HomeDisciplining The Soul › Averting Gluttony Sharah

Chapter 5. Averting Gluttony (Sharah)

Know that whenever sharah is used in a general sense it always refers to consuming food according to one's hawa. There are many incidents when sharah leads
people to be involved in matters that  lead them to harm, as it is an outcome generated from the strength of a lascivious self.

Al-Harith ibn Kildah said, "That which killed the animals of the wild is consuming food, after already consuming food." Others said, if the dead were asked what their reason of death was, they would say repletion."

It was narrated that al-Hasan said that Sumrah was told that his son could not sleep all night. He asked whether or not he ate a lot and they said yes. So he said, "If he dies, I will not pray the funeral prayer on him."

A man told another tauntingly, "Your father died due to excessive eating and your mother died due to excessive drinking."

Uqbah al-Rassibi narrated that he entered al-Hasan's house, whilst he was having lunch. Al-Hasan insisted he eat, so he told him that he was full, thereafter al-Hasan said, "Subhan Allah! Does a Muslim eat until he is full?!"

Section One: Excessive Eating

Know that the wise must eat to survive, on the other hand the ignorant would rather live to eat. Many a bite has prevented other bites and was the reason of death. I have elucidated the faults of satiation from food in my book 'The Picks ef the Benefits'. The intended purpose here is to constrain bingeing oneself on gluttony, so as it does not harm itself. All that I have written in the chapters that I have started this book with, namely the 'Virtue ef the Mind' and 'Dispraise ef hawa' is more than enough to abstain from every vice and to abandon that which consequences are feared.

Section Two: Excessive Sexual Appetite

sharah might also occur in regards to sexual intercourse. I have made it clear in my book 'The Picks ef the Benefits' that if someone indulges in it excessively his sperm channels become barred, causing unsuitable elements to enter therein and this then deprives the main organs i.e. the brain, the heart and the liver of their strength; and so sexual desire decreases and accelerates its failure. Also intercourse implies an image that honorable and estimable selves would turn away from, except if it is intended to produce children or to push away a congested evil [i.e. fear of committing adultery or fornication]. Other than that if it becomes a habit that is done for the mere sake of satisfaction and enjoyment then one is practically competing with animals.

Section Three: Hoarding Wealth

sharah might also be in hoarding money and that is a type of 'cold insanity' if it exceeds one's needs, because money should not be sought for itself rather for spending on objects. Therefore, one who collects what he and his children need, so as not to beg off people. Gives some of it to those who are in need is not to be blamed. However a person of sound mind should not, after earning what he needs, waste his precious time and risk his priceless soul in travelling and in sailing [to collect more money]. How beautiful are the poet's words:

And he who spends days in hoarding money
For fear of poverty, then what he did is poverty itself

We have seen and heard a lot about people who are very stingy, yet travel and sail, in spite of old age, to earn money and profit - according to their claim but they die on their travels, they do not even attain some of what they desired. This disease therefore should be treated by understanding the purpose of saving money, to balance [the risks and benefits] between earning money and risking the most precious things one possesses i.e. one's self and time. That said, whoever consults his mind will know the intended, whoever is overpowered by the disease of hoarding money will perish in the desert of  greed and the only inheritor will be the mount and the packsaddle.

Section Four: Extravagance

sharah might be in regards to pleasant arts, such as decorated buildings, fine branded horses, fancy clothes... etc. This is a disease that originates from following hawa, the cure for it is to know that the account for lawful earning is grave, extravagance is prohibited and Allah does not look at the one who drags his garment out of pride. Allah rewards a believer for everything except building. Therefore the wise is the one who looks at how long he is going to live, and reflects on his final abode, for that is when he will be contended with what he wears of clothes and with whatever shelters him of buildings.

It was reported that (Prophet) NuH (as), lived in a house made of wool for nine hundred and fifty years. The Messenger (saw) never put a stone over another [his house was built of mud] and on Umar ibn al-Khattab's (ra) garment there were twelve patches. This is because they understood that this world is a bridge and a bridge should not be taken as a home. Thus, whoever fails to be aware of this knowledge will be afflicted with the disease of sharah, and should cure himself by seeking knowledge, and contemplating the biographies of the wise scholars.