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Consumed by Materialism; I’ll Never Be Forgiven

Questioner

C

Reply Date

Jan 11, 2017

Question

As-Salamu Aleikom. I cannot stand my father, but unfortunately I am just like him: a horrible materialistic, wicked sinner. I am ashamed of myself; my heart is surely dusty and black. Mashallah, my siblings and mom are pious. I wish to be like them. Sometimes, I just want to kill myself. I’m confused; I really doubt I’ll ever be granted forgiveness from Allah as I am easily lured by the materialistic world. I’m always angry and I can’t sleep well. I have evil thoughts; I don't like people near me. I have reputed degree but what’s the point? Maybe all is because I’m far away from religion? I miss the peace praying and reading Quran gave me. I have sinned a lot and I am ashamed to stand in front of Allah in salah. I suffer from depression, I know, and its root cause is not entirely my family but rather me.

Counselor

Answer


Consumed by Materialism; I'll Never Be Forgiven

Answer:

As-Salamu ‘Alaikum sister,

I am sorry to hear of your pain and despair over your current condition being consumed by materialism. However, dear sister, you have the option to change your thinking about materialism. The materialistic life is a matter of focus. Where you focus your consciousness is what you make your life about. If we collectively focus on materialism, then as we consume, we will be consumed. So, it is a matter of what is really important to you sister; what do you chose to be consumed with?

The Guardian discusses materialism in terms of anxiety, depression and broken relationships stating “an impressive body of psychological research seems to support these feelings. It suggests that materialism, a trait that can afflict both rich and poor, and which the researchers define as “a value system that is preoccupied with possessions and the social image they project“, is both socially destructive and self-destructive. It smashes the happiness and peace of mind of those who succumb to it. It’s associated with anxiety, depression and broken relationships. “And further stating research findings; “It found a two-way relationship between materialism and loneliness: materialism fosters social isolation; isolation fosters materialism. People who are cut off from others attach themselves to possessions. This attachment in turn crowds out social relationships.” So sister, I ask you to find the root cause of your materialism.

I ask that you write a list about what is important to you (what you would like to be consumed by). From family, education, friends, Islam to traits such as compassion, kindness, love, helping others, humbleness and so forth. I ask that you list these things in order of priority, and next to them write why they are important to you. This will give you further insight as to what really matters to you deep inside.

It is hypothesized that those who are consumed by materialism are trying to fill a void, emptiness or a longing. I ask you to explore your feelings about being loved, loving others, social relationships, feeling needed, feeling a sense of belonging as well as a sense of purpose. By analyzing these things, you may begin to uncover why it is you got caught up in materialism and finding what you feel is lacking within you. Once you identify your unmet emotional needs, you will be able to in sha’ Allah address your issues and begin filling these voids with things of spiritual substance and traits that are compassionate, humble, charitable as well as Islamic.

I suggest, dear sister, that you become more involved in Islamic activities such as studying Qur’an, going to Islamic lectures, doing things with your Muslim sisters that are uplifting. Engage in charitable acts, perhaps start a homeless food drive for the hungry – the possibilities are endless. The goal is to replace your need for material things with things that are lasting; your relationship with Allah (swt), your relationship with family and friends, your ability to have compassion and be of service to your community who is in need.

Also, I suggest that you make a concerted effort to visit those who are less fortunate than you. Strive to make this a most humbling experience as you go visit those who live in squalor, those who are homeless, have little to eat, who lack proper sanitation and still they strive to please Allah (swt) and are happy and grateful for the blessings they do have. In sha’ Allah, keep a journal of what you see and learn. Make du’aa’ to Allah (swt) that He (swt) removes this from you and fills the void with love for Him.

I ask, dear sister, that you do not have hate for your father; remember, it is because of him and your mother that you were born. They took care of you to the best of their ability and they love you. Your father, like yourself and many others, is only filling a void within himself, with that of the material. Lead your father by love and good example by changing yourself from a materialistic Muslimah to one who is filled with the love for Allah (swt). Perhaps, it is by your changing that your father will also change, Allah knows best.

If you keep having evil thoughts and do not want people around you as you stated, I urge you to seek out professional counseling in your area. However, it is my feeling in sha’ Allah that once you let go of the materialism and are on the path towards Allah (swt), you will feel much better. With that said, you are not a “lost soul” sister, only a misguided one and we all are striving.

It is said that Allah (swt) forgives our sins ,in sha’ Allah, (except shirk at the time of our death) if we truly repent. So, I ask you sister to repent to Allah (swt) for your sins, ask for His forgiveness and mercy, and make du’aa’ for your father as well. Allah (swt) awaits His eager servants return with joy.

May Allah (swt) bless you, dear sister.

Please let us know how you are doing; you are in our prayers.

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About Aisha Mohammad-Swan

Aisha Mohammad-Swan received her PhD in psychology in 2000. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York with a focus on PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, and Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. She is currently studying for her certification in Islamic Chaplaincy, and takes Islamic courses at SHC. Aisha works at a Women's Daytime Drop in Center, and has her own part-time practice in which she integrates counseling and holistic health. Aisha also received an MA in Public Health/Community Development in 2009 and plans to open a community counseling/resource center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah.

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