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Anyone here ever desired or tried living an ascetic life despite having money and big house. I have always been a minimalist but for quite sometime now I’ve been fascinated by the lifestyle of some great philosophers and scholars and desire to live a more ascetic lifestyle whereby limiting anything beyond the basic including food. However I live with my family and it’s difficult if not impossible to practise it. 

I want to hear of your experiences of how you’ve moved from a normal city lifestyle to an extremely simple and ascetic one and how did the experience make you feel. Is the feeling something ephemeral and you would want to go back to the usual life or it is a forever bliss?

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My advice to anyone interested is to approach this habit by habit rather than taking the plunge all at once. And that you're not removing anything from your life, you're simply replacing it with something else (Cutting out movies and games for books and hobbies). Also please don't take it too far, that's not what Islam is about.

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1 hour ago, guest 2025 said:

My advice to anyone interested is to approach this habit by habit rather than taking the plunge all at once. And that you're not removing anything from your life, you're simply replacing it with something else (Cutting out movies and games for books and hobbies). Also please don't take it too far, that's not what Islam is about.

Yes I’ve done that.. It’s been a year since I haven’t watched any movie and I’ve been reading a lot of books and in fact reading books is what really inspires me to go further.

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9 minutes ago, AmirioTheMuzzy said:

Watch out, it might be Haram.

It’s definitely not haram! There are not one but several hadith advising and praising this kind if lifestyle and it definitely isn’t something that can be undertaken by everyone. 

What is haram in Islam is monasticism and monk lifestyle. Asceticism is different than that.

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1 hour ago, arch1027116 said:

Yes I’ve done that.. It’s been a year since I haven’t watched any movie and I’ve been reading a lot of books and in fact reading books is what really inspires me to go further.

Salam reading books & not watching movies is good but you must have a balanced life style by enjoying everything except haram things that there is a history that during time of Imam Ali (عليه السلام) Caliphate brother of one of his companions tried to live like Imam Ali (عليه السلام) in a ascetic life style like Imam Ali(عليه السلام) stopped him & said as a ruler I must live like most poor people of my community but you must live like other normal people .

1 hour ago, arch1027116 said:

It’s definitely not haram! There are not one but several hadith advising and praising this kind if lifestyle and it definitely isn’t something that can be undertaken by everyone. 

What is haram in Islam is monasticism and monk lifestyle. Asceticism is different than that.

This life style just recommended for people that are in charge of whole community not single persons 

O people! Abstinence (zuhd) is to shorten desires, to thank for bounties and to keep away from what is prohibited. If (all of) this is not possible then (at least) what is prohibited should not overpower your patience; and do not forget gratitude when receiving blessings For Allah has exhausted the excuses before you through clear, shining arguments and open, bright books.

أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ، الزَّهَادَةُ قِصَرُ الاْمَلِ، وَالشُّكْرُ عِنْدَ النِّعَمِ، والورعُ عِنْدَ الْـمَحَارِمِ، فَإِنْ عَزَبَ ذلِكَ عَنْكُمْ فَلاَ يَغْلِبِ الْحَرَامُ صَبْرَكُمْ، وَلاَ تَنْسَوْا عِنْدَ النِّعَمِ شُكْرَكُمْ، فَقَدْ أَعْذَرَاللهُ إِلَيْكُمْ بِحُجَجٍ مُسْفِرَةٍ ظَاهِرَةٍ، وَكُتُبٍ بَارِزَةِ الْعُذْرِ وَاضِحَةٍ.

https://www.al-Islam.org/nahjul-balagha-part-1-sermons/sermon-81-o-people-zuhd-lies

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I'd say pick and choose your halal luxuries 

For me only 2 luxuries are important and I spend well on them [ maybe too much]

Otherwise I drive an old car, live in a humble house [ even with my child] , eat simple food , wear old or donated clothes and shoes.If I go on vacations I drive and not fly.And no expensive furniture or mattresses hand me downs from friends and family.

Some call it being cheap [ it definitely is] but it also gives me QANAT PASANDI or contentment in life and I don’t complain about money and competition in terms of worldly possessions with family and coworkers as I have no money problems 

Funny thing all kids in family think I'm the poorest of all the adults when at eid/ Muharram I park my beat up chevy next to the panzer division of Mercedes,  Audi,  BMW Lexus etc at the imambargah.

Many of my colleagues have mocked me why I'm so cheap,  I reply to them " isn't this what jesus did ? " to Christian's,  " isn't this was Umar did " to Sunnis and so on.

