zakat

The Reality of Black Friday

December 1, 2011 by  


By Suleiman Salem, TMO Foundation

Mask? Check.

Bullet-proof vest? Check.

Goggles? Check.

That completes my 2012 Black Friday shopping check-list. Apparently, shopping on Black Friday is no longer simply waiting in line, finding an item on sale, and purchasing it. According to various reports from all around the nation, there were at least ten major incidents this Black Friday. And for what? To save a few dollars.

A Walmart in California wins the first place prize for “most excruciatingly painful to watch”. Literally. A woman in her thirties couldn’t wait in line behind 20 others for an Xbox gaming console, so she derived a cunning scheme – premeditatedly – to give herself a competitive advantage. Her plan? Pepper spray the 20 lesser beings ahead of her, procure the Xbox, and leave the store without being hassled. What actually ensued was chaotic; earsplitting screams, blazing eyes, agonizing coughs, and a near-stampede. The woman then realized what a pathetic mistake she had made and hastily rushed out of the store. According to police reports, she didn’t end up purchasing the Xbox that was only $50 discounted.

Pepper-spray aside, there were brawls in many stores, gunshots fired in others, pandemonium over a $2 waffle-maker, and a few robberies, hence the checklist for personal safety. Nevertheless, the people are not completely at fault. Acknowledge that mankind will forever comprise of unintelligent, reckless, babbling shoppers. If Black Friday was not over-exaggerated and hyped up by every store and newspaper, online or in print, the masses wouldn’t be uncontrolled. Furthermore, many people don’t realize that they’re actually being ripped off by prices that have been raised before being slashed for Black Friday. To top that off, most of these deals were available throughout the year, when deal-hunters, including myself, were raiding the World Wide Web in search of the best deals, many of which topped Black Friday discounts.

From an Islamic perspective, there is nothing wrong with wanting to purchase discounted items. There is, however, something majorly wrong with someone who camps out for hours and spends all night saving money, but throughout the rest of the year doesn’t bother giving such priority to acts of worship. We may all look like devout, pious worshipers in front of our communities, but ultimately, all one needs is a reality check: am I giving my Lord, the Creator and Sustainer, the same priority I’m giving a sales frenzy?  Or am I neglecting even the most rudimentary acts of worship? After all, our material wealth is temporary and will one day cease to exist. Our good deeds, however, last an eternity.

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