لاتُكْمَلُ المَكارِمُ إلاّ بِالعَفافِ والإيثارِ۔

Nobility cannot be fully achieved but by self-restraint and self-sacrifice.



Nobility cannot be fully achieved but by self-restraint and self-sacrifice.

— 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 and noble family, and his righteous companions.

The Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states,

Nobility cannot be fully achieved but by self-restraint and self-sacrifice.

This profound statement emphasizes the importance of two key virtues: self-restraint (عَفَاف) and self-sacrifice (إيثار).

The word (self-restraint) "عَفَاف" refers to the act of controlling one's desires and impulses, particularly in matters related to one's physical and emotional needs. It encompasses the ability to exercise moderation and discipline in various aspects of life, such as food, wealth, and relationships. This virtue is not limited to abstaining from haram (forbidden) actions, but also includes avoiding excessive indulgence in permissible matters. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in the Quran, (Quran 25:67)

And those who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor niggardly but hold a medium (way) between those (extremes)

This verse highlights the importance of moderation in spending, which is a manifestation of self-restraint.

The word (self-sacrifice) "إيثار" refers to the act of placing the needs and interests of others above one's own. It involves giving generously and willingly, without expecting anything in return. This virtue is rooted in compassion, empathy, and a genuine concern for the well-being of others. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in the Quran, (Quran 76:8)

And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive

This verse highlights the act of self-sacrifice by providing food to those in need, even if one has an attachment to it.

The combination of self-restraint and self-sacrifice is essential for the attainment of true nobility. When one exercises self-restraint, they are able to control their desires and impulses, which in turn leads to a sense of inner peace and tranquility. This self-control allows individuals to make wise decisions and avoid engaging in harmful or sinful actions. It also helps in developing a strong character and a sense of integrity.

Self-sacrifice, on the other hand, enables individuals to transcend their own needs and desires and focus on the welfare of others. By giving generously and selflessly, one not only helps those in need but also cultivates a sense of gratitude and humility. This act of selflessness strengthens the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood within the Muslim community and fosters a spirit of unity and compassion.

The consequences of practicing self-restraint and self-sacrifice are far-reaching. On an individual level, it leads to personal growth and spiritual development. By restraining our desires and sacrificing for the sake of others, we purify our souls and draw closer to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). Moreover, it helps in building a just and harmonious society, where individuals are considerate of one another's needs and work together for the greater good.

Reflecting on this Hadith, we are reminded of the exemplary character of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ). His knowledge and wisdom were unparalleled, and he embodied the virtues of self-restraint and self-sacrifice throughout his life. He demonstrated self-restraint by rejecting the luxuries of this world and living a simple and humble life. He also exemplified self-sacrifice by giving generously to those in need, even when he himself had limited resources. His actions serve as a timeless example for Muslims, inspiring us to strive for nobility through the practice of self-restraint and self-sacrifice.

In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) teaches us that true nobility can only be attained through the virtues of self-restraint and self-sacrifice. By exercising self-control and placing the needs of others above our own, we not only achieve personal growth but also contribute to the betterment of society. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the ability to embody these virtues and strive for true nobility.

. : . (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.)

Join our community to daily receive one short Hadith of Imam Ali a.s on your device.