To the minimalist crowd that is en vogue but they are too focused on standing out from everyone by e.g sharing the pics of their dollhouse size small homes.

Asectism is not being a clown , it is blending in with the lowest of the Earth to focus more of your life on spiritual things and not keeping up with the jones 

Asceticism is I think the common thread of all religious faiths and in Islam look at all the major companions and followers we try to emulate were all ascetics .Its a beautiful part of human devotion to Almighty and only a threat to those ruling classes whose authority was undermined by the appeal of ascetics to the masses.Today gods of consumerism have apoplexy if you do not buy into lifestyle escalation esp when you are making decent money, going against that be prepared to ostracized but it's not that bad in actually after a while people get used to it.

Edited by Panzerwaffe

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Something to consider...
http://www.shiavault.com/books/tahzeeb-ul-Islam-Islamic-ettiquettes/chapters/1-etiquette-of-dressing-wearing-shoes

Quote

A historical incident reflecting the attitude of the chosen one of God, Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq ((عليه السلام).) is thus narrated. One of the leaders of the Ascetic Sufi school of thought tried to belittle and tease the Imam ((عليه السلام).) before the whole congregation while he was seated in Masjid al-Haram, elegantly attired. He approached the Imam ((عليه السلام).) and questioned him why he was so decently attired when the Holy Prophet and other ancestors of the Imam ((عليه السلام).) never were. The Imam ((عليه السلام).) recited the following verse from the Holy Book;

Say: (O Our Messenger Mohammed) "Who hath prohibited the adornment (granted) of Allah, which He hath brought forth for His servants and the good things of the provisions?"

and elaborated that in the days of Prophet there was poverty while at present there was economic prosperity and as such pious people had a better right of spending to display the generosity of God. Further, revealing the clothes he was wearing underneath, he said that the outward attire is just for the view of the world but underneath he was coarsely dressed for the sake of his soul.

 

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51 minutes ago, AmirioTheMuzzy said:

Funny thing similar narrations are said about Khalid b Walid and muawiyah I.e outward clothes were rich expensive and inwards were coarse

Sure go ahead base your life philosophy on one narrative that's your choice 

Some issues here 

After khaiber there was no poverty in times of Prophet 

Secondly Imam was clearly trying to refute the " holier than thou" attitude of Sufi which is a common flaw of most opinionated and religious people 

Thirdly no is saying become hippie you can look "normal" and still be ascetic

Fourthly you missed the part coarse clothes "for the sake of his soul" , how people would do that now ?

Fifthly in times of As-Sadiq Muslims lived in a virtual welfare state like western Europe in 21st century , in our times when so much of the ummah is struggling for clean water its hard to justify luxuries 

Edited by Panzerwaffe

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37 minutes ago, AkhiraisReal said:

I honestly think that people would be more happy if they would life a ascetic/non materialistic livestyle. 

This would also probably solve depression for many people. 

Yes social media making it worse too 

I find depression esp amongst holidays and valentine's day SOARS esp amongst younger people

Why? When this the time of happiness supposedly , many factors 

But covetness , profligacy and gluttony prevents us from even enjoying the simple nonmaterialistic things in life 

Edited by Panzerwaffe

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2 hours ago, Ashvazdanghe said:

This life style just recommended for people that are in charge of whole community not single persons 

The excerpt you posted from Nahj Al Balagha does not say so that it is just for people in charge of the community. Infact Allah in hadith Qudsi of ascension talks highly of the people who live an ascetic lifestyle. Whatever the Imams and the Prophets did was an example set for us and sure we can never reach their level of doing a certain act but we can strive to get close to it. I don’t think so they would do a certain thing if it wasn’t recommended for the normal crowd. 

2 hours ago, Ashvazdanghe said:

Imam Ali (عليه السلام) Caliphate brother of one of his companions tried to live like Imam Ali (عليه السلام) in a ascetic life style like Imam Ali(عليه السلام) stopped him & said as a ruler I must live like most poor people of my community but you must live like other normal people .

Can you give me reference for this?

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2 hours ago, AkhiraisReal said:

I honestly think that people would be more happy if they would life a ascetic/non materialistic livestyle. 

This would also probably solve depression for many people. 

l prefer an austere lifestyle -which is what l believe you meant.

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3 hours ago, Panzerwaffe said:

Funny thing similar narrations are said about Khalid b Walid and muawiyah I.e outward clothes were rich expensive and inwards were coarse

This is another forging by Sunni sources that always steal stories from Shia sources to justify these two cursed persons.

