Posts Tagged ‘money’

Islam and Consumerism III: Those Who Mold

This should have been a preliminary article but I feel that it is necessary before continuing the series. We should keep in mind that this theorizing on Islam’s purpose and its ethical imperative toward consumerism and the ills and repercussions of such a worldview—including alienation, oppression, and complacency— demands action. It is not a luxury to be able to “wax philosophical” about the implications of a highly individualistic society that encourages people to fulfill their individual, base desires. Rather, it is a duty that demands a constructive, ambitious plan to effectively change the “reality on  the ground”—to be those who mold.
“What has been put asunder shall again be whole”

At every waking moment an act which defies man’s great status is committed. These acts occur at every level of reality: from the low depths of one’s soul where evil inclinations arise to the high altitudes where the “developed world’s” bombs descend onto innocent civilians in Afghanistan and other war-torn parts of the Third World. If one leaves their cyber-life on Facebook and walks outside with open eyes, opens a book, or reads a newspaper this will all be utterly apparent.

On the other hand there are those who mold—the thinkers and activists who feel empathy, mercy for those who suffer or experience suffering directly. Few and far in between, they struggle and challenge the status quo. They seek to “reveal and expose the underlying causes of the wreckage piling” at mankind’s feet—wreckage created by all of us as a human community.
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09 2010

Islam and Consumerism II: A Muslim Affluenza?

A Muslim Affluenza?


In my last blog entry, I mentioned that the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines consumerism as:  “the theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable; also: a preoccupation with and an inclination toward the buying of consumer goods”[1]. I would like to add another definition to the mix: “affluenza, n. a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt, anxiety, and waste resulting from the dogged pursuit of more”[2].

Affluenza is a play on the two words affluence and influenza. It symbolizes the concept of “keeping up with the Joneses”—matching (or exceeding) the same level of material wealth (affluence) and status as your neighbors, co-workers, friends, etc.—but frames it as an illness, a virus. It is the title of both a television documentary and a book that challenge our materialistically-inclined society. In fact, it can be said that we spend (sometimes until we are in massive debt) to feel a quick, fleeting happiness in purchasing a new item.

This condition crosses lines of status, race and religion. The religious perspective, however, is what I am interested in exploring further. More particularly, how does Islam view this conception of life?

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09 2010