By Aftab H. Kola
July 14, 2015
The aim of both the conservation and development of the environment in
Islam is for the universal good of all created beings
Ramadan offered a good chance to inculcate
a positive change in our attitude towards the environment. But we hardly care
for the environment and do all sorts of things that damage the environment.
Also, reckless exploitation of natural resources is posing a grave threat to
protection of environment. Global warming is threatening to pose serious
problems. It is time to plant more trees to protect the environment. Proper
solid waste management and sustained environmental protection awareness
programmes are the other measures that would go a long way in checking adverse
effects of global warming.
Islam lays great emphasis on protecting the
environment. The Holy Quran shows the inherent value of creatures and of life,
and how each creature in nature must be respected and cherished by human beings
as their fellow beings. This natural world was created by Him, for His purpose
and that in itself confers upon the natural environment a sacredness which must
be recognised by all believers. This, then, means that all believers must have
the utmost care and respect towards nature.
God has created everything in this universe
in due proportion and measure both quantitatively and qualitatively. God has
declared in the Quran: “Verily, all things have We created by measure” (Quran
“...Everything to Him is measured.” (Quran
13:8) “And We have produced therein everything in balance.” (Quran 55:7).
Islam has attached much importance to the
protection of environment asking its followers not to cut trees, pollute rivers
or contaminate the atmosphere. Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) taught
people to live on less, to protect animal and plant life, and to worship the
Creator by being merciful to the creation. “If a Muslim plants a tree or sows
seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded
as a charitable gift (Sadaqah) for him.” (Al Bukhari).
In Islam, man’s relation to the earth is
seen as that of a custodian mainly responsible for improving the quality of
life and guaranteeing a healthy environment. “Now, behold! Your Lord said to
the angels: I am placing upon the earth a human successor to steward it”
It is required that man should work towards
the conservation of earth, ensuring sustainability of natural resources for
future generations. In short, to be a Muslim is to pray (worship) and to be a
custodian of (to develop earth). Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) declared said: “The
world is beautiful and verdant, and verily God, be He exalted, has made you His
stewards in it, and He sees how you acquit yourselves.” (Saheeh Muslim)
All of the resources upon which life
depends have been created by God as a trust in our care.
He has ordained sustenance for all people
and for all living beings.
“And He has set within it mountains
standing firm, and blessed it, and ordained in it its diverse sustenance in
four days, alike for all that seek.” (Quran 41:10).
Thus, in Islam the utilisation of these
resources is the right and privilege of all people and all species. Hence, man
should take every precaution to ensure the interests and rights of all others
since they are equal partners on earth.
The Holy Quran is filled with more than
6,000 verses, of which more than 500 talk about with natural phenomena. Allah
repeatedly calls on us to reflect on His signs, which encompass all aspects of
nature such as trees, mountains, desert, seas, animals, birds, stars, the sun
and the moon – and our own hearts.
The Prophet (PBUH) had declared a 30 km
area around his city of Madinah a protected grove, prohibiting the cutting down
of trees within its borders. He prescribed picking up litter from the streets
as an act of faith. He forbade the cutting of cedar trees in the desert that
provided shade and shelter to animals. He calls upon us to be what God intended
us to be, which is in harmony with nature. We can sum up the importance of
environment by quoting what the Prophet (PBUH) famously said, “Even if the Day
of Judgment should arrive and you are holding a sapling in your hand, plant