Prioritizing public interest above self-interest requires those in power to lead by example

Friday, December 21, 2018, representative of the Shia Muslim Supreme Religious Authority, sheikh Abdul-Mehdi ElKerbela'i delivered Friday’s sermon at the Imam Hussain Shrine in which he talked about the ethical system and prioritizing public interest above self-interest.

ElKerbela’i said it is important to take care of the ethical and intellectual systems, noting that egocentricity leads one to prioritize their self-interest above public interest.

He added that there are principles, values, and codes of ethics that regulate people's behavior and help them understand that public interest is more important than self-interest.

“Educational establishments must devote their attention and efforts to educating people on the ethical and intellectual systems and faith, beginning from the family and mounting up to school, and governmental offices,” ElKerbela’i said further.

He shed light on an important matter, which is that one should understand that people – even if they differ with him or her in terms of religion, religious denomination, or nationality – are still his or her brothers in faith or equals in humanity.

ElKerbela’i called for prompting altruism and its benefits, for altruism is part of the ethical system, and it encourages people to take care of and sacrifice for one another.

One of the benefits one can receive, ElKerbela’i mentioned, by helping others is that people, in turn, help him or her—and those who help millions of people, those millions will help them; but, if they help only themselves, tribes, or political or social entities, others will do the same—they will prioritize their self-interests, and consequently egocentric people will lose many benefits for not assisting others.

He added further: “For people to be altruistic, they need to be in a good environment, which means that those in power must lead by example—that involves everyone, such as teachers, doctors, engineers, politicians and so on.”

He called on the legislative and executive branches to protect public interests by enacting laws and enforcing them, noting that education and preaching are, sometimes, inadequate to achieve the results sought after.

ElKerbela’i concluded that observing public interests reflects positively on everyone, as opposed to prioritizing self-interests, which reflects negatively on everyone and leads to wasting people's energies.


Editing: Wela’ EsSeffar

Translation: Mohammed AlObaidi