Benevolence (or “Ihsan”) is an act of kindness which is meant to benefit others. It also means doing good, forgiving and helping a person in times of need without expecting anything in return from him. Ihsan is something which a person does over and above his duties.
A good way to do Ihsan is to forgive a person who has harmed or hurt us. If a person has been kind to us, then returning his kindness in a much better way is also Ihsan.
The life of our Holy Prophet (S.A.W) is full of instances when he did Ihsan for people. You must’ve heard the story of a kafir woman who used to throw litter on the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) whenever he passed by her house. When she did not do this for a few days, the Prophet (S.A.W) was concerned and went to visit her. She was sick and was surprised to see him. However not only did he forgive her, but also looked after her with kindness. This is an example of Ihsan. This impressed her so much that she accepted Islam.
The Prophet (S.A.W) never degraded anyone, nor did he ever take revenge for any injury done to him. He showed kindness not only to human beings, but he was equally benevolent to animals and birds.
Allah says in the Quran:
“…Do ihsan to parents and to relatives, orphans, and the needy.” [2:83]