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Old 12-28-2009, 02:05 AM   #1
Dawud Israel
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Zuhd and Asceticism in North America possible?

Salaam aleikum,

I've been reading over the winter break and keep coming across descriptions of the early Sahabas and notice they stressed abandonment from the dunya, zuhd, and poverty (faqr?). Its to an extent I have a hard time imagining and wondering how it could be achieved in a place like NA?

When you read of the extreme harshness of their life and compare it to Muslims now with all the worldly possessions we have, finding it so hard to wake for Fajr or to give up vices like music, you wonder...have we lost something?

Sahabas would literally have very little to eat, would earn their food on a day by day basis, and would give constant charity?

How can we achieve this reality nowadays? Especially considering the make-up of our society and how the economy and employment works...? Labor work comes to mind, yet most Muslims today are educated, professionals...

All to often we hear comments about moderation and not going to the extreme, and also of how zuhd is in the heart, one can have it without enduring poverty but I wonder how much pushing this line of thinking is just an excuse poised by shaytan's whispers?
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Old 12-28-2009, 12:04 PM   #2
Abdul Razzaq
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Re: Zuhd and Asceticism in North America possible?

I think having to pay rent each month is a big bump. If we owned homes and didn't need electricity and all those other monthly bills we could work when we needed food or clothes which I think some subcultures are able to do.

I think one of the definitions of zuhud is that when you have a lot you aren't attached to it and when you have little you don't yearn for more but content with what you have.
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Old 12-28-2009, 02:23 PM   #3
AbdArRahman
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Re: Zuhd and Asceticism in North America possible?

To address brother Dawud's question of how to achieve zuhd, I cannot give an answer based on evidences etc.

In terms of practice, what I could say is that whenever someone asks you of something(halaal obviously), give it to them even if it be dear to you.

After all, a characteristic of a musalli is that the person who asks has a certain right over their wealth.(Surah al Ma'arij)

How much to eat is clearly not more than 1/3 split each for food, water and air but I can assure you eating less than that is quite satisfying as well.

In this society you might see mostly people going in the extreme of the opposite of zuhd. You will see people having more than 20 sets of clothes, 5-10 sets of shoes, 3-4 cars etc. (and neck down in debt that they are paying off).

A simple matter of staying away from debt in this country would actually be a good way of zuhd especially since this type of debt is haraam(the one with interest to be paid).

Wallahu a'lam
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Old 12-28-2009, 03:27 PM   #4
Abdullah Bin Jahash
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Re: Zuhd and Asceticism in North America possible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawud Israel
Salaam aleikum,

I've been reading over the winter break and keep coming across descriptions of the early Sahabas and notice they stressed abandonment from the dunya, zuhd, and poverty (faqr?). Its to an extent I have a hard time imagining and wondering how it could be achieved in a place like NA?

When you read of the extreme harshness of their life and compare it to Muslims now with all the worldly possessions we have, finding it so hard to wake for Fajr or to give up vices like music, you wonder...have we lost something?

Sahabas would literally have very little to eat, would earn their food on a day by day basis, and would give constant charity?

How can we achieve this reality nowadays? Especially considering the make-up of our society and how the economy and employment works...? Labor work comes to mind, yet most Muslims today are educated, professionals...

All to often we hear comments about moderation and not going to the extreme, and also of how zuhd is in the heart, one can have it without enduring poverty but I wonder how much pushing this line of thinking is just an excuse poised by shaytan's whispers?
MashaAllah! good thoughts. Hijra perhaps is the solution.
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Old 12-28-2009, 03:57 PM   #5
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Re: Zuhd and Asceticism in North America possible?

As-salamu Alaykum akh,

I am not sure about the interpretation of this abandonment of the dunya, zuhd, and poverty. I think there is something missing here, we all know the story of the two young men in the masjid who Umar radiallahu anhu straightened, but I will repeat it for the sake of instilling it in our minds (most of the stuff below is as explained by Suhaib Webb on his blog suhaibwebb.com "Between Cisco and Sujud: Earning Your Livelihood, Taking Benefit from the Corporate Lifestyle"):
Umar (radi Allahu `anhu – may Allah be pleased with him) one day came into the masjid of the Prophet (s) and found two young people, young men. They were sitting in the masjid of the Prophet (s). He asked them, “What do you do?”

They said, “We are from those people who worship Allah.”

Umar (r) said to them, “No, where do you work?”

They said to him, “We don’t work. We’re just righteous people who just make dhikr (remembrance) of Allah. We’re alhamdullilah (all praise is due to Allah) those people whom Allah chose to be close to Him.”