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On 3/20/2020 at 11:24 AM, arch1027116 said:

The excerpt you posted from Nahj Al Balagha does not say so that it is just for people in charge of the community. Infact Allah in hadith Qudsi of ascension talks highly of the people who live an ascetic lifestyle. Whatever the Imams and the Prophets did was an example set for us and sure we can never reach their level of doing a certain act but we can strive to get close to it. I don’t think so they would do a certain thing if it wasn’t recommended for the normal crowd. 

Can you give me reference for this?

Then al-’Ala' said to him: O' Amir al-mu'minin, I want to complain to you about my brother ‘Asim ibn Ziyad.

Amir al-mu'minin enquired: What is the matter with him?

al-’Ala' said: He has put on a woollen coat and cut himself away from the world.

Amir al-mu'minin said: Present him to me.

فقال له العلاء: يا أميرالمؤمنين، أشكو إليك أخي عاصم بن زياد. قال: وما له؟ قال: لبس العباءة وتخلّى من الدنيا. قال: عليَّ به.

When he came Amir al-mu'minin said: O enemy of yourself. Certainly, the evil (Satan) has misguided you. Do you feel no pity for your wife and your children? Do you believe that if you use those things which Allah has made lawful for you, He will dislike you? You are too unimportant for Allah to do so.

He said: O Amir al-mu'minin, you also put on coarse dress and eat rough food.

Then he replied: Woe be to you, I am not like you. Certainly, Allah, the Sublime, has made it obligatory on true leaders that they should maintain themselves at the level of low people so that the poor do not cry over their poverty. 1.................https://www.al-Islam.org/nahjul-balagha-part-1-sermons/sermon-209-what-will-you-do-vast-house-world

The Ahl al-Bayt (a) did not consider caring about the world and providing the living sustenance in conflict with zuhd; rather, in their view, attachment to the world is in conflict with zuhd. They considered zuhd an attribute of leaders and the cause of people's happiness. In Shi'a hadiths, some fruits are mentioned for zuhd such as illuminating the heart, speaking words of wisdom and discerning the defects of this world.

Levels

Scholars of ethics have considered three levels for zuhd with regards to giving up the world:

  • First level: Zahid has inclination toward the world but through spiritual struggle, keeps himself away from it. This is the lowest level of zuhd.
  • Second level: Zahid gives up the world voluntarily, but his intention of giving up the world is to reach blessings in the hereafter. In his viewpoint, this world is inconsiderable comparing to the hereafter. In this level, Zahid is like a person who loses one dirham in order to gain two dirhams.
  • Third level: Zahid gives up this world voluntarily and desirably without thinking that he loses anything. This is the highest level of zuhd.

Also in hadiths, zuhd in prohibitions, zuhd in doubtful issues, zuhd in permissible issues are considered among different levels of zuhd.

 

http://en.wikishia.net/view/Zuhd

"It is not asceticism that you are the not owner of something , but asceticism that something is not your owner."

this is a conclusion from Imam Ali (as ) words. 
لَیْسَ الزُّهْدُ اَنْ لا تَمْلِکَ شَیْئاً، بَلِ الزُّهْدُ اَنْ لا یَمْلِکَکَ شَیْءٌ»

https://www.islamquest.net/fa/archive/question/fa84394/tmpl/component/printme/1

https://www.hawzahnews.com/news/377306/چگونه-زهد-را-از-امام-علی-ع-بیاموزیم-زاهد-بودن-به-معنای-فقیر

https://www.porseman.com/article/زهد-امام-علي(ع)--رعايت-اعتدال--اعتدال-در-زندگي/11335

http://ahlolbait.com/article/18843/ترجمه-و-شرح-حکمت-391-نهج-البلاغه-ترغیب-به-زهد-و-نهی-از-غفلت

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20 minutes ago, Ashvazdanghe said:

This is another forging by Sunni sources that always steal stories from Shia sources to justify these two cursed persons.

Yes clearly these narrations were a PR job to absolve two people who were known for worldliness 

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On 3/20/2020 at 1:30 PM, Ashvazdanghe said:

Do you feel no pity for your wife and your children? Do you believe that if you use those things which Allah has made lawful for you, He will dislike you?

You’ve missed the point.. An ascetic who runs away from his responsibilities including the family and the community is not encouraged in Islam but what I am talking about here is giving up the luxuries of life so as to benefit your soul and get close to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). 

