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.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on zuhd, visit Britannica.com.

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