Some of the Meanings of Hasana
Some of the meanings of Hasana are: Victory and spoils of war (booties) as Almighty Allah says in the Qur’an (what can be translated as): “In case a fair (reward) touches you, (i.e. the believers) it vexes them.” (Al-Imran: 120)
The fair reward mentioned in the verse as (Hasana) means victory, abundance, support and booty1.
Almighty Allah says (what can be translated as): “And expend in the way of Allah; and do not cast (yourselves) by your (own) hands into perdition (i.e., by neglecting to expend in the way of Allah), and do fair deeds; surely Allah loves the fair-doers.” (Al-Baqarah: 195)
A number of scholars interpret the meaning of fair deeds (Ihsan)2 in the previous verse as striving in the path of Allah (Jihad Fisabilillah)3, so the part of the verse “and do not cast (yourselves) by your (own) hands into perdition” means do not disregard or ignore striving in the path of Allah (AWJ)4 and “Do fair deeds; surely Allah loves the fair-doers.” The fruit of this kind of Ihsan, i.e. striving in the path of Allah, is achieving victory and spoils of war. This is the fair (reward) or Hasana that Almighty Allah mentions in the verse: “In case a fair (reward) touches you, (i.e. the believers) it vexes them.” As we can see, all these synonyms and correlations of Ihsan is getting clearer and connected.
There are other meanings of the word Hasana such as: Rain and fertility which are additional fruits of Ihsan. Almighty Allah (SWT)5 says in the account of Qarun (Korah)6 in the Qur’an: “And seek, in whatever Allah has brought you, the Last Home, and do not forget your assignment of the present (life); (Literally: the lowly “life”, i.e., the life of this world) and be fair (to others) as Allah has been fair to you. And do not inequitably seek to work corruption in the land; surely Allah does not love the corruptors.” (Al-Qasas: 77)
Other meanings of Hasana also include:well-being and prosperity, as mentioned by Almighty Allah in the Qur’an: “And they would have you hasten the odious before the fair, and there have already passed away even before them exemplary (punishments). And surely your Lord is indeed The Owner of forgiveness to mankind for all their injustice, and surely your Lord is indeed strict in punishment. (Ar-Rad: 6) In the verse, the fair (Hasana) here means welfare and the odious (Sayyi’ah) means retaliation and affliction. The overall meaning is that disbelievers hasten to ask for punishment before asking for the welfare and prosperity. Yet, if it was not for His forbearance and forgiveness, Allah would have indeed punished them sooner.
Other meanings also include: Being kind and benevolent towards others even if they commit an offence for example. When a person hurts his Muslim brother, the wronged should not hurry to answer back the odious deed with an odious deed, if he returns it with benevolence he will be greatly rewarded and the person who started the enmity will be overwhelmed with this act of kindness that he would have never expected, thus the hatred and hostility will become intimacy. Almighty Allah says (what can be translated as): “And not equal are the fair deed and the odious deed. Repel with that which is fairest; then, only then, he between whom and you there is enmity will be as if he were an intimate constant patron. (Fussilat (Expounded): 34)
Some of the other meanings of Hasana are: Forgiveness, repression of rage and being tender towards others. Almighty Allah says (what can be translated as): “Who expend in easiness and tribulation, and (are) the repressors of (their) rage, and are the clement towards (their) fellow-men; (Literally: mankind) and Allah loves the fair-doers.” (Al-Imran: 134) Thus, repression of anger is considered an act of Ihsan and what is even higher in status is being clement and forbearing towards other people even if they wronged them.
Some of the other meanings of Hasana are:merits or recorded rewards7 as stated in the Glorious Qur’an: “Whoever comes with a fair deed, (Literally: the fair deed) then he will have ten times the like of it, and whoever comes with an odious deed, (Literally: the odious deed) then he will not be recompensed except the like of it; and they will not be done an injustice. (Al-Anaam (Cattle): 160)
This Hasana is the fruit of Ihsan as stated by Almighty Allah in the Qur’an: “Surely the pious will be in (the midst of) Gardens and Springs, taking whatever their Lord has brought them; surely, they were fair-doers before that. (Ath-Thariyat (The Winnowers): 15-16)
(1) Tafsir Ibn Kathir, (169/3), Surat Al-Imran, Verse 120.
(2) The word "Ihsan" in Arabic is a derivative of the verb "ahsana," which means doing things better and in an excellent manner so Ihsan is fairness.