In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
For me, material things make my life comfortable and add to my happiness, but they do not consume me nor define who I am. I try not to get caught up in the web of material obsession because every thing that I have is a blessing and a gift from Allah SWT. Alhamdulilah i have access to these things and have options to gain or sell them too.
Sometimes I think we also need to be thankful for some of the material things we don't have, because sometimes the things we think are good for us are actually bad for us and vice versa and may actually bring unhappiness and stress into our lives.
We need not look far for perfect examples of how material obsession can destroy our lives - many celebrities serve as perfect examples - they have become consumed and obsessed by their material possessions to the extent that it defines who they are and without it they are practically just a normal person... After all, alot of kaffirs use material items just to show off and to make sure they are seen in the right things (cars, designer labels etc)
"By no means shall you attain Al-Birr (piety, righteousness---here it means Paradise), unless you spend (in Allah's Cause) of that which you love; and whatever of good you spend, Allah knows it well." (3:92)
It's all too easy to be swallowed up in such a world and to be greedy and want more and more. A great example: mobile phones. The one you have right now (generally) still makes calls, sends texts and depending on the phone could access the internet so why do you want another phone which just does the same thing but the only difference is age. We all do it even myself! It is nice to treat ourselves but on the other hand we need to balance that out with charity.
Charity is one of the 5 pillars in Islam. This shows how important it is to give back however some people leave it behind and forget all about it. If we reflect on what we really NEED in comparison to what we WANT, i'm sure it would be quite interesting subhanallah.
The Messenger of Allah صلي الله عليه و سلم said: "Avoid the Hellfire, even by a date that you give away in charity." (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Here's an idea. For every new pair of shoes you buy - send one pair or even two pairs to the charity shop or an organisation such as Islamic Releif where they send goods over to countries in need such as Pakistan due to the floods. The same goes for clothes, bags - anything that can be recycled!
Write a list of things which you buy each month and see if you can cut down on any 'luxury' items and ask yourself if they are necessary. You don't have to cut them out all together - just buy them every other month. Example: your favourite lip gloss is running low. Do you buy another one before it's ran out or do you choose to use it up and perhaps switch to another colour that you have and save/donate that money?
To put things into perspective, my favourite charity is Interpal (button on the right hand side) for all the work they do for Palestinians. If you look on their donation form there are many things you can put your money towards. Example: Ambulance Stretcher=£20 or 1 Month Water Supply for a Family=£10 or Food Parcel=£25... Now just think how little that money is to you but how great it is to them when they receive something like that. Also as Muslims we should not forget the immense rewards that we will receive inshallah for giving charity with sincere intentions.
The Messenger of Allah said: "No charity ever decreases wealth, and Allah grants the slave grace for his pardoning others, and he who is humble for Allah's Sake then Allah the Exalted and Most Honoured will elevate his grade." (Muslim)
Also do i really need to remind you of how great recycling is? From clothes to mobile phones, from computers to wardrobes. You may think it's outdated or out of fashion but to someone else it's a great present or project to work on and reclaim and give a whole new life to. "One man's junk is another man's treasure".