Pretty Purses Make Petty Priorities



I am morally opposed to Coach handbags or purses.  For those of you not in tune with the world of high fashion accessories, a Coach handbag comes in a variety of styles, shapes, colors, and sizes, but many are emblazoned with the letter “C” on the outside of the purse.  Hence anyone seen carrying such a bag can be labeled as the proud owner of a designer-label accessory. 

Now you must be thinking, that doesn’t sound like a morally reprehensible act.  Well to put it frankly, the prices for these purses are what make these seemingly innocuous embellishments a crime against humanity.  Allow me to elaborate.

A Coach “wristlet”, a wallet that can be hung around the wrist, averages for about $150-$200 dollars.  Yes, you read correctly, I have not accidentally added extra zeros to those numbers.  Following this line of exorbitant pricing, a medium sized handbag sells for about $300-400!  I shudder to think about the price of those huge, big carry-all purses that are in vogue  at the moment.  Now keep in mind that all these purses can boast is that they are “designer” handbags, from the company called Coach..  They are not studded with precious stones, they are not able to deflect bullets, and they cannot save you from a burning building.  So why are so they so expensive?  Because like all brand name manufacturers, Coach has managed to successfully scam the average female consumer,  who has money to burn, into thinking that if they buy a product with a designer label, they are somehow bigger and better than the average “Joe the Plumber”.  (Okay, I don’t think Joe the Plumber carries a purse, maybe Coach makes tool belts but I think you understand my point!).  Personally I cringe every time I see someone carrying around a Coach bag.  And I feel even worse when this accessory is dangling from the arm of a Muslim fashionista.  My dear sisters, why aren’t you thinking this through?

First, the cost of your Coach handbag cannot be justified, no matter what your income.  Whether you are a millionaire or you are not blessed to earn a 6-figure income, as Muslims we are accountable for how we spend our money.  There are plenty of stylish and attractive purses out there for less than $100 that are attractive and trendy.  I am no hypocrite.  I know that carrying around a pretty purse makes you feel good.  I am not quite sure why that is, but I understand that the female psyche needs some strange things to maintain an equilibrium of happiness and contentment.  A fancy purse, an attractive pair of sandals, a well matched outfit, even a designer jilbab,  can foster a great sense of well being for the average woman.  We like our pretty things. 

But no one said the pretty things have to cost as much as a kidney! 

Sisters!  Remember that your wealth is a precious Amanah from Allah and that we will be held to account with our Creator as to how we utilized this Amanah.  How can we justify paying hundreds of dollars for something we use to carry around keys, cell phone, wallet and some tissues?

Second, the cost of the Coach bags is artificially inflated to say the least.  Please consider that the average cost of a Coach handbag could sponsor an orphan child through Islamic Relief.  Coach wants women to believe that the “C” on their purse is somehow alien technology that can automatically imbue you with status and prestige.  Women all over the world (yes, I saw Coach bags even in India!) are being victimized by the designer-fascists of this world.  (Oh, look, I coined a new term with the word “fascist” in it.)  A woman carries a Coach handbag because she wants people to know she spent oodles of money on herself, because she deserved it and she is worth it.  And because now she has this designer bag, her friends also want to own this status symbol, and the cycle perpetuates itself throughout a community and society at large.  Yet no one is stopping to think about the enormity of plopping down hundreds of dollars for a mere handbag.  A purse.  An accessory.  I just don’t understand how that’s possible, especially for those of us who are blessed with the moral compass of our beautiful deen, Islam.

Now some of you out there may blame me for being judgmental or high minded.  I am sure, many owners of a Coach handbag have no wish to flaunt their apparent economic success, or use their purse as a status symbol.  The way I see it, as Muslims, we should be striving to set ourselves apart from the materialistic pitfalls of mainstream society.  I am not saying we need to live or look like hobos, but I am definitely saying that to own an expensive “accessory” goes against the very nature of simplicity and restraint espoused by our dear Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). 

Wait for the sale, shop at discount stores, and you can still walk around with a trendy handbag at the fraction of the cost.  And feel good about it.  And donate any extra money you may have to charity.  We are on this Earth for such a little we really want to be spending hundreds of dollars on fashion accessories?  We should be shining examples for average citizens on codes of dress, conduct and fiscal responsibility, especially in the economic climate that we are all struggling through.  The evil of excess is like a boomerang.  You can have a whole lot of fun throwing it out into the world, but it will definitely swing back to hit you in the head!  If you own a Coach bag and you are reading this, I hope and pray I am forgiven for offending you.  May Allah guide us all to make the right choices that will lead to His Pleasure alone and His company in Paradise!

“Wealth and children are the adornment of the life of this world. But the good righteous deeds (five compulsory prayers, deeds of Allah’s obedience, good and nice talk, remembrance of Allah with glorification, praises and thanks, etc.), that last, are better with your Lord for rewards and better in respect of hope.” Surah Al-Kahf, Ayah 46.