Islam and Environment
The Quran lays down quite basic ethical principles. And these are interpreted by the prophet in the way he behaved. For example, the Quran says quite emphatically in Chapter 6, verse 141: "Allah does not love the wasters." This verse was exemplified by the Prophet when he chided one of his companions for throwing away water he had left over in his bowl after he had washed himself....
All these acts of public welfare have high value in Islam. The best thing we can do to save our planet is to plant trees and the Prophet (pbuh) encouraged us to do it. There are numerous verses in the Quran which says that the earth was dead and with rain He produces life therein. …
As in every world religion, water holds a special, even sacred role, and that is true in Islam. It’s clear why. Water is the source of all life and the means for purification. In the Quran, “water” is referenced over 60 times. As a religion born in the harsh deserts of Arabia, Islam recognizes water as a precious resource. Before the advent of Islam, the original law “Sharia” was a series of rules about water use: the shir`at al-maa’ were the permits that gave right to drinking water.....
A NUMBER of biological entities such as birds, animals, insects, plants, fruits etc have been mentioned in the Holy Quran for our knowledge and guidance. Some of them have been described in terms of praise, importance, need, correlation and significance as masterpieces of Allah’s creation. Every element, creature, and living being has a significant role to signify, glorify, and attest to the infinite power and wisdom of Allah....
Islam places great emphasis on cleanliness and purity, both physically and spiritually. In Islam, spiritual purity is linked to physical cleanliness and purity. More importantly, cleanliness is termed an indispensable fundamental of faith. However, this fundamental and powerful tenet of our faith, unfortunately, is not reflected in our society practically....
Allah created animals to live in communities like us. This means he created means of communication and understanding for them. Animals live in communities like us, and they pray to God Almighty like we do but in their own way that God Almighty ordained for them and this makes them deserve an open and a free life. "There is not an animal (That lives) on the earth, Nor a being that flies On its wings, but (forms Part of) communities like you. Nothing have We omitted From the Book, and they (all) Shall be gathered to their Lord In the end. (The Noble Quran, 6:38)" ...
He proposed an Islamic environmental approach based on four principles: Tawhid (the principle of unity); Fitra (the principle of the natural state); Mizan (the principle of balance); and Khalifa (the principle of responsibility). Aboriginal Elder Criger reiterated several of the common elements between Islam and the beliefs of the First Nations People.
Humans are the best creation of God and by that reference; it is our job to take care of the other living things present around us. To be specific, animals and birds are treated cruelly every day in front of us and we do not even have a minute to think about it. Stray dogs are killed on the pretext of spreading diseases while cats are generally shooed away with a shoe when they try to score a bite from our kitchens. …
It is obvious that the ongoing NATO terror wars in Islamic world led by USA-UK terror twins have deadly accelerated the dangerous climate change manifested in unpredictable weather conditions. The Climate Summits have become routine meetings of world leaders to enjoy the finer things of life, and not to redress such vital problems. In solidarity with the millions of people already feeling the impacts of climate change, hundreds of people protested in the halls of the UN Climate Talks recently to demand that nations not sign a “death sentence” in Durban. -- Dr. Abdul Ruff
“He is the One who created for you all that is in the earth.” (Quran: 2: 29) Islam sets the creation of animals at a very high pedestal. However, time and again, Muslims have refused to acknowledge this importance. It seems that this verse has been widely misunderstood by Muslims. When somebody is gifted with something, he is supposed to cherish, nurture and take care of that gift and is not to misuse or destroy it. But it seems that generally Muslims are not inclined to cherish and protect the innumerable species of animals gifted to them in this world. There are six surahs in the Quran whose titles are based on the names of animals. Besides, the mention of animals is found throughout the Book. In Surah Al-Anaam it is said, “There is no animal walking on the earth nor a bird flying on its two wings, except that they are (part of) communities like you” (6: 38). God, in His infinite wisdom, has organized even the most humble of creatures, like the birds, the bees and the ants into communities so that they can work, communicate and survive according to strict ethical and organizational rules, without any deviation. All the creatures in the world, including the animals, glorify their Lord and “sing His praises” (17: 44). The living sing with their tongues, while the non-living with the tacit acquiescence of their condition. -- Nilofar Ahmed
“Indeed, in the heavens and the earth are signs for the true believers. And in your creation and in the spreading of the animals are signs for those who possess firm faith” (45: 4). The importance of the creation of human beings is equated with the importance of the creation of animals. Thus, belief in the importance of animals and treating them with kindness are signs of firm faith. -- Nilofar Ahmed
As we do on many issues, Saudis and Americans can work to meet these challenges together. The cooperation between KACST and IBM on solar desalination is a perfect example. President Obama summed up our need to act as responsible caretakers of our environment very nicely when he said, "This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet."-- James B. Smith
In such a gloomy scenario, the initiative of Project SOS--Save Our Sparrows--initiated by the Burhani Foundation (India), in association with Nature Forever Society, comes as a big ray of hope. -- Nigar Ataulla
Even more disturbing is the fact that the judges have rendered invisible ( as regards the punishment meted out to the culprit) the deaths of two little boys, Timothy aged 6, and Philip, aged 10. Even if Graham Staines was indulging in objectionable activity, he did not deserve to be murdered for his sins. And even if the Staines’ were Christian evangelists, their children could hardly be guilty of offending any law or anyone’s religious sentiments. If the extenuating factors relating to conversion apply to the murder of Graham Staines, what factors could possibly attenuate the crime of burning alive two small boys? The judges have allowed their consciences to erase even the natural sympathy we feel about their terrible plight.
Their comments — before and after their modification — are tantamount to blaming the victims for their fate. They violate the spirit of the Constitution and the norms of human decency; and they add weight to the normalisation of violence in the Indian polity. -- Dilip Simeon
In the Quran, God speaks of creating everything in balance, and warns that transgression of the balance shall have disastrous consequences. Muslims understand humanity as part of the extraordinary cosmic symphony. However, what differentiates us from the rest of creation is our role as vice-regents of earth. Allah refers to humanity as the best of creation that He endowed with the gifts of nature, giving humanity the power of knowledge and free will. As trustees, the children of Adam are expected to rise above greedy impulses and turn the earth into a manifestation of the Garden of Eden in anticipation of the promised Gardens of Paradise. In contrast, we could reject this 'water principle' and use the 'fiery principle' to turn the earth into a kind of hellfire. This implies succumbing to anger, greed, envy and other negative aspects. -- Sadia Dehlvi
Recent floods and landslides have created havoc in Pakistani occupied Gilgit-Baltistan. Conservative estimates put the deaths at 500, with more than half a million people losing their dwellings, farmland, moveable assets, ancestral graveyards, and places of worship, cultural activities and spiritual engagement to the floods. Around thirty thousand souls among the victims were already affected by the glacial outbursts which created artificial lake in Hunza in January and eliminated several villages. Government’s neglect towards the victims is like insult to the injury. -- Engineer Ghulam Ali Rinchen
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.