My mum always told me that everything we wear, eat, use and say will be held against us on the day of judgement. She usually meant this in relation to food to discourage waste and to get us to clean our plates, but it has most stayed with me regarding the matter of clothing.
We live in an age where trends change eight times a year and clothing has become so cheap that it costs as much as food sometimes (think Tesco, Asda, Ethel Austin or Primark where you can get a coat for £15 or a top for £2). Many of us are in a situation where our cupboards are so full we can’t cram anything else in and we still feel like we can’t find anything to wear, every time we feel bad, we think we can buy something to make everything better.
Sometimes I think guilt is misplaced and counter-productive, but on occasion it can be an indicator that something we are doing is not right. I always felt guilty buying new clothes, especially knowing that I won’t be able to justify to Allah (SWT) why I have so much. With this in mind, I decided to start an experiment a few years ago. I decided I would not buy any more new clothes unless 100% necessary, i.e. a pair of work shoes or a winter coat. I am often made outfits by my mum who is a talented seamstress. I also often get clothes sent to me by my mother-in-law and in-laws friends and my family in Pakistan. This means that I don’t have to worry about clothes for Eid or something nice to wear on a Friday.
What I found from this experiment is that you can be in danger of losing your sense of style, I am not a fan of scarlet, yellow or orange but my cupboard has plenty of it inside. Mum comes to the rescue with sensible blues and greens and blacks in simple shapes, then I get something from a cousin in black with a chintzy sofa print alhamdulillah.
In return I send my children’s’ clothes to Pakistan once they outgrow them and buy new clothing for my nephews and nieces and husband’s friends children.
You may be thinking "Its okay for her – she seems to have lots of generous relatives", but think on this: If you didn’t buy lots of new clothes, would Allah suddenly decline to clothe you? I think of the poverty of many of the Sahabah and what little the beloved Prophet (PBUH) left behind and their fear of giving account and I realise how much we have and how little we realise the real cost of it.