Over the years, our environment has been facing a severe threat. The rivers are polluted with undesirable chemicals and toxicants, underground water is being depleted and getting polluted. Forests are being lost at an alarming rate resulting in environmental degradation. A balance in oxygen and water in the environment is being lost, which is so important to sustain and preserve the human civilization on the planet earth. For the past century and a half enormous advances have taken place in science and technology to the benefit of mankind. But, these developments have also posed great problems and health hazards, threatening the existence of human life on earth.
Moderation is the most important characteristic of Islam. It is probably how Islam views human nature and the meaning of life. Man is created by God-Almighty and is commanded to be God’s vicegerent on earth. Islam discourages luxurious and lavish living. It is a general observation that luxurious life styles lead to weakness among nations, and eventually to their downfall. The existence of luxury is also an expression of social injustice, as few can afford luxurious items at the expense of the deprived masses of people.The Holy Qur’an says:
“When we intend to destroy a township, We permit its luxury-loving people to commit wickedness therein. Then the word is proved true against it and We then destroy it utterly.”(Sura Al-Isra 17:16). Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was the perfect example of moderation. He advised his followers to spend within their means, neither to be too lavish as to make themselves destitute nor to hold back their wealth from those who had a claim on their resources. Corruption, dissolution, nervous and mental disorders, intellectual perversions are eating away the body of present day civilization by destroying the nations and individuals, by exposing the people to evil and corrupt means of life. However, as long as the humankind follows the laws ordained by the Creator, all aspects of his life in the environment of the earth go the natural way. But, if deviations occur from the prescribed path of the Creator (God-Almighty) all the social, environmental calamities that human beings face today ensue. It is in the fitness of things that human lifestyles be programmed according to the laws of the Creator to save humanity from environmental disasters
Much environmental degradation is due to people’s ignorance of what their Creator requires of them. People should be made to realize that the conservation of the environment is a religious duty demanded by God. God has said: Be good, even as God has been good to you, and do not pursue corruption in the earth. Verily God does not love corrupters. (Al-Qasas 28:77). Eat and drink, but waste not by excess; Verily He loves not the excessive. (Al-A`raf 7:31). And do not follow the bidding of the excessive, who cause corruption in the earth and do not work good. (Ash-Shu`araa’ 26:151, 152). And do not cause corruption in the earth, when it has been set in order. (Al-A`raf 7:56).
Any deliberate damage to the natural environment and resources is a kind of corruption which is forbidden by Islam. It is indeed a kind of despicable foolishness which every Muslim should shun, and which every ruler and every individual should prohibit, especially if it leads to or results in general damage. God has said: Let you be a nation that calls to all that is good, that establishes right and eradicates wrong. Such are they who shall prosper. (Aal `Imran 3:104).
The popularization of social networking among young generation makes it easier and attractive to spread environmental awareness using Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc.
Religious awareness and Islamic guidance should employ all possible means at all levels to call all individuals to commit themselves to Islamic ethics, morals, and manners in dealing with nature, the environment, and the natural resources for their sustainable use and development. All individuals should be reminded of the following religious obligations:
– No wastage or over-consumption of natural resources;
– No unlawful obstruction or destruction of any component of the natural resources;
– No damage, abuse, or distortion of the natural environment in any way;
– Sustainable development of the earth, its resources, elements, and phenomena through the enhancement of natural resources, the protection and conservation of them and of all existing forms of life, bringing new life to the land through its reclamation, and the rehabilitation and purification the governing authorities with their various administrative and municipal agencies and courts of law required of him.
Therefore the protection, conservation, and development of the environment and natural resources is a mandatory religious duty to which every Muslim should be committed. This commitment emanates from the individual’s responsibility before God to protect himself and his community of the soil, air, and water.
There are various ways which you can raise environmental awareness in your personal and professional circles. The popularization of social networking among young generation makes it easier and attractive to spread environmental awareness using Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc. A simple and effective method which I use is the distribution of QR Codes (Quick Response Codes) in my college campus.
Another great idea would be to start your own school, college or workplace campaign for planting trees. Students, faculty members and co-workers can be motivated to donate a nominal amount of money towards plantation campaign. Keeping plants around your home, school or workplace is not only aesthetic and decorative but also keep you healthy and improve indoor air quality. According to Hazrat Jabir (RA) reported that Prophet Muhammad [S.A.W] said: “No Muslim, who plants a shoot, except that whatever is eaten or stolen from it, or anyone obtains the least thing from it, is considered [like paying] almsgiving on his behalf until the Day of Judgement.” (Muslim)
—-(The author is contributing exclusively for the edit page of “Kashmir Horizon” . The views of the author are her own).