Piles of Stuff: What is A Reflection on Consumerism
  • "I went straight to my room after returning from my uncle's janazah (funeral prayer). He died from Leukemia and had just returned from umrah a few weeks before his death. Upon entering my room, the thought that he was being placed into the ground and the men covering him with dirt was so heavy. I thought of how much he helped others whenever he could, whether financially or psychically. I thought of how he would drive my mom every Saturday for nearly an hour to take her to a Qur'an class in a different city because she was scared to drive for such a long distance at night time. He would drive around in his bright blue hatchback from 1995, even though he was more than able to afford a newer, shinier car, because he thought it was a waste of money. I thought of his small apartment and his belongings and who would sort through his things. I then started to look around my room, books here, clothes there, CDs on that side and packages on the other.
    I finally understood Surah At-Takathur:

    أَلْهَاكُمُ التَّكَاثُرُ
    The mutual rivalry for piling up of worldly things diverts you,

    حَتَّىٰ زُرْتُمُ الْمَقَابِر
    Until you visit the graves (i.e. till you die).

    This was nearly four years ago. I didn't realize how many useless things I had until a loved one moved on to the next life and left behind all of his belongings. I thought of my useless belongings and who would go through them after my death.

    We live in a word of consumption. We are consumed with consumerism – constantly buying and buying – to the point where we run out of space in our homes for everything we buy. We are transfixed when we see a store that has “BLOWOUT SALE!” written in its window. We can't help but line up in the freezing cold for that newer model, telling ourselves that we can't be seen with last year's model. We swipe and swipe until our cards are worn out. We compete with friends and family to see who can buy the shinier and fancier product first.

    For what? For stuff."