The Zuhd Of ‘Alee Ibn Abee Taalib
Haroon Ibn ‘Antar narrated that his father said:
“I entered upon ‘Alee Ibn Abee Taalib in Khoornaq (a place in Koofah) and found him shivering beneath an old, worn out cloak. I said, ‘O Ameer Al-Mu’minen, Allaah has allocated to you and your family a share of this wealth, and you are doing this to yourself!?‘
He said, ‘By Allaah, I do not take anything from your wealth; rather this is my old cloak that I came out with from my house‘ – or he said, ‘from Madeenah.‘ ” [Hilyat Al-Awliyaa’, 1/82 & Sifat As-Safwah, 1/316]
We may wonder; what made Ameer Al-Mu’mineen ‘Alee live the life of the poor and put up with the bitter cold when he was able to buy the best and warmest of clothes on earth? This is an example of true zuhd (asceticism), as he shunned worldly conveniences even though he was able to afford them.
He was a student of the prophetic school in which he was raised, with no interest in the fleeting conveniences if this world; instead, he had a spirit of competing for the eternal blessings of the hereafter. The Messenger of Allaah (saw) lived the life of the poor, even though he could have been like the best of the rich. [‘Alee Ibn Abee Taalib, by Dr. ‘Alee Muhammad As-Sallaabee, p. 360-1]
Also, I may add that it was this character of his that made the people love him and trust him with their wealth. Unfortunately, in this day and age, it is only a few handful of brothers who have given up the luxuries of this ever fleeting dunyaa. And fewer indeed are the number of sisters who are characterised with zuhd. May Allaah guide us all, ameen.