Not surprisingly, my first introduction to homesteading was through the prepper movement. You too, may have come across this spectrum of people, who, for all different reasons, prep their homes for disasters to various degrees. Some preppers build survival stations, and some prep their homes. Some are homesteaders who simply have fashioned extra emergency supplies, such as devising rainwater barrels, and some are gun-wielding folks who own gas masks. They come in all different types.
Interesting as well are their various degrees of reasoning. Some are right winged Christians who are preparing for the end of days. Some are convinced that there will be a natural disaster. And many are convinced that our government is going to collapse. It is, but they’re convinced it could mean a hostile takeover or that we’ll become the next Afghanistan.
I’m not here to argue the validity of these concerns, but I am here to offer my insight as to why I don’t completely subscribe to the lifestyle of a prepper.
I have survived multiple hurricanes, severe poverty, the ice storm of 98, and displacement from lack of utilities available in my home and mold- more than once. I have SOME perspective as to what it’s like to survive in difficult conditions. In fact, one of my earlier memories is of my family scooping buckets of water out of our basement, in the dark, in a hurricane. And were it not for my family living in a turn-of-the-century home, we would not have fared as well during the ice storm- the house was set up to be without heat, power, or water.
I guess what I’m saying is, I know the difference between when to hunker down and when to mobilize. Especially since I live in the city, sans woodstove or well.
The preppers are snorting right now- “You can’t always mobilize,” they’d say. This is very true. But objectively thinking, if we cannot mobilize, we won’t last long here ANYWAY. I certainly can’t hunker down for the rest of my life.
Prepping is FEAR BASED HOARDING.
Thusly the thoughts go around and around. Still, this is not the end of my reasoning.
In Islam, we have a saying that goes like, “Tie your camel.” It’s based on a narration in which a man went to make his prayer at the mosque and asked if he should tie his camel up, or let Allah swt make sure the camel didn’t wander away. He was told to tie it up, because ultimately, we are all responsible for our own choices and for helping ourselves- within reason.
The man didn’t have ten backup camels in case one died, a first aid kit, and a half weeks worth of food and water in case he was caught in a sand storm on the way home.
To me, it speaks to a great mistrust and spiritual deficiency that we don’t believe that our Lord will watch over us, and that we are preoccupied with this life. Do we really think that our God is so unjust, or that our karma is so askew, that we would be caught suffering and dying at the hands of a disaster? And do we love this life and it’s possessions so much that we fear death so greatly that we hoard up in our homes in case the world ends?
How are we living our lives if we are constantly preparing for doom? If you ask me, if we TRULY believed that this world was headed for disaster, rather than hoarding food and water, gas and medical supplies, we OUGHT to be working on our SPIRITUAL health. Even with supplies, who is guaranteeing you’ll still survive? If you were to die in a nuclear attack tomorrow, could you honestly say you had lived your life to the fullest, and made amends with your Lord? Would you have shown your family your spiritual legacy and filled their hearts with fondness? Or would their last memories be of you being stashed in a basement somewhere fighting a lethal leg wound infection that you stitched yourself?
To me, this thinking is obtusely backwards. We need to stop hanging onto this life like it were gold. We’re here to live, and when we’re done, we’re done. No amount of prepping can prevent God’s will, for better or worse. Living in fear and impending doom is a terrible outlook on life. It is one thing to have storm supplies- but Islam teaches us to live in this life like a traveler.
I trust God to take care of me in the event of disaster, and if I die because I’m stranded in my apartment without food or water, then it must be His will. But I’m not going to preoccupy myself with forever hoarding for an apocalypse. I care for my spiritual health, which is what I will be taking with me forever.