Chinese sweatshop trinkets won’t make you happy or lead you to paradise, says CHARLEMAGNE:

“Know that this worldly life is no more than play, amusement, luxury, mutual boasting, and competition in wealth and children. This is like rain that causes plants to grow, to the delight of the planters. But later the plants dry up and you see them wither, then they are reduced to chaff. And in the Hereafter there will be either severe punishment or forgiveness and pleasure of Allah, whereas the life of this world is no more than the delusion of enjoyment.” – Quran (57:20)

One of the Quran’s most remarkable aspects is its profound influence on modern concepts. The verse above eloquently captures worldly existence’s ephemeral nature and material pursuits’ futility. It serves as a poignant reminder that these worldly possessions, which hold no value in the grave, often consume the aspirations of many modern-day Muslims. Lavish weddings, expensive residences, and engagement in prohibited professions and activities merely contribute to accumulating meaningless possessions—a fruitless pursuit.

This enduring phenomenon finds its contemporary parallel in the ideology of “minimalism.” Rooted in both design and lifestyle, minimalism advocates for simplicity, functionality, and the elimination of superfluous clutter. At its essence, this philosophy inspires individuals to prioritize the essential aspects of their lives and discard anything that adds no true value.

Adopting a minimalist lifestyle yields numerous benefits. It keeps one firmly grounded in the present reality, freeing them from the shackles of material possessions and averting the perils of plunging into crippling debt in pursuit of superficial trinkets.


The aspect of minimalism that often receives insufficient attention is the remarkable level of freedom it bestows upon its adherents. Many individuals find themselves ensnared as virtual slaves to their possessions, compelled to adhere to a particular lifestyle solely to sustain these mere trinkets. Let us pose a simple question: would you prioritize genuine freedom or a collection of expensive belongings that scarcely see the light of day?

The predicament arises from a flawed association made by post-modernism, equating freedom with possessing shiny trinkets. Consequently, the more material goods one accumulates, the greater their assumed freedom. This toxic ideology lies at the heart of the predicament wherein countless individuals are trapped in a life of debt servitude. True freedom remains unattainable as long as one forms attachments to worldly possessions, for the insidious influence of lifestyle inflation becomes an insatiable void, gradually consuming every aspect of one’s existence.

Allow us to present a question:

Imagine that at this very moment, as you read these words, you are compelled to vacate your home. You have an hour to gather your belongings; anything left over will be left behind.

The Levels:

Easy: Your sole valuable possession is a personal device or machine. Everything else is unimportant and can be left behind without inflicting significant financial or emotional strain.

Medium: Similar to the easy category, but with a few additional non-essential items that must be abandoned, though their departure would yield minimal financial or emotional impact.

Hard: You possess a multitude of trinkets. Selling off everything would require weeks, if not months, of effort. Clearing out the excess would burden you both mentally and financially.

Impossible: Your possessions have become an intrinsic part of your identity. You cannot fathom parting with the accumulation you hold dear, as they carry immense sentimental or financial value. You are emotionally attached to these amassed belongings, rendering their relinquishment unthinkable.

Most individuals professing to be minimalists likely fall into the “medium” category. While residing in the “easy” category may appear straightforward, it is common for people to retain a few items of sentimental or practical significance in their lives. If you find yourself in the easy or medium category, congratulations! You are well on your way to achieving complete detachment from this world.

But what about those who find themselves submerged in a sea of shiny trinkets, struggling to stay afloat?

Breaking the Chains

As you delve into this article, a sudden realization dawns upon you—you have unwittingly become a consumer, surrounded by a cluttered abode adorned with countless useless possessions. Yearning to liberate yourself from the material entanglements that bind you, you now seek a pathway to detachment from this worldly existence. But how does one embark on such a transformative journey?

It is common for individuals who embark on this quest to turn to the renowned figure of Marie Kondo, whose name has become synonymous with the pursuit of order and decluttering. Many seek solace in her influential book or her captivating Netflix series, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” From this emerges the popular “does it spark joy” meme, which stems from the profound philosophy underlying her approach to organizing one’s belongings.

According to her philosophy, objects should be functional and bring genuine joy and happiness.

