Ramadhaan & Zuhd

 Zuhd what does it mean?

Az-Zuhd, in the Arabic language, the language of Islam, entails abandoning a matter while despising it and while belittling its significance, so that one will exchange it for what is more significant.

Imam Az-Zuhry also said that Az-Zuhd, “Entails avoiding thanking Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala only for the ‘Halal, and avoiding being patient only with the ‘Haram.” 

The author of Al-Lisan (a dictionary on the Arabic language) commented on the statement of Az-Zuhry,“He means that one should not only thank Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for the permissible things that He has given him (but also for the obligations, for their rewards with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala are significant), and should avoid restricting his patience to avoiding the impermissible (but couple that with avoiding enjoying all types of the ‘Halal, as an act of modesty, patience and Zuhd).”

(Imaam Hassan Al-Basri : “Zuhd in this world is not achieved by prohibiting the permissible, nor by giving away all of ones wealth. Rather, it means being more certain in what Allaah has in His hands than about what one has in his hands.” 

Momenet with our Beloved

The best of teachers of mankind  said: “The worst cavity one fills is one’s belly, if you must eat make sure you full one third of your stomach with food, one third with water and leave one third for air (i.e. leave it empty.)” [At-Tirmithi]

The beloved messenger  would also encourage finishing our food so nothing is left in the plate to be thrown away, and he would encourage even licking the fingers (if one ate using hands), or giving your plate to someone else to do the same.

Another narration says that one should not leave even a morsel of food to be thrown away: “for you do not know where the blessing is.”[Muslim]

Compare these standards to our way of eating, particularly during Ramadhaan. Every known recommendation of the beloved Messenger  is flouted. Food is extravagant and everyone attempts to fill his or her stomach to the brim. It has become an ironical joke that people gain instead of losing weight during Ramadhaan. The discipline and self-restraint of the day is more than compensated for during the lavish dinners. Taraweeh prayer is difficult and often skipped as a result of extravagant engagement with food. Worse yet, the left over food is sometimes thrown away carelessly.

Ramadhaan is a month of zuhd, and this pattern must change if the Muslims are to ever earn zuhd and spiritual as well as physical benefit from this sacred month. Some practical tips:

  • Eat measured, moderate amount of healthy meals in Suhoor (pre-dawn meal) and Iftaar (evening break-fast(

  • When at some generous host’s place or at a restaurant, do not feel obliged to finish it all, and have the packed for you to eat later. Don’t be intimidated by un-Islamic pride – no morsel of food in your possession should be wasted. Food we eat is sacred in that it is given by Allaah and is full of His blessings – this is our religious value.

  • Invite poor people in your community to break their fast with you; their respect for food and Allaah’s provisions is often a good lesson.

  • Remember the Prophet’s advice on eating moderately – print it out and post it by your dining table if possible.

  • Particularly while fasting, prevent your heart from getting engaged in something of this world – food, clothes, celebrities, buildings, or people. An excellent religious teaching of some of our scholars is to cast down our eyes and say ‘Subhanallaah’ (perfection is for Allaah) whenever something of this world catches our fancy to the point of making us forget Allaah.

  • Pick out audio lectures of scholars whose speech affects your heart, or recitation of the Quran by your favorite reciters, and make it a habit to listen to them attentively and regularly while driving or at home.

  • Remember the Saying of Allaah (which means) “…the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children….” [Quran 57: 20]