Environmental protection in Islamic culture
THE Allah Almighty created environment clean, pure and useful and harnessed it to man and urged man to keep it.
Allah has also called for thinking about the miracles He has put in the universe, which He put in the best shape. God Almighty says: “Do they not look at the sky above them?
– How We have made it and adorned it, and there are no flaws in it? And the earth- We have spread it out, and set thereon mountains standing firm, and produced therein every kind of beautiful growth (in pairs).
”(Qaf: 6, 7) On this basis, relationships of love and affection were founded between the Muslim and his surrounding environment, including inanimate things and living creatures.
The Muslim then realized that preserving the environment would benefit him in this life because he would have a nice life and in his hereafter, as Allah would reward him graciously for this.
The Prophet’s perspective for environment came to stress this comprehensive Quranic outlook of the universe, which is based on correlation between man and the elements of nature and its springboard is faith that if man misuses or drains any of the elements of nature, the whole world would be damaged directly.
Examples of how Islamic legislation is keen on environment. The Islamic legislation set a general rule for all people on this earth, which is not to cause any damage to this universe. The Prophet (PBUH) says: ‘Let there be no harm or reciprocating harm.
” Then, Islamic legislation followed this with other things that pollute and damage the environment.
The Prophet (PBUH) says in this: Avoid the three actions that bring people’s curses: defecating in water sources, on roads, and in the shade.
The Prophet (PBUH) also urged for cleaning roads. Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said:
«Beware! Avoid sitting on the roads.
» They (the people) said, «O Allah’s Apostle! We can’t help sitting (on the roads) as these are (our places) where we have talks.
» The Prophet said, «If you refuse but to sit, then pay the road its right.
» They said, «What is the right of the road, O Allah’s Apostle?
» He said, «Lowering your gaze, refraining from harming others, returning greeting, and enjoining what is good, and forbidding what is evil.
The last advice mentioned in this Hadith is an umbrella for all the things that include harming the people who use roads and streets.
What is more than this is that the Prophet (PBUH) linked reward to keeping the environment clean.
He says: “The deeds of my people, good and bad were presented before me, and I found the removal of something objectionable from the road among their good deeds, and the sputum mucus left unburied in the mosque among their evil deeds.
” The Prophet (PBUH) furthermore asks Muslims to clean their houses.
He says: “Allah is good and likes everything that is good.
He is clean and loves cleanliness, you must clean your houses and do not follow in the footsteps of Jews.
These wonderful teachings call for a decent life vacant of any pollutant to keep man’s hygiene and psychological health intact.
In a more expressive way to urge for keeping the environment and its beauty, the Prophet (PBUH) says when asked by one of his companions: “What if a man likes his clothes to look good and his shoes to look good, is this pride?
He said, «Allah is beautiful and loves beauty. Pride means denying the truth and looking down on people.
There is no doubt that beauty is to keep the environment as clean and beautiful as Allah has created.
Also in his recommendation of using perfumes and giving them as presents, we find evidence that he called for a clean environment.
The Prophet (PBUH) says in this regard: “he who is presented with a flower should not reject it, for it is light to carry and pleasant in door!
” Regarding Islam’s glory in enacting laws that keep the environment clean, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says: “Whenever Muslims plant a tree, they will earn the reward of charity because of the food that comes from it; and likewise what is stolen from it, what the wild beasts eat out of it, what the birds eat out of it, and what people take from it is charity for them.
In another narration: “It is charity for them till the Doomsday”. Islam’s fabulousness is manifested in the fact that the reward for planting, which is environment-friendly, will continue as long as this plant is benefitted even if it moved to the possession of others or the one who planted it died.
The Islamic legislation has also mentioned the benefits of reclaiming a (uncultivated) land. The Prophet (PBUH) says: “Whoever revives a dead land has right to it” meaning reward and “If beasts and birds feed from it, he who revived it will have it as a sadaqah”.
And because water is one of the most important resources in environment, being economical in using water and keeping it pure are two important issues in Islam.
The Prophet (PBUH) advises Muslims to be economical when using water even if this water is abundant.
Abdullah Ibn Umar narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) passed near Saad Ibn Abi Waqas when he was performing his ablution and said: “What is this waste?
And the latter replied: is performing ablutions an extravagance? He said: yes, even if you are (doing them) at a running river”.
He also called for not polluting water or urinating in stagnant water. This is the perspective of Islam and the Islamic culture of the environment.
It is a view that believes that the different aspects of the environment react, integrate and cooperate with each other according to God’s rules in the universe, which was created by Allah in the best shape. So, Every Muslim should keep this beauty.
—The Writer is having PhD in Islamic Political Philosophy, Author of Five Books and International Award Winning Research Papers Presenter.