Branches of Complete Reliance and the Forerunners of Asceticism

The Holy Prophet (may Allah bless he and his family and grant them peace) said: The angel Gabriel (Jibril) came to me and said: “O Prophet of Allah, indeed, Allah has sent me to you with a gift that no one before you has ever been given.” The Prophet asked: “What is it?”

He said, “Patience, and something even better than that.”

The Prophet asked: “And what may that be?”

He replied: “Contentment, and something even better than that.”

The Prophet asked, “And what is that?”

To which he replied: “Satisfaction,and something even better than that.”

The Prophet asked: “And what might that be?”

He replied, “Asceticism (zuhd), and something else even better.”

The Prophet asked: “And what is that?”

He replied, “Sincerity, and something even better.”

The Prophet asked: “And what is that?”

He replied, “Conviction, and something even better.”

The Prophet asked: “And what is that, O Gabriel?”

To which he replied: “The forerunner to that is complete reliance on Allah, Might and Exalted.”

So I, the Prophet, asked: “And what is complete reliance on Allah?”

He replied: “It is to know that a creature of Allah can neither harm nor benefit, nor give nor withhold. It is to remove any hopes one may have in mere creatures. If a servant is like this, who does not do anything for anyone apart from Allah, and he has neither hope nor fear in anyone but Allah, and he does not desire anything from anyone except Allah, then this is complete reliance.”

I said, “O Gabriel, what is the significance of patience?”

He replied: “It is to be patient in both good times as well as bad, in poverty as well as in wealth, in times of tribulation as well as in comfort. It is such that the servant does not complain of his situation or of any adversity that has befallen him to any other creature.”

I asked: “Then what is the significance of contentment?”

He replied: “It is to be contented with whatever is bestowed on him in the world, to be contented with the little he has and to be grateful for the simple things.”

Then I asked, “What is the significance of satisfaction?” He replied: “The one who is satisfied does not resent his Master for what has befallen him (or not been bestowed on him) in this world, neither is he satisfied with himself for carrying out mere simple actions.”

Then I asked, “O Gabriel, then what is the significance of asceticism?”

To which he replied: “He loves whatever his Creator loves, and dislikes whatever his Creator dislikes; he refrains from even from the lawful things (halal) in this world and does not even glance at the prohibited (haram) things, as he considers the lawful things to be accountable and the prohibited things as a punishment. He has mercy on all Muslims as well as on himself. He abstains from talking as one would abstain from a corpse whose stench was unbearably strong. He abstains from the vanities and adornment of this world just as if he were running away from the fire that was consuming them and reducing his hopes. He always has [awareness of] his death in front of him.”

I asked: “O Gabriel, what is the significance of sincerity?”

He replied: “The sincere person is one who does not ask anyone for anything until he finds it, and when he finds it himself, he is satisfied. If he has anything left over, he gives it away in the way of Allah. In refraining from asking creation, he has truly attested to the worship of Allah. And in his satisfaction at finding it, it is with Allah that he is satisfied, and Allah is pleased with him in turn. In his giving for the sake of Allah, it is as if he has trusted his Lord.”

I asked: “What is the significance of conviction?”

He replied: “The believer acts for Allah as if he sees Him, for even if he does not see Allah, Allah still sees him. And it is to know with full certainty that that
which befalls him does not do so in order to make him fail, nor is his failure meant as a tribulation for him. These are all branches of complete reliance (on Allah) and forerunners to asceticism.””

— by way of excerpt from Kitab Jihad al-Nafs (Combat with the Self) from
Wasa’il al-Shi’a by Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-Hurr al-‘Amili, no 20257 (31), translated by Nazmina A. Virjee

About Adib

Brother Adibudeen has worked for the unity of Muslims since the inception of One Ummah Network. He accepted Islam in 1995 and has been working to increase his knowledge and unite Muslims ever since. His responsibilities include the oversight of both One Ummah Network and Bayt al-Hikmah Islamic Library.

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