You didn’t paste the whole sermon where Imam Ali himself says that a big house in this world is of no use except if it’s used to serve the community.

Amir al-mu'minin went to enquire about the health of his companion al-’Ala' ibn Ziyad al-Harithi and when he noticed the vastness of his house he said:

ومن كلام له (عليه السلام)

بالبصرة، وقد دخل على العلاء بن زياد الحارثي ـ وهو من أصحابه ـ يعوده، فلما رأى سعة داره قال:

What will you do with this vast house in this world, although you need this house more in the next world. If you want to take it to the next world you could entertain in it guests and be regardful of kinship and discharge all (your) obligations according to their accrual. In this way you will be able to take it to the next world.

On 3/20/2020 at 1:30 PM, Ashvazdanghe said:

They considered zuhd an attribute of leaders and the cause of people's happiness. In Shi'a hadiths, some fruits are mentioned for zuhd such as illuminating the heart, speaking words of wisdom and discerning the defects of this world.

Illuminating the heart, speaking words of wisdom and discerning defects of this world is sums is well why we should live a lifestyle like that.

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On 3/20/2020 at 8:46 PM, arch1027116 said:

You’ve missed the point.. An ascetic who runs away from his responsibilities including the family and the community is not encouraged in Islam but what I am talking about here is giving up the luxuries of life so as to benefit your soul and get close to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). 

Living with luxuries  of life isn’t in contradiction with being ascetic in your life there is rich people that have luxury life but spend their wealth for poor people but you can find poor people that don’t help anybody & only think to steal from other people & have great hunger for worldly things .

On 3/20/2020 at 8:46 PM, arch1027116 said:

You didn’t paste the whole sermon where Imam Ali himself says that a big house in this world is of no use except if it’s used to serve the community.

I just payed the part that you wanted but Imam Ali (عليه السلام) point was that we must have balance in our life as not having such big house also refraining from acting like other brother that left his family in trouble so both of them had wrong attitude that Imam Ali (عليه السلام) fixed errors of both of them .

On 3/20/2020 at 8:46 PM, arch1027116 said:

Illuminating the heart, speaking words of wisdom and discerning defects of this world is sums is well why we should live a lifestyle like that.

With a balanced life style you can reach to whole of it but you must avoid both example in above story.

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On 3/20/2020 at 4:17 PM, Panzerwaffe said:

Yes social media making it worse too 

I find depression esp amongst holidays and valentine's day SOARS esp amongst younger people

Why? When this the time of happiness supposedly , many factors 

But covetness , profligacy and gluttony prevents us from even enjoying the simple nonmaterialistic things in life 

social media is the worst probably. Just bunch of people exposing their private lifes to everybody in the world.

They look so happy in the pictures, but inside most of them are so full of depression.

Edited by AkhiraisReal

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19 hours ago, Lilly14 said:

Just remember if you plan to have a spouse/kids, they might not want the same lifestyle, as in having only the bare minimum basics like food, as you said. 

Yes but show yourself as poor to your wife and kids .

If you spend bare minimum on yourself you will lower your standards too over time

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On 3/21/2020 at 2:46 AM, arch1027116 said:

An ascetic who runs away from his responsibilities including the family and the community is not encouraged in Islam

@arch1027116

On the other hand, today it is very difficult to find people in the community who, even if willing to do so (of whom very few are), are even capable of living righteous lives, given the nature of the globalised economy that does not permit proper religious observance, along with artificial chemicals and electromagnetic frequencies in the environment that have altered people’s DNA, consciousness, and even levels of perception and fitrah, even from the prenatal days. Because we have so polluted our world in every sense, even if we made the best efforts to live properly, we would not even come close to what is required, since often we do not even possess the capacities to do so, thanks to factors that are present and affect us even prior to our birth, including their impacts on the health of the mother and father. Today, people are so disordered and immoral and senseless that solitude may actually be better than friendship or even (permanent) marriage, at least in the majority of cases, since one must consider the spiritual effects of being in bad company (and 99.9% of humanity today is bad company). Of course, one must not sever ties to one’s immediate kin, that is, family, but other than these ties, no other human relationships seem to be worthwhile, at least under most circumstances today.

