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Thursday, August 21, 2003  

On Renunciation (Zuhd) Part 1 of 2 Hamzah bin Yusuf al-Sahmi al-Jurjani related to us ... from Abu Khilad, who sat with the Prophet, that the Prophet said, "If you see a man who has been gifted with renunciation of the world and who has eloquence, seek to approach him, for wisdom has been instilled in him." The Sufis have differing opinions in the matter of renunciation (zuhd). Some of them say that one need only to renounce the unlawful, because the lawful has been made permissible by God Most High. When God benefits His servant with lawful property and the servant in turn worships Him with gratitude for it, it is not preferable for him to leave it with his own will rather than keeping it with God's permission. Other Sufis say that renunciation of the unlawful is an obligation, while the renunciation of the lawful is a virtue. From this point of view, as long as the servant is patient with his state of little property, satisfied with what God Most High has apportioned for him, and content with what he has been given, he is more perfect than one who lives richly and comfortably in the world. God Most High has urged people to abstain from the world by His saying, "Say: The provision of this world is but small, while the next is better for whoever is God-wary" [4:77] and in many other verses that may be cited disparaging the world and recommending abstention from it. Some of them say that if the servant spends his wealth in works of obedience, his state being marked by patience and, in difficult times, by not raising objections to what the law forbids, then his renunciation of lawful property is the more preferable. Others say that the servant must neither attempt to abandon the lawful by his own effort nor to seek superfluous wealth, but that he should respect his apportioned share. If God Exalted and Glorified has provided him with the sustenance of lawful income, he should thank Him. If God Most High has appointed to him enough to take care of all his needs, he should not strive to seek out excess property. Patience is the better course for the poor man. Gratitude is more suitable for the possessor of lawful wealth. They have discoursed on the meaning of renunciation. Each of them has spoken of his own time and pointed to its particular character. I heard Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami say ... that Sufyan al-Thawri said, "Renunciation of the world means to give up placing your hope in it, not to eat coarse food or wear the robe of an ascetic." And I heard him say ... that Sari al-Saqati said, "God strips the world from His Friends. denies it to His purified ones, and removes it from the hearts of those He loves because He is not satisfied with that for them." It is said that the principle of renunciation derives from His Word, "So that they may neither mourn over what has escaped them, nor exalt over what has been granted them." [57:23] because the renunciate does not exalt in what he has of the world nor grieve over what he does not have. Abu Uthman said, "Renunciation is to give up the world and then not care who gets it." I heard Abu Ali al-Daqqaq say, "Renunciation is to leave the world as it is and not to say, 'I will construct a shelter,' or 'I will build a mosque.'" Yahya bin Muadh said, "Renunciation makes one generous with property, while love makes one generous with spirit." Ibn al-Jalla said, "Renunciation is to look at the world with an eye for its transience, so that it becomes small in your eyes and avoiding it becomes easy for you." Ibn Khafif said, "The sign of renunciation is that ease exists when wealth departs." He also said, "When the heart has forgotten apparent causes and the hands have withdrawn themselves from wealth, it is renunciation." It has been said, "Renunciation exists when the ego genuinely dislikes the world." I heard Abu Abd Rahman al-Sulami say that he heard al-Nasrabadhi say, "The ascetic is a stranger in this world, and the gnostic is a stranger in the next." It is said, "If someone is sincere in his renunciation, the world comes to him despite himself." And about this they say, "If a crown were to fall from heaven, it would only fall in the head of someone who didn't want it." Junayd said, "Renunciation is that the heart be free of whatever the hand is free of." Abu Sulayman al-Darani said, "To wear wool is a sign of renunciation, but it is not right for a renunciate to wear it if he has three dirhams and the wish for five dirhams in his heart." Our predecessors have held varying views in the matter of renunciation. Sufyan al-Thawri, Ahmad bin Hanbal, Isa bin Yunus and others have held that to renounce the world is to abandon ambition and be satisfied with one's lot, which they say is one of the signs, motivations and consequences of renunciation. -Imam Abu-l-Qasim al-Qushayri, Principles of Sufism (Risalah Qushayriyyah)



posted by SuFiSTiC | 8/21/2003 07:17:00 AM |
As for him who fears to stand before his Lord and restrains the ego its desires, the Garden is shelter.
(The Snatchers:40)
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "The Fire is surrounded by all kinds of desires and passions, while Paradise is surrounded by all kinds of disliked, undesirable things."
(Bukhari)
Whoever does good at night is rewarded during the day and whoever does good during the day is rewarded at night. Whoever is sincere in abandoning a desire is saved from catering to it. God is too noble to punish a heart that has abandoned a desire for His sake.
(Abu Sulayman ad-Darani)
Beware of your ego, and trust not its mischief;
The ego is worse than seventy devils.
(Arabic Poem)
Abu Bakar Balkhi
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I seek God's forgiveness, and do not claim that my intention in producing this Blog is confined to good religious purposes; how may I do so when I am aware of the hidden desires, egotistic passions, and worldly wishes that I harbour? I do not claim innocence for myself; the ego is indeed an inciter to evil, save when my Lord shows mercy; my Lord is indeed Forgiving, Merciful. O God! I seek Your protection against my committing idolatry [shirk] knowingly, and Your forgiveness for that of which I am not aware! I ask God to make me and all other believers benefit from this Blog and to render my production of it purely for the sake of His Noble Countenance.

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