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Mega Malls and the Consumerist Ummah
 

Mega Malls and the Consumerist Ummah

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    Mega Malls and the Consumerist Ummah Mega Malls and the Consumerist Ummah Document Transcript

    • Mega-Malls and the Consumerist UmmahWritten by Elizabeth Aisha SimpsonThursday, 17 November 2011 00:00 - Last Updated Thursday, 17 November 2011 09:53It is clear, then, that we as Muslims cannot simply blame our compulsive consumerism on lackof knowledge, because it is freely available. Nor can we just turn a blind eye to these facts.Simply put, by shopping, eating and spending in Westfield, we are directly funding the murder ofMuslims in Palestine.    The new Westfield mega mall recently opened in EastLondon, amid much media hype and celebrity endorsement. A shiny futuristic maze of shopsand boutiques, complete with restaurants and even hotels, all designed so that the visitor canimmerse themselves within the cosy consumer bubble that is Westfield. What is clear to anyone observing the mall, is the number of Muslims constantly entering andexiting, shopping bags in hand. In fact, for a large percentage of east London’s young Muslimpopulation, this is the prime location not only for shopping but for leisure and relaxation. It evenhas a prayer room. But what do we know about Westfield? Do we ever think about where ourmoney is going?  We are probably all aware that big corporations are hard to avoid, and wemay rationalise our buying from them, with many excuses such as price, availability andconvenience, and in fact we may even balance our sense of discomfort by giving to charities,buying eco friendly and avoiding known boycotted brands. We excuse ourselves, rightly orwrongly, from turning a blind eye to child labour, oppressive conditions, and sweatshops,arguing ignorance and lack of alternatives. We may even argue that our money is bound to endup in the wrong hands eventually, and it is futile to try and stop it. There may be some truth in the fact that we do not always know where our money goes, andit may possibly end up funding wars and oppression indirectly, even if we shop carefully.However, Allah SWT in His infinite mercy does not hold us accountable for that which we do notknow. With Westfield, however, we have no such excuse. The founder of Westfield Group, Frank Lowy, does not disguise the fact that he is a retiredIsraeli commando, having fought against the people of Palestine during the 1948 war, nor doeshe hide his close friendships with high profile politicians including former Israeli Prime MinisterEhud Olmert. He gives millions to the rogue state of Israel, a state which is illegal according tointernational law. Furthermore, he established an independent think tank focusing on Israeli andUS security and foreign policy whose research is consistently Islamaphobic and imperialistic,and far from hiding his involvement in the project, he named it "The Lowy Institute". It is clear, then, that we as Muslims cannot simply blame our compulsive consumerism onlack of knowledge, because it is freely available. Nor can we just turn a blind eye to these facts.Simply put, by shopping, eating and spending in Westfield, we are directly funding the murder ofMuslims in Palestine. Our money also contributes to the destructive, barbaric and inhumanepolicies put forth by US and Israeli Governments in conjunction with the Lowy Institute. Everypound spent in Westfield, leads to misery on the West Bank. 1/3
    • Mega-Malls and the Consumerist UmmahWritten by Elizabeth Aisha SimpsonThursday, 17 November 2011 00:00 - Last Updated Thursday, 17 November 2011 09:53 We must ask ourselves honestly, where do our priorities lie?  Are they with consuming,owning and spending, regardless of the consequence? Or are they with the ummah?Undoubtedly, when confronted with our obligation to deprive ourselves of luxuries and comforts,it is a difficult truth to face. It would be more convenient to forget, indeed that is what Westfieldis there for, to encourage us to seek solace in material goods, and forget ourselves in designerlabels. However this is contradictory to Islamic teachings. As Muslims we are fortunate to knowthat true satisfaction can only be gained through submitting to the will of Allah Subhanahu waTa’ala, and the Sunnah of our Prophet Sal Allahu Alayhi Wassalaam has provided us with acomprehensive and fulfilling way of life. Westfield is completely built upon the capitalistphilosophy at odds with Islam, a philosophy of consumption and instant gratification. Accordingto this framework, we should adopt objects and ownership as our spiritual goals. We must workharder, in order to buy more things. In fact, if we took this as a model for our lives, we wouldliterally shop ‘till we dropped! A Muslim is a brother to another Muslim. The Prophet SAW told us that “The relationship ofthe believer towards the people of faith is like that of the head to the body. The believer feelsthe pain of the people of faith just as the body feels the pain of the head.” We as an ummahneed to fight collectively against our urge to dull the pain we feel at the plight of our brothersand sisters, by buying, shopping and consuming, because in reality we are only perpetuatingour own destruction. Ibn al-Qayyim spoke about the obligation of helping our brothers and sisters in his book,AlFawaaid:  "There are different ways of supporting a fellow believer: with one’s wealth,with one’s position of authority or power, by means of physical service, by offering sincereadvice and guidance, by making supplication (du’aa’) and asking for forgiveness for them, andby feeling their pain.." We can all make dua, even if we may not be able to provide power or authority. But bycontinuing to shop in Westfield, not only do we avoid and shy away from feeling the pain of ourbrothers, and not only do we fail to support them with our wealth, but in fact we actuallyincrease and exacerbate their difficulties. Just as we would not take our own money andpurchase the weapons by which our family would be killed, just as we would hate to contributetowards the death of our own mother, sister, brother; So we have a duty, at the very least, toprevent our money from funding the death and destruction of our brothers and their countries,our countries. We, as Muslims, cannot simply pick and choose our morals and principles to suitour mood, and then proceed to shout in outrage when those morals we have deemed applicableto uphold, are violated. We must no longer be our own worst enemy Notes: Sources: www.islam21c.com Islam21c requests all the readers of this article, and others, to share it on your facebook , tw 2/3
    • Mega-Malls and the Consumerist UmmahWritten by Elizabeth Aisha SimpsonThursday, 17 November 2011 00:00 - Last Updated Thursday, 17 November 2011 09:53 itter, and other platforms to further spread our efforts.   3/3