“The good deed and the evil deed cannot be equal. Repel (the evil) with one which is better (i.e. Allah orders the faithful believers to be patient at the time of anger, and to excuse those who treat them badly) then verily he, between whom and you there was enmity, (will become) as though he was a close friend.”
Quran (Surah Al-Fusillat, Verse 34)
Reflections from this verse:
First, Allah says that goodness and evil are not equal.
The mischief and evil practiced by the opponents of good might apparently make goodness seem absolutely helpless and powerless.
Yet, evil in itself has a weakness which ultimately causes its own destruction. For as long as man is man, his nature cannot help hating evil.
The upholders of evil, and their companions, know in their hearts that they are liars and wicked people and are being stubborn for selfish motives.
The evil practiced by evil doers, lowers them in their own esteem, and causes their morale to be weakened and destroyed in the event of every conflict.
In contrast, the good which appears to be utterly helpless and powerless, goes on operating and working and it becomes dominant in the long run.
Good has a power of its own which wins the hearts and no man however perverted and corrupted, can help respecting it in his own heart.
When the good and evil are engaged in a face to face conflict and their nature and merits become apparent and known after a long drawn out struggle, most people would start hating the evil and admiring the good.
Evil should be resisted not by the mere good but by a superior good, i.e., if a person treats us unjustly and we forgive him, it is merely good. The superior good is that we treat the one who ill-treats us, with kindness and love.
Human nature is such that if we remain quiet in response to an abuse, it will be mere goodness but it will not silence the abuser. But if we express good wishes for him in response to his abuses, even the most shameless opponent will feel ashamed, and then would hardly ever be able to employ invectives against us.
If a person doesn’t miss any opportunity to harm us, and we go on tolerating his excesses, it may make him even bolder in his mischief. But if he gets into trouble and we go to his rescue, he will realize his wrong, for no mischief can hold out against goodness.
Explaining the Ayah:
`Umar,(RadiyAllahu Anhu) said: “There is no better punishment for one who has disobeyed Allah with regard to you, than your obeying Allah with regard to him.”
`Ali bin Abi Talhah (r.a.) reported that Ibn `Abbas (r.a.) explained this Ayah: “Allah commands the believers to be patient when they feel angry, to be forbearing when confronted with ignorance, and to forgive when they are illtreated. If they do this, Allah will save them from the Shaytan and subdue their enemies to them until they become like close friends.”
(References: Tafhim al-Qur’an and Tafsir Ibn Kathir)