As-Sunnah Vol. 2 Issue No. 3

 

Consumerism almost synonyms with living beyond one's means

f. Consumerism almost synonyms with living beyond one's means
Often people cannot purchase outright what is advertised to them and resort to alternate means to acquire things. The 'buy now, pay later' concept allures many into falling in credit card debt or buying on installments. The various forms of lending people money on interest is a multi-million dollar industry in itself and works in unison with the advertising industry to fuel consumerism. Furthermore, when it comes to misleading advertising, credit companies are perhaps, the worst offenders, they promise you an easy life, but, in reality, seek to entrap you in a web of debt that would take many anxious years to get out of.

Debt due to overcharging credit cards is a matter of global concern, and now there are many consumer advocacy groups and social organizations working to educate the people on the responsible use of credit cards and ways to avoid falling into debt. In India, a person with credit card debt may end up paying a whopping rate of over 36%-40% per year in interest.

A survey conducted on 8,000 debt case by the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) in the UK revealed that the amount owed by debtors was £10,700 - roughly 14 times their average monthly income of £800.

The survey concluded that one of the main triggers for debt problems for people on low pay was a change in circumstances, such as a period of ill health or a relationship breakdown. One-quarter of those surveyed were receiving treatment for stress, depression and anxiety, with money worries making matters worse in most cases. The CAB added that it was worried that in nearly half the cases it handled, those in debt tried to get out of difficulty by borrowing more money. The level of credit commitments for many seeking advice from CAB was such that it only took a 10% drop in earnings for people in debt to suffer real hardship and be unable to keep up repayments. [Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3043667.stm]

For those caught up in the spiral of credit card debt, there are the loan companies that offer a tempting 'quick-fix' solution to debt - you take out one loan to cover all your existing repayments. This is, however, highly undesirable as loan companies charge a much higher interest rate and give you 'secured' loans, meaning a person could loose his home upon non-payment.

Therefore, in every case, living beyond one’s means leads to debt and thereby to life's many struggles and considerable unhappiness. It often creates stress that ruins relationships, careers and one's health. Paying off a debt often results in regrettable decisions. It consumes a lot of energy and diverts one's attention from one's life. There is something about being in debt that casts a pall over one's life and there is something about having no debt that is freeing, calming and invigorating.

Important Guidelines
= If you can't afford it, don't buy it; don't be lured into buying something because you can get it on installments.

= Use non-interest debit cards instead. Credit cards charge interest and sometimes have annual fees. Debit or check cards have neither, and deduct funds directly from one's account. You will be saved from falling into debt and will easily know where you stand.

Note: In Islam, dealing in Interest (Riba) is Haraam, and what is mentioned above is all the more reason to stay away from this major sin. Insha'Allah, in the future we could publish more on Riba and Islamic Economic Teachings.


Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter - http://www.qsep.com

 

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