اَلإيثارُ فَضيلَةٌ، اَلإحْتِكارُ رَذيلَةٌ۔

Self-sacrifice is a virtue, hoarding [wealth] is a vice.



Self-sacrifice is a virtue, hoarding [wealth] is a vice.

— 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 Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states,

Self-sacrifice is a virtue, hoarding [wealth] is a vice.

This beautiful saying highlights the importance of selflessness and generosity, while condemning the act of greed and accumulation of wealth.

Let us delve into the meanings of the key words in this Hadith. "Al-Ithar" refers to self-sacrifice or preferring others over oneself. It is the act of putting the needs and well-being of others before our own. "Al-Ihtikar" refers to hoarding or amassing wealth without sharing it with those in need. It is a selfish act that stems from a desire to possess and control resources for personal gain.

To understand the significance of self-sacrifice, we turn to the Quran. 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 exemplifies the virtue of self-sacrifice by highlighting the generosity of the Ansar (the residents of Madinah) towards the Muhajirun (the emigrants from Makkah). Despite their own limited resources, the Ansar preferred the needs of the Muhajirun over their own, displaying a selflessness that is praised by Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ).

Furthermore, in Surah Al-Baqarah (2:177), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) states:

Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous.

This verse emphasizes the importance of giving wealth to those in need, despite one's attachment to it. It highlights that true righteousness lies in selflessly sharing one's wealth with relatives, orphans, the needy, and others who require assistance. This aligns perfectly with the concept of self-sacrifice mentioned in the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ).

The consequences of practicing self-sacrifice are manifold. Firstly, it fosters a sense of unity and compassion within the Muslim community. When individuals prioritize the well-being of others, it strengthens the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood. Secondly, self-sacrifice leads to the alleviation of suffering and the promotion of social justice. By sharing our resources with those in need, we contribute to the betterment of society as a whole. Lastly, self-sacrifice brings about spiritual growth and closeness to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). When we detach ourselves from the materialistic desires of this world and prioritize the needs of others, we purify our souls and draw nearer to our Creator.

On the other hand, hoarding wealth is condemned in Islam. The act of accumulating wealth without sharing it with those in need goes against the principles of justice and compassion. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) warns against this behavior in Surah Al-Takathur (102:1-2):

Competition in [worldly] increase diverts you until you visit the graveyards. No! You are going to know. Then no! You are going to know. No! If you only knew with knowledge of certainty... You will surely see the Hellfire. Then you will surely see it with the eye of certainty. Then you will surely be asked that Day about pleasure.

These verses remind us that our obsession with worldly possessions and accumulation of wealth will ultimately be of no benefit to us in the Hereafter. Instead, we will be held accountable for our actions and questioned about how we utilized our wealth.

In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) serves as a powerful reminder for Muslims to prioritize self-sacrifice over hoarding wealth. By practicing selflessness and generosity, we not only fulfill our duties towards our fellow human beings but also strengthen our relationship with Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). Let us strive to embody the virtue of self-sacrifice in our lives, following the example set by the Prophet Muhammad (), his pure progeny, and his noble companions. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the ability to be selfless and generous, and may He bless us with the rewards of our actions in this world and the Hereafter.

. : . (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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