Then Umar said to them, “Wait one minute.” If Umar says to you “wait one minute” that means duck and cover. He came back with a stick and he began to hit them and he said, “Go work somewhere. Go find a job.”

Also, in the same article Suhaib Webb brings in a beautiful verse from the Qur'an:
“Seek from the blessings of Allah” (62:10)

Also The Prophet (s) said in a sound hadith to Hakeem ibn Hizaam ibn Khuwaylid, “Hakeem, the upper hand is better than the lower hand.” Examples of some of the most helpful sahaba to the prophet peace be upon him in spreading Islam were the sahabas who had alot of money Abdur Rahman ibn Awf, uthman bin Affan, abu bakr as-siddiq. So making money through seeking a livelihood was rather encouraged to provide for your needs. What was cautioned against was having love for the wordly matters, things, affaird...

Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal once was asked, “If somebody has a hundred thousand dinar can he be from the people of zuhud, can he be a pious person?”

Imam Ahmed, who was the strictest of the four as far as being a person of zuhud (asceticism), said yes as long as the person doesn’t put love for that money in his heart. And this is a strict person.

Imam Ahmed also noted that the qualties of a mufit are five; one of them is that he should earn enough to keep himself self sufficient.
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Old 01-16-2010, 05:31 PM   #6
Dawud Israel
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Re: Zuhd and Asceticism in North America possible?

I posted a comment on Imam Suhaib's article and he didn't seem to address what I was getting at.

Basically its as if one is "talking about Zuhd by not talking about it"- or "by talking about anything but Zuhd". The poverty, and Zuhd of the Sahabas was often by choice or even if it wasn't, they would prefer to have less or almost nothing. Some were poor their entire lives, others lived poor for a small period of their life and ended up wealthy. But they learned tawakkul and sabr by those difficulties. And there is a wisdom in that because if they never endured that abject poverty, the poverty our scholars don't really talk about in all its grizzly detail, then we would believe Islam to be about prosperity and wealth and luxury.

I think its important we understand this poverty and Zuhd, because we will be held accountable for everything we have. If someone has less, is poor, than he is obviously going to have an easier Reckoning. One hadith mentions the poor will enter Jannah 500 years before the rich.
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Old 01-16-2010, 10:17 PM   #7
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Re: Zuhd and Asceticism in North America possible?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawud Israel
The poverty, and Zuhd of the Sahabas was often by choice or even if it wasn't, they would prefer to have less or almost nothing. Some were poor their entire lives, others lived poor for a small period of their life and ended up wealthy.
Yes bro, but not by choice, those who were poor were so because Allah decreed them to be poor. As we know from the hadeeth where RasulAllah (saw) taught the poorer companions the tahlil, tamhid and tasbih to take the place of giving a lot of charity (as they were upset that the wealthy amongst the companions had more money than they did and were using to give away vast amounts of Sadaqah).

So not only did they try their best to keep the love of wealth and the dunya out of their hearts, but they simultaneously tried their best like any regular human being to seek our provision and earn more money so they could support their families better and give more sadaqah.

Also, half or more of the 10 who were promised Jannah were amongst the wealthiest of the companions. We have Uthman ibn Affan (radiAllahu anh) who was famous for outfitting the entire campaign to Tabuk, and others such as Abdur-Rahman ibn Abi Awfa (radiAllahu anh) who after the passing of RasulAllah (sallaAllahu alayhi wa sallam), once had the largest trade caravan ever to be seen in Madinah arrive with only his property on it.

WAllahu Alam
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Old 02-04-2010, 09:49 AM   #8
bintamina
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Re: Zuhd and Asceticism in North America possible?

Al-Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal said:

Az-Zuhd is of three types:

The First: abandoning that which is haraam (forbidden) – and it is the zuhd of the general folk.

The Second: abandoning the excesses of that which is halaal (lawful) – and it is the zuhd of the people of distinction.

The Third: abandoning that which busies one from Allaah – and it is the zuhd of the acquainted ones.

Imaam Ahmad bin Hanbal Jaami' al-aadaab vol 1 page 372-373
Translated by Aboo Haatim Muhammad Farooq
Taken from: Fatwa Islam
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Yoonus Ibn 'Ubayd (d.139H) – rahimahullaah – said:

"With good manners you understand the knowledge. With the knowledge, your actions are corrected. With actions, wisdom is obtained. With wisdom you understand zuhd (abstinence) and are granted its benefits. With zuhd comes abandoning the world. With abandoning the world comes desire for the Hereafter. With desire for the Hereafter the pleasure of Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – is obtained."

