Hadith 31. Asceticism Part B


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

  • Imam Ahmad said that a true sign of asceticism is that if your wealth is increased or decreased, it does not make you happy or sad
  • Another way of looking at asceticism is short hope, in the sense that a believer sees himself as if he will die in the near future
  • A truly ascetic person is someone who not only detaches himself from shirk and haram actions, but also detaches himself from certain halal actions in order to gain the pleasure of Allah
  • Types of people when it comes to asceticism:
    • Those who deny the concept of the hereafter. Their life is about enjoying themselves before they die, and they have no asceticism
    • Those who disbelieve in the hereafter but still believe in asceticism because they see the problems of the dunya
    • Those who believe in the hereafter but wronged their own souls. Ibn Rajab said this is the majority of the Muslims. “The dunya is his biggest concern. With it he is content and for it he is angered. For it he gives loyalty and due to it he shows animosity”
    • Those who believe in the hereafter, but stayed between right and wrong. This person wants the hereafter, but also wants something from the worldly life.
    • Those who believe in the hereafter, and are foremost in doing good deeds. Ibn Rajab said about these people, “They understood the purpose of this dunya and their actions were based upon that. They knew that Allah put His slaves on the Earth so that He may test them who are the best in doing good deeds”
  • Those who are foremost in doing good deeds are of two types:
    • Those who take only what is necessary from this life
    • Those who take what they need for the bare necessities of this life but also enjoy aspects of this worldly life to give them the strength to carry on. The prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) used to be of this type for he said that he used to like women and perfumes (Reported in Ahmad and Nasaa’i)
  • It is wrong and not from the praiseworthy asceticism that one detaches himself completely from the dunya
  • Wahb said, “Written on the scrolls of the family of Dawud (alayhi assalam), that, “A wise person must not neglect four hours:
    • An hour where he holds himself to account
    • An hour where he is secluded with his Lord
    • An hour where he meets his pious brothers who help him to rectify himself
    • An hour where he allows his soul to follow its desires in that which is halal and good, and this hour is a help for him for the previous hours”
  • Examples of people who are ascetic:
    • Those who see how people exerting themselves in seeking the dunya so they become ascetic so they may relax
    • Those who fear from missing out on the hereafter by taking the extras from the dunya
    • Those who fear the long stand before Allah on the day of reckoning (More wealth and free time means more questioning on that day)
    • Those who see the lowly state of the dunya so they despise it
    • Those who fear it may divert them from preparing for the hereafter
    • Those who when they are ascetic, they don’t realise/feel its effects on the hereafter
    • Those who when they are ascetic, they realise/feel its effects on the hereafter, so nothing is more beloved to them than to stay in the dunya to be able to do more good deeds
  • Someone who is loved by Allah is loved in the dunya, hence the hadith is telling us how to make the people love us
  • Abdullah bin Mas’ood said to the tabi’een, “You pray more, fast more, and do more jihad than the companions of the prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam), but they were better than you”. They asked, “How is that?” He replied, “They were more ascetic with the dunya than you, and more hopeful of the hereafter than you”
  • The prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Whoever makes Dunya his preoccupation, then Allah will place his poverty in front of his eyes, make his affairs scattered, and nothing of the Dunya comes to him except that which has been decreed for him, and whoever makes the Hereafter his preoccupation, then Allah places freedom from want in his heart, gathers his affairs, and Dunya (worldly life) comes to him despite being reluctant to do so” (Ibn Majah)

Benefits and Action points:

  • Be more concerned and worried when your wealth increases, for your questioning on the day of judgement regarding your wealth will no doubt increase
  • If your wealth is increased, ask yourself how you will fulfil the rights of Allah with this wealth
  • Understand the purpose of this dunya and that you are here on a test so do not be attached to the test, but keep your focus on passing this test
  • Do not detach yourself completely from the dunya, but take from it what is necessary, and also enjoy certain aspects of it which are halal, as the prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) did
  • Ensure you dedicate a time for fulfilling your desires in that which is halal so that you may gain strength in doing more good

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