Meaning of the Hadith: Renounce the World and Renounce What is with the People

عَنْ أَبِي الْعَبَّاسِ سَهْلِ بْنِ سَعْدٍ السَّاعِدِيّ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ: جَاءَ رَجُلٌ إلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه و سلم فَقَالَ: يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ! دُلَّنِي عَلَى عَمَلٍ إذَا عَمِلْتُهُ أَحَبَّنِي اللهُ وَأَحَبَّنِي النَّاسُ؛ فَقَالَ: “ازْهَدْ فِي الدُّنْيَا يُحِبَّك اللهُ، وَازْهَدْ فِيمَا عِنْدَ النَّاسِ يُحِبَّك النَّاسُ” .
حديث حسن، رَوَاهُ ابْنُ مَاجَهْ [رقم:4102]، وَغَيْرُهُ بِأَسَانِيدَ حَسَنَةٍ.

On the authority of Abu al-’Abbas Sahl bin Sa’ad as-Sa’idee (may Allah be pleased with him) who said:A man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said, “O Messenger of Allah, direct me to an act which, if I do it, [will cause] Allah to love me and the people to love me.” So he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,
“Renounce the world and Allah will love you, and renounce what the people possess and the people will love you.”

A hasan hadeeth related by Ibn Majah and others with good chains of authorities.

Ibn Majah and imam Nawawi’s 40

This hadith could also be translated “renounce worldliness and Allah will love you; renounce what is in the hands of people and people will love you.”

Zuhd is non-attachment. Dunya can refer to this world, but in the negative sense in the Qur’an and the sunnah, it refers to anything that busies you from Allah ﷻ. So be unattached to worldiness and Allah ﷻ will love you. Only by detaching from the things that busy you away from Allah ﷻ can you become attached to Allah ﷻ and the things that lead to Him ﷻ. Concern for people and what they say and have are what cause malice, envy, enmity, and all those qualities that stir difficulty and distress insha’Allah.

(I asked sheikh Faraz Rabbani about this hadith and this was his answer)

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