Earth the only astronomical object known to harbor life is the third planet from the Sun at a distance of about 93 million miles (150 million km) and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. According to radiometric dating and other evidence, Earth formed over 4.5 billion years ago and it is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. It’s gravity interacts with other objects in space, especially the Sun and the Moon, which is Earth’s only natural satellite. Earth orbits around the Sun in 365.256 solar days, a period known as an Earth sidereal year. During this time, Earth rotates about its axis 366.256 times, that is, a sidereal year has 366.256 sidereal days. Earth’s axis of rotation is tilted with respect to its orbital plane, producing seasons on Earth. The gravitational interaction between Earth and the Moon causes tides, stabilizes Earth’s orientation on its axis, and gradually slows its rotation. Earth is the densest planet in the Solar System and the largest and most massive of the four rocky planets. Earth’s outer layer (lithosphere) is divided into several rigid tectonic plates that migrate across the surface over many millions of years, about 29.2% of Earth’s surface is land consisting of continents and islands and remaining 70.8% is covered with water e.g., oceans, lakes, rivers and other fresh water, which all together constitute the hydrosphere. Earth’s polar regions in majority are covered in ice, including the Antarctic ice sheet and the sea ice of the Arctic ice pack. Earth’s interior remains active with a solid iron inner core, a liquid outer core that generates Earth’s magnetic field, and a convecting mantle that drives plate tectonics. Scientists are of the opinion that within the first billion years of Earth’s history, life appeared in the oceans and began to affect Earth’s atmosphere and surface, leading to the proliferation of anaerobic and, later, aerobic organisms. The geological evidence indicates that life may have arisen as early as 4.1 billion years ago. In the history of life on Earth, biodiversity has gone through long periods of expansion, occasionally punctuated by mass extinctions. Over 99% of all species that ever lived on Earth are extinct. Estimates of the number of species on Earth today vary widely; most species have not been described. Over 7.7 billion humans live on Earth and depend on its biosphere and natural resources for their survival. Politically, the world has around 200 sovereign states. We now discuss the view of Islam on creation of earth. Quran and hadith contain numerous textual evidences in support of environmental stewardship. The Quran says, “It is He who has appointed you vicegerent on the earth…” (Quran 6:165). The Quran teaches us as Muslims we should, naturally, be a community that consumes less, and uses the bounty provided on the earth in ways that are healthier, more efficient, and more equitable. Through this we facilitate more fair access to resources, preservation of public health, and cultivation of local economies. In Quran we observe passages relating to creation, such as: “Verily in the heavens and the earth are signs for those who believe. And in the creation of yourselves, and the fact that animals are scattered (through the earth), are signs for those of assured faith. And in the alternation of night and day, and that fact that Allah sends down sustenance from the sky, and revives therewith the earth after its death, and in the change of the winds, are signs for those who are wise” (45:3-5). In the light of Quran, the creation of earth is explained as (a) Big Bang Theory: The Qur’an says that “the heavens and the earth were joined together as one unit, before We clove them asunder” (21:30). Following this big explosion, Allah “turned to the sky, and it had been (as) smoke. He said to it and to the earth: ‘Come together, willingly or unwillingly.’ They said: ‘We come (together) in willing obedience'” (41:11). Thus the elements and what was to become the planets and stars began to cool, come together, and form into shape, following the natural laws that Allah established in the universe. The Qur’an further states that Allah created the sun, the moon, and the planets, each with their own individual courses or orbits. “It is He Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon; all (the celestial bodies) swim along, each in its rounded course” (21:33). (b) Expansion of Universe: “The heavens, We have built them with power. And verily, We are expanding it” (51:47). There has been some historical debate among Muslim scholars about the precise meaning of this verse, since knowledge of the universe’s expansion was only recently discovered. (c) Six Days: The Qur’an states that “Allah created the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, in six days” (7:54). While on the surface this might seem similar to the account related in the Bible, there are some important distinctions. The verses that mention “six days” use the Arabic word “youm” (day). This word appears several other times in the Qur’an, each denoting a different measurement of time. In one case, the measure of a day is equated with 50,000 years (70:4), whereas another verse states that “a day in the sight of your Lord is like 1,000 years of your reckoning” (22:47). The word “youm” is thus understood, within the Qur’an, to be a long period of time — an era or eon. Therefore, Muslims interpret the description of a “six day” creation as six distinct periods or eons. The length of these periods is not precisely defined, nor are the specific developments that took place during each period. After completing the Creation, the Qur’an describes that Allah “settled Himself upon the Throne” (57:4) to oversee His work. A distinct point is made to counter the Biblical idea of a day of rest: “We created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in six days, nor did any sense of weariness touch Us” (50:38). Allah is never “done” with His work, because the process of creation is ongoing. Each new child who is born, every seed that sprouts into a sapling, every new species that appears on earth, is part of the ongoing process of Allah’s creation. “He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six days, then established Himself on the Throne. He knows what enters within the heart of the earth, and what comes forth out of it, what comes down from heaven, and what mounts up to it. And He is with you wherever you may be. And Allah sees well all that you do” (57:4).The Qur’anic account of creation is in line with modern scientific thought about the development of the universe and life on earth. Muslims acknowledge that life developed over a long period of time, but see Allah’s power behind it all. Descriptions of creation in the Qur’an are set in context to remind the readers of Allah’s majesty and wisdom. “What is the matter with you, that you are not conscious of Allah’s majesty, seeing that it is He Who has created you in diverse stages? See you not how Allah has created the seven heavens one above another, and made the moon a light in their midst, and made the sun as a (glorious) lamp? And Allah has produced you from the earth, growing (gradually)” (71:13-17). (d) Life Came From Water: The Qur’an describes that Allah “made from water every living thing” (21:30). Another verse describes how “Allah has created every animal from water. Of them are some that creep on their bellies, some that walk on two legs, and some that walk on four. Allah creates what He wills, for truly Allah has power over all things” (24:45). These verses support the scientific theory that life began in the Earth’s oceans. (e) Creation of Adam & Eve: While Islam recognizes the general idea of the development of life in stages, over a period of time, human beings are considered as a special act of creation. Islam teaches that human beings are a unique life form that was created by Allah in a special way, with unique gifts and abilities unlike any other: a soul and conscience, knowledge, and free will. In short, Muslims do not believe that human beings randomly evolved from apes. The life of human beings began with the creation of two people, a male and a female named Adam and Hawwa (Eve).
