الإيثارُ أعلَى المَكارِمِ۔

Self-sacrifice is the loftiest of noble traits.



Self-sacrifice is the loftiest of noble traits.

— 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 righteous companions.

The Arabic Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states, "الإيثارُ أعلَى المَكارِمِ۔" This can be translated into English as,

Self-sacrifice is the loftiest of noble traits.

In this enlightening saying, Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) highlights the importance and superiority of selflessness and putting others before oneself.

To understand the significance of this Hadith, let us delve into the meanings of the key words. "الإيثار" refers to self-sacrifice or preferring others over oneself. It entails prioritizing the needs and well-being of others above one's own desires and interests. "أعلَى" means the highest or loftiest, indicating that self-sacrifice is the pinnacle of noble qualities. And "المَكارِم" refers to noble traits or virtues, encompassing all the qualities that are praiseworthy and virtuous in the sight of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ).

The Quran provides us with numerous verses that support the exegesis of this Hadith. 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 emphasizes the virtue of self-sacrifice and preferring others over oneself. The early Muslims in Madinah, known as the Ansar, welcomed and supported the Muhajirun, the emigrants from Makkah, despite their own limited resources. They put the needs of their fellow Muslims above their own, demonstrating the highest level of selflessness.

Another verse that complements the exegesis of this Hadith is found in Surah Al-Insan (76:8-9), where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) describes the righteous believers, saying,

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 highlights the selflessness of the believers who provide food to those in need, purely seeking the pleasure of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) without expecting anything in return. Their act of self-sacrifice is driven by their love for Allah and their desire to fulfill the rights of their fellow human beings.

Reflecting on the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), we can understand the profound implications of self-sacrifice in our lives as Muslims. When we prioritize the needs of others, we embody the teachings of Islam and follow in the footsteps of the noble companions and the Ahl al-Bayt (عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلسَّلَامُ). Self-sacrifice strengthens the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood within the Muslim community, fostering unity and compassion.

Furthermore, self-sacrifice has far-reaching consequences beyond the immediate act itself. It inspires others to follow suit and creates a ripple effect of goodness in society. By practicing selflessness, we can alleviate the suffering of those in need, bring comfort to the oppressed, and contribute to the betterment of our communities.

Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), known for his unparalleled knowledge and wisdom, exemplified self-sacrifice throughout his life. His unwavering commitment to justice, his willingness to give up his own comfort for the sake of others, and his selfless devotion to the cause of Islam serve as timeless examples for all Muslims.

In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) teaches us that self-sacrifice is the highest form of noble traits. By prioritizing the needs of others and putting their well-being before our own, we embody the essence of Islam and fulfill our duty as Muslims. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the ability to practice self-sacrifice and strive for the loftiest of noble qualities.

. : . (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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