Monday, June 8, 2015

An Islamic approach to environment

An Islamic approach to environment

What is environment?
We know that the problem of the environment is today’s most of the serious problem. It is a problem that threatens not only us, but the whole world, and future generation and to help in solving them. We should therefore first of all ask: what do we understand by the environment?
One scientist answered this question by saying,”we have 4095 environment.’ By this he wanted to emphasize that when saying “environment” it is insufficient to understand only the natural environment. The Quran expresses this as follows:
To God belong the East and the West, whithersoever you turn, there is God’s Countenance. For God All-embracing, all knowing. [1]

This induced us to consider the environment from a broad perspective. We should not forget that the creator and Owner of all environments is at the same time our Creator.
Thus our environment is formed by our house, garden and car, the air we breathe, the water we drink , the town in which we live and the people we live with. So too it is formed by seas, lakes, rivers, roads, mountains, and forest, which are shared by all members of society.


The Islamic view of the environment
Firstly, I should say that according to Islam, everything in the universe is created by God. It is God who adorns the skies with sun, the moon and the star, and the face of the earth with flowers, trees, garden, orchards, and the various animal species. It is again God Who causes the rivers and streams to flow on earth, who upholds the skies, causes the all plants and animals as pairs, in this way causing their procreation. God created man subsequently to all these.

We are vicegerents on the earth, it has been given us in trust. Just as we are not the lords of nature and the world, so the world is not our property which we can dispose of as we wish or as we are able. Nature was created by God and it belongs to him.  Everything in nature is a sign of god’s existence; that is, a token or massive. The Quran expresses the truth as follows;
We shall show them our signs in the regions, and in their own soul.

The earth is also important in regard to concept of mutual relation. Human beings are created from two its elements: earth and water, thus, if man becomes alienated from earth, he becomes alienated from his very nature. He is not lord and ruler of earth; he is a humble member of it. The superior qualities and faculties he poses require not that he irresponsibly consumes and destroys its beauties and resource, but that he acts in awareness of his great responsibility towards them.
The importance of cleanliness

Islam considers being one of the fundamentals of belief. It thus makes a direct connection between belief and cleanliness. It is because of this that throughout the age’s cleanliness has been one of Muslims’ most striking characteristics. In one Hadith, God’s messenger says: “Cleanliness is part of belief”.

Throughout his life Prophet Muhammad [PBUH] paid attention to cleanliness of every sort. For instance he was always careful when going to the mosque or to visit someone or when being in the company of others to wear clean and presentable clothes, to rub fragrant scents o himself, and not to eat things like onions and garlic which would be unpleasant to others.

One of the most important topics that come to mind when one says “environmental health” is the cleanliness” is the cleanliness of the common environment. These are the places such as the roads, places of worships, school, parks etc.
What has to be done to maintain the cleanliness of the social environment is to think not of ourselves but of others. We should not forget that God’s messenger [PBUH] forbade the dirtying of the roads and path people used, and the place they sat and rested etc. he said to remove a branch or throne that would cause hurt to people as they passed was a part of belief.
Muslims should scrupulously avoid anything to upsets or disturbs others in any circumstances or in any pace. To pollute or dirty the city in which one lives, or the town or village and their surrounding countryside, water, air, and scatter rubbish and refuse is both a sin and extremely discourteous. It is the lack of thought both for oneself and others.  For thoughtful people know that others will be disturbed by the any place they have dirtied, and the beauty of nature spoilt. They are aware that it is the attribute of the believer and a sign of maturity not to leave scattered nutshell, bottles, cans, wrappers, and a bits of paper other refuse in the streets and in picnic areas, or to do anything that will disturb other people, or even the animals.
4. The preservation of environment
4.1. Trees in the Quran
Doubtless, one of the most important aspects of protecting the environment and ecology is the conservation of trees, forests, woodland, countryside, and all the living creatures whose habitats are such areas. We see that the religion of Islam puts forward important principle for these too. These noteworthy principle related to the conservation of such areas may be classed as moral and legal.
If we look in Quran the word “tree” is mentioned with various meanings. Despite containing no direct no direct command to command to plant trees, it speaks of trees and gardens and offered them for man use.  The word “tree” is mentioned in Quran in 25 times in the Quran and the word “paradise” in the sense of garden 146 times.
It is clear that the Islamic world view could not endorse any view of man’s vagrancy of the earth which destroys and spoils the ecological balances and the order and systems of nature, which it teaches that God has created and put as sign of His own existence. For vicegerent means ‘deputy’ And this in turn means that man is the sole being whom God holds responsible for the earth,  to whom He has entrusted its preservation. Such a deputy would not betray the trust of the One who created the world with a particular order, balance, and harmony. If he was to spoil the order and harmony and destroy them, he would be known as an unreliable and perfidious deputy.

4.2. Animals in Quran
On looking at the Quran, the prominent place given animals, the key members of the eco system, is immediately apparent. A number of its suras bear animal’ names: al-Baqara; al-Nahl, al-Anqabut, al-Naml.
One of the striking expressions the Quran uses about animals is that they are a “community”. It is especially noteworthy that this concept, which is a significant concept in Islamic tradition and literature, should also be used for animals:

There is not an animal on the earth or a being that flies on its wings, but communities like you. Nothing have we omitted from the book, and they shall be gathered to their Lord in the end.
Marwan Manamkandath
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