Fostering Selflessness (Ithar): Examples

This is the fifth article in a series dealing with parental education of children. It was taken from the  seminar: What Your Child Needs: A Parent’s Guide to Islamic Education.

Allah says:

رَبَّنَا ٱغۡفِرۡ لَنَا وَلِإِخۡوَ ٰنِنَا ٱلَّذِینَ سَبَقُونَا بِٱلۡإِیمَـٰنِ

“‘Our Lord, forgive us and our brethren who won unto true faith before we.” [Quran, 59:10; tr. Keller, Quran Beheld]

Ponder over the supplication that is Sunna to make after the third Takbir. The first supplication that we mention is for forgiveness for the living. We ask for forgiveness of the dead, the males and females, the young and the old. Embedded within every aspect of our religion is concern for others and seeking forgiveness of others. 

Pardoning others and being merciful to others is embedded within our religion. If that is embedded in our children’s lives every day, are they going to be selfish and only think about themselves? 

Have a willingness to help others without seeking a benefit in return. This is also a trait of our society. People do not do things without looking at what benefit they are going to get in return. If you are selfless, then you do without looking. 

Most Perfect Believers

The most perfect of believers in faith are the ones who are more considerate of others. The best of you is the best towards their family.

It was related that if the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was asked for anything he never said no. Rather if he had what was asked, he would give it. If he did not have it he would try to get it to them, he would promise them it or he would borrow it from someone to give it, or he would send them somewhere they where they would get it. That is the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).

There is a narration that someone came for food and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) sent him to a Companion. The Companion had only food for his children and he made the food and gave it to his guests. This is selflessness. 

Abu Dujana, in the battle Uhud, was shielding the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) when the arrows were coming in. He remained alive. The Companions called him the living martyr as he had so many wounds because he shielded the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). He turned his back to the enemies and towards the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)  and he shielded him. 

There is the example of Abu Bakr who gave everything he had. We have these stories.