Islam and Environment
The Quran states that life was created from water (11:7; 21:30). The importance of water and its equitable distribution among the people and animals is stressed: “…We send down water from the sky, pure water, so as to bring to life with it a dead land and to quench the thirst of Our creatures, both animals and humans, in large numbers. We keep distributing it among them, so that they would reflect.” (25:48-50). According to the Quran, Prophet Saleh’s nation, the Thamud, was destroyed because they refused to share the food and water with the she-camel (11:64). Prophet Noah was warned of the imminent flood. He was taught, through revelation, to build a huge boat and to put on it a pair of every species of animals as well as his followers. This is a lesson in preserving the species, which had turned into endangered species and would have otherwise been wiped out by the flood. The command to save the animals came before the command to save the Believers (11:40). -- Nilofar Ahmed
Over 500 verses in the Quran deal with nature. We are repeatedly called upon to reflect on the trees, mountains, seas, animals, birds, stars, the sun and the moon and our own hearts. “Allah has subjected to you whatever is in the skies and the earth; Behold! Therein are sure signs for those who reflect.’’ In another verse the behaviour of those who destroy crops and cattle is condemned. The Quran calls on us to recognise our own contribution to the environmental crisis: “Corruption doth appear on land and sea because of (the evil) which men’s hands have done, that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return.” --Sadia Dehlvi
The Quran teaches that animals are sentient beings who form societies much like ours, who live under God’s care, just as we do, and who—in a manner that is never directly explained—worship God.[iv]
All the beasts that roam the earth and all the birds that soar on high are but communities like your own.[v]
There is not a creature on earth but God provides its sustenance.[vi]
Do you not see how God is praised by those in the heavens and those on earth? The very birds praise Him as they wing their way. He notes the prayers and praises of all His creatures; God has knowledge of all their actions.[vii]
This conviction that animals are in some sense persons, and that God is concerned for their wellbeing, is the theological underpinning of Islamic teachings on animal welfare. And yet, despite this, the Quran is profoundly anthropocentric; it teaches that human beings are the apex of creation, God’s designated rulers of the Earth. In Surah 35:39, the angel instructs Mohammad to remind the human race that, “[God] it is who made you vice-regents on earth.”[viii] --- Norm Phelps
Not only did the pagan Arabs sacrifice to a variety of Gods in hopes of attaining protection or some favour or material gain, but so, too, did the Jews of that day seek to appease the One True God by blood sacrifice and burnt offerings. Even the Christian community felt Jesus to be the last sacrifice, the final lamb, so to speak, in an otherwise valid tradition of animal sacrifice (where one's sins are absolved by the blood of another).
Islam, however, broke away from this longstanding tradition of appeasing an "angry God" and instead demanded personal sacrifice and submission as the only way to die before death and reach "Fana" or "extinction in Allah." The notion of "vicarious atonement of sin" (absolving one's sins through the blood of another) is nowhere to be found in the Qur'an. Neither is the idea of gaining favour by offering the life of another to God. In Islam, all that is demanded as a sacrifice is one's personal willingness to submit one's ego and individual will to Allah.
One only has to look at how the Qur'an treats one of the most famous stories in the Judeo-Christian world: the sacrifice of Isaac (here, in the Islamic world seen as the sacrifice of Isma'il) to see a marked difference regarding sacrifice and whether or not Allah is appeased by blood. The Qur'anic account of the sacrifice of Isma'il ultimately speaks against blood atonement. See The Holy Quran --- 37:102-107
Notice that the Qur'an never says that God told Abraham to kill (sacrifice) his son. Though subtle, this is very important. For the moral lesson is very different from that which appears in the Bible. Here, it teaches us that Abraham had a dream in which he saw himself slaughtering his son. Abraham believed the dream and thought that the dream was from God, but the Qur'an never says that the dream was from God. However, in Abraham and Isma'il's willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice -- Abraham of his son, Isma'il of his own life -- they are able to transcend notions of self and false attachment to the material realm, thus removing a veil between themselves and Allah, enabling Allah's mercy to descend upon them as the Spirit of Truth and illuminate them with divine wisdom (thus preventing a miscarriage of justice and once and for all correcting the false notion of vicarious atonement of sin). -- Shahid 'Ali Muttaqi
The Qur’an and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) contain instructions for Muslims to preserve the environment, which includes not cutting down trees unnecessarily. In this respect, Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) pointed out that there are benefits in planting trees, which will last until the Day of Judgment. This is illustrated in the saying of the Noble Prophet: “If the Hour is imminent and anyone of you has a palm shoot (to plant) in his hand and is able to plant it before the Hour strikes, then he should do so and he will be rewarded for that action.” Allah says in the Qur’an (what means): “And there is no creature on (or within) the earth or a bird that flies with its wings except that they are nations (communities) like you.” [Qur’an 6:38]
Slums in the most developed city, Islamabad show a strange approach of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) that works hard to make distinction of the capital from the other cities of the country. Many sectors of the federal capital have these slums which once considered as a scar on the face of Islamabad, but now thought to be an integral part, though many disagree. Two such slums (kachi abadis) are located near Zero Point in sector G-7/1 -- one inhabited by Muslims mainly from the NWFP while Christian occupy the second. Salman Raza reports from Islamabad.