This is also the situation of a man who is attached to a position of leadership or to a beautiful image, or any other kind of desire. If he gets what he wants, he is happy, but if he does not achieve it, he becomes angry. So he is a slave to whatever it is that he desires, because enslavement is essentially the enslavement of the heart: whatever the heart is enthralled by, is the thing of which the heart is a slave.
For this reason, the Arab poets said:
“The slave is free so long as he is content, and the free man is a slave so long as he is greedy.”
“I followed my desires and they enslaved me. If only I had been content with my lot, I would be free.”
It was said that greed and longing are like chains around the neck and shackles on the feet. Even if the chain is removed from the neck, the feet are still shackled.
It was reported that ‘Umar bin al-Khattâb said: “Greed is poverty, and resignation is wealth. When any one of you gives up hope of something, he becomes independent of it.”
This is something which anyone can feel in his heart, for when he gives up hope of something, he no longer wants it or longs for it; he no longer feels in need of it or of the one who can help him to get it. If he longs for and hopes for something, then his heart is attached to it, and he feels that he is in need of it and of the one who he thinks can be the means to this end. This is the case in matters of wealth and power and beautiful images or people, etc.
By Shaykh-ul-Islâm ibn Taymiyyah [d.728H]
Al-‘Ubûdîyah: Being a True Slave of Allâh, Pgs. 75-78