Ibraahim ibn Yazid ibn Shareek at-Taymi was from the early Salaf. He was a companion of the famous tabi'ee, Ibraahim an-Nakha'ee. At-Taymi was known as a very pious individual. Piety was a typical quality of that great generation. May Allah be pleased with them. He was very single-mindedly devoted to Allah, a very knowledgable person; in fact, he was a faqeeh who had immense knowledge of fiqh and hadeeth. Above all, he was a Zaahid. A Zaahid (ascetic) is someone who has a lot of Zuhd(ie practices asceticism, not attached to the dunya). It is said in his prayer, Ibraahim was so stiff in the prostration that sparrows would sit on his back thinking him to be a tree.
Awwam ibn Khawshab said, "I never found anyone better than Ibrahim at-Taymi. Whether in Salah or out of it, he always bowed his head. He never indulged in worldly conversation."
This same Ibraahim once said to the people in some amazing words which should be written in gold for our 21st century people,
"How much difference is there between you and those people. The world came to them but they ran away from it while the world flees you but you pursue it!"
How amazing and perfect is Allah. What strong,deep words. If we look into the life or biography of any of the early scholars or righteous people, we will see that each of these individuals certainly shared one common characteristic, Zuhd. They all practiced Zuhd. You may be wondering at this point, "Well, what is Zuhd?"
Well the answer is in the following hadeeth reported from Abul 'Abbas, Sahl ibn Sa'd al-Saa'idee (a companion of the prophet sws) in the Sunan of Ibn Majah and others with a good chain that a man came to the prophet (sala Allahu alayhi wa sallam) and said,
"O Messenger of Allah! Guide me to a deed that which, if I do it, (will cause) Allah to love me and the people to (also) love me." So the prophet(salawatu rabee wa salaamuhu alayh) replied,
ازهد في الدنيا يحبك الله وازهد فيما عند الناس يحبك الناس
Meaning, "Renounce the world and Allah will love you, and renounce what the people possess and the people will love you."
This simple hadeeth could be the answer to half of our daily problems. What is causing the downfall of nations and this world but materialism and chasing this temporary world?! What has made us forget our religious obligations and duties to Allah is but a little paper dollar! A little paper dollar can keep lead people to not only neglect their salah but their dignity as well. Is this how low we have sunk? Have we forgotten the true meaning and value of life?
When we lost love and interest for al Aakhirah which is the real life, that is when Allah azza wa jall took the blessings and dignity from our hearts. That is when work and material things distracted us from the true worship and even caused us to forget our bleeding ummah.
Tying this hadeeth to the words of Ibraahim at-Taymi mentioned before, we should all look to ourselves and our own personal lives. What kind of life are we living? Are we aiming to live a simple, halaal, worthy life to worship Allah in or are we putting much more pressure on work, school, and the bills totally forgetting about the main purpose of life? Islaam is not just confined to daily rituals.
Islaam is submitting yourself to Allah azza wa jall. Islaam is realizing that Allah azza wa jall always comes first. Islaam and Zuhd are intertwined! Zuhd is to renounce this world and not be attached to it! We as Muslims ought to realize that our real home is in the Hereafter, not in this meager, temporary place. This world is but enjoyment (mataa3), it will soon cease to exist. The Aakhirah is the Daarul Qaraar or the true permanent settlement as Allah azza wa jall says in the story of the man who believed from the house of Firawn,
"O my people, this worldly life is only temporary enjoyment, and indeed, the Hereafter-that is the home of (permanent) settlement." [Suratul Ghaafir ayah 39]
Al Zuhd means to be content with Allah has given you and to not compete with others in the material world. What is worth competing and dying for is that special tree in the paradise of Allah! Yes! One tree in Jannah has more worth than this world and all it contains. This world means nothing to Allah ta'ala but was made for us to worship and glorify Allah in.
Indeed, one drop of water is not even worth anything to Allah ta'ala in this world. The Messenger of Allah (sws) said,
"If this world had the value of a mosquito's wing in the sight of Allah, no disbeliever would have had a drink of water from it." [Sunan Tirmidhi]
What is this world but a few days and nights? What is this world but a preparation to prepare our luggage for our true home! The days are passing and going by and all you are worried about, o servant of Allah is the latest car, clothes fashion and shoe-line. We should be more concerned with where we are headed. Are we destined for an ever-lasting bliss or an eternal punishment? This should worry us. Once Al Hasan al Basri saw a man laughing so much, so he said to him, "Have you been given the keys to Paradise? Have you been given the good news that you are from the people of Jannah?" The man replied in the negative. Al Hasan al Basri said, "Then I do not know why you are laughing." Subhan Allah that man laughed very little after that. It is definitely something worth thinking about. We become so busy with our lives and daily routines that we forget about death and our final destination.
The prophet (sws) advised to be in this world as a wayfarer or traveller. This means we should live in the dunyaa by being in a constant state of worship and doing good deeds alongside making our worldly living. We should not make it our intentions to establish ourselves here because it will all soon end. This life is not permanent. Death is a certainty, what comes after it is what we are here for. Like Allah said,
"Say: Short is the enjoyment of this world. The hereafter is better for him who fears Allah, and you shall not be dealt with unjustly in the very least!" [Surah al Nisaa' ayah 77]
Yes! How short and worthless it is! The true value is in preparing your house in the gardens above and not in these soils below! Allah describes this amazing, eternally blissful abode,
"The description of Paradise which the righteous are promised is that in it are rivers of water, the taste and smell of which are not changed; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes; rivers of wine, a joy to those who drink; and rivers of honey pure and clean. In it there are for them all kinds of fruits; and forgiveness from their Lord." [Surah Muhammad ayah 15]
The prophet lived the true life of Zuhd and piety. A man who could have had all the riches of the world and had the option to be both a prophet and king yet chose the former alone. He is definitely the king of the ascetics and an example for us. Sala Allahu alayhi wa sallam. The prophet(sws) described himself as a stranger and traveller in this world as is in the following hadeeth,
"What have I to do with this world! I am no more in this world than a traveller who sought the shade of a tree then left it and continued [his journey]." [Sunans of Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah]
Thus, if we practice Zuhd which is to abstain from the worldly things and to renounce it, we will be able to secure the love of Allah. And if we are content with what Allah has given us and abstain from what is with others, then the people will also love us. Imam al Nawawi mentions in his Sharh of Sahih Muslim in the commentary of this hadeeth, that Zuhd is,
Renouncing the world means to leave those things which are non-essential even though they may be permissible and instead sticking to the necessities of life. True Zuhd brings peace, tranquility and happiness to the soul. The early righteous would be in such contentment and happiness that they said if the kings knew how much happiness we are living in, they would fight with us for it with their swords.
Let us make it our aim to be content and pleased with what Allah has blessed us with firstly and then let us abstain from those things that are causing us to become weak in our faith. We should contemplate the many blessings Allah azza wa jall has given us.
It is enough of a blessing and favor that Allah guides one to the truth faith. Think of how many are drowning in disbelief and die ascribing partners to Allah in His worship. And Allah azza wa jall chose you out of many to be a Muslim. That is something amazing to think about it.
Do we think and contemplate Allah and the blessing of Islaam and tawheed as we should? Nowadays, we are too busy pleasing others and ourselves and desires and forget about the first we should aim to please. Pleasing Allah should be our number one aim in life until the dirt is poured over us.
O Allah make our souls content with what you have given us and protect us from love of this world and hatred for death.