Dictionary describes shopping as a visit to a shop with intent to purchase goods. This activity is almost as old as mankind. Man has always brought home household items for his family. Islam acknowledges this need, and Allah (swt) has given permission for it in the Quran.

Narrated by Ibn Abbas (rta): Ukaz, Majanna and Dhul-Majaz were market-places in the pre-Islamic period of ignorance. When Islam came, Muslims felt that marketing there might be a sin. Thus, the divine revelation came: “There is no sin on you if you seek the Bounty of your Lord (during pilgrimage by trading).” (Al-Baqarah 2:198) Ibn Abbas (rta) recited the verse in this way. (Bukhari)

However, the modes of acquiring goods have greatly changed over the years. Today is the age of shopping malls and centres, which have turned the necessity of shopping into a form of entertainment.

Mall Ambiance

The modern shopping malls have been strategically designed to invite people to spend maximum time there. These mammoth structures offer every form of entertainment and catering services. The atmosphere is such that hours pass without even noticing that morning has turned into afternoon.

Most Hated Place

Rasulullah (sa) has stated: “The most despised of places to Allah on earth are the bazaars and the most beloved of places are the Masaajid.” (Muslim) Now, let us take a look at our malls / bazaars and try to see the reasons, why they are referred to as hated places:

Bazaars are very colourful and attractive. They conjure an atmosphere of unmindfulness and oblivion. The thoughts about Allah (swt) are furthest from the heart.

A vast variety of worldly goods are on display. These give rise to passions and desires.

Not only the goods are on display, but women and men of all ages can be seen displaying their style and beauty.

The ever-present music makes Zikrullah difficult. Thus, it becomes a favourable home for Shaitan and other impure creations.

It is also very easy to miss Salaah while shopping. Most of such fancy shopping malls offer all kinds of facilities, but very few provide Salaah areas for ladies.

Protective Measures

Rasulullah (sa) guided the Ummah regarding every detail of human life. The necessity of going to the bazaar was also shown to us by Rasulullah (sa). When entering the bazaar, one should keep in mind certain etiquettes:

Time your shopping in such a way that it falls between Salaah times, for example – going immediately after Zuhar prayer and coming back by Asr. Another alternative is shopping in malls that provide prayer facilities.

Be mindful of what you wear. Avoid tight-fitting, short and transparent clothes. Some girls / ladies wear Abayas only in market places, which is indeed a good starting point.

The Prophet (sa) said: “There are two types of the people of Hell, whom I have not seen… (one type are) women who are clothed yet naked, going astray and leading others astray, with their heads looking like the humps of camels, leaning to one side. They will not enter Paradise nor even smell its fragrance, although its fragrance may be detected from such and such a distance.” (Muslim)

A Hadeeth mentions that if a person recites the following upon entering the bazaar –

La ilaaha illallahu wahdahu la shareekalahu lahul mulku walahul hamdu yuhyee wa yumeetu wahuwa hayyun la yamut biyadihil khair wahuwa ala kulli shay’in qadeer

Allah (swt) will record for him a million good deeds and pardon for him a million sins, raise him a million ranks and a house will be built for him in Jannah. (Mishkaat)

The outstanding benefit of this Dua is that the reward gets earned by reciting these words in the bazaar. Significantly, if the very same words are recited in a Masjid or in Salaah, the reward will not be as great as when recited in the bazaar. This indicates the heedlessness prevalent in such an environment; hence, the multiple rewards.

Make a list of shops you plan to visit and be focused. Look around for good bargains but be conscious of the time.

While bargaining, ladies need to be mindful of their tone of voice. It should not be too friendly or too rude but maintain distance and decorum gracefully. Remember, you might have been going to the same shop for a very long time, but the shopkeeper is not your Mahram. Laughing and cracking jokes might get you a good bargain; however, such acts are below the dignity of Mominaat.

Do Zikr whenever possible.

Alhamdulillah, keeping within the boundaries of Shariah, we can enjoy and make the most of our shopping sprees. We ask Allah (swt) to protect us, keep us chaste and make our commitment to religion good and strong. May Allah (swt) guide us all, Ameen.

Some Karachi malls / shopping centres, which offer prayer areas for ladies:

Dolmen Mall, Tariq Road
Plaza Shopping Mall, Clifton
Gulfway Shopping Mall, Clifton
Park Towers Mall, Clifton