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Excellence of Leading an Ascetic Life, and Virtues of Simple Life

September 4, 2014
Imam Al-Nawawi’s Riyad-us-Saliheen
Chapter 55
Excellence of Leading an Ascetic Life, and Virtues of Simple Life

Allah, the Exalted, says:

“Verily, the likeness of (this) worldly life is as the water (rain) which We send down from the sky; so by it arises the intermingled produce of the earth of which men and cattle eat: until when the earth is clad in its adornments and is beautified, and its people think that they have all the powers of disposal over it, Our Command reaches it by night or by day and We make it like a clean-mown harvest, as if it had not flourished yesterday! Thus, do We explain the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, laws, etc.) in detail for the people who reflect.” (10:24)

“And put forward to them the example of the life of this world: it is like the water (rain) which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it, and becomes fresh and green. But (later) it becomes dry and broken pieces, which the winds scatter. And Allah is Able to do everything. Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world. But the good righteous deeds that last, are better with your Rubb for rewards and better in respect of hope.” (18:45,46)

“Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children. (It is) as the likeness of vegetation after rain, thereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller; afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw. But in the Hereafter (there is) a severe torment (for the disbelievers-evildoers), and (there is) forgiveness from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure (for the believers-gooddoers). And the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment”. (57:20).

“Beautified for men is the love of things they covet; women, children, much of gold and silver (wealth), branded beautiful horses, cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world’s life; but Allah has the excellent return (Jannah with flowing rivers) with Him.” (3:14).

“O mankind! Verily, the Promise of Allah is true. So let not this present life deceive you, and let not the chief deceiver (Satan) deceive you about Allah.” (35:5).

“The mutual rivalry (for piling up of worldly things) diverts you. Until you visit the graves (i.e., till you die). Nay! You shall come to know! Again nay! You shall come to know! Nay! If you knew with a sure knowledge (the end result of piling up, you would not have been occupied yourselves in worldly things)”. (102:1-5).

“And this life of the world is only amusement and play! Verily, the home of the Hereafter is the real life if they but knew”.  (29:64).

457. `Amr bin `Auf Al-Ansari (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) sent Abu `Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah (May Allah be pleased with him) to Bahrain to collect (Jizyah). So he returned from Bahrain with wealth. The Ansar got news of it and joined with the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) in the Fajr prayer. When the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) concluded the prayer, they stood in his way. When he saw them, he smiled and said, “I think you have heard about the arrival of Abu `Ubaidah with something from Bahrain”. They said, “Yes! O Messenger of Allah!”. He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Rejoice and hope for that which will please you. By Allah, it is not poverty that I fear for you, but I fear that this world will be opened up with its wealth for you as it was opened to those before you; and you vie with one another over it as they did and eventually it will ruin you as it ruined them”.
[Muslim].

458. Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) sat on the pulpit and we sat around him. He said: “What I am concerned most is the flourishment and the beauty of this world will be available to you”.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

459. Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: “The world is sweet and green (alluring); and verily, Allah is making you to succeed each other, generations after generations in it in order to see how you act. So beware of this world  and beware of women”.
[Muslim].

460. Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: “O Allah, there is no true life but the life of the Hereafter”.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

461. Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: “Three (things) follow a dead person: Members of his family, his property and his deeds. Two of them return; and one remains with him. The people and his wealth return; his deeds remain with him”.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

462. Anas bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Among the inmates of Hell, a person who had led the most luxurious life in this world will be brought up on the Day of Resurrection and dipped in the Fire and will be asked: `O son of Adam! Did you ever experience any comfort? Did you happen to get any luxury?’ He will reply: `By Allah, no, my Rubb.’ And then one of the people of Jannah who had experienced extreme misery in the life of this world will be dipped in Jannah. Then he will be asked: `O son of Adam! Did you ever experience any misery? Did you ever encounter difficulty?’ He will say: “By Allah, no my Rubb, I neither experienced misery nor passed through hardship”.
[Muslim].

463. Al-Mustaurad bin Shaddad (May allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “This world (i.e., its pleasures and duration) in comparison with the Hereafter is (similar to the amount of water) one gets when he puts his finger in the sea. Let him then see what it returns with”.
[Muslim].