The process begins by gathering and sorting belongings by category (clothing, books, or sentimental items) instead of by location. Once the items are grouped together, the next step is to hold each item in your hands and ask yourself if it sparks joy.

When an item sparks joy, it elicits a positive emotional response. It could be a feeling of happiness, love, or a simple sense of pleasure. If an item does not spark joy, Marie Kondo suggests expressing gratitude for its service and letting it go by donating, selling, or discarding it.

This is not the way.

“All that matters is having single-minded purpose ( ichinen), in the here and now. Life is an ongoing succession of ‘one will’ at a time, each and every moment. A man who realizes this truth need not hurry to do, or seek, anything else anymore. Just live in the present with single-minded purpose.” ― Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Hagakure

When a person decides to ascend this worldly life, the most important aspect is the concept of “living in the present moment.” The simplest way to understand this is only worrying about things currently happening, not things that could or will happen in the future. This concept can be extended to the objects you own. You should only aim to own things that you consistently use. Everything in your life must have a purpose. If it does not, it is, by definition, useless.

“A real man does not think of victory or defeat. He plunges recklessly towards an irrational death. By doing this, you will awaken from your dreams.” ― Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Hagakure

We do not like Marie Kondo’s approach to removing one’s trinkets because, by default, it does not solve the root issue – consumerism. Furthermore, as the above quote from the Hagakure suggests, when you decide to walk the straight path to “awaken from your dreams” (delete all the programming that the media and degenerates have brainwashed you with), YOU MUST go all in. If you do not do this, you will hesitate. And hesitation always leads to failure.

The Vagabond Method

A remarkably straightforward approach exists to accomplish this goal, contingent upon the magnitude of the clutter that must be discarded.

Begin by meticulously observing and taking daily mental or physical notes of every item you utilize. When we say “everything,” we truly mean everything.

Now, take a resolute stance. Any possessions not included in the comprehensive list from the previous step are now deemed irrelevant to your existence. They are no longer worthy of your attention. You may choose to generously give them away, sell them, or dispose of them entirely.

Depending on the volume of trinkets that occupy your life, grant yourself a predetermined span of time to rid yourself of them. If you fail to meet this self-imposed deadline, chastise yourself by undertaking a demanding task as a form of penance. It is crucial that the punishment you inflict upon yourself be sufficiently arduous, for failure necessitates self-imposed consequences that foster resilience. Here are a few illustrative examples:

Embrace the act of shaving your head, symbolizing a transformative step towards detachment.

Read the Quran as a reminder of how fleeting the life of this world is.

Read the stories of the companions of the Prophet (PBUH) and how they sacrificed everything in this life for the next one to strengthen your resolve.

Challenge yourself with an arduous series of 200 consecutive pushups, epitomizing discipline, and strength.

Furthermore, to ensure continual progress, conduct monthly audits. Regularly revisit step one, reevaluating your possessions to prevent regression into the abyss of consumerism. It is imperative to maintain self-accountability and to fortify your resolve. Understand that occasionally, individuals may veer off the path due to personal or external circumstances. No one is born flawlessly perfect. However, true greatness lies in one’s ability to reclaim the path even after straying, reaffirming their commitment to the pursuit of detachment.

Modern Day Slaves

The modern era, unfortunately, often confuses purpose with material consumption. Engaging in conversations about aspirations with most people typically involves aspirations of acquiring lavish residences, acquiring the latest car models, or accumulating wealth. However, the great Muslim leaders of old sought not trinkets or riches. Instead, they pursued mastery in the physical, spiritual, and emotional realms.

Regrettably, many individuals have succumbed to the insidious indoctrination that material possessions signify success or mastery. Their lives revolve around ceaseless consumption, often entangling themselves in debt to fuel their insatiable desires. This treacherous cycle compels them to participate in an insipid rat race, tirelessly striving to repay their loans so they may continue their consumption. Their existence becomes one devoid of purpose, consumed by hollow indulgence.

Tragically, the realization of this harsh truth often arrives too late in life for many individuals. They find themselves trapped in a system they can no longer escape, as the system, through interest and debt, now exerts ownership over them. Alternatively, they suffer from the grip of the sunk-cost fallacy, convinced they must persevere despite the depths of despair.

