Al-Ḥasan Al-Baṣrī

The Hunger of the Salaf and its Merits

It is reported from Ibn Sīrīn – Allāh have mercy on him – that a man once said to Ibn ‘Umar – Allāh be pleased with him:

Can we offer you some Jawārish? He inquired, “And what is Jawārish?” The man replied, “It is something that will help you digest your food if you get too full up.” Ibn ‘Umar said, “I have not eaten my fill for four months – not because I cannot find food, but because I have lived with people who used to eat their fill at times and go hungry at others.

Abū Dāwūd, Al-Zuhd article 325.

It is reported that Al-Hasan Al-Basrī – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

By He in whose Hand is my soul, I have lived amongst people who never ordered food to be prepared for themselves If [food] was presented to one of them, he would eat, otherwise, he would be silent; and he would not care if it was hot or cold.

Abū Nu’aym, Hilyatu Al-Awliyā` 6:270.

It is also reported that he said:

By Allāh, I have lived amongst people who when taking lunch, if they were about to be full, would stop eating.

Ibid.

It is reported that Al-Fudayl b. ‘Ayyād – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Two things harden the heart, too much talking and too much food.

Ibn Hibbān Al-Bustī, Rawdatu Al-‘Uqalā` p45, Matba’ah Al-Sunnah Al-Muhammadīyah 1949.

It is reported that Mālik b. Dīnār – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

It is unfitting for a believer that his belly becomes his greatest concern, or that his desires dominate him.

Ibn Abī Al-Dunyā, Al-Jū’ (The Book of Hunger) article 105.

It is also reported that he said:

Whoever controls his belly controls all good deeds.

Ibid. article 99.

It is reported that the Tābi’ī (Successor) ‘Uqbah b. Wassāj – Allāh have mercy on him – was once at a wedding reception where many kinds of dishes were offered and people started trying one dish after another. He started to cry, and said:

“I found the first part of this Ummah fearing all this upon themselves.” And he ate only from one dish.

Ibid. article 261.

It is reported that Muhammad b. Sīrīn – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

A man from the Companions of the Prophet – praise and peace of Allāh be upon him – would sometimes go three days without finding anything to eat, so he would grill some animal skin and eat that. If he couldn’t find anything at all, he would [tie] a rock to himself to straighten his back.

Ibid. article 61.

The Place of the Heart and the Tongue

It is reported that Al-Ḥasan Al-Baṣrī – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

The intelligent person’s tongue is behind his heart: when he wants to speak, he first thinks. If [his words] will be in his favor, he says them, and if they will be against him, he does not speak. And the ignorant person’s heart is behind his tongue: when he merely thinks of saying something, he says it, whether it is for or against him.

Abū Bakr Al-Daynūrī, Al-Mujālasah wa Jawāhir Al-‘Ilm article 2049.

Four Signs of the Wretched

It is reported that Al-Hasan Al-Basrī – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Four signs of wretchedness are: [having] a hard heart, dry eyes [that never cry], extended hopes [about this life], and greed and keenness to amass worldly things (the dunyā).

Ibn Abī Al-Dunyā, Kitāb Al-Zuhd article 36.

Supplication or the Sword? [oppressive rulers]

It is reported that Al-Ḥasan Al-Baṣrī – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

If people called on Allāh when put to trial because of their rulers, Allāh would relieve their suffering; but instead they resorted to the sword, so they were left to it. And not one day of good did they bring.

Then he recited (Quran 7: 137):
And the good word of your Lord was fulfilled for the Children of Israel, for the patience and perseverance they had, and We destroyed the works of Pharaoh and his people and what they had erected.

Ibn Abī Ḥātim, Al-Tafsīr no. 8897.

An advice at death about direction in Life

It is reported that when Al-Ḥasan Al-Baṣrī was on his deathbed, some of his companions came to him and said:

O Abū Sa’īd, offer us some words you can benefit us with. He replied, “I will equip you with three words, then you must leave me to face what I am facing. Be the farthest of people from those things you have been forbidden, and be the most involved of people in the good you have been commanded to do; and know that the steps you take are two steps: a step in your favor and a step against you, so be careful where you come and where you go.”

Abū Nu’yam, Ḥilyah Al-Awliyā` 2:154