This year has been a wake-up call for most of us at various stages. While we grapple with the new norms of today and our mind is still trying to come to terms with the changed reality, one question remains firm amidst the change.
Spiritual contentment or materialistic desires? How does one balance both? Should one be discarded in order to pursue the other?
Tackling this theme is a young blogger who is enthusiastic about writing and connecting with people through her works. I hope this read provides you with as much serenity in as it did to me. Happy reading!
There’s no doubt that our current world contains many, many things that benefit us and things that harm us but nonetheless there is a grappling tendency of these material commodities that hold on to us, spinning us around like an athlete doing hammer throw in the Olympics, making us revolve around them.
“We think that the things we buy, the things we have, that we are their masters. We don’t become their masters but actually we become their slaves. They become our masters. Their lives don’t revolve around us, our lives start revolving around them” – Alif by Umera Ahmed
Although items like money and their effects like food, clothes, furniture, technological gadgets, etc. are items of necessity but it is important that they remain just to fulfill one’s needs, not become the means of attempting to give us some sense of fulfillment to nourish one’s soul. If we continue to pursue a materialistic life vigorously, we will be stuck in non-stop rat race trying to get more than the person next to us, trying to be better than the one next to us because that’s what we feel true peace and happiness looks like.
“(Woe unto him) who amasses wealth and counts it a safeguard, thinking that his wealth will make him live forever! – Surah Al – Humazah, 104: 2-3
We’d be agitated, restless, anxious, and living with other negative feelings because one could achieve everything in this world, yet want more. Agitation and restlessness can lead to an easily erupting temper, anxiety can lead to continuous painful panic attacks. Relationships become torn apart as things are loved more than people. The need to satiate one’s mind and body can lead to one indulging in crimes as severe as theft, murder or rape.
Materialism spreads like a virus; no one becomes safe from it. The constant need for satisfaction will day by day destroy one’s self esteem and will to live; therefore questions like ‘What’s the purpose of life if one isn’t happy?’ emerge.
So what’s the solution to living in a materialistic world that you’re dependent on to satisfy your needs yet not want to be too needy? Take what you need, be content with what you have and what you don’t have. You have a mind and a body, but you have a soul too. You can feed and clothe your body, bombard your mind with music and random thoughts, but your soul will be screaming for nourishment yet you cannot hear it. By not listening to your soul, you let it suffocate to death, pulling you into an endless void. Once you feed the soul, you flower the seed of contentment which takes root, grows and spreads to your mind and body and you will be at ease.
Contentment is the thought of ‘what I have is enough, but I need to make sure what I have nourishes my soul first’:
- Take a step back and evaluate your life. What are you doing in your current phase of life? What are your priorities, your goals? What does most of your time and effort revolve around? Does it provide you comfort or anxiety? How much of your time do you spend doing or buying things because others are doing it? How strong is your moral compass?
- Focus on dedicating your time and effort to what you’re passionate about and what you’re good at, being a hobby or a profession. When you do what you love, you’ll feel content.
- Choose not to let others’ comments, criticisms, gossips, and slander hurt you. Don’t worry about what people will say, worry about what Allah will say to you. You’ll be content as you focus on serving one God as compared to multiple gods, each with their own unique mindset.
- Escape the rat race of life and accept that contentment is a state of mind, not an array of valuable items so you stop searching every corner for peace and simply find it within your soul.
- Reconnect with Allah for Allah is the One Who can soften even the hearts of stone. Don’t ever think that you can never change. When you will to change, Allah will make it ‘Be’. Following the true purpose of your life is literally food for the soul.
- Don’t show your back when things go south. There is always a Plan for everything and in everything, designed especially to your favor. Simply be patient and see for yourself, Inshallah.
Inshallah, by re-orienting your priorities in life, your soul will shine so bright, it will be an inspiration to others, you will have all you need to face any obstacle in the demanding materialistic world and you will cherish each tiny moment of joy and sorrow. I end this with an ayat (verse) of the Quran.
“And this life of the world is nothing but a sport and play; and as for the next abode, that most surely is the life, did they but know.” Surah Al – Ankabut, 29:64
- Andale Seaworne is a regular 21 year old Muslimah from Pakistan, navigating through life, sharing knowledge and opinion related to different topics in life from basic moral values with relevance to Islamic teachings to travelling, books, food, personal experiences, observations, interpretations, etc.