“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” 

 

This famous quotation perfectly encompasses the culture of consumerism that we live in nowadays. The truth is, the way we live our lives is a choice for us to make, not the corporate world — but by living consumerist lifestyles, we are giving them that choice and control. This is where the concept of minimalism comes in. 

 

As defined by the Minimalists themselves, “Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.”  

 

Leading a minimalistic lifestyle does not mean that we have to give up all our material possessions – not at all! It simply means that we are more conscious and deliberate when it comes to making such decisions. This concept perfectly aligns with the concept of Zuhd in Islam.  

 

Zuhd translates to ‘asceticism’, but it is not the kind of asceticism we imagine when we think of this word. It is not living in a cave by yourself somewhere far away in the mountains, dressed in a plain white robe, singing kumbaya. That is not zuhd. Zuhd is “to hold [the] dunya (world) in your hand, but not let it into your heart.” It is to live in the world like a traveller, based on needs and not wants. 

 

Aside from significantly reducing one’s contributions to consumerist culture, minimalism also has many other benefits. Minimalism, firstly, instils gratitude within people. It allows us to realize how little we truly need to survive, and to be happy with having fewer possessions. Secondly, it reduces stress and anxiety. By having less material possessions, there is less to keep track of and clean up after. Living a minimalistic lifestyle also allows one to live within his or her means – because now, instead of splurging on random things, every purchase is pre-planned and well thought out. Thirdly, and most importantly, becoming a minimalist allows us to make time for the things that truly matter in life: our goals, dreams, hobbies, and the relationships in our lives.   

 

Minimalism is the way to end this culture of consumerism. It is the way to finding true freedom. It is the way to less stress and more focus in this life, and thus, success in the next life Insha’Allah. 

 

 Minimalists To Follow:  

  • Productive Muslim (Mohammed Faris aka Abu Productive) 
  • The Minimalists (Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus) 
  • Zen Habits (Leo Babauta)  

About The Author

Areej Hashmi

Writer & Editor for MY Voice; studying Translation at York University; Al Huda TQE graduate; avid knowledge-seeker & languages-lover.

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