Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh!
Often times, our religious conclusions are based on how something may affect the heart or corrupt it. For example, one of the wisdoms of lowering the gaze is protecting the heart from loving haram. This manifests in many different aspects of a Muslims life, emphasizing discipline and self-restraint on things that are perhaps by default allowed.
One other example is shopping. By default, shopping is halal and a natural mechanism for survival in todays world. However, if left unchecked, the disease of materialism will settle in the heart and can become a destructive habit.
Some symptoms of this disease (materialism) are the following:
- Determining worth (of self and others) by whatever name brand item is worn or used
- Succumbing to the marketing strategies of major companies and keeping up with “the next big thing” even if it is not needed
- Assuming momentary satisfaction of a new purchase is “True Happiness”
- Insistently spending spare time (and spare money) on prowling from shop to shop
There are many other symptoms aside from what was mentioned, but the principle is simple; as the heart increasingly becomes materialistic, understanding the deceptive nature of this life diminishes. Allah says, regarding this life,
اعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا لَعِبٌ وَلَهْوٌ وَزِينَةٌ وَتَفَاخُرٌ بَيْنَكُمْ وَتَكَاثُرٌ فِي الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَوْلَادِ ۖ كَمَثَلِ غَيْثٍ أَعْجَبَ الْكُفَّارَ نَبَاتُهُ ثُمَّ يَهِيجُ فَتَرَاهُ مُصْفَرًّا ثُمَّ يَكُونُ حُطَامًا ۖ وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانٌ ۚ وَمَا الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلَّا مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ – 57:20
Know well that the worldly life is but a play and an amusement, and a show of beauty, and exchange of boastful claims between you, and a competition of increase in riches and children. (All this is) like a rain, the growth of which attracts the farmers, then it withers, and you see it turning yellow, then it becomes straw. And in the Hereafter there is a severe punishment (for the disbelievers), and forgiveness from Allah and (Allah’s) pleasure (for the believers and the righteous). The worldly life is nothing but a material of delusion.
The Prophet, peace be upon him, also said,
“The most beloved places to Allah are the Masajid, and the most hated places to Allah are the marketplaces.” [Muslim]
This is because the Masjid is a place of remembrance and prayer. It is a place where the hearts long for Allah and the hereafter. In contrast, most people are not in a state of remembrance while at a marketplace. Lying, cheating, and stealing are all rampant as well. Perhaps it is all the more relevant today when posters displaying women and men dressed indecently are commonly posted.
With Black Friday around the corner, this is a reminder to not forget our limitations. Undoubtedly, it is permissible to shop and buy the things we need for our homes and livelihood. Even the Prophet, peace be upon him, would walk around and shop. Allah says,
وَقَالُوا مَالِ هَٰذَا الرَّسُولِ يَأْكُلُ الطَّعَامَ وَيَمْشِي فِي الْأَسْوَاقِ ۙ لَوْلَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مَلَكٌ فَيَكُونَ مَعَهُ نَذِيرًا – 25:7
They said, “What sort of messenger is this who eats food and walks in the markets? Why is it that an angel has not been sent down to him who would have been a warner along with him.
However, it is important to restrain yourself and not lose sight of what really matters; the forgiveness and mercy of Allah.
Some tips to remember this week:
- Recite the Prayer of the Marketplace before shopping:
لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَحْدَهُ لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَلَهُ الْحَمْدُ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ وَهُوَ حَيٌّ لَا يَمُوتُ بِيَدِهِ الْخُيْرُ وَهُوَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٍ
Laa ilaaha illallaahu wahdahu laa shareeka lahu, lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu, yuhyee wa yumeetu, wa Huwa hayyun laa yamootu, biyadihil-khayru, wa Huwa alaa kulli shayin Qadeer
There is no Lord except Allah. He is One and has no partners. His is the Kingdom and for Him are all praises. He gives life and gives death. He is eternal and everlasting In His control is goodness, and He is capable of everything.
- Give a small amount of charity before you go shopping. Perhaps a young couple, less fortunate individual, or aspiring student need the financial support. You can give this charity as a gift to people you know, not necessarily an institution.
- Rectify your intention before purchasing anything, and make sure it is for a reasonable purpose.
- After purchasing, don’t forget to recite Surah Falaq to protect from evil-eye!
أَلْهَاكُمُ التَّكَاثُرُ – 102:1
حَتَّىٰ زُرْتُمُ الْمَقَابِرَ – 102:2
كَلَّا سَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ – 102:3
ثُمَّ كَلَّا سَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ – 102:4
كَلَّا لَوْ تَعْلَمُونَ عِلْمَ الْيَقِينِ – 102:5
لَتَرَوُنَّ الْجَحِيمَ – 102:6
ثُمَّ لَتَرَوُنَّهَا عَيْنَ الْيَقِينِ – 102:7
ثُمَّ لَتُسْأَلُنَّ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَنِ النَّعِيمِ – 102:8
Abundance has distracted you!
until you go into your graves.
No indeed! You will come to know.
No indeed! In the end you will come to know.
No! If you only knew with knowledge of certainty…
You will surely see the Hellfire.
Then you will surely see it with the eye of certainty.
Then you will be asked about all the pleasures (you enjoyed in the world).
*The Prophet, peace be upon him, cried when he recited the last verse in this Surah*