Iqtidaa`ul 'Ilmil 'Amal (no. 31)
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Old 02-04-2010, 11:13 AM   #9
Yusuf513Khan
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Re: Zuhd and Asceticism in North America possible?

السلام عليكم

I think the issue that needs to be determined (since we follow in those before us), is was it by choice or not by choice...

If I am a super rich person and give all my wealth...am I doing so to STAY at a "Zuhidi" level, so I'm less accountable? or am I giving all my wealth specifically for helping others, and knowing Allah will help. Does it matter? How far do we take "practicality" into effect? Does practicality matter in the end when we are all individually judged by our intention?
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“Once, when I saw the Prophet in a good mood, I said to him: “O Messenger of Allah! Supplicate to Allah for me!”

So, he said: “O Allah! Forgive ‘A’ishah her past and future sins, what she has hidden, as well as what she has made apparent.”

So, I began smiling, to the point that my head fell into the lap of the Messenger of Allah sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam out of joy.

The Messenger of Allah said to me: “Does my supplication make you happy?”

I replied: “And how can your supplication not make me happy?”

He then said: “By Allah, it is the supplication that I make for my Ummah in every prayer.”
[Reported in 'Sahih Mawarid adh-Dhaman' (1875), and it is in 'as-Silsilah as-Sahihah' (2254)]
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:43 PM   #10
brother_bruce
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Re: Zuhd and Asceticism in North America possible?

good discussion.

i agree that we should keep in mind that being a 'zahid' has no necessary correlation to one's physical, material wealth.

you could be the poorest person in the country, but your heart could desire and aspire towards the glitter of this world, nevertheless... a real laalach, if you speak urdu.

similarly, you could be very rich and own investments worth billions of dollars, but if someone asks you to donate fi sabil illah, you could give it up in a heart beat.

which one is the zaahid?

ultimately, only Allah [subhanahu wa ta'ala] knows whats in the hearts of His slaves... but, in order to achieve zuhd, I dont think you have to start off with preemptively forcing harshness upon yourself through material means, or to make 'hijrah' (to where?).

Everyone knows Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, 'Uthman ibn Affan, 'Abdur Rahmaan ibn 'Awf, Anas bin Malik (radi Allahu 'anhum) were amongst the richest of Companions.

Who is going to argue that they may not have been ascetics in the 'proper' sense of the term? They cared more about the Akhirah, had more knowledge about how to get to the higher stations of Jannah, and had more tawfiq to do so, than any of us.

Therefore it stands to reason that they were more ascetic than any of us, and than many of those who followed them, simply because they had the means, and chose to give it up for worthy causes when the time came to do so. They possessed wealth in their hands, but the wealth did not possess their heart.

Like IbnMasood mentioned above, if you think about the time where 'Uthman (radi Allahu 'anh) donated for the Battle of Tabuk, he
Quote:
had already rigged two hundred, saddled camels to travel to Ash-Sham, presented them all with two hundred ounces (of gold) as charity. He also fetched a thousand dinars and cast them all into the lap of the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh], who turned them over and said: "From this day on nothing will harm ‘Uthman regardless of what he does." [Jami' At-Tirmidhi 2/211 (The virtues of 'Uthman)] Again and again ‘Uthman gave till his charity toped to nine hundred camels and a hundred horses, besides the money he paid.
Question: Where did he get all these loaded camels from? he was involved did business/ trade... in order to get these camels, he must have accumulated a substantial amount of wealth before hand.

On that same occasion, 'Abdur Rahmaan ibn 'Awf (radi Allahu 'anh) donated 200 silver ounces... and this was a Companion who came to Madina broke. He went to the market, worked hard, and made his riches by the will of Allah [subhanahu wa ta'ala].

Physically retreating from the world isnt the answer. Instead, we should realize that whatever this world has to offer is dirt compared to the aakhirah, and we should race to 'invest' in the aakhirah whenever possible.

Rather, if you think that zuhd must necessarily be manifest physically as well, how will you benefit the other Muslims? The orphans? The students and bachelors who need interest free loans? The communities that are suffering from natural disasters? The masjids that need to be built?

Sure, we can all sweat and do labor work, but ultimately, thats not going to help spread the cause of Islaam... money matters, so the Ummah needs financiers. Shaytan can work in both ways, and he can also help you to handicap yourself and make yourself relatively useless to the Ummah.

Keep your focus on the next life and worshipping Allah [subhanahu wa ta'ala] in the best possible way. And worshipping Him in the best possible way includes doing the right action at the right time, and helping the causes that need helping.


If you want to cut your attachment to this world, start it off by fasting regularly and on the hot summer days, and fighting off sleep during the dark hours of the night.
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