By far, my biggest offense occurred several months before my surgery when I told my husband I was going to Target to buy a few essential items...and that's what I was doing, until I stumbled upon this giant wooden pair in the kitchen aisle. The little shopping monster in me (aka my nafs) ordered me to buy the good-for-nothing giant pair, and I followed the orders obediently. Needless to say, my husband had a ball teasing me about how "essential" giant pears are- I couldn't say anything because, as creative as I can be, I couldn't think of a single use for it.
I think for a long time, I took the habit of needless buying lightly, as if it was just a fun little quirk I had. But slowly, I allowed myself to be consumed with consumption. I was on a mission: I needed to find the perfect throw pillows, then I needed to find the perfect throw, then I needed to find the perfect luggage set. My life became a never-ending shopping list. Just as soon as I attained one "perfect" item, another shot up in it's place. How did I let this happen? How did I allow what I owned to become part of my identity?
“Doomed is the slave of the dinar, doomed is the slave of the dirham, doomed is the slave of fine cloth and doomed is the slave of velvet. If he is given something he is pleased and if he is denied, he is angry. Doomed is he!...” said the prophet (PBUH). I had allowed myself to become a slave. After reality came crashing down on me I saw what little good all my stuff had done for me. I looked upon most of my stuff with disdain, realizing how much time, money and mindshare it had all occupied.It's so liberating now to go to the store and know that the nice things I see cannot tempt me. I try to make my purchases very deliberately, and when the new spring line at Pottery Barn rears it's pretty little head, I tell myself something Ali ibn ibi Talib (and one of my best friends taught me), "يا دنيا غري غيري " or roughly, "Oh world, go tempt someone else!"
So in an effort to simplify my life, and free myself of some of the "stuff" I felt was weighing me down, my friend and I organized a hijab swap. Most of my friends came to the event with an armload of hijabs, and went home with just two or three that they really liked. The remaining hijabs are going to an organization dedicated to serving abused Muslim women. (The organization was started by a remarkable Muslim woman http://www.wafahouse.org/).
My friend and I also pared down the food at our event, serving only foods that had roots in the Quran or prophetic tradition. We put little cards next to each dish, explaining the food's significance. It was amazing. The food was so simple, yet delicious and filling. I'm posting a few pictures of the event below.
Subhan'Allah, when you shift your focus to your ultimate goals in life, your entire scale of what's valuable changes. I want my good deeds, and not my stuff to speak for who I am.