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Altruism and Regard for Others

10849 2009/09/08 2024/07/17
Article translated to : العربية Français Español


altruism and regard for others

if you are a person who gives easily to others without being affected for giving then you are philanthropist, if you give most of what you have and you keep some for yourself then you are generous.

if you are someone who gives others even though you need what you give but you favored them over yourself and you give them the priority then you have reached altruism.

altruism is the highest degrees of giving.

altruism meaning:

altruism is when the person prefers others’ needs over his needs, despite that he really requires these needs. he might even stay hungry to feed others his food, and stay thirsty to let others drink.

mother of the believers, aisha (ra), said: “the family of the prophet mohammed (pbuh) never felt filled (had enough) from the bread of wheat two consecutive days until he died. (agreed upon by the scholars) she also said: “the messenger of allah never filled his stomach for three consecutive days until his death. if we wanted we would have eaten till we feel full, but we preferred others over ourselves.”

altruism status:

1- allah praised the altruistic people and called them the successful. almighty allah says: “and those who, before them, had homes (in al-madinah) and had adopted the faith, love those who emigrate to them, and have no jealousy in their breasts for that which they have been given (from the booty of bani an-nadir), and give them (emigrants) preference over themselves, even though they were in need of that. and whosoever is saved from his own covetousness, such are they who will be the successful.”

2- altruism is a proof of the completeness of faith, righteousness, perfectness of islam and high morals.

3- altruism is the way to gain allah’s love and favor.

4- it is the method to achieve bounty and protection against covetousness.

altruism degrees:

scholars divided altruism into degrees, imam ibn qayyim al-aawziyya, may allah have mercy on him, said:

the first degree is: to favor others over yourself provided that it does not affect your faith or actions of worship and does not cause harm against you. it means to give others the priority over yourself.

as for the means that reform your heart and strengthen your link with allah, then you should not favor anybody with them over yourself. if you do so, then it would be like favoring satan and listening to him not to almighty allah on purpose.

the second degree is: to favor allah’s satisfaction over anybody else’s, despite the greatness of turmoil and the heaviness of tribulations.

to favor almighty allah’s satisfaction over anyone else, it is to seek and do what gains the approval of allah, even if it angers the creatures. this is the degree of the prophets, above them the messengers, above them 'uluu al-'azm ([1]), above them the prophet muhammad (peace be upon him).

fruits of altruism:

1- promoting cooperation and closeness between muslims.

2- achieving economic interdependence when the rich help the poor in society.

3- altruistic behavior leads to completeness of belief. the prophet (peace be upon him) said: “none of you will be a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” (al-bukhari)

4- altruism helps you give up all the negative traits like envy, animosity, hatred, selfishness and greed.

motives of altruism:

1- the desire to follow good manners and avoid bad ones. the more good manners the person has, the more altruistic behavior he shows in dealing with others.

2- hating covetousness and stinginess, as who hates covetousness knows that there is no to overcome it except through altruism and generosity.

3- training the spirit on bearing hardships and difficulties, because that helps achieving altruism.

4- respecting rights and keeping them. when rights are respected, it would be easy for the person to fulfill them. the muslim knows that he will not reach altruism unless he gives the rights to their owners, so he will do his best to give them.

we ask almighty allah to guide us to the best of morals, sayings and deeds, none but him guides to them.


([1]) 'uluu al-'azm (men of resolution): this term is used in the qur'an to refer to certain messengers of allah. the term basically means people who are resolute, persistent and patient in carrying out their missions.

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