Edited by Northwest

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23 hours ago, Northwest said:

@arch1027116

On the other hand, today it is very difficult to find people in the community who, even if willing to do so (of whom very few are), are even capable of living righteous lives, given the nature of the globalised economy that does not permit proper religious observance, along with artificial chemicals and electromagnetic frequencies in the environment that have altered people’s DNA, consciousness, and even levels of perception and fitrah, even from the prenatal days. Because we have so polluted our world in every sense, even if we made the best efforts to live properly, we would not even come close to what is required, since often we do not even possess the capacities to do so, thanks to factors that are present and affect us even prior to our birth, including their impacts on the health of the mother and father. Today, people are so disordered and immoral and senseless that solitude may actually be better than friendship or even (permanent) marriage, at least in the majority of cases, since one must consider the spiritual effects of being in bad company (and 99.9% of humanity today is bad company). Of course, one must not sever ties to one’s immediate kin, that is, family, but other than these ties, no other human relationships seem to be worthwhile, at least under most circumstances today.

Very well said.. and that why you see a society where almost everyone is heedless and drowned in this world and the one who is awake feels like a misfit in this world. 

Nonetheless we should always look up to the examples of some great scholars who are living in the present time amidst this world of materialism and yet dedicated to the life of spirituality.

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Well, I'm Catholic  and the early church had plenty of them. Ascetics.

The monks still take vows of poverty.

There are two sacraments of vocation in the Church : Holy Orders ( the priesthood and diaconate) and Marriage.

Considering the ruling on birth control ( leaving aside the fact that plenty of Catholics ignore it) ,I've always felt that a vow of poverty should be tacked right on to those wedding vows.

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5 hours ago, LeftCoastMom said:

Well, I'm Catholic ...

Considering the ruling on birth control ( leaving aside the fact that plenty of Catholics ignore it) ,I've always felt that a vow of poverty should be tacked right on to those wedding vows.

When birth control pills were being developed for manufacture and FDA approval, the Catholic women in Puerto Rico were the guinea pigs, the Church of Rome was the field operatives/organizers and a couple of corporations paid for it.

DES Damage galore. :angry:

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3 hours ago, hasanhh said:

When birth control pills were being developed for manufacture and FDA approval, the Catholic women in Puerto Rico were the guinea pigs, the Church of Rome was the field operatives/organizers and a couple of corporations paid for it.

DES Damage galore. :angry:

Um they need forced sterilization not OCP 

My taxpayers dollars must be better spent than rehabilitation of PR 

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9 hours ago, LeftCoastMom said:

Well, I'm Catholic  and the early church had plenty of them. Ascetics.

The monks still take vows of poverty.

There are two sacraments of vocation in the Church : Holy Orders ( the priesthood and diaconate) and Marriage.

Considering the ruling on birth control ( leaving aside the fact that plenty of Catholics ignore it) ,I've always felt that a vow of poverty should be tacked right on to those wedding vows.

Hi this life style is always tempting for Muslims but it prohibited in Islam also having a lavish luxury life style but Islam recommends a balanced life style between these two but unfortunately we see both Ascetic & lavish life style between Muslims that westerner media are focusing on showing & spreading lavish life style between Muslims.

Edited by Ashvazdanghe

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If I am not mistaken, I read that Imam Ali also refused to live in a historic castle of Kufa, and instead built a humble home (with his own hands) while saying that he insists on living on the level of the poorest people in the Ummah.

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4 minutes ago, 313 Seeker said:

If I am not mistaken, I read that Imam Ali also refused to live in a historic castle of Kufa, and instead built a humble home (with his own hands) while saying that he insists on living on the level of the poorest people in the Ummah.

Yes sir correct 

It was later used by ziyad b abih or his son 

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10 hours ago, 313 Seeker said:

The Prophet used to go spend days in a cave with bare necessities on several occasions in his life. The first time the angel Gabriel revealed to him the Qur'an was in one such instance.

Uwais Qurni and Abdullah b yahya hadrami were also ascetics who were disciples of Imam 

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I remember going without tv and internet for almost a year. it felt like what I think the ppl of sao paulo felt like when their city removed 15,000 billboards overnight. I was able to see and feel things in and around me that I never knew existed. 

it was like one long month of Ramadan. beautiful place to be in. all I did was read the holy book and nahjul balagha and chill with my family. 

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On March 31, 2020 at 7:33 AM, Ashvazdanghe said:

Hi this life style is always tempting for Muslims but it prohibited in Islam also having a lavish luxury life style but Islam recommends a balanced life style between these two but unfortunately we see both Ascetic & lavish life style between Muslims that westerner media are focusing on showing & spreading lavish life style between Muslims.

Catholics are supposed to do the same. Balance.

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