News ID: 97740
Publish Date: 17 March 2008 - 08:03

The Position of Self _ Sacrifice and Its Narratives in Islamic Texts

In this essay, the literal meaning of self _ sacrifice, its idiomatic expressions, the excellence of self _ sacrifice, difference between alimony and self _ sacrifice, kinds of self _ sacrifice (self _ sacrifice and properties, self _ sacrifice and Jihad, self _ sacrifice and martyrdom, self _ sacrifice and piety, self _ sacrifice and honor, self _ sacrifice and nature) have been investigated; the position of self _ sacrifice, its concept and illustrations in Qur’an and in the speeches of the innocent (A. S.), in the life of Prophet Muhammad (P. B. U. H) and Imams as well as respectful women of Islam has been studied. After these, self _ sacrifice in the Islamic Republic Era, characteristics of the one who sacrifices himself / herself, the requirements and obstacles of self _ sacrifice and the ways to promote it in society.
With regard to the importance of sacrifice and generosity in society and since God has clearly expressed its importance in different ayahs clearly and obviously, investigating the conceptual position and its illustration in different dimensions seems to be necessary and are hence considered as an Islamic Duty. On this basis and with regard to the narratives of the innocent Imams and their lives one can consider how much these great men were concerned with sacrifice and generosity and forgiving. Thus, the concept of generosity is very important so much that in many Islamic societies it is regarded as a religious issue that has an important role in organizing societies and defending communal life. The present essay aims at identifying and introducing the position of sacrifice and its grandeur in Islam and its emphasis on it to increase the spirit of sacrifice and generosity in society. The denotative meanings of Sacrifice: Effect: The effect of any thing is to leads us to the understanding that it exists. Its plural form is effects. Holy God has referred to effects in the 27th ayah of Qur’an “then we made our messengers to follow in their footsteps”? and in 82nd ayah of Ghafer ‘effects on earth”? and in 50th ayah of Rome “look at the effects of God’ mercy”?. The way that leads people to the paths of the past people and the way which leads but toward happiness and fortune is called Asar. Isar: Giving in abundance, giving one’s property to the needful, preferring others over oneself, choosing for oneself. The idiomatic expressions of Isar (sacrifice): Isar is the extreme giving in abundance and forgiving; preferring others over oneself, to give what one needs himself / herself to others. In the Islamic teachings and ethics, Isar has been defined as: The highest degree of generosity is to give others what one needs himself / herself. That is abnegating of oneself and paying attention to the needs of the others. The Grander of Isar: It is narrated that: the Moses (A. S.) once asked God to show him some characteristics of Prophet Muhammad’ (S. A.) nation and God said in response that: Moses! You are not able to understand it but I will let you know one of his characteristics due to which I prefer him over you and the other creatures. He said that God will open the inner part of the heavens to him and when Moses looked at the grandeur of one of his positions, he was about to die due to his closeness to God. Then he said: Why You have ascended him so much? God said that: it was due to a special feature that he is specified for and that is Isar. Moses be aware that none of my creatures will come to me unless he / she has made Isar in his / her life. And I am ashamed to calculate his background and I have to place him in wherever he / she want in paradise. Sacrifice Ceremony as the Symbol of Isar in Islam In Islam, sacrifice ceremony is the symbol of Islar. Isar includes a wide range from sacrificing one’s life for the sake of God to the political aspects and belief in the oneness of God. Imam Khomeini (R. T. A.) in this regard thus says: The father of monotheism and the iconoclast of the history showed us and all the human beings that sacrifice, for the sake of God, has political and social aspects before its monotheistic and praying aspects. He taught all human beings to sacrifice one’s dearest fruit of life for the sake of God and get prize for it. Sacrifice yourself and you darlings and establish God’s justice in the world. He made us understand that Mecca and Mena are the altars of the lovers and are the places of promoting and publicizing monotheism and abandoning idolatry; loving one’s life and one’s dear things and persons is negation of monotheism. He taught the children of Adam to fight for the sake of God and he disseminated the seeds of generosity and Isar throughout the world. Tell the Muslims of the world not to rest and fight against the enemies of Islam to establish the justice of God and forget any thing that you might love just for the sake of Allah. The Difference between Isar and Giving Alimony Giving alimony means becoming poor and suffering from poverty. Giving alimony according to the religious teachings is to give one’s properties and wealth to the poor people for the sake of God. It includes necessary acts such as quintet, poor _ rate and … and advisable ones such as alms, and presents. With regard to the points that were highlighted about Isar and giving alimony, we noe know that they are