Selflessness in Islam

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Selflessness in Islam
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It is the love of good for others. When we find a situation that calls for selfless behavior, we prefer others and favor them above ourselves. We feel hunger for others until their hunger is fulfilled and we feel thirst for others until their thirst is quenched. We would even die to save the life of others. It is not astonishing or strange for the Muslim to quench his own spirit with doing what is right and the love for virtue and righteousness. All this is from the religion of our Lord, and who is better at determining religion than Him?

Any Muslim, who prefers unselfishness, really enters by this to the straight and right path of the pious predecessors in faith, and follows the footsteps of those early successful people and the companions of the Prophet (PBUH), whom Allah praised while He said:

“And give them (emigrants) preference over themselves, even though they were in need of that.” (Al-Hashr 59:9).

All good morals and incredible characteristics of Muslims are only taken from the source and wisdom of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) or from the Divine Revelation of the Mercy of Allah. Similarly, the Prophet (PBUH) also added beauty to this great manner by saying:

“None of you will have faith till he likes for his (Muslim) brother what he likes for himself.” (Al-Bukhari 13).

Book of Manners

So we must be certain that the love of good for others and selfless behavior will bring success for ourselves, our children, our family and the whole society.

By having such good moral one should refrain from greediness and stinginess, which are the opposite of it, because Allah (SWT) says:

“And whosoever is saved from his own covetousness, such are they who will be the successful.” (Al-Hashr 59:9).

And the Prophet (PBUH) also exhorted us to abstain and beware of greediness. He (PBUH) said:

“Beware of stinginess for stinginess destroyed those who came before you and caused them to shed their blood and regard as permissible that which had been forbidden to them.” (Muslim 2578).

Shining examples on selflessness from Prophetic Sunnah:

There are many shining and inspiring illustrations of the selflessness and love of good for others from the life of the Prophet (PBUH) and the bright history of Islam and these are the best examples for us to follow.

Narrated Abu Hazim, Sahl bin Sa‘d said that:

“A woman brought a Burda (sheet) to the Prophet (PBUH). Sahl asked the people, “Do you know what is a Burdah?” The people replied, “It is a Shamla, a sheet with a fringe.” That woman said, “O Allah’s Messenger! I have brought it so that you may wear it.” So the Prophet (PBUH) took it because he was in need of it and wore it. A man among his Companions, seeing him wearing it, said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Please give it to me to wear.” The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Yes” (and gave him that sheet). When the Prophet (PBUH) left, the man was blamed by his companions who said, “It was not nice on your part to ask the Prophet (PBUH) for it while you know that he took it because he was in need of it, and you also know that he (the Prophet PBUH) never turns down anybody’s request that he might be asked for.” That man said, “I just wanted to have its blessings as the Prophet (PBUH) had put it on, so I hoped that I might be shrouded in it.” (Al-Bukhari 6036).

Narrated Abu Hurairah (RA) that:

“A man came to the Prophet (PBUH as a guest), so he (PBUH) sent a messenger to his wives (to bring something for him to eat) but they said that they had nothing except water. Then Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “Who will take this (person), or entertain him as a guest?” A man from the Ansar said, “I.” So he took him to his wife and said to her, “Entertain generously the guest of Allah’s Messenger (PBUH).” She said, “We have got nothing except the meals of our children.” He said, “Prepare your meal, light your lamp and let your children sleep if they ask for supper.” So, she prepared her meal, lighted her lamp and make her children sleep, and then stood up pretending to mend her lamp, but she put it off. Then both of them (the husband and wife) pretended to be eating, but they really went to bed hungry. In the morning the Ansari went to Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) who said, “Tonight Allah laughed, or wondered at your action. Then Allah revealed: “… And give them (emigrants) preference over themselves, even though they were in need of that. And whosoever is saved from his own covetousness, such are they who will be the successful.”  (Al-Hashr 59:9) [Al-Bukhari 3798].

The prophet (PBUH) and his Companions displayed the highest example of charitable behavior and selflessness, honored others above themselves and this should be our cause in this life. These shining examples are illustrating the attitude of a real and true Muslim; his selflessness, generosity, and self-sacrifice for the sake of others. Therefore, every Muslim should adopt such noble qualities of loving kindness, hospitality, and selflessness and assume praiseworthy behavior in life, because above everything he is a Muslim.

A Muslim is expected not only to be virtuous, but to also enjoin virtue.

Social Ethics in Islam

an eBook containing Islamic Rulings on different aspects of Social life of People.

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