When interacting with
others, always regard whatever pleases and displeases yourself
as the measure. Desire for others what your own ego desires,
and do not forget that whatever conduct displeases you will
displease others. If you do this, you will be safe not only
from misconduct and bad behavior, but also from hurting others.
Considering that favors received make you feel a liking, affection,
and attachment for those who bestowed the favor upon you,
you should understand how to make others like you, and feel
affection and attachment for you. It is said that “people
are the slaves of the favors done to them.” Therefore, doing
others a favor and being good to them is a reliable defense
against any harm that may come from them.
Maturity and perfection of spirit is being just in your treatment
of others, especially with those who have done you an injustice.
Answer their evil with good. Do not stop doing good, even
to those who have harmed you. Rather, treat them with humanity
and nobility, for harming someone is brutish behavior. Returning
evil with evil implies a deficiency in character; returning
good for evil is nobility.
There is no limit to doing good to others. Those who have
dedicated themselves to the good of humanity can be so altruistic
that they will even sacrifice their lives for others. However,
such altruism is a great virtue only if it originates in sincerity
and purity of intention, and if it does not define the “others”
by racial preferences.
Our humanity and nobility are directly proportional to our
closeness to our friends and our maintenance of these friendships.
Talking of nobility and kindness without expressing warmth
and intimacy in relationships is mere assertion. Doing good
in return only for good received, or sometimes ceasing to
do good to others in order to punish them, implies moral imperfection
It is a sign of great generosity and goodness to others if
you ignore some of their faults, improprieties, or bad manners,
and tolerate their imperfections. Prying into others’ affairs
and finding fault is rude and uncivil, and publicizing such
affairs is unforgivable. Declaring them to the other’s face
is a severe blow to the bonds of unity between people, a blow
from which, sadly, it is almost impossible for friendship
to recover fully.
Those who regard even the greatest good they have done for
others as insignificant, while greatly appreciating even the
least favor done to themselves, are perfected ones who have
acquired the Divine standards of behavior and found peace
in their conscience. Such individuals never remind others
of the good they have done for them, and never complain when
others appear to be indifferent to them.