464. Jabir bin `Abdullah (May allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) was passing through the bazaar with his Companions on his both sides, when he saw a dead skinny lamb. He held its ear and said, “Who of you would like to have it for a dirham”. They replied, “We do not like to get it for nothing, and what shall we do with it?”. Then he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) asked, “Would you like to have it for nothing?”. They replied, “Had it been alive, it would have been defective because it is skinny; but when dead it is of no use”. Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Truly, the world is more contemptible to Allah than this (the dead lamb) is to you”.
[Muslim].

465. Abu Dharr (May allah be pleased with him) reported: I was walking with the Prophet on the stony ground in Al-Madinah in the afternoon when Uhud Mount came into sight. Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “O Abu Dharr!” I said, “O Messenger of Allah, here I am responding to you”. He said, “If I had as much gold as the weight of Uhud, it would not please me to have a single dinar out of it with me after the passage of three days, but I would hold back something for the repayment of a debt. I would distribute it among the slaves of Allah like this and like this and like this.” And he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) pointed in front of him, and on his right side and on his left side. We then walked a little further and he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: “The rich would be poor on the Day of  Resurrection, except he who spent like this and like this and like this,”. and he pointed as he did the first time. “But such persons are few”. Then he said, “Stay where you are till I come back to you”. He (the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam)) walked ahead a little further in the darkness of the night and disappeared from my sight. I heard a loud voice. I said (to myself): “The Messenger of Allah might have met (mishap or an enemy)”. I wished I could go after him but I remembered his commanding me to stay till he came back. So I waited for him; and when he came, I made mention of what I had heard. He asked, “Did you hear it?”. I said, “Yes”. Then he said, “It was Jibril (Gabriel), who came to me and said: `He who dies among your Ummah without having associated anything with Allah (in worship) will enter Jannah.’ I said: `Even if he committed illicit sexual intercourse or steals?’ He (Jibril) said: `Even if he has committed illicit sexual intercourse or steals”.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

466. Abu Hurairah (May allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: “If I had gold equal to Mount Uhud (in weight), it would not please me to pass three nights and I have a thing of it left with me, except what I retain for repayment of a debt”.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

467. Abu Hurairah (May allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Look at those who are inferior to you and do not look at those who are superior to you, for this will keep you from belittling Allah’s Favour to you.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

This is the wording in Sahih Muslim. The narration in Al-Bukhari is: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam)  said: “When one of you looks at someone who is superior to him in property and appearance, he should look at someone who is inferior to him”.

468. Abu Hurairah (May allah be pleased with ihm) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “May he be miserable, the worshipper of the dinar and dirham, and the worshipper of the striped silk cloak. If he is given anything, he is satisfied; but if not, he is unsatisfied”.
[Al-Bukhari]

469. Abu Hurairah (May allah be pleased with him) reported: I saw seventy of the people of the Suffah and none of them had a cloak. They had either a lower garment or a blanket which they suspended from their necks. Some (cloaks) reached halfway down to the legs and some to the ankles; and the man would manage to keep it in his hand to avoid exposing his private parts.
[Al-Bukhari].

470. Abu Hurairah (May allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: “The world is the believer’s prison and the infidel’s Jannah”.
[Muslim].

471. `Abdullah bin `Umar (May allah be pleased with them) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) took hold of my shoulders and said, “Be in the world like a stranger or a wayfarer”.

Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) used to say: “When you survive till the evening, do not expect to live until the morning; and when you survive until the morning, do not expect to live until the evening; (do good deeds) when you are in good health before you fall sick, and (do good deeds) as long as you are alive before death strikes”.
[Al-Bukhari].

472. Sahl bin Sa`d As-Sa`idi (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: A man came to the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and said, “O Messenger of Allah, guide me to such an action which, if I do Allah will love me and the people will also love me.” He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Have no desire for this world, Allah will love you; and have no desire for what people possess, and the people will love you.”
[Ibn Majah]

473. An-Nu`man bin Bashir (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: `Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) spoke at length regarding the worldly prosperity that people had achieved and said: “I saw that the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) would pass his days in hunger and could not get even degraded dates to fill his stomach”.
[Muslim].

474. `Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) died when my house was void of any edible thing except for a small quantity of barley I had on a shelf and from which I kept eating it for a long time. Then when I measured what was left of it, it soon finished.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

475. `Amr bin Al-Harith (May Allah be pleased with him) the brother of Juwairiyah (May Allah be pleased with her), the Mother of believers) reported: (When he died) Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) left neither a dinar nor a dirham nor a male slave nor a female slave, nor anything else except his white riding mule, his weapons and his land which he had given in charity to wayfarers.
[Al-Bukhari].

