There are days when I walk into my living room and say, ughh I need to go shopping. I land at a local store, snatch a pretty lil’ must-have, when it hits me. This horrid feeling that I’m about to spend money on something I probably (okay definitely) don’t need.
That same pocket change could probably help a family of four in a ravaged country across the globe. Dramatically I set the item down and walk out leaving slightly proud of myself. That’s straight-in-the-face Jihad i.e. struggle (total 1st world problem, of course).
But hey, as a Muslim we’re given a profound message from The Almighty. Individuals will be handed burdens that only they can bear. And currently materialism is a burden all of western civilization assumes, myself included.
So, often when that feeling creeps back in and I’m imagining a brand-smacking new set of arm chairs; I kick it to the curb and focus on a few alternatives that, with good intention, can land me some points with Allah too.
- Adding or growing a plant. It’s natural, it’s the gift of new life, and it’s a health booster. Tending to plants and/or animals, a form of respecting creation, douses a chock full of points on your rewards-board. The added bonus: color and freshness to a home.
- Cleaning a room. This doesn’t insinuate a light feather duster clean. It’s more like a getting into those long lost crevices and vacuuming under the cushions kind of spiffy. Purify surroundings and fulfill one of Allah’s favorite acts of worship, its pure genius.
- Getting rid of stuff. Every couple of months I pick a closet or a drawer and sort out things to donate. But recently I piggybacked the idea by targeting home accessories. Yes, it’s nice to have five vases that I can use interchangeably. But if I’m honest, I’ll survive separating from at least 4 of them, God willing.
- Creating a purposeful nook. I, begrudgingly, spend an enormous chunk of the day on the main floor of our house, tending to house chores and my kids. In desperate need of a breather from the everyday, I incorporated a little study area in my living room. In my spare 5 seconds here and there, I study Qur’an, read or work.
- Framing faith-based reminders. Especially true for my kids, little prayers or commands are often forgotten in the blur of a busy day. So, playing off current trendy scripted wall art, I printed large scale written gestures to place in distinct areas of the house. Inexpensive décor and visual reminders – with one stone? Total score.
If nothing else, I take a look around the home or room and replenish my thankfulness bucket. At least I have a place to admire, by the grace of Allah. The warmth, security and intimacy my home offers is a privilege and blessing. Because, someone in a crumbling corner of the world likely has half of what I do and that has to count for something.