zuhd

Knowledge on the Mind

It is reported that Imām Abū Dāwūd Al-Sijistānī – Allah have mercy on him – said:

Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal never used to involve himself in the things of this world that people involved themselves in; but when knowledge was mentioned, he would speak.

Ibn Al-Jawzī Ṣifatu Al-Ṣafwah 2:519.

It is reported that Al-Ḥusayn b. Muḥammad said:

Muḥammad b. Ismā`īl Al-Bukhārī was distinguished with three qualities – in addition to the rest of his praseworthy traits: He never spoke much, he never yearned for what people had. He would never occupy himself with other people’s affairs; all his attention was towards knowledge.

Al-Dhahabī, Siyar A’lām Al-Nubalā` 12:449

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.

How much should I..?

It is reported that Wahb b. Munabbih – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

A scholar once asked another greater than him in knowledge, “How much should I build?” He replied, “As much as shelters you from the sun and the rain.” He asked, “How much food should I eat?” He replied, “More than what keeps you hungry and less than what makes you full.” He asked, “How much should I wear?” He replied, “As the Messiah (Jesus) did.” He asked, “How much should I laugh?” He replied, “As much as appears on your face but does not make audible your voice.” He asked, “How much should I cry?” He replied, “Never tire from crying out of the fear of Allāh.” He asked, “How much should I hide my deeds?” He replied, “Until people think you had not done a good deed.” He asked, “How much should I make public my deeds?” He replied, “As much as will let the keen follow your example but not have the people talk about you.”

Wahb said. “Everything has two ends and a middle. If you grab one end, the other will slant, but if you take the middle, both ends will balance. Stick to the balanced middle in all affairs.”

Abū Nu’aym, Ḥilyatu Al-Awliyā` 4:45.

A Trivial Pursuit

It is reported that ‘Awn b. ‘Abdillāh – Allāh have mercy on him – said:

Those before you used to give to their worldly affairs what was left over from their pursuit of the hereafter. But today, you give to the matters of the hereafter the left-overs from your pursuit of worldly affairs.

Abū Nu’aym, Ḥilyat Al-Awliyā` 10:242.

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)