not the sleek clean-cut concept of minimalism that the West has created – that I actually do admire – I mean the genuine, unpretentious, authentic minimalism. This is the minimalism that has the power to change hearts, the one that can inspire a soul towards humility, a more tranquil temperament, detachment from materialism, capitalism, consumerism and being controlled by this fleeting world. Genuine minimalism is not supposed to cost more than it would to build or buy a regular home, is that not self-contradictory?
In the midst of the “deprived” resource rich land of Afro Africa…
He wakes up to a chilly pre-dawn breeze, fetches water from the nearest river with a willing heart. After he washes his limbs for Prayer, he then humbles his forehead on the grainy dust, leaving an abrasive stamp of inner-peace below his hairline. A day begins with the strongest foundation.
Xhosa landscape and dwelling
Heartfelt tea-time, green-tea aromas tint the tips of their noses as steam embraces the cold atmosphere.
Khoikhoi dwellings edged by rock border
“By the sun and his forenoon radiance; and by the Moon as she follows him; and by the day when it displays him” – the day’s urgency sets in. Bath-time, not the warm soak surrounded by gold-plated taps and misty mirrors the opulent indulge in but a short cleanse that gets the job done – a moment to savour the bounty of fresh water.
Cooking fire in traditional Zulu hut
With callus coated palms the wood is chopped. Gathered, they hover about the source of warmth, heated pots and illumination. Barefoot children hop and skip about the dusty path ways, as the warrior hunters seek prey around the rocky skyscrapers. A day’s pay consisting of a variety meat and the rest of nature’s bounties to feed the young – the pinnacle of manhood outside of the business suit.
South African Traditional Village
Women love beauty, they appreciate arts and creativity; living by what resources the Most High has made available to them, they put their hands to use and create for aesthetics and functionality. Their beauty lies within their spirituality, their dependable roles as nurtures, their intellect and ability to amass knowledge thus building a fortress throughout the community. They are not confined to their sensuality and designer brands – above it they rise and set the standard for womanhood.
After affirming their bond before the Most High, husband and wife build a home of affection. A man not too proud to give time to his woman, he challenges her to a sprinting race, a gesture to tighten their bond, with her light frame she comes out of the race victorious. An act he adopted from an incident between Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his wife. “The best among you is the one who is the best towards his wife”, said Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). So he does his best to help in the home, cleaning and mending clothes just like Muhammad (peace be upon him) did.
As the Sun allows the day to broaden towards the remaining Prayers, within the dusty muddy walls lies hidden treasure: Arabic script, on the family’s dry tongues lay Divine recitation. There is no progression without knowledge, strengthening bonds between our relation as brothers in humanity. This Book within their midst commands them to explore and know their surroundings, go beyond their animalistic instinct of feasting on desires and lusts – regardless of their primitive surroundings.
As the day ends with the alternation between brightness and darkness, “by the night when it draws a veil over him (the sun)“, they near closer and closer towards death – the only certainty. As time eats away at our hearts, we latch on to glossy materialism, famished souls seeking fulfilment in what will perish. We are fooled by the lights – neglectful of our purpose. “That which is on earth we have made but as a glittering show for the earth, in order that We may test them – as to which of them are best in conduct.” , says The Most Gracious, the Especially Merciful.
Amboseli Masaai Reserve – Manyatta
Words in Italic are from the Noble Qur’aan, chapter #91: The Sun.