بِالإيثارِ على نَفْسِكَ تَمْلِكُ الرِّقابَ۔

By preferring others over yourself, you gain [their] servitude.



By preferring others over yourself, you gain [their] servitude.

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

Personal Reflection

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all worlds. May peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (), his pure Ahl al-Bayt (عَلَيْهِمُ ٱلسَّلَامُ), and his noble companions.

The Arabic Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states,

بِالإيثارِ على نَفْسِكَ تَمْلِكُ الرِّقابَ۔

This can be translated as,

By preferring others over yourself, you gain [their] servitude.

Let us delve into the meaning of some important words in this Hadith. (Ithar) "إيثار" refers to the act of giving preference or priority to others over oneself. It is an act of selflessness and putting the needs and interests of others before our own. (Nafsika) "نَفْسِكَ" means oneself or one's own self. (Tamliku) "تَمْلِكُ" means to possess or gain control over something. And (Ar-Riqab) "الرِّقابَ" refers to the servitude or obedience of others.

To understand 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 preferring others over oneself, even in times of hardship. The early Muslims in Madinah showed immense love and generosity towards the Muhajirun (those who migrated from Makkah), despite their own limited resources. Their selflessness and willingness to sacrifice for the sake of others is a manifestation of the principle mentioned in the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ).

Another verse that supports the concept of Ithar is found in Surah Al-Insan (76:9), where Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) describes the righteous believers, saying,

They give food 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 giving food to those in need, without expecting anything in return. It reflects the spirit of selflessness and Ithar, where believers prioritize the well-being of others over their own desires and expectations.

The Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) encourages us to adopt the noble quality of Ithar in our lives. By putting the needs and interests of others before our own, we not only gain their servitude and loyalty, but we also attain spiritual growth and closeness to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ).

When we selflessly serve others, we inspire them to reciprocate with gratitude and respect. Our acts of kindness and sacrifice create a positive impact on society, fostering a sense of unity and compassion among Muslims. Moreover, by practicing Ithar, we emulate the example set by the Prophet Muhammad () and his noble companions, who dedicated their lives to serving humanity.

In conclusion, the Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) teaches us the virtue of Ithar, which is the act of preferring others over oneself. This selflessness leads to gaining the servitude and loyalty of others. The Quranic verses mentioned above further emphasize the importance of Ithar and highlight the rewards and blessings that come with it. May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) grant us the ability to practice Ithar and to embody the noble qualities of selflessness and compassion in our lives.

. : . (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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