This is the seventh in a series of articles on how to live simply and practice renunciation from the On Demand Course: Living Simply or How to Practice Zuhd in Complex Times.
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) reportedly said, “Glad tidings be for one guided to Islam; whose living is based on sufficiency; and who is content.”
Guided to Islam is not just that they became Muslim. Glad tidings be to one guided to submitting. They see themselves as a servant of God. What is my purpose in life? To submit to God. What is my sense of joy? In being a servant of God.
If your living is based on sufficiency, you can prioritize what matters. Whether Allah has granted you a lot or a little, you are content because your happiness is not in the fleeting, it is in the lasting.
From the time of our master Umar, as the Muslims expanded across the lands and great wealth was pouring into the cities and the lands of Islam, one of the greatest emphases of the early Muslims was always renunciation.
Many of those who wrote about renunciation were not poor. They had wealth, were able to travel, able to provide well for their families. They were able to be exceedingly generous to their students and others, and they gave a lot in charity. But, they were not attached to the matters of this life.
It is important to read the biographies of the early Muslims.
Renunciation has a spiritual consequence. We are seeking something which is the love of Allah. To attain the love of Allah, we need to free up our time, our attention, our concern, our lifestyle, and our choices to make Deen happen.
Pursue to put our focus upon Allah and the way of seeking His good pleasure in devotion, life choices and priorities. The heart of Renunciation is leaving what busies you away from Allah.
There is a living consequence to renunciation also. Renunciation is not about austerity, although, you might be making some austere choices. Rather, It is about leaving excess. It is to leave that which does not benefit. To leave that which Allah does not accept, which is not pleasing to Allah. It is to leave that which busies you away from Allah.
You are not leaving and doing without, but rather, you are choosing Allah and you are acquiring a greater attachment to God and a greater attachment to good. You are leaving the lesser for the greater and more lasting.
The good of this life is not just the fleeting pleasures of this life. When we say, “O Lord, grant us in this life good,” the good of this life are the things that you incline towards that are a means of the good pleasure of Allah. That is our notion of the good of this life and the good of the next.
Happiness comes from accepting what Allah sends you and seeking Allah’s pleasure in whatever Allah sends you, with certitude that He will grant you eternally. This is why we leave what busies and burdens. This is what gives contentment.
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) was not renouncing with a sense of burden. He was not renouncing in some austere manner. The companions never saw anyone smile more than the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) smiled more than others because he was always pleased. His pleasure was not in the fleeting, his pleasure was with Allah. He was pleased with Allah so he was smiling out of contentment with Allah.
He was always cheerful, yet, he had a deep sense of responsibility. Always full of concerns.