When Consumerism Consumes Us
“Four things in life kill the soul; incessant sinning, arguing with fools, excessive dallying with women, and keeping company with the dead. Who are the dead, command of the faithful? Ali’s companions asked, all those mered in luxury, he answered.”
One thing I’ve noticed about myself recently is getting caught up in debates about products aka the effects of consumerism. For example, is Apple’s iPhone better than Samsung’s Galaxy flagship device? These discussions are endless, at some point you start asking yourself, why am I wasting all this energy/thought debating technology which in some ways does have benefits but in the bigger picture, really isn’t that serious.
It’s true, the more you love something, the more you will do remembrance of it.
I was at a program earlier this month and I heard Sister Yasmin Mogahed mention that she heard a story of an accountant who when dying on his death bed, started reciting numbers instead of the shahadah. Astugfurillah. May Allah (swt) allow us to depart from this world with iman and the truth in our heart and on our tongues. Ameen.
Brands can really have us doing dhikr of them, however, it’s our consciousness that will ultimately decide how much we get influenced. Despite the culture of consumerism we live in, it’s important to note the distinction, one can still purchase something and not be consumed by it.
On a related note, Ali (R) also said “Asceticism is not that you should not own nothing, but that nothing should own you”. So if you look at this issue holistically, it’s about striking balance.
It’s from the Sunnah to give gifts to others. Is one encouraging consumption by giving out gifts? No, calm down.
However, we need to look at ourselves individually and ask “What are our priorities?” and are we not only managing our money the right way but more importantly spending our time on things that won’t serve no real benefit.
It’s something I continue to struggle with but hope that whatever we do learn in this dunya, no matter the subject, it’s channeled into areas that will yield results in the hereafter.
Putting Allah (swt) at the center of our lives is key. The clash between staying theocentric as opposed to materialistic is a constant battle. Luxury which is generally defined as extravagant living is closely tied to being materialistic. Being immersed in materialism is a disease of the heart because one tends to put their material possessions and physical comfort over their own spiritual values. It becomes even more difficult as you earn more money in your life. One is more susceptible to become arrogant as he/she falls into a higher socioeconomic status.
In conclusion, it’s about keeping a mindset and outlook which allows us to see everything we have in this life as a means and not an end to attain our ultimate purpose of worshipping Allah (swt).
I’ll end with an ayah from the Qu’ran…
“Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children – like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion.”(Qur’an 57:20)