different terms. Since the one who gives alms might not be in want of what he is giving and it is the one who does Isar throws himself / herself into pain and agony so that the others are more comfortable. Thus it is clear that giving alms is not equal to doing Isar and they are different in their meanings. Giving in Abundance One’s properties Giving in Abundance One’s properties is different from alimonies that one might pay. We are quoting the decrees of Imam Sadeq (A. S.), the founder of the Jafari Sect: Aban Ibne Taghallob asks Imam Sadeq (A. S.), about the right of the Muslims over the other Muslims and Imam says that if you divide your wealth with him / her and do not consider him / her over yourself, and you have considered yourself on a par with him /her, you did not give priority to him / her unless you give them in abundance what you have saved for yourself. Isar and Jihad In our religion, Isar and Jihad have luminous and sometimes unique backgrounds. Acts of Isar and generosity on the part of Prophet Muhammad (P. B. U. H.) and his trustful companions, acts of Isar done by the chief of the martyrs (A. S.) and holiness Abbas (A. S.) in the Ashura movement, acts of Isar in the holy defense war are some examples of Isar and Jihad. God talks about the position of Isar and preferring others over oneself in Aya 95 of Al _ Nisa Surah. Abnegation of oneself, acts of Isar, and giving in abundance of the Muslims in the great wars of Islam in its beginnings were stemmed from understanding and paying attention to the position of Jihad. The fame of those who participated in the Badr War, the first official war of Islam, as one of the criteria and categories of generosity results from this understanding and care. Martyrdom and Isar Martyrdom is one of the luminous consequences of Isar which has a high stance in Islamic Culture and esp. in Shiites religion. It always paved the way for the ascendance of great men of history. Martyrdom, a great honor, is the extreme wish of any real Muslim and it is the first stair of the ladder for any one for inspiration. Isar and Piety What has been effective in leading one to the position of piety is Isar. Act of Isar by the pious man is to be though about when it is established on the basis of purity. The pious people lives poorly and without decoration; they lead a difficult life so that the others live more in comfort. They give in abundance what they have to the needful people since their heart will be satisfied when there are no poor people. He enjoys more when he provides food and clothes for the poor people than preparing food and clothes for himself. He suffers pain and hunger so that the others live an easy life. Isar and Munificence Munificence is one of the valuable characteristics that those who do acts of Isar can be benefited by. Allame Javad Amoli defines munificence as: a dear and holy and clean spirit devoid of any corruption”?. The chief Imam Ali (A. S.) says: the munificent does acts of Isar by his properties”?. Isar and forgiving are ways that men and women can achieve munificence by passing through it. If a person achieved the border of munificence, his prayers change its color and spiritually it would be munificent”?. Isar and Fame Those who do the acts of Isar not only offer their lives and properties but also their fame and honor to preserve their ideas and ideals. This kind of Isar belongs to special people based on the contract between them and God. This Hadiths is from Imam Ali (A. S.) where he says: giving in abundance helps keep one’s honor. Isar and Nature: Nature teaches us. In ayahs 32 _ 33 from Kahf Sura, where it describes great gardens, it says that : “these gardens did not commit any tyranny in their giving fruits”? but it says about the owner of the gardens that: “he entered the gardens while he was an oppressor.”? The created world is the stage for Isar and giving in abundance; earth delivers what it has to the plants, animals and human beings and mutually tress and plants offer what they produce to the human beings and the other living beings; thus is the way that the world goes. But man wants every thing for himself and tries to bereave the others from their rights still he wants to be the supreme human being. Isar in Qur’an and in the Words of the Holy Imams: Isar is a Qur’anic principle on which there are specified ayahs in Qur’an about it, there are different indications of it in different place of Qur’an. Ayahs such as : “ they distributed their foods with enthusiasm among the poor and handicapped as well as those who have lost their parents though they needed themselves:. There are no direct indications of Isar in these ayahs but there are meticulous attentions to characteristics of Isar, characteristics such as the most loved food to be given in abundance. People are placed in two positions in accordance with Qur’anic Isar: those who prefer happiness in the world to come over the present one have chosen Positive Isar, and those who prefer this world over the one which is to come have chosen negative Isar.Therefore Isar is divided into two parts in Qur’an and they are Positive and negative. The most famous Ayah on positive Isar is which is also famous as Isar Ayah is the Ayah 9 from Hashr Surah. It thus says: they prefer them over themselves in what they need more. There are different reasons mentioned for its descend. Some believe that it has descended sue to the Isar of the Ansar, settlers of Medina, to Mohajerin, those who traveled with Prophet Muhammad (S. A.) to Medina. Some believe that it is about Fatima (S. A.) and Imam Ali (A. S.) and some believe that its sent with regard to the Ahod War. Allameh Taba Tabaei thinks about the frequency of these ayahs : “ superficially all these narratives, events and stories have been adapted to accord this ayah and it therefore does not indicate that it was sent just to justify a special ayah ”?. It seems that the reason for sending Isar Ayah from God was the holy existence of Imam Ali ( A. S. ) to which different books referred and discussed. 