In truth, the majority willingly submit themselves to the rat race due to their addiction to materialism. Large corporations and governments employ the allure of new trinkets as bait to ensnare individuals within the system’s confines, rendering them slaves to their desires. However, those who awaken to this reality and steadfastly refuse to participate in this charade attain true freedom. A striking example of such liberation can be found in the story of the streamer Boogie2988. Having battled obesity for most of his life, he failed to address a fundamental prerequisite for attaining freedom—a strong and healthy body.

Nevertheless, what makes his case captivating is that the universe bestowed upon him an opportunity. He rose to fame on the internet, gaining the ability to generate substantial income with minimal effort. Yet, did he employ this newfound wealth to enhance his well-being? Regrettably, he succumbed to his addiction, amassing an array of frivolous trinkets that added no true value to his life.

A mere moment spent searching for his name alongside the word “toys” yields many videos and posts showcasing his collection of trivial baubles. Considering the wealth amassed throughout years of subjecting himself to public humiliation on camera, one might assume that he had attained a state of freedom. However, this assumption would prove erroneous. Instead, he has lost everything, his fortunes squandered by ill-fated ventures in Cryptocurrency, heavily implying in the video he had no idea what he was doing. The consequences of these missteps have left him unable to afford even the very house he inhabits. Reduced to pleading for financial assistance online and resorting to engaging in demeaning spectacles, he finds himself coerced into the role of a pitiable spectacle—continuously subjecting himself to more mortifying exploits to subsist. It is truly a wretched existence, mired in shame.

Envision, if you will, the multitude of Muslims ensnared within this cycle. They dedicate years of their lives to repaying the burdensome debts incurred from extravagant weddings, a celebration that ought to be a joyful union. They become entangled in the clutches of interest, succumbing to the allure of homeownership and unwittingly waging a battle against the divine will. It is a lamentable reality that in contemporary times, Muslims have embraced a consumptive mindset, disregarding the teachings of the Prophet (PBUH) and the guidance enshrined within the Quran. Both emphasize the ephemeral nature of this worldly existence, a mere illusionary indulgence. Yet, the modern Muslim populace has fallen prey to the corrupting influences of this materialistic way of life. Truly, it is a matter of great shame.

“It is a wretched thing that the young men of today are so contriving and so proud of their material possessions. Men with contriving hearts are lacking in duty. Lacking in duty, they will have no self-respect.” ― Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Hagakure

Khalid Ibn al-Walid and Umar Ibn al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with them), two remarkable figures of Islamic history, departed from this world adorned not with extravagant garments but rather with the utmost simplicity. Their attire was devoid of opulence, symbolizing their profound detachment from the material realm and their resolute focus on the hereafter.

In their embrace of asceticism, these noble individuals willingly relinquished the trappings of worldly wealth and vanity. They recognized the transitory nature of worldly possessions, choosing instead to invest their hearts and minds in the pursuit of eternal rewards. Their renunciation of materialism was a testament to their unwavering commitment to the teachings of Islam and their yearning for a life beyond this temporal existence.

Although it may be difficult, all Muslims should try to model both their lives and deaths after these giants. One who has forsaken this life and everything in it for the next one will surely have favor with the almighty.

“Those are the ones who have bought the life of this world [in exchange] for the Hereafter, so the punishment will not be lightened for them, nor will they be aided.” -Quran (2:86)


In the modern world, we enter this existence with the inherent freedom to shape our paths. Regrettably, many Muslims squander this precious gift by willingly surrendering themselves to a life of servitude ensnared by the allure of consumerism. Consumerism, akin to an infinite abyss, gradually engulfs those who engage in it, transforming them into its very embodiment.

Unraveling oneself from its clutches becomes arduous as it devours even the strongest wills who succumb to its temptations.

Remember, in this world, the only thing we truly own are the bodies we are born in. By relinquishing attachment to this materialistic existence and resisting the allure of desires, one can transcend the shackles of consumerism and ascend to greater heights, thus walking the straight path, like the Muslims of old who spread Islam throughout the entire world.

“And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion.” – Quran (57:20)

Want more from Charlemagne? You can find more from him on Substack –, he also tweets @0x_charlemagne