Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, had a simplistic and minimalistic approach towards life, so much so that he would confess to Allah that he would rather fast one day and eat one day, so that on the day that he fasts, he would call out to Him and on the day he chose to eat he would thank his lord for His abundant favors and blessings. SubhanAllah, Glory be to Allah.
"Indeed, in the Messenger of Allah, you have an excellent example for whoever has hope in Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah often."
(Surah al-Ahzaab, 33:21)
From the obvious beauty of his character to his appealing, humble and simplistic outlook on life, there are indeed many a lesson that we can borrow. In this article we will focus on the simplicity of his possessions and also how we can implement a minimalistic lifestyle at home ourselves.
His Simplicity in Possessions
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, did not like being treated like any superior human-being. He forbade people from standing up in his presence or from kneeling down to him in respect. He lived in a simple house and ate simple food. Despite being a prophet and a person of significant following, he never used his influence to live a life of ease. Rather, he lived a life not of affluence but of humility and modesty.
Narrated Abu Huraira, the Messenger of Allah, please and blessings be upon him, said:
"If I had gold equal to the mountain of Uhud, it would not please me that anything of it should remain with me after three nights (i.e., I would spend all of it in Allah's Cause) except what I would keep for repaying debts."
Reflecting on the simplicity of our beloved, peace and blessings be upon him, leaves us in awe of where we stand. There is indeed much to learn and seek inspiration from. Adding on, it might be useful to know more about what it was that our Prophet actually owned in terms of his personal assets. And, these were:
1. An armor
2. Bow and arrow
3. Spear and shield
4. 3 robes (used on account of jihad)
5. staff (stick) (The Prophet used to walk with its support and jump onto his ride (camel or horse) using it. He would then hang it on the side of his camel.)
6. A wooden bowl with hooks
7. A glass bowl
8. A bowl that he kept under his bed at night (for urinating)
9. Water bottle (mushk) and a pot (made out of stone) for making wudu
10. A pot for washing hands and a pot for washing his clothes
11. A bottle of oil
12. A bag in which he kept his mirror and comb (made out of teak wood)
13. Kohl powder (Surma Asmad) and a vial for containing it (He would apply it thrice in each eye, before going to bed. And he encouraged his people to use it, too.)
14. 2 pairs of scissors and a miswaak
15. A huge bowl with 4 hooks (so huge that it needed to be carried by 4 people)
16. Bed made out of leather filled with date tree bark, its legs were made out of teak wood
Although it is not entirely possible to replicate the use of some of these items, in reality, the idea is to understand, learn and teach from the plainness of the character of our Prophet, may peace and blessings be upon him.
Our Prophet's, may peace and blessings be upon him, views on the laws of Inheritance for his own family were rigorous, too.
Narrated Abu Huraira, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated: "Allah's Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, said, ‘Not even a single Dinar of my property should be distributed (after my deaths to my inheritors, but whatever I leave excluding the provision for my wives and my servants, should be spent in charity’."
For further clarity, reported Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her:
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Our (Apostles') property should not be inherited, and whatever we leave, is to be spent in charity."
Practicing Minimalism Ourselves
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was ever cautious and mindful of his acts, despite being the Messenger of Allah, because:
- He knew he would be held accountable for his own actions and that this world was just a temporary abode.
- He was entrusted with the responsibility of guiding the people toward the teachings of Islam, by virtue of his character.
As parents, it is important for us to reflect deeply on these pointers and remind ourselves of the significance of our role as parents and guardians for our children. And, this is where we need to step up and set an example for our future generations, i.e. the future role models from amongst the followers of our beloved Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. Here are five suggestions to help you implement a minimalistic lifestyle at home.
1. Live within your means.
The first step is to ensure that we are utilizing our resources wisely and living within our means. As mentioned in the Quran:
"Let the man of wealth provide according to his means. As for the one with limited resources, let him provide according to whatever Allah has given him. Allah does not require of any soul beyond what He has given it. After hardship, Allah will bring about ease."
(Surah at-Talaq, 65:7)
2. Check your intention.
In order to find the right balance, it is imperative that you question your intention before spending on any kind of goods or services. Ask yourself, is it for mere show or for personal satisfaction? If it is for personal satisfaction, do you desperately need it or can you make do with an alternative that you already possess or can, may be, borrow from someone?
3. Say no to wastage.
"O Children of Adam! Dress properly whenever you are at worship. Eat and drink, but do not waste. Surely He does not like the wasteful."
(Surah Al- A'raf, 7:31)
Again, we will be questioned and held accountable for every resource that is in our possession, and for how we put it to good use.
4. Say no to hoarding.
There is absolutely no harm in spending money on that which is beneficial or needed, in fact, Allah and His messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, have encouraged us to spend for the greater good, i.e in charity, on our family, neighbours and that which serves the purpose of fulfilling our basic needs.
“The best Dinar that a man can spend is a Dinar that he spends on his family, a Dinar that he spends on a horse in the cause of Allah, and a Dinar that a man spends on his companions in the cause of Allah.”
(Sunan Ibn Majah)
5. Share your blessings.
Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings be upon him, was not only against the idea of extravagance but also detested miserliness. He would urge people to share their wealth and blessings with others, for greater reward. As mentioned in the Quran,
"And do not let those who ˹greedily˺ withhold Allah’s bounties think it is good for them—in fact, it is bad for them! They will be leashed ˹by their necks˺ on the Day of Judgment with whatever ˹wealth˺ they used to withhold. And Allah is the ˹sole˺ inheritor of the heavens and the earth. And Allah is All-Aware of what you do."
(Surah Ali- Imran, 3:180)
May Allah help us all attain that level of spiritualism so that we may become known among the true followers of our beloved Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, in our final abode. Ameen.
Umm Ahmed is an early childhood educator and mother of three boys. Always on the quest to learn, she is passionate about seeking knowledge and passing it on to others. A writer in the making, she draws inspiration through deep conversations, laws of nature, and her own children. She and her family are currently living in Abu Dhabi, UAE.