Hoarding or filling a void? Why as muslims we should practice the ‘Art of Self Control’


I have really been trying to work out how to follow up on my very first blog piece and finally it’s hit me today on what I need to write about Alhumdulilah. It’s been spurred on from a situation that happened yesterday that got me thinking. Over the last few years I have spent a fair amount of money on my personal development and as a result I have realised some very important things. First and foremost in order to spend on my personal development I have had to learn to be better with my money. I have also become very aware of the universal principles that people who have any form of success practice. This has also been very evident in observing the progress that my own coaches have made by applying these principles. The particular principle that I am alluding to is the is the ‘Art of Self Control’. In reality it affects the majority of interactions/ reactions we have in our life and I believe it’s success is determined by how well or not so well we apply it in our interactions/reactions. I believe every Muslim should be aware of it and strive to achieve it if they want any form of success.

Yesterday I went to my local city center to pick up an item I had ordered. Whilst out I was browsing ‘as you do’ at items that I have a keen eye for. So there I was in Debenhams fiercely being tempted to buy either a ‘Ted Baker’ or ‘DKNY’ watch both of which were truly stunning and very appealing to my taste. I also thought I’d take a good look at some of the jewellery. Most of my friends know how much I love dress jewellery especially things that are timeless and stylish.

The lady at the counter had noted my interest of the different items and could see I was reveling in it and asked if I liked jewellery to which I replied ‘I love it’ and then came the big BUT! I said but…… I have to control my self and I don’t really need it. Now I really thought she would note my obvious weakness and maybe give off little subtle but powerful cues to put my hand in my pocket and spend. By Allah I wanted to but I explained to her since I’ve been practicing my my Islam I have worked to improve my habits and not hoard as much because the chances are it will probably become another piece in my collection. To my surprise she agreed with what I’d articulated to her.

We also both referred to the following Surah of the Quran

Surah At Takathur

Piling of more wealth has kept you heedless.
Till you saw your graves
Yes, soon you will come to know.
Again, yes, soon you will come to know.
Yes, it you would have knows with knowledge of certainty: you would not have loved wealth
Undoubtedly, you shall necessarily, see Hell
Then again, undoubtedly you shall necessarily see it with the eye of certainty
Then, undoubtedly, you shall surely be asked about the favours.

I told her I have gone into business and that because of my desire to succeed it has become even more paramount that I practice self control in everything I do including how I spend my money by using it wisely. In my life there have been many times I have overspent and if I look back more times than non it’s been related to my emotional well being and in essence a need to feel some level of control when everything else in my life was out of control. This was especially the case during and around the time of my first marriage. In reality though it only caused a lot more misery where I was buying to fill a deeper void of internal pain.

Now that’s not to say don’t buy and don’t spend on yourself or your family, or that you are not deserving of any luxury. You also don’t want to be of those of the opposite extreme who end up hoarding the money letting it pile up in the bank and not spend it doing good deeds. What I’m saying is that we need to take control of it, strike a balance and hold ourselves accountable for how it’s used. We should aim to only spend on those items that are necessary. We should also find strategies where we ask ourselves certain questions that will kerb our desire to buy on impulse. Buying on impulse is unhealthy. Been there and done that!

Also ask yourself DO I HAVE A HABIT OF OVERSPENDING? If you do ask Allah SWT to help you to become better at it because just like emotional eating you maybe emotionally spending where you are trying to fill a void or you feel inadequate because the system has made you feel that way. That is if you don’t spend, spend, spend you’re not good enough. You therefore have to face the real cause of your void or pain that leads you to overspend and give you a false sense of security?

I have been through times where I have really struggled in so many aspects of my life financially, emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. I think I’ve tasted a level of inadequacy in all of these different things and the stress, depression and sadness that resulted from this are still etched in my memory forever.

So in reality we need to grow at mastering our emotions including our urges to buy and learn to spend in a healthy manner. We should also apply self control mastery in other aspects of our life that it needs to be applied to especially in finances as money is a blessing and a resource from Allah SWT. Not forgetting that we will be held to account about what we did with it.  I believe self control is the single most important factor that applies to absolutely everything in life. The more I have personally developed in the area of practicing the art of self control the more positive outcomes I have seen and it is a direct result of being introspective and understanding and admitting to my shortcomings.

It has also involved learning to be kind to myself recognising my strengths and learning to create a healthy balance in order to live abundantly and prosperously like I want to.

I have also had to develop a healthy mindset regarding practicing the ‘Art of Self Control’ because its linked to Emotional Intelligence of which one aspect is Self-regulation. This is when one controls or redirects their emotions and anticipate consequences rather than acting on impulse (Daniel Goleman). Goleman describes Self Regulation as ‘The capacity for effectively managing ones emotions and regulating ones behavior.

In essence I’ve had to believe I can achieve this matter of self control by not hoarding and spending just for the sake of spending or using it as a plaster to cover my emotional wounds. I believe practicing the ‘Art of Self Control’ will help towards becoming successful as Muslims insha’Allah. If we have nailed then the ‘Art of Self Control’ then Insha’Allah we have nailed everything.


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