Asceticism is the Way to be Loved – I

Asceticism, or Zuhd, is to abandon the desire for something for the sake of something which is better, and to abandon the comfort of this world for the sake of that of the Hereafter. It also means that the heart should not desire anything that one does not possess. Knowing that this worldly life is temporary and will eventually come to an end helps the slave of Allah to be this way. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children – like the example of rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion.} [Quran 57:20] Allah The Almighty has called this life the “enjoyment of delusion” and has forbidden us from being deceived by it. He has also informed us of the evil end of those who are deceived by this worldly life, He warns us of being considered with the same recompense that they deserved for what they committed and has dispraised whoever is satisfied or feels secure therein. He has dispraised such people because He knows that after this worldly life is an abode which is greater and more honored: the home of final settlement. In addition, the slave of Allah the Almighty knows that his asceticism in this worldly life will not prevent him from receiving what was decreed for him and his keenness on it does not bring him what was not decreed for him. When the slave of Allah The Almighty is certain of this fact, he will abandon the inclination to things that do not bring benefit in the Hereafter. However, being ascetic towards things that bring benefit in the Hereafter is not a religious act and its doer is addressed in the verse in which Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {O you who have believed, do not prohibit the good things which Allah has made lawful to you and do not transgress. Indeed, Allah does not like transgressors.} [Quran 5:87] The Essence of Asceticism Asceticism in this worldly life does not mean that one should reject it, as Sulaymaan (Solomon) and Daawood (David), may Allah exalt their mention, were the most ascetic men of their time while they had considerable wealth, kingship and a number of wives. The Prophet was the most ascetic person ever, yet he had nine wives. ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib, ‘Abdur-Rahmaan ibn ‘Awf, Az-Zubayr and ‘Uthmaan, may Allah be pleased with them, and many others were ascetic people while they were wealthy. Imaam Ahmad was asked, “Can a rich person be ascetic?” He answered, “Yes, if he does not rejoice with the increase of his wealth or grieve over its decrease.” Al-Hasan said, “Asceticism does not mean wasting wealth or making what is lawful unlawful; rather, it is to have confidence in what is in the Hand of Allah more than what is in one’s own hand, and [it is also] that one’s condition at the time of a calamity and that under normal circumstances is alike; and to have the same attitude towards the one who praises you and the one who dispraises you for the sake of the truth.” This is true asceticism, therefore, a slave of Allah The Almighty might be the richest person, yet he is of the most ascetic because his heart is not attached to this worldly life. On the other hand, another slave of Allah The Almighty may be the poorest of people, but he is not an ascetic at all because his heart clings to this worldly life. Kinds of Asceticism Asceticism with regards to abstaining from what is unlawful is an individual obligation, and abandoning suspicious matters is obligatory if it is a strong suspicion; however, if it is weak, abandoning the suspicious matter is merely recommended. There is asceticism with regards to abandoning speech, looking, inquiring, meeting and other things that are not required or called for. Also, there is asceticism regarding people and asceticism regarding one’s own self when one sacrifices himself in the cause of Allah The Almighty. The comprehensive asceticism is being ascetic in everything except in things that are with Allah The Almighty and being ascetic in everything that keeps him away from Him. The best kind of asceticism is one that is concealed, and the most difficult kind is in things that are lawful. Virtues of Asceticism In many verses, Allah The Almighty praises asceticism and dispraises any inclination to worldly life, as He the Almighty Says (what means): • {And they rejoice in the worldly life, while the worldly life is not, compared to the Hereafter, except [brief] enjoyment.} [Quran 13:26] • {The example of [this] worldly life is but like rain which We have sent down from the sky that the plants of the earth absorb – [those] from which men and livestock eat – until, when the earth has taken on its adornment and is beautified and its people suppose that they have capability over it, there comes to it Our command by night or by day, and We make it as a harvest, as if it had not flourished yesterday. Thus do We explain in detail the signs for a people who give thought.} [Quran 10:24] • {In order that you not despair over what has eluded you and not exult [in pride] over what He has given you. And Allah does not like everyone self-deluded and boastful -} [Quran 57:23] Also, Allah The Almighty relates the story of the believing man of the family of Fir‘awn (Pharaoh), where He Says (what means): {O my people, this worldly life is only [temporary] enjoyment, and indeed, the Hereafter – that is the home of [permanent] settlement.} [Quran 40:39] Ibn Mas‘ood, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: “I forbade you to visit graves, but you may now visit them as this would make you ascetic towards this worldly life and remind you of the Hereafter.” Sahl ibn Sa‘d As-Saa‘idi, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “A man came to the Prophet and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, guide me to an action which, if I do it, Allah will love me and the people will also love me.’ The Prophet said: ‘Be ascetic in this worldly life and Allah would love you. Be ascetic towards what is in the hands of others [meaning, do not desire what is in their possession] and they would love you.’” Sahl ibn Sa‘d As-Saa‘idi, may Allah be pleased with him, also said, “The Prophet said: ‘Were this worldly life worth even the wing of a mosquito in the sight of Allah, He would not have given even a drink of water to a disbeliever in this worldly life.’ ” The Prophets Were the most Ascetic of People The Prophets and Messengers are examples for people in their asceticism in this worldly life and inclination to the Hereafter, as Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {They are the ones whom Allah has guided, so from their guidance take an example.} [Quran 6:90] Anyone who reads the biography of the Prophet would know how he would patch up his own garment, mend his shoes and milk his sheep. Also, he never quenched his hunger, even with barley bread, for two consecutive days until he died, and would even pass whole days without eating, not even finding degraded dates to eat. Also, in the Battle of Al-Ahzaab, he became so hungry that he tied a rock on his stomach, and three months would pass and he and his family would not light a fire in their house in order to cook; their only sustenance would be dates and water. He would say: “O Allah, there is no true life except that of the Hereafter, so forgive the Ansaar and the Muhaajiroon.” ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said, “The bedding of the Messenger of Allah was a piece of tanned skin stuffed with palm fibers.” She once bought out a patched-up upper garment and a thick lower garment and said, “The Messenger of Allah died wearing these two.”  

2017-11-06T17:08:51+00:00 November 6th, 2017|Beliefs, Muslim|