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  • Altruism

    Altruism, selfless acts done for another’s benefit in spite of oneself, is a humanitarian endeavor praised by all societies. Practically every nation on earth has stories of great kings, brave warriors and noble men and women who sacrificed their material possessions, status or even themselves for some or other common good. Yet, it is without any reservation or hesitation whatsoever that we can point to the religion of Islam for the most perfect, sincere and comprehensive expression of altruism (eethaar in Islamic terminology). The Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said in a narration, known to perhaps every devout Muslim: “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

    And with that, altruism instantly becomes a condition of true faith in God, Most High. This act of faith was demonstrated so many times throughout the history of Islam, from Muhammad’s commission as a prophet up until our present times, that to recall even a fraction of the authentic narrations that have reached us would barely touch the surface. However, for the purpose of this discussion, we will do just that.

    During the great battle of Yarmuk between the fledgling Islamic state and the Roman Empire, a Companion of the Prophet, Ikrimah b. Abu Jahl, and two other noble warriors were mortally wounded. An able Muslim who was attending to the wounded offered one of the injured warriors some water, but the selfless soldier refused, insisting that one of the other fallen men be offered water first. When the water reached the second man, he too refused to drink before the thirst of the other wounded soldiers was quenched.

    Alas!, by the time the water had reached the third man, it was already too late: he and the other two soldiers had died. Truly these three paragons of self-sacrifice made manifest the words of their Prophet when he said:
    “The best charity is that given when one is in need and struggling.”(Ibn Katheer)
    “…And they give others preference over themselves even though they were themselves in need….” (Quran 59:9)

    The above verse was actually revealed in connection to what was, perhaps, the single greatest act of communal altruism ever witnessed in the history of mankind: the establishment of brotherhood between the Muslim emigrants fleeing persecution in Mecca (the Muhajiroon), and their helpers who took them in Medina (the Ansaar). The Ansaar made previously untold sacrifices for their brothers in faith, despite the fact that they were themselves in great need. By their deeds, the bonds of brotherhood in the new Medinan society were strengthened and solidified in a manner not seen before or since. Arab was matched with non-Arab, freeman with former slave, Qurayshi (a member of Prophet’s own tribe) with non-Qurayshi, and so on.

    “By no means shall you attain righteousness unless you spend of that which you love….” (Quran 3:92)

    As an amazing example of how this brotherhood manifested itself, we have the case of the two Companions of the Prophet: Abdur-Rahman b. Awf, who was a Muhajir, and Sa’d b. al-Rabee, an Ansari. Abdur-Rahman narrates in his own words:
    “When we came to Medina, the Messenger of God established bonds of brotherhood between me and Sa’d b. al-Rabee. Sa’d said: ‘I am the wealthiest of the Ansar[1], so I will give you half of all my wealth. And see which of my wives you prefer, I will divorce her for you, and when she becomes lawful (as a divorcee), you can marry her.’ I (Abdur-Rahman) said to him: ‘I do not need that. (But tell me), is there a marketplace here where people trade?’ Sa‘ad said: ‘There is the marketplace of Qaynuqa’… And so, the following day Abdur-Rahman went to the market to begin trading. Before long, he was once again wealthy, as he had been in Mecca, and able to marry of his own accord.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

    “And those who, before them, had homes (in Madina) and had adopted the Faith, love those who emigrate to them, and have no jealousy in their breasts for that which they have been given (from booty and the like), and they give (the emigrants) preference over themselves, even though they were themselves in need. And whomsoever are saved from the covetousness of their own souls, such are they who will be successful.” (Quran 59:9)

    The altruism of the Medinan Muslims, praised by God in the Quran, was so great in its scope and impact that the Meccan recipients of their brothers’ selflessness were worried there would be no grace left for them! The Companion, Anas b. Malik, said:
    “When the Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, came to Madina, the Muhajiroon [2]came to him and said: ‘O Messenger of God, we have never seen any people more generous when they have the means and more helpful when they have little, than the people among whom we have settled. They have looked after us and they have let us join them and share in all their happy occasions, to such an extent that we are afraid that they will take all the reward (from God in the Hereafter).’ The Prophet said: ‘Not so long as you pray for them and praise them.’” (Al-Tirmidhi)

    God Himself praised the Companions of Muhammad, both Muhajir and Ansar, for their great many selfless sacrifices and services in His Cause. He, the Almighty, also praised whoever would follow in their footsteps. Let us then follow them, perchance we may too be rewarded in heaven.

