الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَهَاجَرُوا وَجَاهَدُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ أَعْظَمُ دَرَجَةً عِندَ اللَّهِ ۚ وَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَائِزُونَ
“Those who believe and have emigrated (to the home of Islam in God’s cause), and strive in God’s cause with their wealth and persons are greater in rank in God’s sight, and those are the ones who are the triumphant.” (At-Tawbah 9:20)
While the Qur’ān talks about jihād (striving in God’s cause) and the sacrifice for jihād, except in a few verses, it always mentions sacrificing with “wealth” prior to sacrificing life. It seems to me that human beings tend to revere wealth more than life throughout their lives in this transient world. The hadīth, “Whoever is killed while defending his wealth is a martyr” refers to this inborn tendency of humanity; in addition to that, it expresses a legal conclusion. The Turkish proverb, “Wealth is the fire of life,” expresses the same fact.
Nevertheless, there are some people who renounce the world in spirit, rather than renouncing it by way of working and earning one’s living. That is, without setting their heart on the world and adopting it as the goal of their life, they work and earn with lawful ways and spend in God’s cause and for the needy. Among the Prophet’s Companions, Abū Bakr, ‘Umar, and ‘Abdur-Rahman ibn ‘Awf were such kind of people. There are also others who possess nothing in the name of the world except their lives. Therefore, they are ready to sacrifice it, especially if they are fully aware of the worth of life.
Truly, to believe and change sides because of belief and fulfill what is required by belief are not easy and simple things to do. Changing sides and embracing a new faith after having lived a long life in adherence to certain habits or creeds or ideologies is very difficult. When human nature is considered in addition to this, it can be understood more easily how diffi-cult this is. It must be much more difficult for one who has accepted a new faith to be able to sacrifice wealth and life so easily. Hamza, may God be pleased with him, hesitated for a couple of days before he converted to Islam even though he was the uncle and foster-brother of God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings. Instead of being angry, we should come to the aid with prayer and close concern when we see people who linger between belief and unbelief and hesitate about sacrificing their wealth and life in God’s cause after they have come to belief.
Indeed, if “believing” means overcoming the first obstacle of Satan, “leaving one’s tribe, community, and relatives in order to immigrate to a different land for the sake of belief” is surmounting another obstacle which is as powerful as the other. Without being content with leaving one’s native land and relatives, “striving in order to exalt God’s Word in the new land to which one has immigrated” means destroying a third, great barrier. One who has overcome all of these obstacles or barriers has conquered his or her own carnal self and attained salvation.
 Bukhārī, Mazālim, 33; Muslim, Īmān, 226; Tirmidhī, Diyāt, 21; Abū Dāwūd, Sunnah, 29; Nasāī, Tahrim, 22–24; Ibn Mājah, Hudūd, 21.