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The Rarity of Zuhd in Leadership

It is reported that Sufyān Al-Thawrī – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

I have not seen less zuhd (abstinence) in anything than leadership; you can see a man renouncing food, drink, wealth and clothing, but if his leadership is contested, he vehemently defends and has enmity over it.

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar ʾAʿlām Al-Nubalāʾ 7:262.

Filthy Silk

It is reported that a shaykh (older man) once came and greeted ‘Alī – Allāh be pleased with him, wearing a cloak decorated with silk at the front. He said to the man, What is this filth under your beard? The man looked around and said, I do not see anything. Another man said, He means the silk embroidery. The shaykh said, In that case, we will throw it away and never wear [such a thing] again.

Ibn Abī Shaybah, Al-Muṣannaf article 25187

From the Beauty of Knowledge

It is reported that Imām Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Al-Shāfi’ī saw me sitting in his circle, and there was some ink on my shirt I was trying to hide. He said, “Young man, why are you hiding it? Having ink on ones clothes is a sign of lofty conduct: to the sight it is black, but to the insight it is white (with the light of knowledge).”

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

Ink on the clothes is the perfume of the scholars.

– Some put this in verse (from Arabic):

The ink-pot’s ink is the perfume of men
As saffron is the perfume of women
So the former befits the garments of those men
As the latter the garments of wives

It is reported that Imām Aḥmad said, seeing the students of ḥadīth approaching with their ink-pots:

These are the lanterns of Islām.

Al-Khaṭīb Al-Baghdādī, Al-Jāmi’ li-Akhlāq Al-Rāwī, articles 508, 509, 512 .

The Recommendation for Men to Smell Pleasant [wearing perfume]

It is reported from Abī Qilābah that when Ibn ‘Abbās – Allāh be pleased with him – went out to the masjid, the neighbors knew that he had passed due the pleasant scent [of perfume] that came from him.

It is reported that ‘Abdullāh [Ibn Masʿūd] used to use perfume that had musk in it.

It is reported that ‘Uthmān b. ‘Ubaydillāh – the freedman of Sa’d b. Abī Waqqās – said:

I used to see Ibn ‘Umar, Abū Hurayrah, Abū Qatādah and Abū Usayd Al-Sā’idī – Allāh be pleased with them – passing by us when we were still in school, and we could smell the scent of amber from them.

It is reported that ‘Abdullāh [Ibn Masʿūd] could be recognized by the smell of his perfume as he approached.

It is reported from Nufay’ the freedman of ‘Abdullāh [Ibn Masʿūd] that he said:

‘Abdullāh was one of the most pleasant scented people and wore the cleanest whitest thowb (garment).

It is reported that ‘Abdullāh b. Ja’far – Allāh have mercy on him – used to crush musk and apply it in his hair.

It is reported that Umm Razīn said:

I used to gift perfume to Ibn ‘Abbās – Allāh be pleased with him. He said: “There is nothing the Quraysh like more.” She added, “And he would give us Al-Wars (a plant whose leaves are used to dye fabric).”

Ibn Abī Shaybah, Kitāb Al-Adab, articles 92 – 99.

The hard life now for the good life later

It is reported that Ḥafṣah – Allāh be pleased with her – once said to her father (‘Umar, during his Caliphate):

Allāh has increased the provisions; if only you would eat better food than the food you eat now and wear softer clothes then those you wear now?! He said, “I will argue [against] you with your own self: Was not the condition of Allāh’s Messenger – praise and peace be upon him – such-and-such [when you were his wife]!?” He kept reminding her until she cried. He continued, “I have told you, by Allāh, I will share in their hard living (in this world, referring to The Prophet and Abū Bakr) so that I may partake in their good life (in Paradise).”

Hunād b. Al-Sarī, Al-Zuhd article 687; Imām Aḥmad, Al-Zuhd article 201, et al. (1)

(1) Shaykh Abd Al-Raḥmān Al-Farīwā`ī explains in his edition of Hunād’s Al-Zuhd that this narration is ṣaḥīḥ if it is confirmed that Muṣ’ab b. Sa’d heard it from Ḥafṣah; otherwise its chain of transmission is mursal ṣaḥīḥ (i.e. it is authentic except there is a missing link between Mus’ab and Ḥafṣah)