Giving up food, drink, sex… and consumerism?

Note: this is a guest post by Dina Badawy and originally appeared at introversed.

The holy month of Ramadan is upon us, and a major lesson from fasting is that we don’t need as much as we think we do. We realize that much of what we consume is simply out of habit, and the same thing can be said about things beyond food and drink.

But not only are we in Ramadan with a heightened sense of awareness of our consumption, we are also in a recession – and money is tight. A recent article in the New York Times explains that the decline in American spending linked to the economic crisis has allowed us to discover that money doesn’t buy happiness.

Ramadan and a recession. For these two reasons, everyone should be participating in the Ramadan Compact.

The Ramadan Compact is a “Buy-Nothing Ramadan” challenge, a chance to reach a higher level of consciousness and save money by abstaining from spending on anything (except for necessities such as medicines, food, gas, etc.) throughout the entire month of Ramadan. Participants of the Compact sign up and may contribute to the blog by sharing interesting articles and stories about their innovative ideas on how to reduce consumption.

The steps are simple:

1. Don’t buy any new products. [Exceptions: Food and drink, medicine, personal items (ex. socks and underwear), services, charitable contributions, and gifts.]
2. For other items, borrow or buy used.
3. Take the time you would spend shopping in other productive ways.

The Compact has brought together Muslims from cities across the US every year for the past three years to elevate consciousness about where our time, money, and energy are spent. This effort overlaps with several widening movements – the green movement, social justice and activism, and spiritual enlightenment – that is helping Muslims rediscover important values and tenants of faith, such as patience, discipline, compassion, selflessness, and generosity.

Many people are looking for a way to make the most out of their Ramadan experience. Some are reading the Quran every day, volunteering during the fasting hours, giving extra to charity, or standing in prayers late in the night. In addition to these acts of worship, the Ramadan Compact allows you to challenge yourself and explore living simply, save money, shed unnecessary spending habits, and reduce the effects of consumption. Join us by signing up for the Compact, and share your stories, thoughts, and lessons!

May the month of Ramadan bring blessings into our lives and love into our hearts.

Dina Badawy has worked for 10 years with community-based organizations and faith groups, promoting behavior change around the issues of women’s rights, the climate crisis, and public health. She is a GRIT, girl raised in the south (Charlotte, NC), but currently lives in New York City.

Dina has worked for 10 years with community-based organizations and faith groups, promoting behavior change around the issues of women’s rights, the climate crisis, and public health. She is a GRIT, girl raised in the south (Charlotte, NC), but currently lives in New York City.