Harvey (1) established that asceticism in Arabic was referred to as Zuhd. Islamic religion borrows heavily from the Arabic culture, from which the doctrines of Islam are built. It is notable that Prophet Mohammad alongside his followers practiced asceticism. In fact, other religions that borrow from Mohammad’s teachings, including the Buddha also practiced asceticism. However, Khawaja (5) argued that contemporary mainstream Islam failed to observe the tradition of asceticism, except for the Sufi group of Muslims, who cherished ascetic traditions for centuries. Ludlow (219) added that monasticism is a forbidden practice in Islam. Christianity authors of late antiquity argued that asceticism was a common practice in Christianity, evidenced by the old Biblical texts from which the Christianity teachings are built (Momen, 21). For instance, John the Baptist was among those that practices asceticism by isolating himself in the wilderness to wait for the Messiah. Others who exhibited ascetic practices included the Messiah (Jesus Christ), His 12 Disciples, Apostle Paul, Simeon of Stylites, Francis of Assisi and Saint David of Wales.Momen (21)established that Dead Sea Scrolls indicated that the Essenes, an Ancient Jewish Sect, practiced asceticism by taking vows of abstinence when preparing for a ‘Holy War’.
Monge (10) established that asceticism was not a dominant theme in Judaism religion, although Jewish spirituality identified significant ascetic tradition. Asceticism in ancient Jewish community is traced back to the 1st millennium BCE, among the Nazarene community. These ascetic practices are documented in the Numbers (6: 1 – 21) in the Old Testament. The ascetic practices ranged from abstaining from eating grapes of meat, growing long hair, abstaining from drinking wine, fasting, and observing hermit style conditions of living for a set time. Nadler added that the Nazarene ascetic traditions continued over a long time, even into the Common Era, evidenced by the Queen Helena of Adiabene 14 year’s ascetic practices, and Miriam of Tadmore (9). Furthermore, the Mosaic Laws also stipulated a wide range of ascetic practices that the Jewish people had to observe to maintain a close relationship