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Posts Tagged ‘money’

It is likely that you clicked on this article because the idea of retail therapy attracted you. And it’s great if that is the case, because I hope that this article might change your outlook on shopping and consumerism. And if not, then I hope it will serve as a reminder (for myself as well).

 It has become a hobby to shop, to buy new things and for some reason our society has led us to believe that when you’re down, all you need is a little ‘retail therapy’. What I would like to understand is how spending a huge chunk of hard-earned money which will probably negatively influence the ability to pay next month’s bills, for a material item that will lose its novelty in total of 30 minutes, is therapeutic? (..and breathe). In my opinion that’s more stressful than remedial.

It may not be so traumatic for those who have plenty of money in their bank accounts, but they’ll buy things they want for the sake of it, rather than buying what they need. In fact, many vendors take advantage of this and use the ‘people don’t know what they want, until we show them’ mindset. In other words, we had no urge whatsoever to buy this item and we can most certainly live without it, but because it’s available and is the current hype, we’ll buy it.

The key word that seems to define this superficial progression in our society is overconsumption. We’ll consume with money we have and money we don’t have. Hence the prevalence of low credit ratings! We consume until we ourselves have become consumed in this whirlpool of useless spending. And needless to say, we become addicted.

You may think “So what? Let people buy what they want, it isn’t causing any harm” but the fact is, we wouldn’t be in this economic crisis if it wasn’t for overspending.

How did we get this way? Well the media surely has been a driving force. Everything we watch on TV or read in newspapers and magazines encourages us to ‘do what you want’, ‘give in to your desires’, ‘indulge’ and don’t you dare feel guilty about it either!

Of course, it’s Shaytaan who’s fueling the direction of the media and we need to understand that everything they blast us with has subliminal messages to shape us into selfish spenders. I mean there are actual adverts which portray sharing as a foreign concept (not quite so subliminal). The media attempts to strip us of our values, push us to be selfish and to forget what’s truly important. And unfortunately, it has succeeded.

Horrific image of a bird waiting to eat this child

Is it right that we buy the newest Rolex watch for $2000 just because we got bored of the old one, whilst children literally wither to their deaths from the lack of basic needs? Is it not tragic that while one girl ‘needs’ the Summer Collection of Chanel bags, another couldn’t carry a plastic bag for it would be too strenuous on her fragile bones?

Having said all that, I don’t want to make us all feel guilty for spending on things we might want or need. We should spend from what Allah (swt) has blessed us with, but we should remember to keep it in moderation. Buy what you need more than what you want. Rethink every purchase. If you feel what you’re buying will get lost in the depths of your wardrobe then spend it in charity instead. Buy lunch for the next homeless person you see.

Yearn for things Allah loves rather than material things. Remember that Allah (swt) doesn’t judge us on what designer clothes we’re wearing, but rather the purity of our souls. These materials will be of no use on the Day of Judgement, whereas our spent money on good deeds will.

وَٱلَّذِينَ إِذَآ أَنفَقُواْ لَمۡ يُسۡرِفُواْ وَلَمۡ يَقۡتُرُواْ وَڪَانَ بَيۡنَ ذَٲلِكَ قَوَامً۬ا

{ Those who, when they spend, are not extravagant and not niggardly, but hold a just (balance) between those (extremes)} – Quran 25:67

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Abu Huraira narrated from the Prophet (salAllahu alaihi wa sallam) that once while a man was travelling in the wilderness he heard a voice in a cloud ordering the angel of the cloud to pour its rain on a particular farm.

So the man followed the cloud and saw that it poured its rain on a rocky volcanic plain. All the water gathered in a stream and poured into a farm. The man saw the owner working in that farm and asking him his name. The name was the same one that he had heard from the cloud.

The man then related what he had heard and seen, and inquired from the owner of the farm what was special about him that would explain all of this. Given the reason for the inquiry, the owner explained that he would plant his farm and then split the harvest into three equal parts. One part he gave as sadaqa, the second part he kept as food for himself and his family, and the third part he replanted. (Muslim)

I think we can take two principal lessons from this hadith.

The first is the importance of sadaqa. We should remember that sadaqa doesn’t only refer to the giving of money, it can be your time and effort towards a good cause, it could be passing on knowledge, helping someone who is in need of help. Even a smile is sadaqa. We don’t have to be wealthy people to give sadaqa, so don’t hold back and just do what you can.

Smile it's Sadaqa

(I know this article is about the above hadith but this following hadith fits the sadaqa point very well =P)

The Prophet PBUH said:

“There is a Sadaqa ( charity ) due on every Muslim; if he cannot give because he has no money, let him work then he can support himself and give charity; if he is unable to work, then let him help someone in need of his help; if he does not do that, let him adjoin good; if he does not do that, then he should not do evil or harm others: it will be written for him as a Sadaqa” (Bukhari and Muslim)

This man made the intention to give sadaqa from his farm, so Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) gave him rain so that this man could be a means to provide for the needy. Money is not just a blessing but also a trial from Allah (subhannahu wa ta’ala), to see what we will do with it – are we going to buy more things we don’t need or are we going to do good with it?

The second lesson we can take from the hadith is CONSISTENCY. The man was giving one third of his earnings from the farm on a regular basis. Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) loves consistency in good deeds, and so He sent rain especially for him.

I have to sneak in another fitting hadith – Rasul Allah (sal Allahi 3alaihi wa sallam) said that the deeds most loved by Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) are those that are done regularly even though they may be few. (Bukhari)

So choose a few new good deeds that you’d like to start doing, however small you think they are, and do them every day. And then once you’ve made a habit of those, keep adding more! May Allah reward you all for your efforts and good deeds InshAllah.

Let’s aim to be DYNAMIC MUSLIMS consistently =)

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