Islam and Environment: Every culture has its way of conserving the environment and its natural resources provided by the almighty to help the human race survive. Still, the problem prevails because humans start destroying the natural resources they are born and blessed with.
We have been provided with forests, rivers, animals, and green fields so that humans to create a balance with each other to lead a healthy and sustainable life. When we start cheating nature, nature revenges us through floods, droughts, scarcity and imbalances the whole ecosystem that teaches us a lesson how to value what we have and how can we preserve/conserve these precious natural resources for the next generation by taking simple and logical steps towards environmental safety and it’s preservation.
Islam has always been the promoter of environmental safety measures that would help everyone in the long run. We have been given so much by Allah that we need for our survival, but that doesn’t mean that we start wasting for what we are fortunate of. Islam is against the idea of wasting or using more than you need. Wastage is the reason for scarcity that later imbalances the natural ecology of the universal system.
It has been said in the Qur’an that Allah will ask the questions about each of the deeds consciously or unconsciously done by us and have many relatable verses in the Qur’an that prove that Islam always talks about saving natural resources provided for the sustenance of mankind and their offspring. We have no right to destroy what we have but to find innumerable ways to protect and multiply what we have.
Environment protection and resource conservation in Islam:
Islam and Environment: Islam presents and advocates a balanced approach in all spheres of life. When dealing with the environment and natural resources, it not only constrains the excessive use but also talks about sustainable development. Among various reasons, excessive use of natural resources is an important reason for environmental issues. Allah uses his authority and reminds us again and again that these resources are from Him. We are appointed as a caretaker to those resources, and we are accountable for that. This sense of accountability is an Islamic approach to save the environment.
“He is the One Who has placed you as successors on earth and elevated some of you in rank over others, so He may test you with what He has given you” (Qur’an 6:165).
The hereafter life and a test declaration in both the world have their unique importance in Muslims’ behavior. They are not set free in this world but are appointed here for some time. Islam reminds this reality again and again to establish the fact that humans are sent to this planet as an ambassador, and later they are asked for every single act done in this life. Using natural resources is also among Allah’s facilities, and humans are bound to use them wisely.
“O children of Adam! … eat and drink: but waste not by excess, for Allah loves not the wasters” (Qur’an 7:31).
Islam and Environment: Not only this but Islam one step forward emphasis the cleanliness of roads and localities. This is another issue in modern society, and campaigns are there for cleanliness and counselling residents not to throw garbage or waste on roads, rather than dump them in a public dustbin. Public waste is harmful in many ways. It can choke sanitation, spread infections, dengue, malaria, etc. and result in stray animals’ death. Islam had this idea before, and thus there are teachings of Islam regarding the same.
When Abu Musa (RA) was sent to Al-Basrah as the new governor, he addressed the people saying: “I was sent to you by ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab (RA) to teach you the Book of your Lord [i.e. the Qur’an], the Sunnah [of your Prophet], and to clean your streets.”
In Islam, there is a belief that the creation of Allah, including trees, animals, hills etc., glorify God in their way:
“Do you not see that to Allah bow down ‘in submission’ all those in the heavens and all those on the earth, as well as the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the trees, and ˹all˺ living beings, as well as many humans, while many are deserving of punishment. And whoever Allah disgraces, none can honour. Surely Allah does what He wills” (Quran 22:18).
This equilibrium of all lives creates a sense of togetherness, where care is an important factor which should be taken care of. This divine notion reinforces the scientific concept of “chain of life” with each species depending on another to maintain the balance of life on earth.
Any kind of mischievous behaviour is rejected by the Quran. Humans are advised to stay away from corruption, even misuse of resources or exploitation of animals is condemned.
“And when he turns away (from you “O Muhammad SAW “), his effort in the land is to make mischief therein and to destroy the crops and the cattle, and Allah likes not mischief” Qur’an (2:205).
We have caused corruption on land and sea, on a broader scale to the environment and now it is a time to make it corruption-free with the Islamic fundamentals. We have to do it for the sake of our lives and to fulfil the duties assigned to us as trustees of this planet earth.