Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Don't Shop Til They Stop

My middle child has always followed her nose. When she was a toddler and something fragrant went missing (tiny perfume samples, smelly erasers, her little sister's new powder-scent baby Cabbage Patch doll), we knew where to find it. (See Material Girl)

So it came as no surprise to me when she started clamoring for the clip-on scented hand sanitizers all the rage in her kindergarten class this year.

Problem is we're boycotting the company that makes them. 

A few years ago my husband and I decided to start putting our money where our mouth is and joined the Boycott Israel movement. We stopped buying from some of the major corporate sponsors of the Zionist regime--called an apartheid system by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter--for its continued occupation of Palestine and the oppression of its people. 

Companies on our boycott list include:
  •  Disney
  •  McDonald's
  •  Starbucks
  •  Home Depot
  •  The Limited (Structure, Lerner NY, Bath & Body Works)
Making ethical purchasing choices is not some hippie, extremist or useless endeavor (as some around us have joked), but the responsibility of every person of good conscience serious about ending oppression.

For Muslims, it's an obligation as "aiding an oppressor" is considered among the greater sins.

God says: "And do not help one another in sin and oppression; and be careful of (your duty to) God; surely God is severe in requiting evil."(Quran 5:2)

Both Sunni and Shia scholars have issued edicts supporting such boycotts.

"The purchase of any item which helps strengthen Zionism is not permissible unless it reaches the point of necessity," according to Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Today's women, who make household purchases in eighty percent of homes, wield great economic power and can use it to bring about a more just world as did our predecessors.

When the Iranian government gave control over the lucrative tobacco market to British Imperialists in 1890, the country's women helped end the concession by strictly enforcing a temporary ban on consuming tobacco issued by the religious clerics. Not only did they refuse to serve their husbands water pipes but they also led protests to the royal palace, shutting down tobacco shops along the way.

Further back in history, Fatima (the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (S) and one of the four perfect women) exemplified a life of resistance against falsehood and oppression from early on. She showed great strength and resilience, for example, when her family endured a three-year economic and social boycott (which eventually led to her mother's death) for opposing the injustices around them.

"God advised people to do good and avoid evil so society can improve," Fatima later said.

Thankfully, our kids have been cooperative in upholding the boycott, and I've usually been able to find substitutes for banned items. But these scented sanitizers had me stumped. (Apparently, other brands don't smell as nice.)

Then a tween apparel catalog arrived at our house last week. Flipping through the pages, my six-year-old stopped on one that caught her eye, or perhaps her nose.

"I want this one and this one," she said, pointing to a popcorn and a root beer float "I Smell Yummy" t-shirt.

Relieved to have finally found an alternative (on sale!), I readily gave her my approval.

Saved--at least until next time.


zain said...

Salaam Umm Sakina,
I recently started reading your blogs and its really a good one MashaAllah. Your attempt to wake us all is great. This is one of the things we don't really care about. But we should because we are all answerable to Allah and Imam of our time(A.T.F). Allah Will reward you for this.
Jazakillah Khair.

Salina Khan said...

Thank you, Sister Susan! This blog was limited to a boycott against Zionism but there are other reasons to boycott companies as well, including cruel labor laws, environmental damage and unhealthy products. I hope we can all become more conscientious shoppers, God willing.