The Meaning Of “Fee Sabee Lillaah”
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Sayyid Qutb said:
“Any work that involves collective well-being with no worldly consideration is for Allaah (fee sabeelillaah). That is why a charity dispensed by a person for moral or material return is not altruistic. If, however, the intention is to please Allaah by helping the poor, it will fall within the purview of fee sabeelillaah.
Thus, this term is specific to those works that are unsoiled by selfish considerations, solely motivated by the desire to help improve the human situation. And that in doing so will please Allaah the Exalted, Who is the end-all of all human endeavours.
This is the sole reason for adding the condition of “fee sabeelillaah” (to the term jihaad thus making it “jihaad fee sabeelillaah”). Meaning hereby that when a person aims at replacing a system of life with Islaam, he should have no self-centred considerations. In other words, he should not seek to replace Caesar with another Caesar. Nor should his struggle for the mission bear even a shade of seeking wealth, fame, or honour for himself. Instead, his whole effort and sacrifice should be directed towards establishing a just system for humanity, and to please no one but Allaah.”
[Fee Zhilaal Al-Quraan [English trans.], by Sayyid Qutb, 7/29]