The ripple effects of the Covid pandemic have been manifold, affecting everyone and every institution from bottom up. It is therefore no surprise that when things started to pick up with the lifting of the lockdown, shops rushed to put their products on sales. This past weekend saw a particular frenzy because shops capitalised on Mothers’ Day to boost their floundering businesses. While, this move is totally understandable, we should not be insensitive to the subliminal message behind sales taking advantage of manufactured occasions.
For years, events like Mothers’ Day and Valentines’ Day have become a huge pull factor, driving people to flood the shops and spend money. While many would wisely take opportunity of the occasion to get things that they actually need, a large number of others would get swept in the skillfully constructed mood of the occasion. This means that not giving the significant other a gift on Valentines’ Day or one’s mother a gift on Mothers’ Day will come to make one an “outsider”, an orthodox. Increasingly, we are being avalanched by imported commercial celebrations such as Black Friday or Halloween which have nothing to do with the core fundamental values of Islam, rather quite the contrary, and which incites spending money when it is not necessarily needed.
As Muslims, it is our duty to take a step back and ask ourselves real questions before jumping on any commercial bandwagon blindly: do we need whatever is being enticingly proposed to us? Is this in alignment with the teachings and values of Islam? Once we have the answers to these, we are in a better place to make informed decisions.