Amr Khaled (عمرو خالد) and Preference (ithar ايثار) Part I
In the name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds. People be upon Prophet Muhammad. Today we shall meet in a new episode talking about manners. Today, we shall be talking about preference. A lot of people may not know what this word means. Imagine how much we deteriorated that one of the basic manners in our lives is largely distorted that we would not know what it exactly means. What is really strange is that you can not find an exact translation for it in any of the other languages. It is not the only one. A lot of Islamic morals cannot be translated to other languages. It is innate in Islam and does not exist for others.
Take shyness for example. Shy does not refer to what we understand from the Arabic word of “Hayaa”. It really means that you try to look your best before Allah. The same may apply to today’s manner. It has no equivalent in other languages. But, unfortunately, a lot of people may not know what it really means.
This manner means that you prefer others to yourself in the worldly things in want for Heaven, to prefer others to your own self as far as worldly things are concerned, and not in religion. [Note: others translate (ithar ايثار) as selflessness, altruism).
Amr Khaled teaches about loving one’s brother
Prophet Muhammad has set a slogan for this manner. Prophet Muhammad said that no one shall believe except if he loved for his brother what he loved for himself. Here Prophet Muhammad did not mean that this one would not be a Muslim but he meant that he would not be a true believer. True belief is largely connected to this manner. Allah praised those who give others preference over themselves, even though poverty was their own lot. Meaning those who need things badly but still they would give it away for others. As if Allah wanted to tell you that this is not only a manner for the rich but also for the poor who are in a bad need.
Amr Khaled tells the story of when Muhammad gave his cloak to another
Let’s see together great examples in this manner. I would like to start by Prophet Muhammad. Medina is usually cold in winter. One of the Ansar women saw that Prophet Muhammad was in need for a cloak made of wool to keep himwarm, and because she sees that Prophet Muhammad feels cold she makes him one and gives it to Prophet Muhammad. Prophet Muhammad put it on for the first time and went to his companions. He was pleased to have it because he needed it badly.
One of the Ansar men saw him and wanted to have it. He told Prophet Muhammad to give it to him. What would you do if you were in the place of Prophet Muhammad?
You might have told him that you would not be able to do that…But not Prophet Muhammad. He took it off and went to give it to him. Ansar told the man that he shouldn’t have done that. The man told them that he did that because he wanted to be wrapped in Prophet Muhammad’s cloak in his grave.
Amr Khaled tells the story of Prophet Muhammad giving away spoils of war after the battle of Hunain
But see how Prophet Muhammad acted. On the day of the battle of Hunain, there were quite a lot of spoils. The Prophet’s share from it was flocks of sheep between two mountains. Imagine how many of them there were? A bedouin came and saw the sheep. Prophet Muhammad asked him if he like them. The man said, “Yes.” Prophet Muhammad immediately gave them to him. See how simple he said it. The bedouin asked Prophet Muhammad if he really meant what he said. Prophet Muhammad told him that he did. The man took the sheep and looked back, lest someone wouldtell him that they changed their mind about that. Until he went to his people, then then asked them to enter Islam saying that he just met the best of all people. He also told them that Prophet Muhammad gives away what he has as if he never feared poverty.
Some people have piles of old clothes which they no longer use. Still he would not think to give it away to those who need it. This is just a small examle of what we are doing. Why wouldn’t we think to give away the things that we don’t need to those who need it? The Quran says that some people may give away things they are in a bad need for. A man came to Prophet Muhammad and told him that he was awfully tired and hungry. Prophet Muhammad sent to his wives to ask if any of them had food. They all returned with the same answer that they had nothing but water. Prophet Muhammad rose up and asked for someone to host the man. One of the Ansar men volunteered to do so.
The man rushed to his house right away to tell his wife that they will be hosting the guest of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and he asked her for food. She said that she had nothing but some food for the children. He told her that she can play with them until they fall asleep and when the guest comes turn off the lamp. So he may eat and the would pretend to eat with him. They will chew as if they are eating.
The guest came and the children went to be hungry. They turned off the lamp and now and then they made a sound to convince the man that they were eating with him. In Fajr prayer [the 1st of 5 daily prayers] next day, Prophet Muhammad met the man with a smile. He told the man that Allah was pleased with what he and his wife did for their guest the other night. Before Fajr prayers, Prophet Muhammad was told of that.
What happened to us? Why are we so stingy? Why is each of us keen on himself and his things?
Amr Khaled tells a story of the companions of Prophet Muhammad
Look at how special were the companions of Prophet Muhammad. They were to sacrifice willingly their life for Prophet Muhammad. One the day of the battle of Uhud, unbelievers crowded around Prophet Muhammad, each pointing his arrows at Prophet Muhammad. Look at what Abu Dugana (Dujana) did, one of the Prophet’s companions. When he saw the disbelievers pointing their arrows at Prophet Muhammad, he bent down over Prophet Muhammad so the arrows might fall on him instead. To the extent that Abu Bakr said that Abu Dugana’s back looked like a hedghod. He was not only willing to give away his money but his soul as well.
He sets us a wonderful example. He preferred the other’s life to his own. Specially if he sacrificed his life for that of the Prophet’s.
Look at what Talha ibn Ubayd-Allah did on that same day. He hurries to Prophet Muhammad telling him to bend down. He also told him that he’d rather be killed but Prophet Muhammad must live. I am telling you about those great examples to know that all we may give away would be nothing in comparison to what those people gave away.
The best people in this trait were the Ansar. When believers left Mecca on their way to Medina, Qureish (also transliterated Quraysh and Quraish) forced them to leave alone leaving everything behind. They were rich people. When they arrived in Medina they kept wondering how they would be able to live. It is said that each of them entered Medina with a ballot (this lecture is continued in another post).
Christianity and Preference/Selflessness
The stories of Muhammad’s companions laying their life down for Muhammad in battle are inspiring. But they also present a major difference between Islam and Christianity.
Amr Khaled said followers of Muhammad would rather be killed so that Prophet Muhammad would live. On the other hand, Jesus had to die on the cross so that we would be saved (Romans 5:8). Jesus exemplified self-sacrifice, preference, and selflessness (Philippians 2:1-11).
The Good News of the Gospel is that Jesus not only died for those He loves (John 15:13), but Jesus now lives (1 Corinthians 14:1-4).
- Jesus died for others. Jesus now lives forevermore.
- Others died for Muhammad. Muhammad is now dead buried.
I invite you to live for Jesus. The Bible promises that if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved (Romans 10:9).