In our fast-paced, technology-obsessed, and career-driven society, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find balance in our lives. We take on too much and complain about the scarcity of our time. We neglect important areas of our lives while indulging in others that seem of no benefit to us. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can make room for the most important aspects of our lives. This is what Islam provides us with, a happy medium that allows us to focus and do more of the things that really matter and benefit us in this world and hereafter. That is why we are advised to live as travelers or strangers in this world. The prophet (Sallaahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “Be in this world as if you are a stranger or a traveler.” (Bukhari)
The older I get, the more I embrace this sentiment because if life is a journey, we should all travel light, focus on experiences and always be prepared to return home.
It wasn’t until my early twenties when I really embraced simple living; I had stumbled upon it as I traveled to Yemen. What was supposed to be a 2 month holiday ended up being a year and a half of living out of one suitcase, a suitcase that had the bare minimum, though I complained much about not having everything I “needed.” I quickly learned to focus on the simple pleasures of life and be thankful for what I had because when I looked around, there were many who had even less than I did.
The best lessons in life are learned through experiences…
• Focus on the experience, and put them before material possessions. The pleasure and positive memories afforded by great experiences far outweigh material things. I have nothing tangible from my time in Yemen, though it was one of the best experiences I have had. I may not have left with a loaded suitcase and souvenirs, but I brought back a lot of fun filled memories with friends that will last a lifetime inshaa Allah.
• Be happy despite what happens, as no journey is without its bumps. You will be tested with sadness, poverty, and people but knowing that as believers our affairs are in the hands of the One who wants the best for us, we should feel at ease. “…When good times come to him, he is thankful and it is good for him, and when bad times befall him, he is patient and it is also good for him” (narrated by Muslim).
• Travel light, as it’s easier to move on to your next destination without being too attached. When you travel light you know two things: 1. You know you will rest and find true comfort when you return back to your home and 2. You can find whatever you need at your next destination so, there is no point weighing yourself down.
Simple living is for everyone; it is the medium we are encouraged to live. It means to take from the world only our basic necessities without being too consumed with materialistic things. Though everyone embraces simplicity differently, each path leads to the same place.