Whoever contemplates in the book of Allah SWT, and whoever considers the Sunnah of His Prophet peace and blessings be upon him, will see that the commandments are to do good and avoid evil.
In fact, no individual, group or nation can achieve success without sacrifice and hard work required to do good and avoid evil.
If we study history and consider the nations before us, would see this clearly, as it is the case with the lives of the prophets before us, you would notice the sacrifice and effort they put in for the sake of the religion, and this could be sacrifice of wealth, or even self.
An example of such sacrifice, one of many, is given to us through Sura Nuh, ayats 5 to 8. In this Allah SWT is educating us on the story of Prophet Nuh or Noah as we may know of him. The story of the Ark is well known but this part of the Sura mentions the sacrifice that Prophet Nuh went through in terms of effort. It is translated to say:
He said, “My Lord, indeed I invited my people [to truth] night and day.But my invitation increased them not except in flight. And indeed, every time I invited them that You may forgive them, they put their fingers in their ears, covered themselves with their garments, persisted, and were arrogant with [great] arrogance. Then I invited them publicly. Then I announced to them and [also] confided to them secretly.
Alongside this, we also have the sacrifice of time and effort. One worthy example to relay, something we often overlook, is the sheer volume of hadiths that we have available which tells us the guidance and teachings of our Prophet SAWS.
This is also a story of sacrifice. One of the main sources of hadith is Abu Hurariya, may Allah SWT be pleased with him, who once quoted as saying that
“my brothers the Ansar were busy with work/farming and didn’t have as much time to pick up the Hadith, and the brothers of the Muhajireen were busy with the market therefore little time to pick up hadith, but I was a poor man that stayed with the prophet peace and blessings be upon him, with only aim of eating – ‘If I found what I can eat in that day that would allow me to function, I would stay the whole time with the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him, and would be present when others were away and would remember when others wouldn’t.
Dear brothers and sisters, we know also of the sacrifice of the self, the example here is one of the companions of the Prophet SAWS called Musaab bin Umair, may Allah SWT be pleased with him, who upon embracing Islam, was punished from his own mother. Food, clothing, wealth, all was restricted in order to punish him and make him leave Islam.
However he did not falter, he understood the sacrifice that needed to be made. One day the Prophet SAWS saw him, in torn clothes as a result of this punishment he was enduring and tears welled up in our Prophet’s eyes as he remarked ‘that I have seen this young man and no one in Mecca had a better visibility of wealth on him than this young man’. In other words, nobody else understood wealth better than Musaab as he had understood wealth in the eternal hereafter comes through sacrifice of it in this life as he was enduring in his.
Dear brothers and sisters, we speak of this topic in this month and we know that the Qurbani or sacrifice we do in this week is based upon the story of sacrifice involving Prophet Ibrahim. However, what lessons can we take from the examples that have been given in today’s reminder?
What concludes then are 4 things we can all aim to do to help ourselves understand the concept of sacrifice.
- Learn to sacrifice our time for others. We should aim to sacrifice time for our children and our spouses and our parents. Working to earn a wage is not the same thing. Time is more precious to them and so dedicate time towards them through dedicated moments where work and other parts of the life cannot interfere.
- Learn to sacrifice our effort for the sake of others. We should aim to place effort into helping other people. Whether it is through charity, dawah or other social ventures, we are ambassadors of the truth and we are the Ummah of the best of all creation in this universe. We ought to make the effort to live up to that standard.
- Learn to sacrifice our wealth for others. A previous reminder was about how the deceased will wish that they could have done more charity. Each act of charity is a form of sacrifice and usually it is financial. We should aim to work towards the goal of being so charitable that our left hand does not know what our right hand is giving.
- Learn to sacrifice our egos for the sake of our soul. Dear brothers and sisters, this life is full of blessing and reward. However, it isn’t Jannah. We will have times where things don’t go our way. Times when we yearn for something we do not get. Usually at this time we get the opportunity to cut corners, cheat a little, bend the rules a little. We need to understand that this is an opportunity to exercise that sacrifice also. Learn to accept the shortcoming and understand that the sacrifice is for the sake of Allah SWT. Nobody comes before Him and so don’t allow shaitaan to convince you to justify that cheating by saying it is for the sake of your family or other so-called good outcome. Sacrifice comes hardest when it is your own ego but equally so, it is where the potential reward with Allah SWT is at it’s greatest.
Dear brothers and sisters, we only have a small with this life. We need to remember, through the lessons of this month and through the teachers throughout our history that it is only through the sacrifices that we make and the effort we place for the sake of Allah SWT, that will make us a success in front of Him when we return to Him.