Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Ascetic Life of Jesus

Jesus said, "Blessed is he who guards his tongue, whose house is sufficient for his needs, and who weeps for his sins." [1]

Jesus said to his people, "Do not talk much without the mention of God, lest your hearts grow hard; for the hard heart is far from God, but you do not know. Do not examine the sins of people as though you were lords, but examine them, rather, as you were servants. Men are of two kinds: the sick and the healthy. Be merciful to the sick and give thanks to God for the health." [1]

Jesus said, "If it is a day of fasting for one of you, let him anoint his head and beard and wipe his lips so that people will not know that he is fasting. If he gives with the right hand, let him hide this from his left hand. If he prays, let him pull down the door curtain, for God apportions praise as He apportions livelihood." [1]

Jesus said, "Son of Adam, if you do good deed, try to forget it, for it abides with Him who will not forget it." [1]

Jesus said, "Strive for the sake of God and not for the sake of your bellies. Look at the birds coming and going. They neither reap nor plough, and God provides for them. If you say, 'Our bellies are larger than the bellies of birds,' then look at these cattle, wild or tame, as the come and go, neither reaping nor plowing, and God provides for them too. Beware the excesses of the world, for the excesses of the world are an abomination in God's eyes."[1]

Jesus said, "For the patient man, misfortune soon results in ease; for the sinner, ease soon results in misfortune." [1]

John son of Zachariah met Jesus and said, "Tell me what it is that draws one near to God's favor and distances one from God's wrath." Jesus said, "Avoid feeling anger." John asked, What arouses anger and what makes it recur?" Jesus replied, "Pride, fanaticism, haughtiness, and magnificence." [1]

Jesus said to John, "...Do not stare at what does not belong to you, for what you have not seen will not make you wiser and what you do not hear will not trouble you." [1]

The disciples asked Jesus, " Tell us, which man is the most devoted to God?" "He who labors for the sake of God without seeking the praise of mankind," replied Jesus. "Which man offers sincere counsel for the sake of God?" they asked. "He who begin by fulfilling his duties toward God before his duties of men. When faced with two choices, worldly matters and matters of the afterlife, he begins with what concerns the afterlife and then turns his attention to this world." [1]

God revealed to Jesus: "O Jesus, admonish yourself. Once admonished, admonished people. Otherwise, be modest in My sight." [2]

Jesus was standing near a grave with his disciples as a dead man was being lowered into the grave. they mentioned the darkness, loneliness, and narrowness of the grave. Jesus said, "You were once in a place narrower than this: in your mothers' wombs. If God wishes to expand (His mercy), He does so." [2]

Christ said, "Make frequent mention of God the Exalted, also of His praise and glorification, and obey Him. It suffices for one of you when praying, and if God is truly pleased with him, to say: 'O God, forgive my sins, reform my way of life, and keep me safe from hateful things, O my God." [2]

Jesus said, "Why do I not observe in you the best of worship?" They said, "What is the best of worship, Spirit of God?" He said, "Humility before God." [2]

Jesus used to say, "Charity does not mean doing good to him who does good to you, for this is to return good for good. Charity means that you should do good to him who does you harm." [2]

God revealed to Jesus: "O Jesus, I have granted you the love of the poor and mercy toward them. You love them, and they love you and accept you as their spiritual guide and leader, and you accept them as companions and followers. These are two traits of character. Know that whoever meets me on Judgment Day with these two character traits has met with the purest of works and the ones most beloved by me." [2]

Jesus used to say, "Truly I say to you, to eat wheat bread, to drink pure water, and to sleep upon dunghills with the dogs more than suffices him who wishes to inherit paradise." [2]

Jesus said, "It is no use to you to come to know what did you know, so long as you do not act in accordance with what you already know. Too much knowledge only increase pride if you do not act in accordance with it.' [2]

Jesus said, "Time revolves around three days: a yesterday which has passed away and during which you had been admonished, a today which supplies your needs, and a tomorrow in which you do not know what is in store for you. All matters revolve around three things: a thing which you must follow, a thing whose evil has become apparent to you and which you must shun, and a thing which appears uncertain to you and which you must defer to God." [2]

Jesus said, "What God loves most are the strangers," He was asked, "Who are the strangers?" He replied, "Those who flee (the world) with their faith (intact). They shall be gathered together with Jesus on the Day of Judgment." [2]

Jesus said, "Slaves of this world, instead of dispensing alms, be merciful to those whom you treat unjustly." [2]

Jesus said, "The greatest sin is love of the world. Women are the ropes of Satan. Wine is the key of every evil." [2]

Jesus used to say, "I preach to you so that you may learn. I do not preach to you so that you may grow conceited." [2]

Jesus said to the disciples, "O disciples, do not cast pearls before swine, for the swine can do nothing with them. Do not impart wisdom to one who does not desire it, for wisdom is more precious than pearls and whoever rejects wisdom is worse than swine." [2]

Jesus said, "Satan accompanies the world. His deceit accompanies wealth. His seductiveness accompanies caprice. his ultimate power accompanies the appetites." [2]

Christ passed by a group of Israelites who insulted him. Everytime they spoke a word of evil, Christ answered with good. Simon the pure said to him, "Will you answer them with good each time they speak evil?" Christ said, "Each person spends of what he owns." [3]

Jesus said, "You work for this world, where you are provided for without working; whereas you do not work for the afterlife, where you will not be provided for except by working." [3]

Jesus was asked, "Which of your deeds is the best?" He answered, "Leaving alone that which does not concern me." [4]

Jesus met a man and asked him, "What are you doing?" "I am devoting myself to God," the man replied. Jesus asked, "Who is caring for you?" "My brother," replied the man. Jesus said, "Your brother is more devoted to God than you are." [5]

The day Jesus was raised to heaven, he left behind nothing but a woolen garment, a slingshot, and two sandals. [6]

[1] Kitab al-Zuhd wa al-Raqa'iq 'Abdallah ibn al-Mubarak.
[2] Kitab al-Zuhd Ahmad bin Hanbal.
[3] Al-Bayan Abu 'Uthman al-Jahiz.
[4] Kitab Kitman al-Sirr Abu 'Uthman al-Jahiz.
[5] 'Uyun Abdallah ibn Qutayba.
[6] Kitab al-Zuhd Hannad ibn al-Sariyy.

The Muslim Jesus Edited and Translated by Tarif Khalidi 2001.

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