Among the people of ignorance sacrifice is perceived as a kind of “imprudence.” According to these people a person is “smart” to the extent of his ability of watching for his interests. According to their flawed rationale, a person employs his wisdom in the best way possible if he is able to use people around him for his own interests, get advantage of their means while he provides minimum advantages to them in return.
Surely these people simply err in their thinking. For people who have no faith in the Hereafter providing benefits to another person, providing ease and comfort to him; furthermore doing all these by making concession from his own interests may be perceived as “imprudence.” But a faithful person who believes in the Hereafter and does all these to earn Allah’s good pleasure is the smartest person of the world.
Allah grants an average lifetime of 60-70 years to people. People who use this time in the best way possible are the “smartest” people in the true sense of the word. However “using this time in the best way possible” does not mean reaping the most benefits. On the contrary, it means making the most self-sacrifice. What is important here is to do all these only to earn Allah’s good pleasure.
Indeed also in the societies of ignorance there are some people who simply disregard their own comfort and interests and make an all-out effort to make others happy, to provide them better conditions and make them more comfortable. However the goal of these people is not to earn Allah’s good pleasure. They simply consider each one of these people as an investment. Sooner or later these people expect something in return from these people and it is this “expectation” that gives them the energy to make self-sacrifice. When they buy a gift to a friend they expect at least a similar one from that person. If they offer a meal to their neighbor, they soon expect him to do the same to him. Even if they cannot get what they expect, making friends with them is also an important interest for these people. They believe that there will surely be a day when all these investments will yield their benefits. Furthermore they even consider the good they do to their own children as an investment to the years when they will grow old. They assume that the effort and opportunities they provide for a better education or career will add more comfort to their life in their old years. This is the sole belief that motivates them. Believers, on the other hand, derive their power for making self-sacrifice from their love of Allah, the profound awe and respect they feel towards our Creator. The will to be more loved by Allah makes believers to be enthusiastic about being self-sacrificing during 24 hours. Even at difficult moments when they feel physically exhausted or weak, they try to find an opportunity to be more self-sacrificing. Even if there may be other people who can make that sacrifice, they “race to the good.” In the absence of any valid reason, they consider leaving such an opportunity to another person as a loss.
Self-sacrifice of a believer is an obvious sign that he loves Allah more than his own lower-self, body, possessions, life and everything he has in material and spiritual terms. Without a moment of thinking, such a person has the might to sacrifice anything he has to earn Allah’s love. He has submitted his soul, possessions, life and everything he has to Allah. In the Qur’an Allah gives the good news to believers who display such moral perfection and reminds that only by this means can “great salvation and bliss” be attained:
Say: ‘My salat (regular prayer) and my rites, my living and my dying, are for Allah alone, the Lord of all the worlds. (Surat al-Anam, 162)
Allah has bought from the believers their selves and their wealth in return for the Garden... It is a promise binding on Him in the Torah, the Gospel and the Qur’an and Who is truer to his contract than Allah? Rejoice then in the bargain you have made. That is the great victory. (Surat at-Tawba, 111)
Those who are filled with the fear of their Lord, those who have faith in the Signs of their Lord, those who do not associate anything with their Lord, those who give what they have given, their hearts fearful of their return to their Lord, such people are truly racing towards good things, and they are the first to reach them. (Surat al-Muminun, 57-61)