Concept of Zuhd: Asceticism in sufism

Concept of zuhd(asceticism) has an pivotal place in the way of “tasawwuf”. It means lack of desire, staying away from anything vogue and being content with less. A heart with zuhd gives less importance to worldly needs and advantages, refrains from being opportunist and selfish, carries as little as concerns for self-benefits and becomes fully satisfied with whatever is present is any given circumstances.

Mutassawufs describe the term zuhd as not having joy for worldly possessions, not regretting for such losses and not having desire for what is not being owned.

Zaheed is the person who has the virtue of zuhd. Zuhd doesn’t mean pursuing a clerical life and shutting oneself in a remote monastery and cease working, it means trying to refrain from unnecessary worldly savors and not be over-busy with mundane activities. In other words it means submission to Afterlife, not this world.

There many hadith of Prophet Muhammed(saw) on zuhd, one notably:

In Sahih-i Muslim, Book 42, Number 7068:

Abu Huraira reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: When one of you looks at one who stands at a higher level than you in regard to wealth and physical structure he should also see one who stands at a lower level than you in regard to these things (in which he stands) at a hi-her level (as compared to him).

Also from the same collection;

Book 42, Number 7058:

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The world is a prison-house for a believer and Paradise for a non-believer.

Zuhd is also getting benefit from worldly needs with crossing any line, refraining from excessive consumptions or being keen on luxury, or the worst case scenario, forgetting completely “the judgement day” because of burying oneself in mundane activities.

Virtue of zuhd can be achieved in three ways

1) Staying away from anything that is haram, which is “fard” for every Muslim

2) Keeping a distance from halals which are not absolutely necessary for one’s self

3) Giving up anything that distracts oneself from “being occupied with Allah(j.j) This final phase of zuhd is the preferred style in tasawwuf.



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