The Making of a Muslim
HOW TO SACRIFICE?
Love for Allaah
Living in His Presence
Grateful and Humble
By Khurram Murad
HOW TO SACRIFICE?How to draw from within yourselves the inner resources which would generate, nourish and sustain your spirit and capacity to sacrifice? How can you become, and remain, willing and prepared to offer sacrifices required of you?
You have come to know some of the ways while we have been discussing various types of sacrifices. There are, how ever, certain fundamental inner resources which need to be emphasized and remembered, which you must try to generate within yourselves.
But first let us recapitulate certain basic principles on which these resources depend.
One, a sacrifice is a sacrifice only when you give up something which you love or value or desire. You can give it up only for the sake of something which you love more or value and desire more, or which is more important or urgent to you. Two, whatever the outer form of sacrifice - time, wealth, life, likes and dislikes, opinions - what you really sacrifice is the love and value you attach to it, and not the form. Three, you will therefore become more willing and pre pared to offer a sacrifice in the way of Allaah as your love for Allaah and His rewards increases in depth, intensity and strength and as the value you attach to the objects of sacrifice diminishes in your sight.
Love for Allaah
Thus love lies at the root of everything. You can therefore realize what you need most to help you gain the inner strength necessary for offering sacrifices. It is your love for Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala. How much do you love him? Do you love Him more than everything else?
That is why the Qur'aan says: 'The [true] believers love Allaah more than all else' (Al-Baqarah 2:165).
That is why it confronts every Muslim with one simple but profound question:
Whom do you love more? Allaah, His Messenger and Jihaad in His way, or fathers, sons, wives, brothers, wealth, houses, commerce, careers? (al-Tawbah 9:24).
Only with such love for Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala will sacrifice turn into an inner urge,rather than remaining a motion of compliance with an external exhortation. Then you will derive the true delight and pleasure in fulfilling the demands of Eemaan. Remember: there are two types of Eemaan. One remains on our lips and that is the Eemaan which becomes a burden to us. There is another Eemaan which penetrates into the heart that is the Eemaan which becomes a pleasure, a delight, a joy. Once you have this Eemaan, if you are required to give time, money, life or sacrifice,likes and dislikes, opinions, you do it gladly. The Prophet, sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam, said: 'There are three things, only the one who has them will taste the sweetness of Eemaan: [first of them is] that Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala and His Messenger sall Allaahu1alayhi wa sallam he loves more than any other thing beside them . . .' (Bukhaari, Muslim).
How to attain love for Allaah which exceeds every other love? There are not, and cannot be, any precise formula for this purpose. But a few things will help. And each in turn will become a rich inner resource you will need to fulfill the demands of sacrificing.
Remember how He Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala has created you, provided you with everything you need; how infinitely Merciful He is. Look at your existence, look at the universe around you, and everywhere you will see His mercy and care, His wisdom and majesty. As you reflect and ponder over 'His signs', which are everywhere, your love for Him will increase.
Part of remembering Him is to turn to Him and seek His help in loving Him. The Prophet, sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam, has taught us many ways of doing so. Two are:
I ask of Thee, Allaah, Thy love, love of those who love Thee, and the (doing of) deeds which may bring Thy love to me. Make my love for Thee greater than my love for myself, for my wealth, for my family, for cold water. (Tirmidhi, Muslim).
Allaah, make Thy love greater than every other love, Thy fear greater than every other fear. Make my eagerness to meet Thee cut across all my worldly desires. Place my pleasure in worshipping Thee while Thou gives the worldly their pleasure in this world.
Remembering Him Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala as often as you can is essential and fundamental. It will help you not only to attain love, but all other resources you need to develop your spirit and capacity of sacrifice: mindful of living in His presence, attaching real value to meeting Him and receiving His rewards, understanding the worth and place of this-worldly life, grateful and humble before Him, fearful of never having done enough, prepared and willing to obey His commands.
Living in His Presence
Live as if you are in His presence. Remember that 'He is with you wherever you may be' (Al-Hadeed 57:4).
When you are called upon to make a sacrifice, or you prepare to make it of your own accord, remember that you are before His eyes. That is what He asks us to be mindful of: 'Surely you are before Our eyes' (Al-Tur 52:48).
Coupled with your conviction that whatever you are sacrificing belongs to the One who is seeing you, and His reward would be manifold and eternal, this should give you some measure of that inner urge and strength essential to you.
This consciousness of being in His presence, of His Eyes being upon us, of Him listening to us, of doing our duty as our Master is with us, praising us generously, rewarding us kindly, is a prime source for creating the spirit of sacrifice. This also creates trust in Him, because once you know that you are with Him, you can entrust all your affairs to Him.
Every one of us has to die (Aali-`Imraan 3:185). Death is not the end of everything, it is only a transition into the next phase. In that phase we will stand face to face with Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala.
None of us likes to die; it is only human. But die we must, and only after death will the doors open to eternal life and blessings. If you understand the nature and reality of this-worldly life, if you know that you can receive your fair wages only upon meeting Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala, then you will develop two feelings. One, a desire to meet Him, however you may fear Him on account of your own misdeeds. Two, the preparedness to sacrifice everything that belongs to this-world for what you will earn in reward in the Hereafter.
One of the du'aas the Prophet, sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam, used to make says:
Allaah! Grant me the delight of looking at Thy noble face and a longing to meet Thee (Nasa'i, Ahmad, Hakim).
Grateful and Humble
Whatever the nature of sacrifice, and whether big or small tangible or intangible, offer it in gratitude and humility. It so often happens that one begins to get weary and tired of giving in the way of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala. One, then, begins to say, 'We have already spent so much time; we have already given so much money; how much more shall we give?; we have already made so many sacrifices; what else is required of us?' This will happen only if you are making sacrifices not to please Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala alone; but then you are motivated by something else. Or, when you do not realize that you should indeed be grateful to Him for every opportunity you get to offer some sacrifice. Also offer every sacrifice in all humility.
Let us be very clear that whatever things you sacrifice, you do not give it to some person, nor to some organization. Nor do you give it to Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala, though He is Merciful and Generous enough to say that whatever you give is a loan to Him, which shall be repaid manifold. You give everything to yourselves. Does one ever get tired of giving more and more to himself?
Now this is not selfishness. It only means that we believe that our ultimate prosperity lies in submission to the will of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala. Through sacrifice we seek our betterment in this life and we desire a successful, eternal life in the Hereafter. At the same time, every sacrifice we make, everything we give in the way of Allaah Almighty, makes our community stronger.
Therefore be grateful to Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala for having given you the opportunity to sacrifice, for having called upon you to serve Him, for having blessed you with the ability to offer something in His way. Things might have been otherwise. We might have been left wandering astray: we might not have been given the opportunity to sacrifice wealth and thus reap eternal reward. You should therefore give every sacrifice in the spirit of gratitude. To Him you should look for acceptance.
And also humility. You should never have the feeling of having done enough. Once the disease creeps into your heart that you have done enough, then all is lost. You should always think that whatever sacrifice you may offer, it is still nothing compared to the obligations you have to discharge towards Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala.
Being fearful of never having given away enough is very fundamental to your sacrifice. The Qur'aan says: 'They give what they give, but their hearts tremble' (al-Mu'minoon 23:60).