Selected Ahadith on Piety

Presented herein under are selected traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (saws) in which he explains the position of a Muslim with regard to his relation to this world and the hereafter. This world (dunya) is only a means for attaining salvation in the Hereafter (Akhira); indeed, just a travel route to the real destination.


1. `Abdullah (ibnMas`ud) says once the Prophet (saws) lay down on a mat. It left its marks on his body. I told him: “By my father and mother, Apostle of Allah, had you allowed us we would have spread something that would have comforted you.” He said: “What do I have to do with this world? I and this world are like a wayfarer who rested under a tree for a while and then went away leaving it (all) behind him.”

2. Ibn `Umar (ra) says the Prophet (saws) once held a part of my body and said: “O Abdullah. Live in the world as if you are a stranger or like a passer-by. And count yourself of those in the grave.”


The narrator does not say what part of his body did the Prophet (saws) hold. It was not his hand obviously. It could have been his shoulders, or maybe he held his arms around him. Whatever, it seems to be one of those gestures that the Prophet (saws) employed to link the words he said with an unusual action, in order to help the person remember his words. Whenever Abdullah would have thought of the Prophet (saws) holding him that way, those words would have come to the surface of his mind refreshing the memory. Without that gesture accompanying the words, he could as well have forgotten the words also.

3. Mu`adhibnJabal says the Prophet (saws) said: “Shall I not tell you about the kings of Paradise?” I said: “Please do.” He said: “A weak man, rendered helpless (by circumstances), clad in two tattered garments, to whom no one pays any attention, but [of such worth with Allah (swt) that] were he to swear (in the name of Allah), Allah (swt) would fulfill (his oath).”

4, Abu Zarr (ra) reports the Prophet (saws) as having said: “Those who possess a lot (of wealth) will be the lower ones in the Hereafter, save him who spent it this way and that way – and his earning had been by lawful means.”

5. `Abdullah ibn `Amribn al-`As (ra) reported that the Prophet (saws) as having said: “Prosperous is he who was guided to Islam, has been fed with what is just sufficient for him, and is content with it.”


So prosperity is not the other name of wealth. It is to be, first of all, assured of a place with Allah (swt) in the hereafter, and given just enough for his physical survival: enough food, drink, and shelter, and when sick, some simple medicine. But man is not merely his physical body. He has a heart too. If it is restless, neither wealth nor poverty matter. Hence the contentment of the heart which can be defined as being satisfied with what one has.And what better road can there be to prosperity?

6. Abu Salamah (ra) says once `A’isha (ra) said: “Sometimes a month would pass over the household of the Prophet during which smoke would not have risen from any of his homes.” I asked her: “What did they eat then?” She said: “The two dark commodities: dates and water, save that our Ansar neighbors – and they were true neighbors – sometimes sent him milk of goats that they reared in their houses.”


`Ayesha (ra) used the word “dark” to describe dates and water because in those day water from the wells used to be brackish and appeared dark in a jug.

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