In the name of All°h, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

Topic of Discussion Topic of Discussion Topic of Discussion Topic of Discussion: :: : A AA Advice Given to Ab£ Dharr dvice Given to Ab£ Dharr dvice Given to Ab£ Dharr dvice Given to Ab£ Dharr – –– – Sustenance Sustenance Sustenance Sustenance
Øad¢th # Øad¢th # Øad¢th # Øad¢th #3 33 34 44 4 [ Discussion # [ Discussion # [ Discussion # [ Discussion #4 44 46 66 6 ] ]] ]
Lectures on Akhl°q given by His Eminence
Ayatull°h al-`U®m° al-Ø°jj ash-Shaykh N°•ir Mak°rim ash-Sh¢r°z¢ (may All°h protect him)

Translated by Saleem Bhimji – www.al-mubin.org – al-mubin@al-mubin.org
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Topic: Advice Given to Abu Dharr - Sustenance

Text of the Øad¢th:

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:`, · `. - ' - . .`. ´· ¸· :`, · ¸ · : ¸`. `· ; ¸`, `·`· · : .` .: .`· `·
· · ,- ` `· . :`· . ·· - `: · · , ' -.` .· ' . :` ·` · .`· . ¸ . .`· ' ` `·`· . .
TRANSLATION TRANSLATION TRANSLATION TRANSLATION: It has been narrated from Ab¢ Dharr (may All°h be pleased with him) that he said, ‘The
Messenger of All°h (blessings of All°h be upon him and his family) said to a person whom he was advising,
“Reduce the base desires (the desires of your soul) and poverty shall become easy upon you (to bear); and lessen
the sins so that death shall become easy for you to endure; and send things from your own wealth ahead for
yourself, so that by seeing this (on the Day of Judgment), you shall become happy; and be content with that
which is given to you so that your accountability and reckoning is reduced; and do not busy yourself with the
sustenance which is guaranteed to reach you (and do not develop greed to this part of the provision which is
guaranteed to reach you) so that you do not disregard the obligatory acts which are upon you (to perform), since
surely that which has been set aside for you will not leave your hand (it shall surely reach you), and that which
has left your hand (that which you have lost from sustenance) will never come back again. So then do not
struggle to attain those things which are not pure and which will be destroyed, and do not put forth struggle for
those things which are temporal. Rather, struggle for those things which are perpetual and which will last
forever (in the next life).”
Commentary of Øad¢th:

In this ¶ad¢th, the Messenger of All°h (blessings of All°h be upon him and his family) has given us various pieces
of advice, and at the end of his speech, has spoken about the issue of sustenance.

Bi¶°r al-Anw°r, Volume 74, Page 187
First Commandment: Reducing our Base Desires First Commandment: Reducing our Base Desires First Commandment: Reducing our Base Desires First Commandment: Reducing our Base Desires
If we are able to reduce our lower desires, then surely poverty will be something easy to bear!

All of the wealth which exists within the world can be spent in three areas: 1) 1) 1) 1) the n the n the n the necessities of ecessities of ecessities of ecessities of l ll life ife ife ife; 2) 2) 2) 2) the t the t the t the things hings hings hings
for one’s for one’s for one’s for one’s own personal own personal own personal own personal welfare welfare welfare welfare; and 3) 3) 3) 3) o oo our lower desires ur lower desires ur lower desires ur lower desires.

The amount which is spent on the necessities of life is the smallest portion spent (out of all three areas), where as
we see that the amount spent on satisfying our lower desires and passions is where the most amount of wealth
goes to. It is because of this reason that the Noble Prophet (blessings of All°h be upon him and his family) has
told us that if we reduce our base and lower desires, then poverty would be easy upon us, since the majority of
people who are poor are not deprived in relation to their primary needs and necessities (of life). The issue of
being in a state of poverty is in relation to either our welfare (other necessities or needs we have) and well-being,
or in areas of our base and lower desires (our greed).

For example, a person may believe that the house in which he is living in is too small for him and thus, he goes
out to find a bigger house. There are also other issues such as this which are termed as “unnecessary
expenditures” which are, many times, placed ahead (on our list of priorities) as being necessary and essential
requirements for us. However, in reality we see that it is truly not like this!

