The True Asceticism

A man came to the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) and said, “O Messenger of Allah, direct me to an action that if I do it will cause Allah and the people to love me.” He (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Be an ascetic in this world and Allah will love you. Renounce what the people possess and the people will love you.”

[Hadith Hasan narrated by Ibn Maajah]

Commentary:

“O Messenger of Allah, direct me to an action that if I do it will cause Allah and the people to love me.” There is no doubt that this is a high and lofty request of the questioner seeking to bring the love of Allah and the people to him. So the Prophet said to him, “Be an ascetic in this world” meaning abandon from this world what will not benefit you in the Hereafter. This implies that he is striving for the Hereafter since this life and the Hereafter repel each other. If one is renounced, then he is striving for the other. Rather, this implies that a person should be zealous to carry out actions of the Hereafter by enacting the commands, abstaining from the prohibitions, and abandoning what does not benefit him in the Hereafter from the affairs that waste time and are not beneficial.

As for a reason for the peoples’ love, He (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Renounce what the people possess and the people will love you.” Do not request anything from the people, do not ardently desire it (i.e. what they possess), and do not glance at it. Be the furthest of the people from that until the people love you. Since when a person asks for what the people possess, it annoys them and they dislike it. If he is far and distanced from that, then they will love him.

And from the Benefits of this hadith:

  1. The zeal of the Companions in asking the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) what would benefit them.
  2. A person, by his natural inclination, loves that Allah and the people love him and dislikes that Allah and the people despise him, so the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) explained what causes that.
  3. Whoever is an ascetic in this life Allah will love him since being an ascetic in this life makes it incumbent to strive for the Hereafter. The meaning of Zuhud (asceticism) has already preceded: abandoning what does not benefit in the Hereafter.
  4. Renouncing what the people possess is a reason for the people to love you.
  5. Having ardent desire for this life and being connected to it is a reason for Allah to hate the servant. Having ardent desire for; and anticipating what the people possess makes it incumbent that the people hate that person. Renouncing what they possess is from the greatest causes to attain their love.

And Allah Knows Best!

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