Benefits of Seclusion

Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (radhiallahu `anhu) said, ‘It was said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is the most virtuous deed?‘ He said, ‘Jihad in the way of Allah.’ He said, ‘Then what?’ He said, ‘That a man secludes himself in the mountains fearing Allah and freeing the people from his evil.’ [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Abu Hatim: A person of wisdom should practice secluding himself from the people in general and being cautious of mixing with them…

‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (radhiallahu `anhu) said, ‘Take your portion of seclusion.’

Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah: ‘I saw al-Thawri in my sleep and so I said to him, ‘Advice me.’ He said, ‘Lessen your association with the people, lessen your association with the people, lessen your association with the people.’

Ahmad ibn Hanbal said, ‘I saw Ibn al-Sammak [1] writing to a friend of his (saying), ‘If you can find a way to do so, become a worshiper of Allah alone.’

A group of the mutaqaddimin (the past generations) used to practice ‘Azla (seclusion) both in general and at specific times. Ibn al-Mubarak said, ‘Fudayl went to see Dawud al-Ta’i but Dawud shut the door from him. So Fudayl sat outside weeping and Dawud was inside weeping.’ (i.e. he wanted to practice seclusion although he did not wish to hurt his friend).

‘Abd al-’Aziz ibn al-Khattab: ‘A big black dog was seen lying down next to Malik ibn Dinar [2] so it was said to him, ‘O Abu Yahya! Can’t you see this dog lying next to you?’ He said, ‘It is better than an evil companion.’

Bakr ibn Muhammad al-’Abid: ‘Dawud al-Ta’i said to me, ‘O Bakr! Be afraid of people just like you would be afraid of predatory animals.’

Abu Hatim said:, ‘As for the reason which necessitates a person to seclude himself from people in general, then it is due to the hiding of the khayr (good) and the spreading of the sharr (evil) because people tend to veil the good and instead display evil. So if a person is knowledgeable, the people will cause him to innovate and if a person is ignorant, they insult him. If he is better than them, they become jealous of him and if he is inferior to them, they humiliate him. If he speaks, they say that he talks too much and if he remains quiet, they say that he is incoherent. If he gains power, they say that he is dictatorial and if he is generous they say that he is extravagant. So regret is inevitable in the end and degradation exists the whole time for the one who is fooled by a people whose description is this.

Ibrahim ibn Shimas said: ‘Al-’Akkaf Hafs ibn Humayd [3] who was a companion of Ibn al-Mubarak in Marw said to me, ‘O Ibrahim! I have accompanied people for 50 years but I have not found anyone who concealed my faults, or anyone who kept my ties with him if I cut him off, or anyone who I felt safe from when he was in a state of anger. So being busy with such people is great stupidity.’

Muhammad ibn al-Muhajir al-Ma’dil said the following lines of poetry to ‘Ali ibn Hajr al-Sa’di:

زمانك ذا زمان دخول بيت *** حفظ للسان وخفض صوت
Your life is one of merely entering your home,

And guarding your tongue and lowering your voice.

فقد مرجت عهود الناس إلا *** أقلهم فبادر قبل الموت
For the promises of people have become doubtful
Except for a few, so prepare yourself instead for death

فما يبقى على الأيام شيء *** وما خلق امرؤ إلا لموت
For nothing remains from the days of this world,

And a person has not been created except for death.

Abu Dharr (radhia’Allahu `anhu) said, ‘The people used to be like leaves without any thorns. But today they are thorns without any leaves.’

Al-Qahdhami said,

ذهب الحسن والجمال من النا *** س ومات الذين كانوا ملاحا
Goodness and beauty have deserted the people

And those that were kind and gentle have died

وبقى الأسمجون من كل صنف *** إن في الموت من أولئك راحا
Instead there remains repulsive ones of every type
Indeed, there is in death a relief from those people

Abu Hatim observes: The wise one knows that people are naturally disposed to having certain characteristics and different natures, for everyone wishes to follow those that help and aid him and they abandon whoever opposes him and remains aloof. Whenever a person sees from his brother/friend something which he himself is not used to, he begins to despise him for it; and if something that is different to what is in his heart becomes clear from his friend, he becomes bored of him. Boredom leads to irritancy and irritancy leads to hatred and hatred causes enmity. So being occupied with someone whose nature is this, is foolishness for the wise one.

And indeed, al-Nabahi was right when he said,

ارفض الناس وكل مشغله *** قد بخل الناس بمثل خردله
Abandon the people and their places of occupation
For people are miserly even in a seed’s worth

لا تسأل الناس وسل من أنت له
Do not ask the people but instead
Ask the One who you belong to

Muhammad ibn Ya’qub al-’Abdi said,

إذا قلت: هذا صاحب قد رضيته *** وقرت عيناي, بدلت آخرا
If I said: ‘This is my friend whom I’m happy with
And is a coolness for my eyes’; I end up replacing him

وذلك أني لا أصاحب صاحبا *** من الناس إلا خانني وتغيرا
And that is because I have never befriended someone
Except that they have betrayed me and changed

Malik ibn Dinar said, ‘Whoever does not find delight in the speech of Allah and instead finds it in the speech of people, then surely his knowledge has taken a plunge, his heart has become blind and his life has become wasted.’


[Source: Rawdhatul-’Uqala]


1 – Abu al-’Abbas Muhammad ibn Subayh ibn al-Sammak, from the righteous du’at of Kufa (d. 183 AH).
2 – Abu Yahya, Malik ibn Dinar al-Basri, one of the ascetic Muhaddithin from the Tabi’in (d. 131 AH)
3 – Abu ‘Umar, Hafs ibn Humayd al-Akkaf from the people of Marw (Central Aisa), he was of their ascetic scholars (d. 200 AH).

About Umm Abdulazeez

"I am a Muslim who is upon the Qur'aan and the Sunnah and upon the methodology of the Salaf As-Saalih (Pious Predecessors). And that can be said in short by saying, 'I am a Salafee' " [Shaykh Al-Albaanee رحمه الله] ________ Sufyaan Ath-Thawree (rahimahullaah) said: “Indeed knowledge should only be learned for the purpose of fearing Allaah. Indeed, knowledge has been given virtue over other than it because with it Allaah is feared.” [Jaam'i Bayaan al-'Ilm wa Fadlihi by Imaam Ibn Abdil-Barr (rahimahullaah)]
This entry was posted in Adab|Manners, Character, Deeds, Fear, Ibadaah|Worship, Tazkiyyah|Purification of the soul. Bookmark the permalink.

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