What is the importance of self-sacrifice in our religion? What is the place of self-sacrifice for someone else?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Self-sacrifice means to sacrifice willingly the things that one has and values, to persevere by resisting against all kinds of hardships for one’s cause. It means to give up his own interests for the sake of Allah and the values he believes.

The human soul is selfish. It gives particular importance to its own desires and interests. To act self-sacrificingly for the sake of Allah by breaking this ego of the soul is one of the highest traits among humanitarian values.

In the history of Islam, it is a good example of self-sacrifice for the Makkan Muslims to migrate for the sake of their belief after the unendurable torture and pressure they suffered in Makkah by leaving all of their wealth and property behind; it is also a good example of self- sacrifice for the Ansar of Madinah to welcome and to entertain those Muhajirs (migrants).  

The Muhajirs were able to take away only very few things that they could carry with them and had to abandon their houses, herds and most of their possessions. It was not known when they would return; even if they returned, it would not be known what might have happened to their houses and belongings. Therefore, the financial losses of the Muhajirs were very much in this journey. Among those who migrated were some people like Suhayb b. Sinan, who could not collect their receivables and whose possessions were confiscated; they had to migrate without being able to take anything. On the other hand, it is a separate aspect of self-sacrifice that Muslims of Madinah shared their goods and earnings with their brothers from Makkah.

The following is stated in the Quran about those who self-sacrifice: 

"Those who spend (freely), whether in prosperity, or in adversity; who restrain anger, and pardon (all) men;- for Allah loves those who do good." (Aal-i Imran, 3/134).

"Those who spend their substance in the cause of Allah, and follow not up their gifts with reminders of their generosity or with injury,-for them their reward is with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve." (al-Baqara, 2/262)

Self-sacrifice is a virtue. Since man is the best creature, self-sacrifice fits man first and it has to exist in him.

In this century, fighting against unbelief and debauchery is the greatest principle and virtue in the name of sacrifice.

However, the size and dimensions of sacrifice are very lage. For, everything can be sacrificed.  There is no need for those who cannot make self-sacrifice to feel frustrated by looking at those who act self-sacrificingly. For, not everybody can self-sacrifice related to everything but anyone can self-sacrifice related to something.

For instance, some can people can make sacrifices about their lives, some about their means, knowledge, ranks, positions, time, love, compassion, worship, etc.

A university student can make sacrifices by conveying the message of Islam to his friends, young people and to his teachers related to one or some of the things mentioned above.

If he cannot do anything, it is an important sacrifice even to be a successful, hardworking and exemplary student only.

To treat something to someone, to treat a person with love and affection, to compliment somebody, to be conciliatory and harmonious, to lead an ethical and virtuous life, not to be arrogant and conceited, and to be respectful are among the sacrifices that most of us can make.

However, the efforts and sacrifices that are related to conveying the message of Islam and that require specialization are traits that can be obtained in time through education and experience.

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