Allah, the Almighty, said:

{What remains [lawful] from Allah is best for you...} [Hood 11:86]159

قَالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وجَلَّ: "بَقِيَّتُ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ"

Zuhd in something refers to its complete renunciation. It is an act of virtue for the public, a necessity for the seeker,160 and a refuge for the elite.161 It is of three levels:

الزُّهْدُ إِسْقَاطُ الرَّغْبَةِ عَنِ الشَّيْءِ بِالْكُلِّيَّةِوَهُوَ لِلْعَامَّةِ قُرْبَةٌ، وَلِلْمُرِيدِ ضَرُورَةٌ، وَلِلْخَاصَّةِ خَشْيَة.وَهُوَ عَلى ثَلَاثِ دَرَجَاتٍ:

The first level: renunciation of all dubious matters after complete abstention from the unlawful ones. This is motivated by:

  1. fear of blame162

  2. graceful avoidance of shortcomings163

  3. hating the company of the wicked164

الدَّرَجَةُ الْأُولَىالزُّهْدُ فِي الشُّبْهَةِ، بَعْدَ تَرْكِ الْحَرَامِ:

  1. بِالْحَذَرِ مِنَ الْمَعْتَبَةِ

  2. وَالْأَنَفَةِ مِنَ الْمَنْقَصَةِ

  3. وَكَرَاهَةِ مُشَارَكَةِ الْفُسَّاقِ

The second level: renunciation of excesses and anything beyond necessary sustenance:

  1. by the best investment of one’s time165

  2. by stemming anxiety166

  3. by adorning oneself with the beautiful qualities of the prophets and aṣ-ṣiddeeqeen167

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّانِيَةُالزُّهْدُ فِي الْفُضُولِ. وَهُوَ مَا زَادَ عَلَى الْمُسْكَةِ وَالْبَلَاغِ مِنَ الْقُوتِ:

  1. بِاغْتِنَامِ التَّفَرُّغِ إِلَى عِمَارَةِ الْوَقْتِ

  2. وَحَسْمِ الْجَأْشِ

  3. وَالتَّحَلِّي بِحِلْيَةِ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ

The third level: renunciation of renunciation, accomplished by three things:

  1. belittling that which you renounced168

  2. complete indifference to variant conditions168

  3. refraining from seeing your actions and casting your sight towards the valley of truths170

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّالِثَةُالزُّهْدُ فِي الزُّهْدِ، وَهُوَ بِثَلَاثَةِ أَشْيَاءَ:

  1. اسْتِحْقَارُ مَا زَهِدْتَ فِيهِ

  2. وَاسْتِوَاءُ الْحَالَاتِ عِنْدَكَ

  3. وَالذَّهَابُ عَنْ شُهُودِ الِاكْتِسَابِ، نَاظِرًا إِلَى وَادِي الْحَقَائِقِ

159 What you earn after you give up cheating and all forms of misconduct in business will be more blessed and better for you.
160 It is a prerequisite for the path of purification.
161 Who fear losing their place with Allah to the pursuit of fulfilment of desires. They hold fast to the station of zuhd lest the dunyâ distract them.
162 These dubious matters are not ḥarâm in themselves, so sin may not be earned. However, those people fear blame from Allah on the Day of Judgment for coming close to ḥarâm.
163 Those who deem themselves above deficiencies hold themselves to a higher standard all the time.
164 So you leave the places they crowd and avoid competing with them for the lowly desires they cherish.
165 In sowing the seeds for the final harvest and getting closer to the Most Beloved (exalted is He).
166 So that the heart becomes settled with no disturbances, regrets, ambivalence, or hesitation caused by any remaining attachments to the dunyâ.
167 Aṣ-ṣiddeeqeen: this refers to the people close to the prophets in the quality of spiritual excellence.
168 Nothing is too big to leave for Allah’s sake; in comparison to His pleasure, all things are insignificant.
169 Where wealth and poverty, health and sickness, recognition and desertion, and all other variances become equal to you. At the least, none of them will distract you from His service. They will not cause you excessive joy or grief. They will not cause you resentment of His decrees or boastfulness. They will not keep you from believing that which is true, acting upon it, and speaking it.
170 So you are not seeing your renunciation or even your ability to renounce anything, for you see only His actions and decrees. Your sight is fixated on the ultimate truths of Him being the Ultimate Effector, the One, the Truth.

Manâzil as-Sâirin


Shaykhul-Islam Abu Isma‘il Abdullah ibn Muhammad al-Ansari al-Harawi (396-481H)

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj