To sacrifice means to leave something at the cost of another; it is choosing one over the other. The legacy of Ibrahim (as); behind the scenes of Hajj is an epitome of sacrifice, choosing Allah above all.
Sometimes, in order to practice Islam well, we too have to part up with certain things. How can we make this task of giving up an easier one?
Islam is a complete training program; the little deeds are preparing us for the greater ones. Below are some helpers to aid on the journey:
- Spend from what is beloved: Make a part of your routine to spend a portion of your wealth, even if it is a small one for Allah. “By no means shall you attain Al-Birr (piety, righteousness), unless you spend (in Allah’s Cause) of that which you love.” (Surah Al-Imran 3:92) Cut down on one dress or the new mobile model and spend in charity or an Islamic Book or the like. Take advantage of when spending is easier, so that giving up when it’s harder won’t appear as difficult.
- Volunteer: Sign yourself in some volunteer work that may help attain the pleasure of Allah. Volunteering demands time and effort and trains you to be committed to a cause without getting anything material/monetary in return. It is the Sadaqah of your health and resources. Whatever capability you have whether it is teaching, writing, graphic designing etc., present your skills for the benefit of the Ummah.
- Productive Habits: A Momin is someone living a purposeful life, he does not merely tread wherever the days take him. Set some reachable weekly goals for yourself. How much time I will dedicate for learning Quran and seeking Islamic knowledge? What azkar I will add to my daily routine? Take the pain in reaching these small goals, part with a little sleep, a little procrastination and some of your desires and with time giving up for Allah will become a habit.
- Prioritize your brothers/sisters: “None of you will believe unless you love for your brother what you love for yourself.” (Bukhari & Muslim) This is a golden rule that can solve many problems in our individual and collective lives. We love that no one rebukes us and talks bad about us, love the same for your brothers/sisters. We love that we have the best that money can buy; remember those who cannot even afford a meal a day. We love safety; remember those having to live under constant bombardments. This love shouldn’t be just lip service; it will be from the heart and bring along practical steps done for their sake. Rein your Nafs by putting yourself in others’ shoes.
- Keep an eye on the prize: Hook yourself to the remembrance of the afterlife and the high price Allah is paying for all that you are sacrificing for his sake: Jannah, the everlasting (Surah Tawbah 9:111). “A place in Paradise as small as the bow or lash of one of you is better than the entire world and whatever is in it.” (Bukhari)
Islam is all about taming our soul for the obedience of Allah. At a time when Islam itself is being assaulted, it demands that we spend our resources to spread the Deen of Allah, and at times even sacrifice our own lives and our ‘Ismael’s’ at the forefronts of the Ummah.