Islam the Environment and Ourselves (Pdf)
The Following work has been adopted from the work “The Holy Quran and the Environment” by Sayyid Ghazi bin Muhammad, Reza Shah-Kazemi and Aftab Ahmed found at altafsir.com and it is also available on iBooks.
In the modern world where knowledge is abundant it has been reduced to information and facts, a list of points about a topic, there is an immense difference between a fact (or point), information, knowledge and understanding of an issue, when one goes beyond facts and information they gain knowledge of an issue, after they have reached this point only then they can begin to have an understanding of the wider aspects of the topic in relation to the wider world around it, if the individual has wisdom, when this is combined with understanding they become sagacious and can see it in context with the greater picture of life. Allah in the Quran asks understanding of us regarding what he says and he grants wisdom to a few people regarding his words and an even lesser few are sagacious with that wisdom and understanding.
“and in the veering of winds and clouds which are held between the sky and the earth, are indeed Ayat (proofs, evidence, signs) for people of understanding”(2:164).
“And there is (a saving of) life for you in Al-Qisas (the Law of Equality in punishment), O men of understanding, that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious)”(2:179)
“And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: “We believe in it; the whole of it (clear and unclear Verses) are from our Lord.” And none receive admonition except men of understanding. (Tafsir At-Tabari)”(3:7)
“It is not (possible) for any human being to whom Allah has given the Book and Al-Hukm (the knowledge and understanding of the laws of religion) and Prophethood to say to the people: “Be my worshippers rather than Allah’s.” On the contrary (he would say): “Be you Rabbaniyyun (learned men of religion who practise what they know and also preach others), because you are teaching the Book, and you are studying it.”(3:79)
“If only there had been among the generations before you persons having wisdom, prohibiting (others) from Al-Fasad (disbelief, polytheism, and all kinds of crimes and sins) in the earth, (but there were none) – except a few of those whom We saved from among them! Those who did wrong pursued the enjoyment of good things of (this worldly) life, and were Mujrimun (criminals, disbelievers in Allah, polytheists, sinners)”(11:116).
“And when he [Yusuf (Joseph)] attained his full manhood, We gave him wisdom and knowledge; thus We reward the Muhsinun (those who perfect themselves and do good)”. (12:22)
“They (the angels) said: “Do not be afraid! We give you glad tidings of a boy (son) possessing much knowledge and wisdom (Isa).”(15:53)
“Invite (mankind, O Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided”(16:125).
Many of us have reduced our responsibility to the environment to what we know of the term Halal, in relation to the environment it means the endangered species that need to be protected are not permissible for us to kill or eat, but this isn’t the extent of what Allah wants us to do on this earth, Allah also instructs in the Quran not to destroy the balance of nature, on multiple occasions.
He asks us to be mindful of his creatures:
“And there is no creature on [or within] the earth or bird that flies with its wings except [that they are] communities like you. We have not neglected in the Register a thing. Then unto their Lord they will be gathered.” (Qur’an, 6:38)
He asks to be mindful of what we kill, then instructs us to not overstep these limits:
“Eat and drink from the provision of Allaah, and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption.” (Qur’an, 2:60)
He asks us to look after the environment and the atmosphere and not to destroy it;
“And We made the sky a protected ceiling (canopy), but they, from its signs, are turning away.” (Qur’an, 21:32)
He asks us not to waste and be excessive in what we take:
“But waste not by excess: for Allah loveth not the wasters” (Quran 6:141)
He asks us to look after the balance of nature and this earth:
“And He has raised the heaven and set up the balance, [declaring] that you should not contravene with regard to the balance. And observe the measure with justice and do not skimp the balance. And the earth, He placed it for [all] creatures. In it are fruits and date-palms with sheaths, and grain with husk, and fragrant herb. So which of your Lord’s favours will you deny?” (Al-Rahman, 55:7-13)
We are commanded not to Destroy the environment:
“And when he turneth away (from thee) his effort in the land is to make mischief therein and to destroy the crops and the cattle; and Allah loveth not mischief” (Quran 2:205).
According to the Quran, Allah made good everything he has created: “Who made all things good which He created” (32:7). And we are commanded to keep it that way: “Do no mischief on the earth, after it hath been set in order” (7:56).
The Prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace, said that if one plants a tree then whatever is eventually eaten from it whether by humans or animals counts for the planter as a an act of charity.
And he asks us to work at preserving it because it can only be achieved through our work, “Man shall have nothing but what he strives for” (Quran 53:39).
“Mankind’s inward corruption is not only reflected in the world’s outward corruption, it is its actual cause, both directly and physically (through man’s pollution of the world and his upsetting the natural balance), and spiritually and existentially (as man’s inner corruption changes the subtle existential conditions of the physical world, by ‘solidifying’ it and cutting it off from the graces of heaven). This is the real reason why no amount of scientific environmental action can fully work without spiritual renewal within mankind, and why conversely, spiritual renewal needs also environmental action to be successful. This particular insight is what is perhaps most lacking in all the environment saving efforts of our day: environmentalists think they know the world and can save it without knowing and saving themselves first”.
Full article: Islam the Environment and Ourselves (Pdf)