بِالإيثارِ يُسْتَرَقُّ الأحرارُ۔

It is through self-sacrifice that the free become enslaved.



It is through self-sacrifice that the free become enslaved.

— Imam Ali a.s.
(Ghurar al-Hikam: Self-Sacrifice)

Personal Reflection

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (), his pure progeny, and his noble companions.

The Arabic Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states: "بِالإيثارِ يُسْتَرَقُّ الأحرارُ۔" This can be translated into English as:

It is through self-sacrifice that the free become enslaved.

Let us delve into the meaning of the key words in this Hadith to gain a deeper understanding. The term (iythar) "إيثار" refers to self-sacrifice or preferring others over oneself. It is an act of giving and prioritizing the needs of others above one's own desires and interests. (yustaraqqu) "يُسْتَرَقُّ" means to become enslaved or to be subjugated. And (al-ahrar) "الأحرار" refers to the free individuals who possess freedom and independence.

To comprehend the beautiful message of this Hadith, we can turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah Al-Hashr (59:9):

And [also for] those who were settled in the Home [i.e., Al-Madinah] and [adopted] the faith before them. They love those who emigrated to them and find not any want in their breasts of what the emigrants were given but give [them] preference over themselves, even though they are in privation. And whoever is protected from the stinginess of his soul - it is those who will be the successful.

This verse highlights the virtue of self-sacrifice and preferring others over oneself. The early Muslims in Madinah, known as the Ansar, welcomed and supported the Muhajirun (emigrants) from Makkah. They did not feel any envy or resentment towards the Muhajirun, even though they themselves were in need. Instead, they selflessly gave preference to the needs of the Muhajirun, exemplifying the concept of (iythar) "إيثار".

Another verse that supports the message of this Hadith is found in Surah Al-Insan (76:8-9):

And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive, [Saying], 'We feed you only for the countenance of Allah. We wish not from you reward or gratitude.'

This verse emphasizes the act of self-sacrifice by feeding those in need, even though the individuals providing the food may themselves have a love for it. They give without expecting any reward or gratitude, solely seeking the pleasure of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). This selflessness and willingness to serve others is a manifestation of the concept mentioned in the Hadith.

Now, let us reflect on the significance of Imam Ali's (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) statement. The Hadith teaches us that true freedom lies in self-sacrifice and serving others. When we prioritize the needs and well-being of others above our own desires and interests, we attain a higher level of spiritual freedom. By willingly becoming enslaved to the needs of others, we break free from the shackles of selfishness and ego.

Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) himself exemplified this quality throughout his life. His knowledge, wisdom, and selflessness were unparalleled. He sacrificed his own comfort and safety for the sake of Islam and the well-being of the Muslim community. His actions and teachings serve as a timeless example for all Muslims, guiding us towards the path of selflessness and true freedom.

In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) reminds us that true freedom is not found in selfish pursuits, but rather in self-sacrifice and serving others. By giving preference to the needs of others over our own desires, we attain a higher level of spiritual liberation. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the ability to embody the spirit of selflessness and may we strive to follow the noble example of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ).

. : . (Readers are advised to verify the sources mentioned above, and to independently research for an accurate understanding of Hadith. Remember, personal research and seeking guidance from scholars are essential in gaining a better insight. Please, do contact us if you find any wrong citations or explanations.)

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