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Friday sermon: concern for others brings its own reward

Altruism is the dowry for entering paradise, according to this week's Friday sermon.

Altruism offers Muslims a path to paradise, worshippers are reminded in today's sermon.

"Altruism is among the highest forms of human morality, for it enables people to overcome their desires as a show of obedience to Allah," says the sermon.

It was also a prominent characteristic of the Prophet Mohammed, whose wife Aisha once said: "If we wished to fully appease our hunger, we could have done so. But the Prophet Mohammed chose to be altruistic."

Muslims should follow the Prophet's example in putting the needs of poor people above those of his family.

He would tell his family: "I cannot give to you while the people of Suffa [poor migrants who used to live by Al Masjid Al Nabawi - the Mosque of the Prophet in Medina] are suffering from hunger."

The Prophet urged his companions to overcome their selfishness, as the Ansar citizens of Medina did when they sponsored their fellow Muhajireen (immigrants) by offering them money, land and shelter.

The sermon cites a case in which a person came to the Prophet saying: "I am hard pressed by hunger." He asked one of his wives to procure food for the man, but she said she had only water, and when he sent the same message to his other wives they all gave the same reply.

When he asked whom among his companions could help, a man from Ansar offered to host the guest. But when this man asked his wife if they had enough food, she said they had only a small amount for their children.

The man then told his wife to distract the guest's attention, and "when he enters, extinguish the lamp to give him the impression we are eating".

They did this and the guest ate his meal. When it was morning, the Ansar man went back to the Prophet, who told him: "Allah was well pleased with what you both did for your guest this night."


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