There are many people who, in order to gain the material things of life which they truly do not need, who will go
through great lengths and pains to gain those things. They have a house which is acceptable according to their
status and needs and their loans are all paid up, however they stop and ponder for a while and think to

·· ·· ¸` -` · ·· `¸ ·
“Of the means of felicity for a person is to have a large house.”

In addition to this they also think that, “Tomorrow, my young children shall grow up, my relatives will come
over to my house and …” In summary, slowly, slowly, he will make up excuses for himself and thus, in the end,
he will end up selling his old house and through taking loans and mortgages, will purchase a new house!

Of the troubles with people is that they are not able to put up with the challenges of life – there must be
challenges and difficulties within your life! In summary, their apparent “troubles” are actually no troubles at all!

In reality, we see that this issue (which has just been mentioned) is a very dangerous issue for those people who
are involved in the spreading of the religion (of Isl°m) [the Scholars] since actions which require thought such as
`Ib°dat (worship) also require presence of the heart, and if there is no presence of the heart, then a person is not
able to study, teach, nor would he able to even write anything!

We do not say that if All°h (Glory and Greatness be to Him) gives a person something (materialistically
speaking), that he must throw that thing away! Rather, our discussion is focusing on this issue which is that it is
not correct to take these things as being the necessities of one’s life which one should spend his entire life running
after. When a person does not have the base desires, then he is definitely not poor.

Of course, we must accept that even within the basic necessities of life, there are some people who are definitely
poor and needy (their basic needs).

Second Second Second Second Comman Comman Comman Commandment: Reducing our Sins dment: Reducing our Sins dment: Reducing our Sins dment: Reducing our Sins
There is a relationship between reducing the number of sins which we perform and the ease at the time of our
death which we will experience, and it is for this reason that the Prophet (blessings of All°h be upon him and his
family) has spoken these lofty words.

At this point, we must ask ourselves: Why does humanity fear death?

We see that people fear death since they feel it is complete annihilation and non-existence and since death brings
about with it the end of all things, and because of the fact that these people do not see death as being a journey
through the valley towards perpetual existence and a much more spacious world (compared to this world).

It is natural that a person fears darkness and annihilation - however, if that person was a true believer (Mo˜min),
then he would definitely not fear death, and this is one of the greatest services which the Prophets have assisted
mankind with – that they have taken away the fear and terror of death from them.

Of course, it is very well possible that a person is a true believer (Mo˜min) and would have firm conviction in the
next life, however since his book of deeds is dark and blackened over, he would be fearing death and for such a
person, there is no other avenue open, except for repentance for his sins.

Death is as a coarse, but colorful woolen garment for the believer which he seeks to take off of his body, and from
which he steps out of this cramped and dark world, into the presence of the close, intimate friends of All°h (Glory
and Greatness be to Him):

' ,` ' `¸` - ' ·`- ¸ ·`.` ' ´ ·
“The world is the prison for a believer and a paradise for the disbeliever.”

And thus, if the door of the prison was to open, and it was said to the prisoner, “Go ahead, come out, you are
free”, would he be upset at this?

Thus, to be freed from this world has no grief or hurt associated with it!

Of course, this sentence also has another interpretation which is that it is through the continuous sins which result
in the fact that which the time of death approaches, death becomes very difficult for the person to bear. By this
we mean that since the person has such a close and strong affinity with this material world and the relationship is
so intense, we see that at the time of his death and when the soul is coming out of him, death is extremely painful
for him to bear. However, if he were not to commit sins, then it would be very easy for his soul to leave his body.

Third Third Third Third Comman Comman Comman Commandment: Refraining from the Worship of this Material World dment: Refraining from the Worship of this Material World dment: Refraining from the Worship of this Material World dment: Refraining from the Worship of this Material World
At this junction, we see that the Prophet (blessings of All°h be upon him and his family) pays special attention to
the next life and the fact that one must not strive for the affairs of this material world – and in more correct terms,
he has invited us to refrain from the worship of this material world.

In yet other terms, we see that this ¶ad¢th tells us that, “All°h will make your sustenance reach to you and He has
guaranteed this to you and this amount will never slip from you, thus, you should not be busying yourself with
showing greed in the seeking of wealth such that through this you end up not performing the obligatory acts
which are incumbent upon you.”
And just as is commonly said, “Whatever is in your destiny will reach you.”
In continuation, the Prophet (blessings of All°h be upon him and his family) has then stated that, “Do not think
that by working with your hands and feet that that which has been specified for you to reach will not reach to you
or that that which should not reach to you, will reach to you.” Therefore, in the affairs of those things which are
not permanent, do not put forth a great struggle. Rather, in order to secure the next life – which is perpetual and
ever lasting, struggle hard!

