Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
Reflecting on the Spirit of Sacrifice:
Al-Arqam Ibn Abi Al-Arqam r.a.
All praises to Allah s.w.t. for the blessings He has bestowed upon us. All thanks be to Him for His Love and Mercy upon us. For He has chosen us to be the servants who sow the seeds of taqwa in our hearts. He is the One who guides us in the ways we can increase our good deeds and be in service to His creations. May Allah s.w.t. continue to bless our lives with opportunities to do good deeds, Amin Ya Rabbal ‘alamin.
Today, allow me to share a story about a very special individual. Although his name is mentioned perhaps only once or twice in the books detailing the life of our Prophet s.a.w., his contributions left a profound impact. His contributions in the early days of Islam serve as an inspiration for us to do good. He is none other than Al-Arqam ibn Abi Al-Arqam r.a.
In the early days of his prophethood, Rasulullah s.a.w. faced a lot of opposition from his people, and he needed a safe and secure place to meet his companions. When Al-Arqam ibn Abi Al-Arqam came to know of Rasulullah’s request, he willingly offered his home as a place for Rasulullah and his companions to meet.
We rarely find exemplary acts of Al-Arqam in the books of the Prophet’s life except for this particular contribution. However, it is a story that narrators of the Prophet’s life never fail to mention. This reminds us of how a seemingly small deed can actually leave a lasting and profound impact.
The story that I have just shared with you is a manifestation of the spirit of sacrifice in the path of Allah s.w.t. as mentioned in the Qur’an:
Meaning: “Never will you attain the good (reward) until you spend (in the way of Allah) from that which you love. And whatever you spend - indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.” [Surah Ali Imran, verse 92].
The spirit of sacrifice or giving that is encouraged in Islam is one where the individual is willing to sacrifice his own needs for a bigger interest and a wider benefit.
There are lessons to be gleaned from the story of Al-Arqam ibn Abi Al-Arqam r.a. Amongst these lessons, is how our contributions and sacrifices, if they are carried out in the right situation and are befitting of the people’s needs, the contributions will not only be appreciated by those receiving, but their worth will also increase in the sight of Allah. As an example, observe the following hadith that tells the story of how a man gained God’s forgiveness and entry to His paradise, for a simple act that eases people’s affairs. The man removed a thorny branch from a pavement used by many individuals. Because of his simple deed that fits the need of that particular situation, the Prophet s.a.w. said: “Allah then rewarded the man and granted him paradise.” [Hadith narrated by Imam Bukhari and Muslim].
Secondly, brothers, never underestimate the contributions or sacrifices of another person. Something that we deem to be small and insignificant may very well be worthy in the sight of Allah s.w.t. The Prophet s.a.w. said:
Meaning: “Guard yourselves against the Fire (of Hell) even by giving half a date-fruit (in charity).” [Hadith narrated by Imam Bukhari and Muslim].
My brothers, we have to ponder deeply upon the parable provided by Rasulullah s.a.w. Let us think! How little is the value of a date? The value is even lesser when the date is halved, as mentioned by the Prophet. Is a person’s contribution considered as significant with a donation of a date?
This parable shows that a tiny deed, when coupled with sincerity, will bring benefits for the person. It will also increase his rank in the sight of God.
Clearly, God does not look at the quantity of a person’s contribution, but rather what He looks at is our sincerity and our willingness to give something that is of value to us – be it our wealth, our time or our energy.
The story of Al-Arqam r.a. also teaches us to seek solutions to the challenges that we face, to contribute to the solutions and to not further complicate matters.
Al-Arqam ibn Abi Al-Arqam r.a. – similar to the Prophet s.a.w. and the rest of his companions – also faced challenges. However, he did not choose to stay quiet, or to blame His fate or God’s decree. He also did not choose to only complain and look at the negative aspects of a situation.
Instead, he chose to contribute to solving the problem. He chose to help and bring change. He chose to lessen the burdens of Rasulullah s.a.w. and his companions to the best of his ability.
This is a lesson that we need to observe. Especially in these challenging times. In these moments, what we need is help and support from everyone. What is hoped for is our hearts to be united in braving these difficult days with determination.
These few weeks, we have witnessed many individuals who came forward to offer all sorts of contribution. Some distributed face masks without any cost, and some provided food for the healthcare workers. Some individuals have also provided hand sanitizers for the benefit of all. These are all great initiatives that need to be continued. In fact, I strongly believe that they need to be increased and multiplied even more.
Let us find the opportunity to make contributions and do good in these challenging times. Hopefully, through our unity and sincerity, Allah shall protect us from any harm.
May Allah give us the will and the wisdom to strengten our taqwa in Him. May Allah gather us and our families together with the people of taqwa on the day that we shall all meet Him