By Linta Mustafa
With the rapidly changing era, people tend to change their lifestyles for the sake of acceptance by society, and in doing so they often end up having an extremist way of life.
The lifestyles of the majority of people who tend to follow the standards of society have become more brand-oriented. On the surface, these brand-oriented lifestyles tend to be an embodiment of perfection, but an in-depth analysis reveals all the problems associated with all such approaches.
If we look into the teachings of Islam, we come to know that Islam presents a very different aspect when it comes to lifestyle.
Islam has always been in favour of being moderate in everything we do, whether it is eating, spending, or even practising our religion, we have always been told to remain neutral. In the Quran Allah says,
“And thus, we have made you a was at (moderate) community that you will be witnesses over the people.” (Al-Baqarah 2:143)
The fact that we have deviated from the path that has been considered significant is something of concern. The irony here is that even if we spend lavishly on food, attire, and everything else contentment still seems to be unattainable. In fact, what we tend to see is the exact opposite, in our quest to find happiness through all these we often end up with mental and physical health-related problems. Several other factors can contribute to the state of disease but it is often noticed that the type of lifestyle we adopt tends to have a great impact on our overall well-being.
Certain points are needed to be pondered upon.
The first thing that needs to be focused on is our eating habits. The idea of living life on the go and ready to cook processed meals might be time-saving, but all the greasy and processed food have far more harmful effects than being beneficial. People tend to overeat and fill themselves to the brim.
Eating habits of this type tend to affect our physical health as well as spirituality. If we compare our strengths to our immediate ancestors we’d be surprised to notice a remarkable difference in energy levels. Eating more than what is needed for the body to function normally, tends to induce laziness and lethargy during acts of Ibadah, specifically during the blessed month of Ramadan, after fasting from dawn till dusk we tend to overeat during Iftar and hence end up being lazy during prayers.
Miqdam bin Madikarib said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: ‘A human being fills no worse vessel than his stomach. It is sufficient for a human being to eat a few mouthfuls to keep his spine straight. But if he must (fill it), then one-third of food, one third for drink and one third for air.’” (Sunan Ibn-e-Maja Vol. 4, Book 29, Hadith 3349)
There’s Hikmah( wisdom) behind everything that Allah and the Prophet said. The reason why we are advised to eat moderately is that we’d have longer energy levels to focus on all other obligations of life.
There is a reason why we were told proportionally as to how much we should eat and drink. It was so that we could have the strength to pray, to do our Ibadah well.
Another point that needs to be taken under consideration is our way of spending, In this case, the majority of us are either misers or spendthrifts.
Allah in the Qur’an says: “And let not your hand be tied (like a miser) to your neck, nor stretch it forth to its utmost reach (like a spendthrift) so that you become blameworthy and in severe poverty” (Al-Isra 17: 29).
While it is permissible to spend what Allah has blessed you with, spending just for the sake of showing off your wealth and creating a never-ending competition among other people isn’t something that Islam promotes. Using wealth merely to satisfy the ego creates mental stress, and leaves us in discontent. Allah blesses everyone accordingly, and thus trying to fit in with others based on wealth isn’t something that should be encouraged.
Another point to ponder over is the mentality that we promote and the mindsets we have rigidly adopted. We tend to live in a world that promotes fakeness and a flawed idea of perfectionism, which leads to mental stress.
Something that forms the basis of today’s society is the promotion of physical beauty over everything else.
Before choosing a life partner a wiser approach would be to look for qualities like Taqwah and practical implication of Islam by the opposite person, likewise, instead of choosing a person on the basis of good etiquettes, we tend to focus on the exterior more, and thus promote the wrong ideas of beauty all over.
Where beauty was to be found amidst flaws, we as a society brushed away the whole idea and concept behind the sacred bond of marriage and focused only on wealth and external beauty.
Something that we tend to notice is that people before agreeing on a marriage portrays their lifestyles and approaches one way, they tend to make promises overzealously but later on, it is noticed that the person isn’t the way they said they were. This approach isn’t something that brings any good. Rather, it tends to make you a mistrusted person, for whatever is written for you by Allah SWT will find its way towards you. An act of hypocrisy and lying isn’t something that will bring any good.
The world we live in today has problems that never existed before, ever since we shifted our focus to superficial things and immediate temporary satisfaction, our lives have lost their meaning and peace. If each one of us works on this together we can overcome and transform rigid and extreme lifestyles into more moderate ones. A society where the foundation of relationships is based on honesty and the teachings of Islam is something which might seem difficult to achieve but if each one of us plays our part we totally can do it, and free ourselves as well as others from the lifestyles we have fallen into. A change of lifestyle is all we need, a moderate life according to the teachings of our beloved Prophet is what can actually bring us happiness.