This is the 14th Part on the Series ‘Images from Seerah’s Album’.
Now I open another part of my album for an image that depicts what what you would call the Prophet’s lifestyle. This will be the last image.
The Twelfth Image – Life Austere not Opulent
This picture has been drawn by Umar ibn al Khattab (radhiyallaahu anhu). He narrates: “Once when I presented myself before the Prophet (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him), he was sitting in an upper chamber. I glanced around the room and could see these things only: There was only one piece of cloth on his body; a bedstead without bedding, only one pillow. On one side were lying a handful of barley. In a corner near his sandals was an animal-skin. A few skins, which served as water bags, were hanging on a peg’. ‘Seeing this’. Umar says, ‘Tears started running down my cheeks.’
“The Prophet (sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam) asked the reason why I was weeping. I said, ‘O Prophet of Allah, why should I not weep’? The bedstead strings leave their marks on your body. This small room is what contains all your belongings and I can see what it has. Caesar and Cyrus indulge in all the pleasures of the world and you, the Messenger of Allah and Most revered one, live in sheer austerity.’
The Prophet (sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam) said, “O Son of Khattab, would you not prefer that they should get this world and we the Hereafter?” (Bukhari).
He who had access to everything in the world did not amass anything. He gave away whatever was brought to him. He could have lived like Caesar and Cyrus and enjoyed the luxuries had he but desired. But he was more comfortable in the lifestyle of a ‘fakir’ (hermit).
The Traditions tell us that the Prophet (sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam) was fond of perfumes and sometimes wore fine clothes and also ate the roasted shoulder of goat-mutton with relish.
Abdullah ibn Abbas (radhiyallaahu anhu) says that he saw the Prophet (sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam) in the best of clothes. (Abu Dawood)
Once Abdullah bin Umar (radhiyallaahu anhu) bought a Syrian gown. When he got home he noticed that there were red stripes on it.. He went back and returned the gown. Somebody narrated the incident to Asma, daughter of Abu Bakr (radhiyallaahu anhu). She asked someone to bring her a gown which belonged to the Prophet (sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam) and showed it to the people. On the pocket and sleeves and the shirt there were stripes of colorful silk (Abu Dawood).
Every follower of Prophet Muhammad (sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam) is not required to live a life of austerity. How could the Prophet (sal-lal-laahu-alaihi-wa-sallam) forbid the attractions the Lord of the Worlds has allowed?
The spirit of this picture is that to choose the way of the Truth is to choose the rewards of the Hereafter. Those few who have chosen the Hereafter, whose life-mission is to bring the world to the worship of the Almighty Allah must clean their hearts of any desire for the luxuries and the glory of this world as an objective. Anything which is gained at the cost of the Hereafter, is no gain at all; it is sheer loss. The worries and concerns that fill the hearts of the worldly should not allure them.
That is why it has been advised that your eyes should not waver. They should not look for an ideal in the life-styles of those whose riches and prosperity is confined to this world alone. They have grand houses decorated with marble; they have beautiful gardens, their floors are covered with precious rugs, their rooms are furnished in style, air-conditioned and cluttered with modern gadgets. They have long pockets and big bank balances. None of these things is prohibited to you but none of them should ever be your aim and objective. It is better not to have them if you can only have them at the expense of the da’wah work, your mission, and your duty. They are prohibited at such a terrible price.
“And do not extend your eyes toward that by which We have given enjoyment to [some] categories of them, (its being but] the splendor of worldly life by which We test them. And the provision of your Lord is better and more lasting”. (Surah TaHa 20:131)
….To be continued, Inshaa’Allah.