In all honesty, I have zero interest in fashion. I like looking nice and somewhere down the line (Studying in High St. Kensigton didn't help, neither did discovering internet shopping!) I happened to amass an absolutely ridiculous number of clothes. At this point (alhamdulillah!), I also happened to attend a weekend course that ran through the effects of consumerism and some of the things we as a society are completely blinded by. The reality is that we (particularly in the west) are becoming more and more materialistic. As muslims we know that in every human Allah (swt) put within us this desire for spirituality. For many this gap is filled by constantly being preoccupied with buying (for a lack of a better word) ...things. The problem is that the instant gratification we get from buying 'things' is only temporary and so we buy more and more until we are completely in love this dunya and the 'things' it has to offer.
Well internet, they say that part of the solution is identifying that there's a problem. I sat down, calculated just how much I had spent on clothes, and in short, I nearly had a mental breakdown. After some serious contemplation and freaking out, I decided something needed to be done. There are those who are forever motivated by the akhirah and there are those who are constantly thinking about the dunya, and right now I fear that I'm leaning towards the wrong category of people. Allah (swt) says:
"Among you are those who desire this world and among you are those who desire the hereafter" (Quran 3:152)
It is said that Allah (swt) created the things in this world (dunya) to test us. Which sounds about right. As muslims it's important to understand that it's okay to have nice things but there's always a line and somewhere along the way, for me, that line got a teensy bit blurred. So the action plan is this: I've decided to ban myself from shopping for clothes for a complete year. Yeup, a complete year. For the few raised eyebrows, I'm really not going through a renunciation phase in my life, but I do happen to have clothes to last me a few years, so why not exercise some self disciple and focus on more important things in life? The beauty of blogging is that you get to remain somewhat anonymous, so I can document it too. Also, for those who're reading this and looking for a more complete action plan (/contemplation plan), Sheikh Saad Tasleem raised 7 points about how we can cure the intense love we have for this dunya:
1) "Realising the realities of this life" - Everything that we see and know in this life is temporary. Why chase something that's temporary?
2) "Being content with less." - We're human. We constantly construct these perfect lives in our head. The moment we attain or come close to attaining these "perfect lives" the perfect life in our head shifts. There's always something more that we're going to want to make life "perfect". Why not appreciate what we have right now?
3) "Realising that there is no way to completely satisfy one's worldly desires" - "If the son's of Adam had a valley full of gold, he would like to have two valleys, for nothing fills his mouth except dust. And Allah forgives him who repents to Him."
4) "Realising that the worth of this dunya is nothing - think about how much it would be worth to you on your deathbed" - Think of the amount of time we waste being completely preoccupied by things that only capture our interests for a day or two. When we die, there will no one to defend us in our graves or in the akhirah. It'll be us and our deeds. May Allah protect us from the evils of this world, ameen!
5) "Putting forward the love of Allah before anything else"
6) "Thinking about the pleasures of the akhirah" Invest in a good book or attend a course detailing the descriptions of jannah. There is no comparison between this world and jannah. Make attaining jannah your goal.
7) "Pushing oneself to be patient over the love of the dunya" When we do find ourselves being enamored by the love of this world, struggle against it. Constantly struggle.
Sheikh Saad also happened to mention an amazing dua that we should all try to keep in mind :
"Oh Allah, give us zuhud (indifference) in this life, make this dunya expansive for us, don't keep it from us so that we desire it."
(Zuhud is when a person puts more trust in Allah than what he has in his hand. Zuhud therefore can be found in the heart, and this is what we are aiming for inshaAllah!)