Hadith 31. Asceticism Part A


On the authority of Abi al-‘Abbas Sahl bin Sa’d al-Sa’idi (RadhiyAllahu ‘anhu) who said: A man came to the Prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) and said: “O Messenger of Allah, direct me to an act which if I do it, [will cause] Allah to love me and people to love me.” He, sallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam, answered: “Detach yourself from the world and Allah will love you. Detach yourself from what people possess and they will love you.”

(A hasan hadith reported by Ibn Majah and others with good chains of narration)

 Brief Commentary

  • The arabic word zuhd means asceticism. It is defined as, “Detaching oneself from something”. It doesn’t mean to renounce oneself from the worldly life as we can enjoy it sometimes, but we should not be interested/attached to it
  • When discussing asceticism, we need to look at the reality of this life. There are many verses and ahadith which dispraise the ones who seek after this lowly life
  • Ibn Rajab said asceticism is of 3 aspects, all of which are actions of the heart. They are:
    • You take and believe that what is with Allah is more closer to your grasp than that which is in your hands
    • Your state when hit with a calamity is the same as it is when you are not hit with a calamity
    • It is indifferent to you whether someone praises you or criticises you with the truth
  • Al Hasan Al Basri said, “It is from the weakness of your belief that you feel that what you are holding in your hands is more secure than what Allah has for you”
  • It is strange the state of the human being that they work so hard for what is uncertain (the future), but do not take much notice in that which is certain (death)
  • Abu Hazim who was known for his great level of asceticism was asked about his wealth. He said he has two types of wealth which no one can take from him. These are:
    • Having confidence in what Allah has
    • Despairing in what the people have
  • It was said to him, “do you not fear poverty?” He said, “I fear poverty when my Lord has what is in the Heavens and the Earth and what is between them?”
  • A believer should not worry about being poor in this dunya, how he will get a job, how he will pay the bills, etc. because Allah is watching over him and can provide him with sustenance
  • Al-Fudayl bin iyadh said, “The essence of asceticism is being content with Allah glorified may He be”
  • He also said, “Content is asceticism and it is richness, for whoever has full certainty in Allah, will entrust Allah with all his matters and is content with Allah’s handling of his affairs. This will make him cut out any attachment with the creation with regards to hope and fear, and this prevents  him from trying to gain from the dunya through disliked means. And whoever was like that, he is truly ascetic with regards to the dunya, and he is from the richest people even though he may not own anything”
  • Whoever has this level of asceticism will never look into haram means to gain anything from the dunya

Benefits and Action points:

  • Look up and ponder upon the reality of this lowly life
  • Abu Sulayman said, “Do not testify for anyone with asceticism for it is in the heart”
  • Internalise and understand that no matter what you can physically see or feel, the reality of the matter is that what is with Allah is more secure and more closer to you than what is in your hands
  • If you are hit with a calamity, you should seek the reward from Allah and not let the calamity affect/concern you
  • Do not be upset when someone criticises you with the truth, just like you are not upset when they praise you
  • Understand that Allah is the provider so no matter how detached you are from the dunya, if you are attached to Allah, then He will provide for you

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