I was surfing through the internet playing a video after a video, just to kill the boredom. I came across the video of Ted talks where the Pakistani talent Laraib Atta the youngest VFX artist was talking about her journey from Essakhail to Hollywood, in her interview she used the word Minimalism. It was the first time I had heard that word so like all the google fans I also googled the word and that’s when I came across the depth that word contained. heard the word minimalism. The word was new to me so was the context It was used in, the word like itself had a different meaning.
The word minimalism is not a word it’s a term that began in 1960s and early 1970s in post–World War II Western art, most strongly for American visual arts. The dictionary meaning of the word is a style or technique that is characterized by extreme sparseness and simplicity in visual arts, music, and other mediums.
Besides its literal meaning the term is stolen for another purpose from music , design and literature for a way of living. Here the term is derived from minimal, which means the smallest possible amount, quantity or degree. In simple words the idea of minimalism means simple lifestyle or the more you have less is more than enough. Minimalism is to only have the things you use frequently, things that add value to life; but not the extra stuff, the just-in-case items.
“Simplicity, clarity, singleness: These are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy as they are also the marks of great art.” —Richard Holloway
Minimalism is all about cutting away all the clutter than you can easily live without and still have a rich life with the things that matters the most to you. Removing the extra and leaving the essentials. Minimalism sets you free of the stress that you go through without realizing like extra amount of household chores because of the unnecessary household goods, piling up the things you want then the things you need, buying things that you know you would merely use, keeping the old items when they need to give away or replaced or by replacing them with something that cost extra money than its worth.
Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding the real freedom. Freedom from fear, worry, melancholy, guilt, depression, from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve constructed around our lives. Minimalism is to rid yourself of life’s abundance for concentrating on what’s imperative so you can discover satisfaction, fulfillment, and happiness. Minimalism helps you to live in the time, focus on your health and family, discover the purpose of life and purse your passion.
For us muslins, minimalism is a part of our religion. Islam promotes moderation and shuns extravagance or extremism in any avenue of life. We are specially guided by Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) to always be moderate in every decision we make, in our lifestyle. He taught us “Nothing more than the ‘needed’”.
Quran Says: “They know but the outer (things) in the life of this world: but of the End of things they are heedless”. (Surah Ar-Rum, 7)
We have become the victims of the consumerism culture that has enslaved us into thinking only about how to ‘get more and have more’. We always want the latest, biggest, smallest, newest and due to which we get into debt to buy bigger houses, get into more debt to buy a better car, few years down the line, once we’ve paid our debts, we once again go through the whole cycle for another wish of ours to be fulfilled or to make us more prominent in the society. Here the word minimalism is known as Zuhd. According to the Sunnah of the Prophet (ﷺ) it means to hold dunya in your hand, but not letting it into your heart.
As Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said:” The worldly comforts are not for me. I am like a traveler, who takes a rest under a tree in the shade and then goes on his way.” (Tirmidhi).
In Islam there is no nullification of life as some people may misunderstand. There is a balance and adjustment between this life and the Hereafter. There should be no polarization extremism. Build your life around what you ‘need’, rather than what you ‘want’. Be like the traveler as the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said: “Be in this world as though you were a stranger or a traveler/wayfarer.”(Al-Bukhari).
A traveler is always traveling day and night without stopping, He is heading towards his destination. A traveler only takes little as possible, the things that he only needs, he doesn’t burden himself with unnecessary luggage that would make him uncomfortable throughout his journey. Similarly, we should not be weighed down with materialistic things that makes our journey through the world to the hereafter ponderous.
Quran says: “and they ask you (o messenger!) what to give in charity? Tell them (give) that is in excess of your need”.
Some Practical Tips:
Follow the what you ‘need’, rather than what you ‘want’.
Think before you buy things.
Keep a tiny wardrobe.
Be grateful for what you have.
Choose quality over quantity.
Invest in experiences instead of things.
Household work, Do it yourself.
Try to invest more (time, money, strength) and consume less.
Encourage others to live a simple life rather than a material one.