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 the 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 Hadith can be translated as,

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

Let us delve into the meaning of the key words in this Hadith. (Ithar) "إيثار" refers to self-sacrifice or preferring others over oneself. It is an act of giving and putting the needs of others before our own. (Yustaraqqu) "يُسْتَرَقُّ" means to become enslaved or to be in a state of servitude. (Al-Ahrar) "الأحرار" refers to the free or those who possess freedom.

To understand the impactful 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., the Ansar] 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 Ansar, the inhabitants of Madinah who welcomed and supported the Prophet () and the Muhajirun, the immigrants from Makkah, are praised for their generosity and selflessness. Despite their own needs and hardships, they prioritized the well-being of their fellow Muslims.

Another verse that resonates with the message of the Hadith is found in Surah Al-Insan (76:8-9), where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,

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.'

These verses emphasize the act of self-sacrifice and giving for the sake of Allah alone. The believers are described as providing sustenance to those in need, without expecting anything in return. Their motivation is purely driven by their love for Allah and their desire to please Him.

Now, let us reflect on the meaning of the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ). It teaches us that true freedom lies in self-sacrifice and serving others. When we prioritize the needs of others over our own desires and ego, we attain a higher level of spiritual liberation. By willingly embracing servitude for the sake of Allah, we break free from the shackles of selfishness and materialistic pursuits.

Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), known for his immense knowledge and wisdom, exemplified this principle throughout his life. He selflessly served the Muslim community, even during times of personal hardship and sacrifice. His actions were guided by his deep understanding of the Quranic teachings and his unwavering commitment to the path of righteousness.

The consequences of practicing self-sacrifice are far-reaching. It fosters unity, compassion, and empathy within the Muslim community. When individuals prioritize the well-being of others, a harmonious society is built, where everyone's needs are met and no one is left behind. Moreover, self-sacrifice strengthens our relationship with Allah, as it is an act of worship that pleases Him and earns His blessings.

In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) teaches us that true freedom is attained through self-sacrifice and serving others. By putting the needs of others before our own, we break free from the chains of selfishness and materialism. This principle is beautifully illustrated in the Quranic verses that emphasize the virtues of selflessness and giving for the sake of Allah. May we all strive to embody this noble characteristic and seek the pleasure of Allah through acts of self-sacrifice.

. : . (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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