The Beauty of the Righteous & Ranks of the Elite
Hilyat-ul Awliya Wa Tabaqat al-Asfiya
By Imam Abu Na'im al-Asfahani (948-1038 C.E.)
Trans. by Shaykh Muhammad Al-Akili
© 1996-2016 Pearl Publishing House

V- Under the Canopy of The Prophet's

Mosque. The People of Suffa (Ahlu Suffa)

ascetic nature (nusk), and the applied devotion ('ibãda) of some of the blessed close companions of God's messenger (uwbp), upon whom be peace, who were deeply engrossed in their worship and love for the one and sole Lord of the universe, and who were most solicitous of His kindness and favors. We also read confirming testimonies of some of the leading sheiks,2 teachers, and eminent Imams who were renowned for their truthfulness, devotion and constant remembrance (zikr) of their Lord.
From the aforementioned testimonies, the reader must have recognized that such unique and most pious people are indeed the paragons of virtues, knowledge and deeds, as well as they are the proof of guilt against those who are fascinated by this ephemeral world and its deceptive attractions, and who bask in its pleasures and crave its comforts.
In this section, God willing, we will narrate few of the authentic accounts of another group of extraordinary believers who also lived during the time of God's messenger (uwbp), upon whom be peace, and whose character and devotion are testimonies that had to be protected by several Quranic decrees, and which divine attestations were also given to cast out any personal opinions regarding their ranks, faith, spirituality, and trueness of their devotion.
The few testimonies we are about to narrated were delivered or witnessed by a special group of people who have resigned to their Lord, and they were free from attachment to anything but His acceptance and to the everlasting favor of remaining in His nearness. On the other hand, they recognized well that they cannot receive such blessings without His shield to protect them against the mundane deceptive attractions and calamitous fascinations which are the fabric of this ephemeral world.
Allah, blessed is His Name, made them models of true asceticism and the apotheosis of trueness to oneís Lord for those who want nothing but Him (fuqaraí ila-Allah), and who are in constant need of His favors, and indeed, it is He that made the chosen companions the paragons of knowledge and wisdom. In fact, the truism of ahlu suffa was proven when they renounced the comfort of this world and lived in utter abnegation of its pleasures. They had no family, children, or money. No commerce or circumstances ever distracted them from their perseverance and constant remembrance of their Lord, and hence, they dedicated their entire lives to contemplation, worship, and penitence. They never regretted the pleasures they renounced in this life, and they never rejoiced anything but the strength they were endowed with to continue their striving for the ultimate reward. Their utmost happiness was to be engaged in worshipping their beloved Lord and Master, and their uttermost sorrow was to ever fail their test, or to fall short of correctly performing what they committed their lives to do.
"Such are the Men whom neither business nor trading can divert them from remembering Allah" (Quran 24:37). The material comforts they declined in this life did not drive them to despondence, nor did they ever become confused by the lean portion they took from it. Their Master and King protected them against the evil consequences of indulging in the ephemeral pleasures of this world, and He assisted them to live a pure and a simple life. Thus, He helped them to shun off any attraction to the lures of committing injustices or becoming tyrants. On their part, they refused to feel sorrow for themselves because of what they missed in this world, and instead, they regarded it as insignificant and passing, and they did not take pride of a company that is fated to return to dirt.
941- 'Abdullãh Ibn Wahab narrated that 'Amru Bnul Harïth commented on the Quranic verse "Should Allah have expanded the portion allotted to His servants (in this world), they would definitely fill the land (they can have control over) with injustice," (Quran 42:27), and referring to the people of suffa, He said that, "This is because they said: "If we only had such and such" (Quran 26:102 / 39: 58), and perhaps on their part, they may have once desired the comfort of this world.
942- 'Abdullãh bin al-Mubãrak narrated that Abi Hãni said: ìI heard 'Amru bnu Harïth say that this verse was revealed concerning the people of Suffa, and perhaps at one time they had some inclinations and desire for the world. He then recited the verse, "Should Allah have expanded the portion allotted to His servants (in this world), they would definitely fill the land (they can control) with injustice. Hence, He allots their portions in balanced measures as He wills, for surely He is well acquainted with His servants, and He sees everything." (Quran 42:27).
Al-Hãfiz Abu Na'ïm al-Asfahãni, God bless his soul, in his commentaries about ahlu suffa, said: "Allah, the Lord of majesty and glory, moved their focus away from the world. He made the world look insignificant and small in their eyes. Furthermore, He restricted their access to it in order to protect them against its lures, and to help them eschew transgression and injustices against their own souls or others. Hence, He kept them guarded under the shield of His protection, He lightened their burdens, and guarded their focus against aberrations, so that no wealth in this world could inhibit their concentration and dedication to worship Him, and nothing could lure their hearts or drive them to abandon their stations.
943- 'Abdu-Rahmãn bnu Abi Bakr narrated: "The people of suffa were mostly poor, and God's messenger h, upon whom be peace, used to say, "Whosoever can afford to prepare a meal for two people, should apportion a share to feed a third person, and whosoever can afford to prepare a meal for four people, should apportion a share for a fifth or a sixth person and take it to them."
'Abdu-Rahmãn bnu Abi Bakr then said: "On that evening, Abu Bakr al-Siddïq, God be pleased with him, prepared a meal for three people and he took it to the mosque, while God's messenger h, upon whom be peace, prepared enough food for ten people.

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