16th Ayah of A’la refers to the negative Isar: “ you prefered the life in this world over that of the world which is to come ”?. In the negative Isar the world is distracted due to its attraction toward ugly material and hideousness otherwise the entire world is not ugly and hideous. This concept is expressed in the great ayah of Naze’at Surah and in the 107th ayah of Nahl Surah. What has been said in the Shiites resources is on the high value and higher statuses of those who do the acts of Isar in comparison to the other members. Imam Bagher ( A. S. ) includes those who do the acts of Isar among those three groups who would go to the paradise. Amir al Momenin, chief of the Muslims, in his Gharar Al – Hakam accounts for different characteristics of Isar and those who do the acts of Isar. He believes that Isar is the apex of generosity. Giving in abundance one’s life and property for the sake of religion’s well being is one of those affairs which our Hadiths have accounted for. Prophet Muhammad ( S. A. ) considers Isar as the embellisher of piety. In addition Imam Ali ( A. S. ) advises Isar on the basis of patience. Like Qur’an,Nahj Al Balagheh has accounted for two kinds of Isar, Positive and negative Isar. Those who prefer this world over the next have done acts of negative Isar and those who prefer the world to come over this one have done acts of positive Isar. An example of negative Isar can be seen in the 110th narrative and that of the positive Isar can be viewed in letter number 53 of Nahj Al Balagheh. Imam Sajad ( A. S. ), in his Sahifeh Sajjadieh, asks for god’s forgiveness in case any poor had asked him for something and he refrained from giving it to him / her. Isar in the Lives of Prophet Muhammad ( S. A. ) and Innocent Imams ( A. S. ) All the valuable characteristics of other prophets and pure Muslims are collected in Prophet Muhammad ( S. A. ). Prophet Muhammad ( S. A. ) has been introduced in Qur’an as the primordial paradigm, the best example of humanity, and he is known as the overlord of the universe among believers. Prophet Muhammad ( S. A. ) had a mission of Isar, resistance, faith and trust; since he was aware of the faith and belief in nature of any of God’s creatures. In Prophet Muhammad’s ( S. A. ) life, Isar of his wife, her holiness Khadijeh, is of a great importance. One of the most important aims of the innocent Imams ( A. S. ) was Isar. Innocent Imams are unique light and their goals are the same and it is trying, generosity and Isar for the rejuvenation of religion and to keep the light of Islam burning. Amir Al Momenin, chief of the Muslims, as the greatest man of Isar in history, has gone so far as the famous Isar Ayah, has been sent down on Prophet Muhammad ( S. A. ) for the gory of his wife, her holiness Fatima ( S. A. ). Leilat Al Mobaiiet is one of the points where Imam Ali ( A. S.) did a great act of Isar. In the school of Imam Hussein ( A. S. ) the highest statuses of Isar are defined. In this school, generosity is a holy way toward achieving one’s beloved. Imam Mehdi ( A. A. T. F. S. ) during his brief absence when people were in poverty did not refrain from Isar. His companions were those whom innocent Imams ( A. S. ) predicted their great acts of Isar; they are referred to in “Kamal Al_ Din and End of the Present”? as doers of Isar who have a heart of Iron. Isar of the Great Women of Islam One of the Characteristics of Khadijeh ( S. A ) was that she made the best tradeswoman of her age as a result of her thinking and efforts and therefore she was one of the wealthy people of her age. She had given all her wealth in abundance for the sake of Islam. Her wealth was very important for the progress of Islam so much so that Prophet Muhammad ( S. A. ) had said: “no wealth was as useful as that of Khadijeh ( S. A. )”?. Her holiness Fatima ( S. A. ) son of the greatest creature of God, and wife to the greatest man of Isar in the world, is herself the inheritor of this holy pearl. Thjose who investigate the life of Fatima he / she will understand that her life was filled with love and Isar yet they would never write all dimensions of her holy life. One of the great acts of Isar by this great woman of Islam was at the time of her marriage; at that time she gave her new shirt to a begger and offered the curtain of her house as an act of Isar. Karbala Event is the result of acts of Isar by men and women who had not anything in their mind except giving positive answer to Imam Hussein’s ( A. S. ) invitation. Zeinab ( A. S. ) is a brave woman who had lead this caravan after the death of Imam Hussein. Koofis were familiar with Isar and bravery of Imam Ali ( A. S. ) and now they could see bravery of his dear daughter and how she performs her duty.
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