476. Al-Khabbab bin Al-Aratt (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: We emigrated with Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) seeking the pleasure of Allah and expecting our reward from Him. Some of us died without enjoying anything of it. Among them was Mus`ab bin `Umair (May Allah be pleased with him), who was killed in the battle of Uhud, leaving only a small coloured sheet of wool (which we used as his shroud). When we covered his head with it, his feet were exposed, and when we covered his feet with it, his head was uncovered. So the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) told us to cover his head and to put some Idhkhir (i.e., fragrant grass) over his feet. Others among us enjoy prosperity.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

477. Sahl bin Sa`d (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Were this world worth a wing of mosquito, He would not have given a drink of water to an infidel.”

[At-Tirmidhi].

478. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Verily! The world is accursed and what it contains is accursed, except remembrance of Allah and those who associate themselves with Allah; and a learned man, and a learning person.”
[At-Tirmidhi].

479. `Abdullah bin Mas`ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said: “Do not crave for property lest you should be absorbed in the desire of worldly life.”
[At-Tirmidhi]

480. `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`as (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: We were repairing our thatchy hut when Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) passed by and asked us, “What are you doing?” We said, “The thatch had gone weak and we are repairing it.” He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “I see the sure thing (death) approaching sooner than this.”
[Abu Dawud].

481. Ka`b bin `Iyad (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Verily, there is a Fitnah (trial) for every nation and the trial for my nation (or Ummah) is wealth.”
[At-Tirmidhi].

482. `Uthman bin `Affan (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “There is no right for the son of adam except in these (four) things: A house to live in, a cloth to cover therewith his private parts, bread and water.”
[At-Tirmidhi].

483.  `Abdullah bin Ash-Shikhkhir (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I came to the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) while he was reciting (Surat At-Takathur 102):

“The mutual rivalry (for hoarding worldly things) preoccupy you. Until you visit the graves (i.e., till you die). Nay! You shall come to know! Again nay! You shall come to know! Nay! If you knew with a sure knowledge (the end result of hoarding, you would not have been occupied in worldly things). Verily, you shall see the blazing Fire (Hell)! And again, you shall see it with certainty of sight! Then (on that Day) you shall be asked about the delights (you indulged in, in this world)!” (102:1-8)

(After reciting) he (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Son of adam says: `My wealth, my wealth.’ Do you own of your wealth other than what you eat and consume, and what you wear and wear out, or what you give in Sadaqah (charity) (to those who deserve it), and that what you will have in stock for yourself.”
[Muslim].

484. `Abdullah bin Mughaffal (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: A man came to the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) and said, “O Messenger of Allah! By Allah, I love you.” He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Think about what you are saying.” The man repeated thrice, “I swear by Allah that I love you.” He (Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam)) said, “If you love me, you should be ready for acute poverty; because poverty comes to those who love me, faster than a flood flowing towards its destination.”
[At-Tirmidhi].

485. K`ab bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “Two hungry wolves sent in the midst of a flock of sheep are no more destructive to them than a man’s greed for wealth and fame is to his Deen.”

[At-Tirmidhi]

486. `Abdullah bin Mas`ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) slept on a straw mat and got up with the marks left by it on his body. Ibn Mas`ud (May Allah be pleased with him) said, “O Messenger of Allah! Would that you make us spread out a soft bedding for you.” He (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) replied, “What have I to do with the world? I am like a rider who had sat under a tree for its shade, then went away and left it.”
[At-Tirmidhi].

487. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “The poor will enter Jannah five hundred years before the rich.”
[At-Tirmidhi].

488. Ibn `Abbas and `Imran bin Al-Husain (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “I looked into Jannah and saw that most of its dwellers are the poor; and I looked into Hell and saw that most of its inmates were women.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

489. Usamah bin Zaid (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “I stood at the gate of Jannah and saw that most of those who enter it were poor, whereas the rich were held back; but those who were destined to go to Hell were ordered to be sent there (immediately).”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

490. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “The most truthful statement a poet has ever made is the saying of Labid: Everything besides Allah is vain.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

 

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