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Islam and possessions -Part 6

Jul 15, 2021

Your possessions does not define you

You are not defined by the stuff you own. Your “stuff” is not a part of you. Your “stuff” will break, disappear, or be left behind one day.

In fact what truly defines our character is how we react to loss. If we were stripped of all the possessions we love, who would we be in that moment? Would we still be grateful to Allah, patient, trusting?

Hopefully it never comes to that. But seriously, those times of greatest sadness and joy are when our thoughts must turn to Allah, The Eternal, The Merciful, The Wise.

Allah says,
لَن تَنَالُوا۟ ٱلْبِرَّ حَتَّىٰ تُنفِقُوا۟ مِمَّا تُحِبُّونَ ۚ وَمَا تُنفِقُوا۟ مِن شَىْءٍ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِهِۦ عَلِيمٌ
“Never will you attain the good until you spend from that which you love. And whatever you spend – indeed, Allah is Knowing of it.” [Quran 3: 92]

Think about that. Allah is telling us to give away the things that we love the most! SubhanAllah! Why does Allah ask this of us? Is it to liberate us from slavery to material possessions? To focus our minds on Allah and the aakhirah (hereafter)? To prevent the evil that results from the love of money? To benefit the poor?

Yes, for all of those reasons. Excessive attachment to any material thing is misguidance. The love of possessions is a spiritual trap.

Aside from being generous, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ had no attachment to “stuff”. The extreme simplicity of his lifestyle was astounding. He never ate lavish food (not even soft bread), never ate on a dining cloth, and never filled his belly even with barley bread. His household often went many days with no cooking fire in the oven, living on dates and water, and occasionally a glass of milk donated by the neighbours. His mattress was a piece of tanned skin filled with rough palm fibres.
Once Umar Ibn al-Khattab (radhi allahu anhu) entered upon the Messenger of Allah ﷺ when he was lying on a mat of palm fibres that had left marks on his side. Umar (RA) said: “O Messenger of Allah, why do you not get something more comfortable than this?” He ﷺ said: “What do I have to do with this world? My relationship with this world is like that of a travelLer on a hot summer’s day, who seeks shade under a tree for an hour, then moves on.” [Musnad Ahmad and al-Hakim. Saheeh al-Jamee (5545)]

Excessive possessions are anchors that drag us down. The hunger for material goods is a kind of sickness. It causes us more stress than happiness, and in the end we gain nothing genuine.

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