A healthy planet is not an option — it is a necessity. Growing out of the first Earth Day in 1970, our mission is to diversify, educate, and activate the environmental movement worldwide, all year long. May Allah guide us all to respect environment. (Ameen!)
The Qur’an describes how Allah created Adam: “We created man from sounding clay, from mud moulded into shape…” (15:26). And, “He began the creation of man from clay, and made his progeny from a quintessence of fluid” (32:7-8). Thus, human beings have a fundamental attachment to the earth. While the creation of Eve is not described in detail, the Qur’an does make it clear that a “mate” was created with Adam, from the same nature and soul. “It is He Who created you from a single person, and made his mate of like nature, in order that he might dwell with her in love” (7:189). She is not mentioned by name in the Qur’an, but in Islamic tradition she is known as “Hawwa” (Eve). From these two individuals, generations of human beings have inhabited the earth. “Oh humankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, so that you may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honored among you in the sight of Allah is the who is the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)” (49:13).
Earth day, also known as International Mother Earth day, is celebrated each year on April 22. The main aim is to raise awareness about the growing concerns of overpopulation, loss of biodiversity, and depleting quality of the environment. This year Earth day will happen on Friday, April 22, 2022. The history of International Mother Earth Day or Earth Day begins during a time when the U.S. was experiencing both political and economic ups and downs. The term Mother Earth is used because it “reflects the interdependence that exists among human beings, other living species and the planet we all inhabit”. During the 1970s the country was divided over the participation of the U.S. in the Vietnam War. The economy was on the move, but it was costing the environment in a big way. The health of the planet unlike today was not a high priority for most people primarily because they were unaware of the dangerous side effects of common everyday practices. Senator Gaylord introduced his idea for a ‘national teach-in on the environment’ in 1970. He chose Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey to serve as his co-chair and Denis Hayes of Harvard University to serve as national coordinator. The team recruited 85 individuals to promote the Earth Day concept across the country. On April 22, 1970, the United States celebrated the first Earth Day and more than 20 million people around the U.S. gathered together holding rallies, demonstrations and participating in activities to promote a clean and safe living environment. Children, adults, students young and old marched on government institutions pushing for new legislation to protect the Earth on local, state and national levels. The UN General Assembly designated 22 April as International Mother Earth Day through resolution A/RES/63/278, adopted in 2009. The Day also recognizes a collective responsibility, as called for in the 1992 Rio Declaration, to promote harmony with nature and the Earth, to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of the present and future generations of humanity. Earth Day has made positive impacts on the environment globally, but it can also play a significant role on local levels as well. The Day recognises the Earth and its ecosystems as humanity’s common home and the need to protect her to enhance people’s livelihoods, counteract climate change, and stop the collapse of biodiversity. The Earth Day 2022 Theme is Invest In Our Planet. The key point here is to act in a bold way, innovate in a broad way, and implement in an equitable manner. Every government, every business, and every individual in this world has a voice. There is not going to be one person who can do it all. But now is the time. Together, we can make a difference. We need to act as a team altogether. Sustainability is the answer to sustainable prosperity. Smart and Innovative companies are realizing that going green will help us all. It is now vital that all business leaders must become engaged in shaping the future for sustainability. It’s time to take the benefit of a green economy by adopting it. All governments need to encourage society, institutions, and businesses to build a framework for supporting a stable future. Earth Day is something the entire family can celebrate together in a variety of ways at home and in the community such as think that every day is Earth Day, always recycle and reuse, don’t consume, compost your garbage, keep it out of landfills, turn off lights when you are not using them, take less showers and use less water, use recycled paper, turn off the water while your brush your teeth, use a refillable water bottle, support local farming, farmer’s markets and organic produce, only buy food you are going to eat and contribute to reforestation — plant a tree. The Holy Quran tells us, “The servants of the Lord of Mercy are those who walk gently upon the earth…” (Quran 25:63). Islamic teachings oppose using resources in excess or in pursuit of an opulent lifestyle; extravagant excess by some typically deprives others of a basic standard of decent and secure living. There should always be justice (‘adl) in resource distribution. There are thousands of events taking place, both online and in person on this day. Earth is created to serve the purposes of man, it should never be degraded in any way – contaminated or immoderately exploited. Its resources are available to humanity, but are to be used in ways that are sustainable and without harmful impact to the environment and the ecological balance. Today’s the day to TAKE ACTION not just because you care about the natural world, but because we all live on it. Every one of us needs a healthy Earth to support our jobs, livelihoods, health & survival, and happiness. A healthy planet is not an option — it is a necessity. Growing out of the first Earth Day in 1970, our mission is to diversify, educate, and activate the environmental movement worldwide, all year long. May Allah guide us all to respect environment.(Ameen!)
( While Bilkees Nazir is a Research Scholar at University of Kashmir Srinagar, Dr. Bilal A Bhat is working as Associate Professor (Statistics) at SKUAST-Kashmir –Srinagar. Views are their own)