    “The foremost (in faith) from the Muhajiroon and the Ansar and those who follow them in righteousness; God is well-pleased with them and they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them (the Companions and their followers in righteousness) gardens under which rivers flow to dwell therein forever - that is the supreme success.” (Quran 9:100)

    http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/437/

    Footnotes: [1] The Ansar are those Muslim inhabitants of Medina who welcomed the Prophet and the Muslim Emigrants from Mecca to live amongst them.

    [2] The singular of which is Muhajir, or “emigrant”. They are those who migrated from Mecca to Medina upon the command of Allah.
    .لا نريد زعيما يخاف البيت الإبيض
    نريد زعيما يخاف الواحد الأحد
    دولة الإسلامية باقية






  • #2
    Re: Altruism

    the only thing i really dont like about this post is that altruism is about being good for being good

    but that the muslims did what they did out of obligation to muslims and fear and reward from Allah

    to do good, just because you feel like doing good, is the mindset of the kuffar

    but to do good, and do good for Allah, is a deed that Allah will reward you for in this world and the hereafter
    .لا نريد زعيما يخاف البيت الإبيض
    نريد زعيما يخاف الواحد الأحد
    دولة الإسلامية باقية





    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Altruism

      A sincere question, Will you do good if there will be no reward of doing that?
      Most people will still do good.

      A muslim sees someone getting injured in an accident, the first thought that will strike her/his mind is to take the injured person to a hospital. S/he might get rewards for the good deed. But, the motivation for it was surely not rewards.

      BTW, I liked the article.


      Originally posted by AbuMubarak View Post
      the only thing i really dont like about this post is that altruism is about being good for being good

      but that the muslims did what they did out of obligation to muslims and fear and reward from Allah

      to do good, just because you feel like doing good, is the mindset of the kuffar

      but to do good, and do good for Allah, is a deed that Allah will reward you for in this world and the hereafter

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Altruism

        had a big discussion with a muslim about this topic, they said it is not enough to do good for the sake of Allah, that we should do good seeking the reward of Allah ta ala, is that correct, that unless one seeks to do good for the sake of Allah whilst seeking the reward of that, then it is a deviant act.

        is it wrong to do it only for sake of Allah ie: to do it because Allah ta ala said so,is that enough, without seeking the reward of it :confused:
        "O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you swerve, and if you distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do." [An-Nisa 4:135]

        The Prophet :saw: said:

        "Whosoever leaves off obedience and separates from the Jamaa'ah and dies, he dies a death of jaahiliyyah. Whoever fights under the banner of the blind, becoming angry for 'asabiyyah (nationalism/tribalism/partisanship) or calling to 'asabiyyah, or assisting 'asabiyyah, then dies, he dies a death of jaahiliyyah."

        muslim

        Narrated 'Abdullah:

        The Prophet, said, "Abusing a Muslim is Fusuq (evil doing) and killing him is Kufr (disbelief)." sahih bukhari


        "Creeping upon you is the diseases of those people before you: envy and hatred. And hatred is the thing that shaves. I do not say it shaves the hair but it shaves the religion!

        By the One in whose Hand is my soul, you will not enter paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Certainly, let me inform you of that which may establish such things: spread the greetings and peace among yourselves."

        [Recorded by Imam Ahmad and Al-Tirmidhi]

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Altruism

          asiyah, i dont know if there is a difference

          when i do whatever i do, i do it for the reward in jannah

          now some have said, to do it for other than the pleasure of Allah is bad, they say we should only do it for Allah

          there is a dua by a sister sufi some years ago, if i do a deed for jannah, keep me from it, (or something to that effect)
          .لا نريد زعيما يخاف البيت الإبيض
          نريد زعيما يخاف الواحد الأحد
          دولة الإسلامية باقية





