Friday, 25 February 2011 20:31
“Lifestyle” is defined as “a style of living that reflects the attitudes and values of a person or group” (Wikipedia). Hence one’s priorities and preferences in life as well as mundane things such as one’s manner of eating or one’s choice of clothing, etc. are all part of one’s lifestyle and reflect one’s values and attitudes.
Allah Ta`ala sent His greatest Messenger, the most perfect human being, to teach the most perfect lifestyle. The lifestyle taught by our beloved Master, Sayyiduna Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), embodied the greatest values and the most sublime attitudes. The Sahaabah (Radiyallahu Anhum), who were among the most backward and least civilised people before Islam, wholeheartedly embraced the lifestyle presented by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). They adopted the values and attitudes of this pure and perfect lifestyle to in every respect. As a result, after the Ambiyaa (Alayhimus Salaam), they became the greatest group of people who ever set foot on earth.
On the contrary is the Western lifestyle. Both lifestyles differ very greatly. The greatest difference is in the very outlook and purpose of life.
One of the most fundamental values emphasised by our beloved Master Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) is that this world is merely a “transit lounge”. It is NEVER anyone’s permanent abode. Everyone must leave sooner or later. Therefore, the focus of life should be on the Hereafter, not towards amassing the wealth of this world or towards amusements and pastimes. Earning a living is a necessity. It is not the object of one’s life. Indeed It is permissible to enjoy the halaal bounties that Allah Ta’ala has granted as well as engage in some relaxation and recreation within the limits of Deen. Nevertheless the object of life is that one should strive and sacrifice as much as possible in order to earn the maximum for the Hereafter. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) summed it up when he said: “The one who loves his world will harm his Hereafter, while the one who loves the Hereafter will harm his world. Therefore give preference to that which is everlasting over that which is perishable (Mishkaat).”
A Muslim’s lifestyle thus revolves around Deen. A glimpse of his typical day would be something like this: He wakes up in the morning thinking about Allah Ta’ala. After performing his Fajr Salaah in the Musjid he dedicates some time to the remembrance of his Creator by reciting the Qur’an and engaging in some zikr. Eventually he goes to work in order to fulfil His Deeni obligation of earning halaal sustenance. While he will obviously be thinking about and planning the business of the day, he will also be thinking about what work of Deen he will do for the day. For instance he will think about which customer or staff member he will attract to Islam by means of his good character and honest dealing, or which needy person he will help, which cause of Deen he will contribute towards, etc. In a Muslim’s day no salaah will be missed or delayed. During the day he will serve Deen as much as possible. He will finally go to sleep thinking of Allah Ta’ala and beseeching His forgiveness for his shortcomings. He will renew his determination to be a better Muslim the next day. In this way he lives his life until he finally meets Allah Ta’ala. He is then in the perpetual bliss of Jannah.
BREAD AND CIRCUSES
On the contrary the primary focus of the western lifestyle is actually the “transit lounge” – this transitory world. One of the main objectives of western life is to keep the economy growing. Hence man is regarded as an “economic animal.” The other main interest is entertainment. To take it “from the horse’s mouth”, almost two thousand years ago a Roman poet wrote that the Roman public “anxiously desires only two things: bread and circuses.” This sums up the Western lifestyle. The purpose of life is to earn as much as one can … and then amuse and entertain oneself. Hence this decadent lifestyle revolves around partying, holidaying and every type of entertainment.
TREAT PEOPLE LIKE THINGS
In the materialistic lifestyle of the West anything that comes in the way of “making money” and enjoying one’s entertainment can be sacrificed, whether it is religion, friends, family or even one’s parents. People are considered as mere objects that can be kicked out of the way. For those who only believe in “research”, even psychologists have come to this conclusion after detailed studies. Hence one psychologist writes: “When people place a strong emphasis on consuming and buying, earning and spending, thinking of the monetary worth of things and thinking of things a great deal of the time, they may also become more likely to treat people likethings (The High Price of Materialism, p.66).” To a very great extent the materialistic lifestyle has brought about the almost total collapse of family life in the west. It is therefore no surprise that the highest divorce rate in the world is in America! According to statistics for 2008, America also has 1.8 million “nursing facility beds” (old age home facilities) — places where parents and the elderly are left because their families have abandoned them.
A person living the western lifestyle wakes up thinking business and falls asleep with entertainment. All week long he is longing for the weekend to amuse himself. He earns the whole year to splurge on a holiday at the end of the year…until DEATH suddenly overtakes him. Not a cent of his empire then comes along with him to the grave, nor is there anything from his amusements to comfort him therein.
The stark contrast between the two lifestyles in their very purpose is evident. Yet despite the glaring destruction in the western lifestyle, we are becoming increasingly westernised in our outlook. Often “making money” takes precedence over obligations of Deen. Deen and even the sacred name of Allah Ta’ala is commercialised in various ways, such as by using it in cheap ads to sell one’s wares or advertise one’s business. Likewise, many people will only part with some money for a charitable cause if there is an element of entertainment, such as a fund raising dinner! Here again, together with other Deeni aspects, even the sacred name of Allah Ta’ala is often used merely to entertain — such as being chanted to produce a “background effect” for a nasheed CD, Allah forbid. All this is simply due to the western influence which has resulted in the ever-increasing crave for entertainment. However, adopting the western lifestyle will bring the same severe consequences already being experienced by those in the west.
It is therefore critically important that we take stock of our lives and fully adopt the lifestyle of our beloved Master, Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam)