Minimalism: How To Live With Less

Minimalism: How To Live With Less

Eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly Allah likes not those who waste by extravagance {Quran 7:31} Verily, the spendthrifts are brothers of the Shayatin {17: 27}

Minimalism is a lifestyle and design philosophy that emphasizes simplicity, decluttering, and the removal of unnecessary elements. It is a way of living with intention, focusing on what truly adds value and meaning to one’s life while eliminating excess possessions, distractions, and commitments.
In the context of lifestyle, minimalism encourages individuals to reduce their consumption, simplify their living spaces, and prioritize experiences over material possessions. It involves decluttering and organizing belongings, only keeping what is essential and brings joy or serves a practical purpose. By eliminating excess, minimalism aims to create a sense of calm, promote mindfulness, and free up time and resources for what truly matters.
In design, minimalism is characterized by clean lines, simplicity, and a focus on functionality. Minimalist design often features neutral colors, open spaces, and a limited color palette. It seeks to remove any unnecessary embellishments or decorative elements, emphasizing the essential aspects of the design. Minimalism extends beyond physical possessions and design choices. It can also apply to other areas of life, such as commitments, relationships, and digital clutter. By simplifying and streamlining various aspects of life, minimalism aims to create a sense of clarity, reduce stress, and increase overall well-being.
It’s important to note that minimalism can be interpreted and practiced differently by individuals. Some people may embrace an extreme form of minimalism, owning very few possessions and living with minimal belongings, while others may adopt a more moderate approach that suits their lifestyle and preferences. Ultimately, minimalism is about finding balance and consciously choosing what adds value and meaning to one’s life.

What does Islam say about minimalism?
Islam, the religion of peace and blessings, is strongly associated with minimalism. Our religion encourages its followers to become cautious about their belongings and every instance of life. Living in moderation and simplicity are the basic guidelines of Islam because religion is all about guidance; ours teaches us to live a simple, meaningful life without going extravagant.
How to live with less? Don’t compare yourself to others
Comparison with others, how much they earn, what they consume, etc; these thoughts are not encouraged in Islamic teachings. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) always taught his companions not to compare their lives with that of others. Instead, Islam and modern studies prove that the key to contentment is focusing on those who own lesser things than us. When we feel attached to the material world, Islam expects us to shift our focus to individuals who are more devoted to Allah, even if they do not earn a lot.
Let’s understand that nobody is born equal or perfect. Everyone is unique, and our lives are different than that of others. The more we learn to avoid comparing ourselves to others, the easier life becomes.
Detach from impulsive buying
Humans are naturally wired to seek happiness by buying things. We feel sad, and the next moment our shopping spree starts. Instead of finding reasons for our discontentment, we prioritize our purchasing behaviors. This act, in return, adds no value to our already dissatisfied thoughts. Hence we must learn to understand that worldly desires do not reduce our spiritual desires, and thus the cycle will continue.
Focus on the life hereafter
Our beloved religion, Islam, doesn’t restrict spending for our basic needs or luxury. There is no harm in earning a Halal livelihood for our family and ourselves. However, Islam guides us in attaining Zuhd by prioritizing our life after death and Allah’s pleasure. When a Muslim strives to achieve Allah’s closeness and leave his matters to The Lord, then our problems or matters become too insignificant to worry about. Those matters for which we seek Allah’s help turn out more successful and superficial. By focusing on our actual world, the hereafter, we can prevent ourselves from the worldly traps of this shiny life. Learning to hand over every matter, every life decision, business deal – everything and seek The Almighty’s favor becomes a turning point in our life. Indeed, He is the best guide and protector. Minimalism is a lifestyle and philosophy that emphasizes simplicity and the intentional reduction of possessions and distractions. It is not inherently tied to any specific religion, including Islam. However, the principles of minimalism can be applied by individuals from various religious backgrounds, including Muslims, as a means of living a more deliberate and purposeful life.
In Islam, the focus is primarily on spiritual well-being, mindfulness, and detachment from material possessions. Islamic teachings encourage moderation, gratitude, and the avoidance of excess and extravagance. Muslims are encouraged to use their wealth and possessions responsibly and to be mindful of the impact their lifestyle choices have on themselves, their communities, and the environment. In this context, minimalism can align with Islamic values by promoting simplicity, contentment, and detachment from materialism. By embracing minimalism, Muslims can focus more on their spiritual growth and connecting with their Creator, rather than being preoccupied with accumulating worldly possessions. However, it is important to note that minimalism should not be pursued as an end in itself or as a strict rule, but rather as a means to achieve a balanced and purposeful life. Each individual’s interpretation and application of minimalism may vary, and it should be approached in a way that is consistent with one’s personal circumstances, cultural context, and religious beliefs. Ultimately, it is up to each Muslim to reflect on their own understanding of Islam and how minimalism can complement their spiritual journey within the bounds of Islamic teachings.
Postscript: Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to eat one-third of his fill. His stomach would always be one-third empty, one-third with water and one-third the actual food. So that is the Prophet’s minimalism in terms of consumption of food.

The author is PhD scholar, writer and columnist. He can be reached [email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.