Monasticism in Islam

By Mufti Shafiq Jakhura
Posted: 22 Safar 1431, 7 February 2010

Q. Can you please explain the meaning of the following Hadith?

"He who mixes with people and endures the harm they do is
better than he who does not mix and does not endure." (Tirmidhi)

A.This hadith tells us that there is no such thing as monasticism in Islam. The one who mixes in the community and endures the difficulties that confront him is far better than the one who remains aloof from people and does not endure their difficulty. Perhaps the following translation of a verse of Urdu poetry may assist in understanding what is required of us by Allah Ta'ala.

دنیا کے مشغلوں میں بھی وہ با خدا رہے

سب کے ساتھ رہ کے بھی وہ سب سے جدا رہے

The friends of Allah are those who engage in worldly activity whilst still maintaining their closeness with Allah (SWT). Despite being together with people they are also away from people, in that they still maintain a very close link and relationship with Allah (SWT).

However, in times of fitna and sin, if one fears being affected with evils, and one avoids the company of people and places that may possibly influence one, then this is excluded from the scope of this Hadith, due to other Ahadith which suggest solitude by staying within one's home as far as possible, in such situations.

And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best