Allah Ta’ala states:
“…So that you do not grieve over what you have lost nor become proud over what you have.”
Rasulullah (saws) said: “The first virtue of this Ummat is yaqeen (firm faith) and zuhd, and the first corruption of this Ummat is bukhl (niggardliness) and amal (distant and remote hopes).”
Nature of Zuhd
Zuhd is to refrain from an object of desire in the pursuit of a nobler objective, e.g. refraining from the desire of the world and pursuing the desire of the Akhirat. This is Zuhd. The basis of Zuhd is the Nur and Ilm which Allah Ta’ala inspires into the heart of man. As a result, his breast expands and he realises with clarity that the world with all its belongings is more contemptible than the wing of a fly and that only Akhirat is noble and everlasting. When this Nur is acquired, the worthlessness of the world fully dawns upon man. The effect of Zuhd is the attainment of contentment upon the obtainal of the bare necessities of life. Thus the Zahid (the one who has Zuhd) is satisfied with the bare necessities in the same way as the traveller is satisfied with the necessities which he takes along on his sojourn.
Zuhd is not abstention from pleasures. Reduction of pleasures is sufficient for the attribute of Zuhd. In other words, one should not be engrossed in pleasures. Constantly hankering after luxuries is negatory of Zuhd. On the contrary, obtainal of luxuries without undue effort and arrangement is the ni’mat of Allah Ta’ala, for which shukr (gratefulness) has to be offered. Along with granting comfort to the nafs, effort too should be imposed on it.
In all truth, gold and silver and the world with all its possessions, in the sight of one whose gaze is focussed on Allah, are of no value. Rasulullah (saws) never preferred the world for himself nor for those close to him. Whatever creation possesses is the material of the world. It is essential to sever one’s hope from all things. He who is successful in this objective, will attain tranquillity, because both heart and body find rest and peace in Zuhd.
The manner in which to acquire Zuhd is to meditate on the defects, harms and ephemeral nature of the world, as well as to reflect on the benefits and the everlasting nature of the Akhirat.