          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by AbuMubarak View Post
            asiyah, i dont know if there is a difference

            when i do whatever i do, i do it for the reward in jannah

            now some have said, to do it for other than the pleasure of Allah is bad, they say we should only do it for Allah

            there is a dua by a sister sufi some years ago, if i do a deed for jannah, keep me from it, (or something to that effect)

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Altruism

              ok now thats extreme surely because we should fear the hellfire, because Allah ta ala has said to save ourselves from it, so in the same way we should seek the rewards of Allah ta ala as he has told us to seek his pleasure and with his pleasure we gain the rewards of that ? so therefore the deed should be done with both intentions, or are they are both one and the same ?

              oh please, im not a closet sufi am i
              "O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you swerve, and if you distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do." [An-Nisa 4:135]

              The Prophet :saw: said:

              "Whosoever leaves off obedience and separates from the Jamaa'ah and dies, he dies a death of jaahiliyyah. Whoever fights under the banner of the blind, becoming angry for 'asabiyyah (nationalism/tribalism/partisanship) or calling to 'asabiyyah, or assisting 'asabiyyah, then dies, he dies a death of jaahiliyyah."

              muslim

              Narrated 'Abdullah:

              The Prophet, said, "Abusing a Muslim is Fusuq (evil doing) and killing him is Kufr (disbelief)." sahih bukhari


              "Creeping upon you is the diseases of those people before you: envy and hatred. And hatred is the thing that shaves. I do not say it shaves the hair but it shaves the religion!

              By the One in whose Hand is my soul, you will not enter paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another. Certainly, let me inform you of that which may establish such things: spread the greetings and peace among yourselves."

              [Recorded by Imam Ahmad and Al-Tirmidhi]

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Altruism

                I think that people have different motivations according to their level of iman. Some people might do good out of fear of the Hellfire, and that is good. There are others who do good out of desire for the Paradise, and that is better. And there are some who do good, only for the sake of Allah (swt) and to be close to Him and to attain His Pleasure and that is best of all.

                شتان بين من همته الحور والقصور

                وبين من همته رفع الستور ودوام الحضور



                How far apart are the one whose ambition is the hur and the palaces

                And the one whose ambition is the lifting of the veils and perpetuity with the Divine Presence!



                And I don't think that it has to be just one of these intentions, could possibly be a mixture of all as is most probably the case.
                "And thus have We willed you to be a community of the middle way."
                (al-Baqarah: 143)

                Allahumma innaa na'udhu bika min an nushrika bika shai-an na'lamuh; wa nastaghfiruka limaa laa na'lam.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Altruism

                  thanks lp

                  now here is a question

                  can you see such a sister, or even the companions of the Prophet lining up to vote tory or labor or whichever kafir?

                  i dont think so
                  .لا نريد زعيما يخاف البيت الإبيض
                  نريد زعيما يخاف الواحد الأحد
                  دولة الإسلامية باقية





                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Altruism

                    How does any of this have to do with voting?

                    Can we please not turn this into another one of those voting threads.
                    "And thus have We willed you to be a community of the middle way."
                    (al-Baqarah: 143)

                    Allahumma innaa na'udhu bika min an nushrika bika shai-an na'lamuh; wa nastaghfiruka limaa laa na'lam.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Altruism

                      ok, tmr

                      i just couldnt help it

                      its that we read these wonderful stories about these strong people and we do the complete opposite in our lives

                      its nice to read these stories, but if we are not going to implement them in our behaviour, why bother reading them in the first place?
                      .لا نريد زعيما يخاف البيت الإبيض
                      نريد زعيما يخاف الواحد الأحد
                      دولة الإسلامية باقية





                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Altruism

                        True.
                        "And thus have We willed you to be a community of the middle way."
                        (al-Baqarah: 143)

                        Allahumma innaa na'udhu bika min an nushrika bika shai-an na'lamuh; wa nastaghfiruka limaa laa na'lam.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Altruism

                          Originally posted by AbuMubarak View Post
                          thanks lp

                          now here is a question

                          can you see such a sister, or even the companions of the Prophet lining up to vote tory or labor or whichever kafir?

                          i dont think so
                          You started a brillant thread. the question which always comes up in my mind, is worship for God or for rewards. Let us not spoil it.

                          I think wr have parallel 3 threads about discussing if Muslims should vote or not.

                          Comment

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