In Al-Baqarah verse 201, “Our Lord, give us in this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter [that which is] good”, in the explanation of this verse, the term hasene in the world is interpreted as virtues and opportunities such as health, success, prosperity, faith and knowledge (Taberî, II, 174-175). The term hasene in the hereafter is interpreted as heaven. Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi claims that the broad scope or meaning of kindness in the world is a pure wife and respectful children. The same commentators declare that the kindness in the hereafter is continuous flavour, honour, establishing familiarity with God, the love of God, adds to kindness in hereafter. In Surah Al-Imran and An-Nisa, the word hasene expresses the happiness and joy of triumph and rise of the number of Muslims. In the last two verses, hasene is interpreted as abundance, blessing, well-being, peace, in particular the victory of triumph of Badr. Seyyie has been interpreted as strictures, hardship, anguish, discontent especially the defeat of Uhud. “Then We exchanged in place of the bad [condition], good, until they increased [and prospered] and said, “Our fathers [also] were touched with hardship and ease.” So We seized them suddenly while they did not perceive” (Al-Araf 7:95), in this verse hasene is used in giving opportunity to the previous rebellious nations. Seyyie here is poverty, famine and disease (Taberî, IX, 5-6; Fahreddin er-Râzî, XIV, 154; Kurtubî, VII, 252).
Some verses and hadith mention that “the retribution for an evil act is an evil one like it” (Shura 42:40). For every good deed you will have ten times the like thereof or in other words you recompensed for it (Al- Anam, 6/160). Other verses mention, without specifying the amount, for every good deed hasene it is multiplied (An – Nisâ, 4/40), and a better (An-Neml, 27/89) , nicer reward is given (AS-Shura, 42/23). According to some sources, the minimum reward for hasene is tenfold. Other sources cite larger quantities. Some narrations reported from Abu Hurayra declare that the reward is given in thousands (Fahreddin er-Râzî, X, 104; Kurtubî, V, 196-197). When Qurtubi explains the Surah Al-Anaam, verse 160, he reported from Abu Sa’id, if a person has atoms weight of good, charity, it will protect him from the hell-fire. According to the same commentators, from the companions Ibn Abbas and Ibn Mas’ud it is reported that anything that the sun touches is considered beneficial. From this statement, the companions understood that this is the greatest sign of hope for salvation in the hereafter. However, like some other verses in particularly, “Whoever comes [at Judgement] with a good deed will have better than it, and they, from the terror of that Day, will be safe.” And whoever comes with an evil deed – their faces will be overturned into the Fire, [and it will be said]” (Naml 89:90). Similarly, whoever comes [on the Day of Judgement] with a good deed will have better than it; and whoever comes with an evil deed – then those who did evil deeds will not be recompensed except [as much as] what they used to do” (Al-Qasas 28:84). When we look at Surah Naml and Surah Qasas, it is possible to think optimistically. Some hadith scholars examine this principle in detail by reporting “Verily Allah has recorded the good deeds and the evil deeds.” Then he clarified that: “Whosoever intends to do a good deed but does not do it, Allah records it with Himself as a complete good deed; but if he intends it and does it, Allah records it with Himself as ten good deeds, up to seven hundred times. But if he intends to do an evil deed and does not do it, Allah records it with Himself as a complete good deed; but if he intends it and does it, Allah records it down as one single evil deed.” In one of these hadith after the phrase “700 times”, the phrase “exponentially more” is included (Buhârî, “Riķāķ”, 31; Müslim, “Îmân”, 208). Based on the latter hadith, most of the scholars of hadith specify that the number of good deeds is not restricted to or limited to 700. According to Ibn Hajar, hasene in the form of an action and behavior will be given a reward in the tenfold, however if this action and behavior is done with pure intention, sincerity, perseverance and determination and peace of mind you will reap more rewards and benefits. Some scholars have suggested that if you intend to do bad and you don’t do it, a sin is not written to your name. According to the majority of scholars like Ibn al-Jawzi, Kadi Iyaz and Ghazzali, the heart has deeds just like the body, the intention and decision of hasene and seyyie is comparable to the deeds of the heart. As it is indicated in the Quran, the human (bk. el-Bakara 2/225; en-Nûr 24/19; el-Hucurât 49/12), is responsible for his seyyie which he intended but Allah forgives you when you give up that intention. If this intention is executed it is classified as an evil act or sin. If your reason for abandoning this intention is because of the fear of God and the hereafter, a sin is erased and a reward is written to your name as a substitute. In one of the hadiths related to such a renunciation, a “perfect hasene” is recorded in your name (Buhârî, “Riķāķ”, 31; Müslim, “Îmân”, 207).
Volume: 16; Page: 377
[HASENE – Mustafa Çağrıcı]