Sunday, 28 June 2009

Islam and the environment

Muslims do not look for a divine presence in Nature. God transcends both nature and humanity. It is by right action, rather than mystical vision, that Muslims fulfil their duty “to keep the equilibrium of use and protect the earth”. In recent times they have felt powerless against the pollution of the earth, particularly because it is usually the result of Western encroachment. Recent fundamentalism, though claiming to defend the tradition, is “in opposition to core teachings of the Qur'an that view all humanity as the creation of God, that call for the avoidance of excess, and that mandate respect for women.... A retrieval of the action-oriented ethic...would contribute toward protecting the earth as a trust, ammanah, for the next generation...” – summary of Nawal Ammar, “Islam and Deep Ecology” ch. 9 in Deep Ecology and World Religions (SUNY, 2001)

Sayings of the prophet (Hadith) and the Holy Qur'an

Jihad (holy war): On his return from a battle, the Prophet said: "We are finished with the lesser jihad; now we are starting the greater jihad." He explained... that fighting against an outer enemy is the lesser jihad; fighting against one's self is the greater jihad.

Work in this world as if you are living forever, and work for the hereafter as if you are dying tomorrow.” Hadith.

If the Day of Judgement comes while you are planting a new tree, carry on and plant it.” Hadith.

The commons: “People are partners in water, pasture land and fire.” Hadith . “The water is to be divided amongst them” Qur'an 54:86.

God has created every animal from water; of them there are some that creep on their bellies, some that walk on two legs, and some that walk on four.” Qur'an 24:25 “There is not an animal on earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, [that is ] not part of a community like you.” Qur'an 6:38.

“A good deed done to a beast is as good as doing good to a human being; while an act of cruelty to a beast is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being.” Hadith.

“All creatures are God's dependents and the most beloved to God among them is the one that does good to God's dependents.” Hadith.

“If anyone plants a tree, or sows a field, and humans, beasts or birds eat from it, he should consider it a charity on his part.” Hadith.

“To Him belongs what is in the heavens and earth, and all that is in between, and all that is beneath the soil.” Qur'an 20:6

[On fasting, vigils and celibacy] “Allah does not tolerate the extremes of abstentions and moderation is the best path to piety.” Hadith.

We thank for these quotations: Nawal Ammar, “Islam and Deep Ecology”; BBC, The internal jihad; Last Prophet's Info, The prophet's approach to environmentalism; Khaled Hamid, “If the day of Judgment is coming go ahead and plant that tree; IFEES Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environment Services, UK and its newsletter EcoIslam.

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