I was reflecting on something and I thought I'd share... You know how in this day and age there is so much hype created by the media about certain brands. Infact, I dont think it would be wrong for me to say that most of the time the media is promoting some brand. The brand has an image attached to it: of someone who owns something that that brands sells as classy, appealing, confident, sophisticated and beautiful. The allure of the ads makes you want to reach out and have what the person in the ad has.
Its almost as if that the instant we buy the product we will become that someone we aspire to be and people will look at us in awe and admire us. Whether its shoes, clothes, make up, perfumes there is some brand that people always perfer to buy and some may even save up a fortune just to be seen carrying that brand.
What is a brand at the end of the day?
Is it not a little more the a label and if I were to remove it then the thing to which it is attached would become something ordinary... is it not like that? It would not be wrong to say that its that teeeny tiny sticky label we are paying a fortune for sometimes. Its that teeny tiny label that makes all the difference in the world. And does it seem right to agonize over something so small so insignificant at the end of the day?
Its not! it really isnt. For me this realization took a long time to materialize. My close friends and relatives would tell you I am the sort of person who was brand conscious it mattered to me alot where what thing came from and how many brands I owned. It was a big deal that I owned perfumes from expensive brands and it was deffienetly a big deal when I went shopping at my favorite stores; I had to come out with something that had the label of that shop on it!
I held on to so many possessions so many things I didnt even use so much and it was almost like for the brand, that label attached to them that I could not part with them. But with the passage of time I realized that for a Muslimah who aspires for greater things and want to excel in life Insha'Allah. The sticky label business can't be a priority in life. I can't spend the rest of my life agonizing over what brands I want to own, what I already have and saving wades of money just to buy it ( I haven't learnt how to save money yet! But I know I will learn Insha'Allah) It's not healthy it really isn't. The only time it makes sense to buy stuff that is pricey is when the product can be used for a long period of time, its good for the skin or something.. something of benefit. Like you know a good book that is beneficial for the reader in some form. And its ok to treat ourselves to a little something every now and then when the pocket allows. But life cannot be about hoarding.
I find that when one empties out their heart and their closet to give gifts or charity that is a far more beneficial process, if one truly wants to give then there are so many things that one finds sitting in the cupboard that can be given away to those in need or even as a gift. Giving gifts is the sunnah of our beloved Prophet (pbuh):
"Give gifts to each other, as this will make you love one another.” (Muslim)
When the heart is bent on hoarding then one can never part with the petty worldy possession that are just a waste of space. From personal experience I see the following benefits of giving gifts/charity:
- It is a means of reducing Allah's anger with us , lets face it we sin all the time and giving charity in cash or kind as sadaqah is a way to redeem ourselves hopefully (May Allah accept it from us)
- Its theraputic, the mind feels at peace once the give - away bags and boxes have been sent to where you wish to give them.
- Allah replaces that which you give away with something that is so much better. Alhamdulillah (but dont give with this mindset, only expect Allah's reward)
- You find more barakah in the things you already own and enjoy using them more even if they are fewer in number.
- It acts as an eeman boost.
- Knowing that someone benefited from the stuff you gave away is such lovely feeling.
- Giving away gifts acts as a means to strengthen bonds of friendship, family.
- there is more room in the cupboard :P hehe
- It is a little addictive, once you give the next time you see something that is not being used lying aruond the house your first instinct is to give it away, but I feel this too is a plus point because coupled with the right intention we develop the habit of doing more and more sadaqah.
- Its an investment for the Aakhirah! When every good deed will count towards attaining Allah's Mercy and reward Insha'Allah.
Lastly, its important to remember that the only label that we should really worry about is our label as Muslim. For this the one label that has so much promise attached to it should we stick to its philosphy in the right manner, in this world and the next, Insha'Allah.