The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Have no desire for this world and Allaah will love you; and have no desire for what people possess and the people will love you.” [Ibn Maajah] [Al-Albaani: Saheeh]
The essence of asceticism in this world is to abandon whatever will not benefit you in the Hereafter, and to be more certain of what is in the hand of Allaah The Almighty than you are of what is in your own hands. In such a case, you would consider that all the superfluous pleasures are dispensable.
Just keep the food, drink and clothes that satisfy your needs and allow you to reach the eternal world safely. You must remember that your journey is long and your age is short. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “Sufficient for you in this world are the provisions of the traveler.” [At-Tabaraani and Al-Bayhaqi] [Al-Albaani: Saheeh]
Umm Ad-Dardaa’, may Allaah be pleased with her, said, “I asked Abu Ad-Dardaa’, ‘Why do you not do your best to get such-and-such like so-and-so?’ He answered,‘I heard the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, saying:“You are going to face an insurmountable obstacle that the people who carry heavy things cannot pass.” So, I want to carry light things for the sake of this obstacle.’” [At-Tabaraani with Saheeh chain of narrators]
The righteous worshipper, ‘Aamir ibn ‘Abd Qays, may Allaah have mercy upon him, used to say, “The main worldly pleasures are women, clothes, food and sleep. As for women, I swear by Allaah that I do not care whether I see a woman or a she goat. As for the clothes, I do not care as long as I cover my ‘Awrah (parts of the body that must be covered). With regard to food and sleep, they have overcome me, but I will do my best to keep them within the minimum limits.” Al-Hasan, may Allaah have mercy upon him, commented, “By Allaah, he indeed kept them within the minimum limits.”
We may inquire and ask: Why did he do so? He said, “I swear by Allaah that I would get rid of all concerns except one if I could!”
Al-Hasan, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said, “I swear by the Lord of the Ka’bah that he did so. Therefore, Allaah The Almighty helped him to dedicate his heart to the love of Allaah The Almighty and attach it to Him alone. Hence, he cared for no perishable worldly pleasure, as the provision of your Lord is better and more enduring.”
You may ask me for practical steps, and I tell you,
To relinquish this worldly life and expel it from your heart:
- Mention death frequently.
- Visit the graves.
- Try to wash a dead person.
- Visit the sick people who suffer from incurable diseases.
- Try to see someone dying to witness the agonies of death.
- Write your will and review it at least once a month.
- Read books that soften the heart, listen to religious sermons, and lectures that remind you of the Last Day.
- Change your habits.
- Accustom yourself to eating any kind of food, sleeping in any place, and wearing any clothes, whether old or new.
- Fast frequently, and help the poor and the needy.
- Try to sleep at least one time on the ground.
Attaining this sublime status, will make you relinquish this world and love Allaah The Almighty.