Monday, 16 July 2012

Islam and Consumerism

First of all I must confess that I do not have command on the subject but I wanted to get comments/feedback on this. Consumerism in Islam; Is it allowed or not allowed but 1.6 billion Muslims around the world are buying and selling different things as written in this article

I was surprised to see a statement in this article "Religions rarely praise consumerism". First question arose on my mind was "What is Consumerism" Is it a law of protecting consumer rights or Is it creating a market and culture of consuming more and more whether you have money in your hand.

Therefore, I started searching some websites/webpages, Thanks to Google for making our life easier, that whether it is true in case of Islam or not. However in the end I saw a Wikipedia page on Consumerism which defines Consumerism as "The term "consumerism" was first used in 1915 to refer to "advocacy of the rights and interests of consumers" (Oxford English Dictionary) but in this article the term "consumerism" refers to the sense first used in 1960, "emphasis on or preoccupation with the acquisition of consumer goods" (Oxford English Dictionary)". Moreover it says "Consumerism has long had intentional underpinnings, rather than just developing out of capitalism". Thus it is nothing to do about capitalism.

Islam says do not spend on those things which you do not need, live simpler life, do not waste food, conserve water... In short be modest in your spending. But on the other hand it also says that give charity to others so that they can also buy good for their use. It also says that wear good clothes so that one knows that you are well off and if someone wants help (monetarily) he/she can ask you. 

Consumerism always invited innovation because more society is innovative people tend to buy newer thing, e.g., iPod, iPad etc. Islam is pro innovation and not against new technologies and if someone is working on the betterment and people are adopting those goods, then it is a increase in consumerism. 

Above short explanation shows that Islam asks people to being modest but it is not against consumerism. If we read between the lines what Islam teaches us then I do not agree with the statement that Religions rarely praise consumerism. However, I cannot say anything about Christianity or other religions.

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