As-Syadzili, Rich and Elegant Sufi

Sufi life is always synonymous with zuhud life, far from worldly pleasures and luxuries. Zuhud is symbolized by a simple and indigent appearance. The word Sufi or tashawuf itself comes from the word shuf which means “wool”. A kind of coarse lamb fur fabric. Sufi usually wear coarse wool coats as a symbol of simplicity and zeal.

Yet it was so far contrary to the way of life of a great Sufi, al-Sheikh Abu Hasan Ali ash-Syadzili (593–656 H / 1197–1258 AD). Unlike the salik in general, he always looked elegant; going anywhere in beautiful and nice clothes; love the sturdy and strong horse he rides in traveling; enjoy good and delicious food; and live in a house like a palace.

This kind of condition disturbed one of the majlis of the ash-Syadzili study council who happened to pass in front of his house. He was shocked and almost did not believe what he saw. Someone who often talks about zuhud in his majlis apparently lives in a magnificent house that is far from simplicity.

A few days had passed, but the big question mark about the oddity continued to sway in his heart. His mind rebelled. However, his morality as a santri prevented him from getting worse. Finally, he went to Ash-Syadzili’s house. He wanted to clarify and confirm what he had seen.

After a moment of silence, the person ventured to speak to Ash-Syadzili, “O Sheikh, in every majlis, you always explain about zuhud. I am amazed and fascinated by the way you teach. However, after I saw you a few days ago many questions appeared in my mind. “

“What do you mean?” Asked Ash-Syadzili.

“I see something that is the opposite of what you convey in your study process with what I see in your life,” he replied.

Hearing that, Ash-Syadzili understood. He then smiled and said, “I will answer your anxiety. But, before that, I want to invite you to drive around the city riding my cart. The condition is, you hold this cup of water. “Do not let the water spill until we arrive back at home,” said Ash-Syadzili, warning.

Long story short, the two traveled around the city. When he got home, Ash-Syadzili then asked to the man, 

“How was your trip? Did you see the beauty of the king’s palace? “

“How fun are the shows displayed on the city square?”

“Or goods sold on the roadside. Did you see it? “

The person then replied, “How can I see and enjoy all that, Sheikh?”

“Along the way, I just noticed this cup and tried to not spill the water in it.”

Immediately Ash-Syadzili replied, “So am I. My attention to the Khaliq as well as your attention to the water that is on the cup. Any beauty and worldly splendor does not turn me away from Him.”

“If you have abundant assets, you are actually only burdened by God to carry it and trust you to manage it properly. You may own it, but don’t possess it and own it. Treasure can be in the hands, but do not let it stick and dwell in the heart, “continued Ash-Syadzili.

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