Islamic asceticism. Though Islam permits unforbidden pleasure, it praises those who shun luxury in favour of a simple and pious life. Zuhd may have been influenced directly by the Christian hermits who had some contact with early Muslims. It was institutionalized in Islam as a result of Muslim conquests, which brought material wealth and widespread indulgence in luxurious living. Devout Muslims reacted by calling for a return to the way of life of Muhammad, who spent long periods in solitary vigil, fasting and praying. See also Sufism.
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