At this point, it is incumbent to mention the following issues:

1. In relation to one’s sustenance, there are some very intricate and complex expressions and interpretations given
in the verses of the Noble Qur˜°n and the a¶°d¢th and at first glance, it may seem that they go against one another.

From one point of view, we see that in the verses of the Qur˜°n and the ahadth, it has been frequently mentioned
that the sustenance (which shall reach us) has already been apportioned (by All°h, Glory and Greatness be to

For example, in one verse of the Qur˜°n we read that:

· · `¸ · · ·` ¸ ' . ¸` . ¸ · ' .·` · ...
“There is not a single creature upon the Earth, except that upon All°h is its sustenance.”

Or for example, as it has been mentioned in the a¶°d¢th that so long as a person is alive, his sustenance will
continue to reach him.

It was one asked from the Prophet of All°h (blessings of All°h be upon him and his family), “If a person is locked
inside a room and all of the ways to get out of that room are closed to him, them how would his sustenance reach
to him?” The Prophet (blessings of All°h be upon him and his family) replied, “His sustenance would reach to
him from that same channel that death would reach to him and thus, his sustenance would reach to him.”

Thus, according to these verses and the a¶°d¢th, the sustenance which we shall gain is something promised and
guaranteed for us.

Opposite to this point of view, we see that we have a¶°d¢th which invite us to strive and struggle and tell us to
wake up early in the morning from our sleep and to go after our earnings since the person who is idle and
unemployed is cursed. Thus, through things such as farming, animal husbandry, etc... we must seek to gain our

In the beginning, it seems as if there is an dissimilarity between these two views, however, it may be possible to
rationalize the contrasting views by stating that the sustenance which has been guaranteed to reach the person
has - just as there are conditions for our prayers to be accepted – also has conditions related to it.

Therefore, we see that one of the conditions for this sustenance is that we must put forth effort and struggle, and
with this summary, the dissimilarity is removed.

2. Throughout the world, there are millions of people who die due to hunger, and if the sustenance was divided
(by All°h, Glory and Greatness be to Him), then why is it that all of these people are dying?

If we see that people are dying of hunger, then this is a sign of the oppression and tyranny of humanity. For
example, if we have an oppressor who is placing oppressed and subjugated people in prison and is not giving
them food so that they die of hunger, we are not able to think that this is the fault of the Creator of the Universe!

The continent of Africa has the largest number of people who are sacrificed due to hunger and starvation,
however at the same time, it is full of diamonds and other important, valuable minerals! There is a group of
oppressors who are taking this wealth, and then on the other hand we see that excess food is thrown away in the
garbage and thus because of this, we see that others die of hunger!

For example, in order for the price of wheat and other goods to not drop in the world markets, we see that some
countries dump truckloads of grain into the oceans or they end up hoarding and storing it - even if this means
paying the price through the sacrifice and deaths of millions of people! Thus, if there were no oppressive people
on the Earth, then such trials and tribulations would definitely not occur.

All°h (Glory and Greatness be to Him) has given us all intelligence so that humanity would travel on the path
using their human nature (Fitrah) which they were created with, and so that for the needs of their material life,
they would strive and struggle and would work for more output and production, however all of this does not go
against the fact that there are a group of people who seek to control and limit this production.

In the a¶°d¢th, there is also another division seen in which sustenance and provisions have been divided into the
following two categories:

1. The sustenance which you you you you want or desire.
2. The sustenance which desires or wants you you you you.

The sustenance too is just like other issues which are related to Qa§° and Qadr (fate and destiny).

The guaranteed and definite sustenance which will reach to a person is that which will – whether we like it or not
– will come to us, while the other one is that which we must go and seek.

From this division of the sustenance which Am¢r al-Mo’min¢n `Al¢ ibn Ab¢ W°lib (prayers be upon him) has
mentioned in Nahjul Bal°gha, it is clear that those a¶°d¢th which tell us that, “The sustenance of a person will
definitely reach him, even if he is in a prison” is in reference to that sustenance which has been guaranteed and
promised for that person.

…and all praise belongs to All°h (Glory and Greatness be to Him), only the mistakes are mine