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The Prophet's Abstinence

The Apostle of God was a supreme example in abstinence. It is related that Ibn Abb"s said: 'Once, Omar entered into the presence of the Apostle of God who was seated upon a mat of straw fibres which had left marks upon his side. Omar said: 'O Prophet of God, it would be better if you got a couch for yourself!' He said: 'What have I got to do with this mundane world? As far as myself and this world are concerned, I am like a rider who has travelled on a hot summer's day and taken shade below a tree for an hour or so and then left it and continued his journey.' 64

Ibn Abb"s also said: 'The Apostle of God used to go without eating every other night and his family could find nothing to eat. Mostly their bread was of barley.' 65

It is related that once he washed his robe and was without a robe [until it dried], or he gave his clothes to a poor person and was without clothes himself as he did not own another robe so he covered himself with a straw mat.

In certain Qur'anic commentaries it is said that the meaning of God's words: e?"h" We sent not this Qur'an down upon you so that you might become distressed. 66 is that you are not required to be so harsh with yourself to the extent that you don't have more than one set of clothes to your name so that when you give your clothes to a poor person or wash your clothes you are without clothes and have to cover yourself with straw matting. This was an indication from God that He would be pleased with the Prophet even if he was less of a paradigm.


64. mak"rim al-akhl"q; p.35.

65. al-waf"' bi-a9w"l al-muNUaf"; vol.2, p.298.

66. The Holy Qur'an: ?"h" (20): 1-2. ?"h" is another name for the Prophet.

Adopted from the book : "The Prophet Muhammad; a Mercy to the World" by : "Ayatullah Muhammad Sadiq al-Shirazi"

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