We need to reform our consumption habits: recommendations by Ayatollah Khamenei

Unnecessary luxuries, cosmetics, furniture, and ornaments are the things which we spend our money on. We can use this money in manufacturing or investment sectors and contribute to the country's progress. We could also use the money to help the poor or increase our national wealth. Yet, we spend this money on things which we only buy to keep up appearances. Some people go on trips or throw parties the cost of which is more than a trip to Mecca. There are others who spend great amounts of money in their wedding or funeral ceremonies. They serve various kinds of food. Why? What is the reason for doing so? There are some people in our country who still cannot satisfy their most basic needs. We should help the country move forward. I do not intend to say that you must only donate your money to the poor - of course this is one of the best things to do. But even if you do not intend to help poor people, you can spend this money in manufacturing sectors and purchase shares in factories. This is to the benefit of our country.

Instead of making investments in the manufacturing sector, we spend our money to throw parties, to hold expensive funerals, or to purchase new clothes everyday. Why? What is the reason behind that? Wise people never do these things. These recommendations are not only included in religious teachings. There is a verse in the Holy Quran which says: "And eat and drink and be not wasteful. Surely He loves not the wasteful." [The Holy Quran, 7: 31]. There is another Quranic verse which says: "Eat of its fruit when it bears fruit, and pay the due of it on the day of its reaping, and be not wasteful. Surely He loves not the wasteful." [The Holy Quran, 6: 141]. God Almighty does not like those who are wasteful. We are all God's creatures. These are religious teachings and there are various traditions in this regard. There is a tradition in which it is said that once someone was having a fruit and threw half of it away. One of the imams (a.s.) rebuked him for being wasteful and asked him, "why did you throw it away?" There are even some traditions which advise us to use the seed of dates and pieces of bread that are left over. Then, there are some people who throw parties in hotels and throw away the food that is left over, claiming that it is not hygienic. Is this behavior appropriate for an Islamic community? Can justice be administered this way?


We should reform our habits. We should reform the norms of consumption in our country. We suffer from inappropriate norms of consumption. We should know how to eat, what to eat, and what to wear. We all have a cell phone in our pockets, and as soon as a new model enters the market, we all go and change our cell phones. Why is that? Why do we act so impulsively? Our officials are responsible in this regard. Being wasteful is not limited to personal matters only. We are wasteful at the national level as well. As I previously said, we are wasteful in using our electricity and energy supplies. A great proportion of such wastefulness is out of the hands of the people. It is the officials who have to take appropriate measures to solve this problem. Using old communication networks, electricity transfer networks, and electricity cables will cause electricity to be wasted. We produce electricity, and then waste it by using old electricity transfer networks. Or if we use old water transfer networks, a great proportion of our water supply will be wasted.


March 21, 2009