How should a Muslim view and treat the natural world in which he has been placed by his Creator to live his life and work out his destiny in the Hereafter? This is a crucially important question for which every Muslim needs a clear answer.
The question has acquired an added impetus because we are living at a time of unprecedented catastrophe in the human and the natural worlds. The variety, harmony and beauty of the planet have been ravaged beyond recognition through
man's reckless activities. Technological advances have given man speed but no sense of direction. Thrilled by the speed, unchecked by any scruples, man has been using his intellect, skill, and technological prowess to destroy the planet at a ferocious pace. Insatiable greed, soaring arrogance, and recklessness have done their work: the degradation and defilement of the earth now stand nearly complete. The earth cries aloud to its Creator.
In this moment of stupendous crisis, how should the Muslim respond? He must ask what choices and responsibilities he has.
Fortunately, Islam provides clear guidance in these matters. Respect, love and concern for the environment are an essential part of a
Muslim's piety and worship.
Hear what Allah says in the Qur'an:
# To Him belongs every being that is in the heavens and on earth: all are devoutly obedient to Him.
# Seest thou not that to Allah bow down in worship all things that are in the heavens and on earth
- the sun, the moon, the stars; the hills, the trees, the animals; and a great number among mankind? But a great number are also such as are fit for punishment: and such as Allah shall disgrace
- none can raise to honour: for Allah carries out all that He wills. (Quran 22:18)
# The seven heavens and the earth, and all beings therein, declare His glory: there is not a thing but celebrates His praise; and yet ye understand not how they declare His glory! Verily He is Oft-Forbearing, Most Forgiving!
# Seest thou not that it is Allah Whose praises all being in the heavens and on earth do celebrate, and the birds of the air with wings outspread? Each one knows its own mode of prayer and praise. And Allah knows all that they do.
# Do they not look at Allah's creation even among inanimate things-how their shadows turn round, from the right and the left, prostrating themselves to Allah, and that in the humblest manner? And to Allah doth obeisance all that is in the heavens and the earth, whether moving living creatures or the angels: for none are arrogant before their Lord. They all revere their Lord, high above them, and they do all that they are commanded.
# Nay, thunder repeateth His praises, and so do the angels, with awe. (Quran 13:13)
# There is not an animal that lives on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but forms part of communities like you. Nothing have we omitted from the Book, and they all shall be gathered to their Lord in the end.
# Allah disdains not to use the similitude of a gnat... (Quran 2:26)
# Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of the night and the day; in the sailing of the ships through the ocean for the profit of mankind; in the rain which Allah sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead; in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth; in the change of the winds, and the clouds which they trail like their slaves between the sky and the earth
- here indeed are signs for a people that are wise. (Quran 2:
# Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding, men who celebrate the praises of Allah standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the wonders of creation in the heavens and the earth, with the thought:
"Our Lord, not for naught hast Thou created all this! Glory to Thee! Give us salvation from the penalty of the Fire.
# Do they not look at the camels, how they are made?
And at the sky, how it is raised high?
And at the mountains, how they are fixed firm?
And at the earth, how it is spread out? (Quran 88:
# And thy Lord taught the bee to build its cells in hills, on trees, and in men's habitations; Then to eat of all the produce of the earth, and find with skill the spacious paths of its Lord: there issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colours, wherein is healing for men: verily in this is a sign for those who give thought.
# Do they not observe the birds above them, spreading their wings and folding them in? None can uphold them in? None can uphold them except Allah Most Gracious: truly it is He that watches over all things.
# I have only created Jinn and men, that they may worship me. (Quran 51:56)
# It is He who hath made you (His) khalifas on the earth: he hath raised in ranks, some above others: that he may try you in the gifts He hath given you; for thy Lord is quick in punishment; yet He is indeed Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
# We did indeed offer the trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains; but they refused to undertake it, being afraid thereof: but man undertook it
- he was indeed unjust and foolish... (Quran 33:
# Blessed be He in Whose hands is dominion; and He over all things hath Power -
He Who created death and life, that He may try which of you is best in deed; and He is the Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving.
# Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern of conduct for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the praise of Allah.
# Say: 'If ye do love Allah, follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins; for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most
Merciful.' Say: 'Obey Allah and His Messenger': but if they turn back, Allah loveth not those who reject faith.
# So set thou thy face steadily truly to the faith: establish Allah's handiwork according to the pattern on which He has made mankind: no change let there be in the work wrought by Allah: that is the standard religion: but most among mankind understand not.
# Work not confusion in the earth after it has been set in order, but call on Him with fear and longing in your hearts: for the Mercy of Allah is always near to those who do good.
# So eat and drink of the sustenance provided by Allah, and do no evil nor mischief on the face of the earth.
# The prayer that man should make for good, he maketh for evil; for man is given to hasty deeds.
# ... make not your own hands contribute to your destruction; but do good; for Allah loveth those who do good.
# It is He who produceth gardens, with trellises and without, and dates, and tilth with produce of all kinds, and olives and pomegranates, similar in kind and different in variety: eat of their fruit in their season, but render the dues that are proper on the day that the harvest is gathered. But waste not by excess: for Allah loveth not the wasters.
# Verily spendthrifts are brothers of the evil ones and the Evil One is ungrateful to his Lord.
# ... do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors. (Quran 2:190
# Is there any reward for good other than good? (Quran
# But seek, with the wealth which Allah has bestowed on thee, the home of the Hereafter, nor forget thy portion in this world: but do thou good, as Allah has been good to thee, and seek not occasions for mischief in the land: for Allah loves not those who do
mischief....That house of the Hereafter We shall give to those who intend not high-handedness or mischief on earth: and the end is best for the righteous.
# ...but those will prosper who purify themselves,
And glorify the name of their Guardian-Lord and lift their hearts in prayer.
Nay, behold, ye prefer the life of this world;
But the Hereafter is better and more enduring. (Quran 87:
# The mutual rivalry for piling up the good things of this world diverts you from the more serious things,
Until ye visit the graves.
But nay, ye soon shall know the reality.
Again, ye soon shall know!
Nay, were ye to know with certainty of mind, ye would beware!
Ye shall certainly see Hellfire!
Again, ye shall see it with certainty of sight!
Then, shall ye be questioned that Day about the joy ye indulged in! (Quran 102:
# ...on the Day of Judgment We shall bring out for him a scroll, which he will see spread open. It will be said to him:
'Read thine own record: sufficient is thy soul this day to make out an account against
thee.' Who receiveth guidance receiveth it for his own benefit: who goeth astray doth so to his own loss...
# Wealth and sons are allurements of the life of this world: but the things that endure, good deeds, are best in the sight of thy Lord, as rewards, and best as the foundation for hopes. On the Day We shall remove the mountains, and thou wilt see the earth as a level stretch, and We shall gather them, all together, nor shall We leave out anyone of them. And they will be marshalled before thy Lord in ranks with the announcement,
'Now have ye come to Us bare as We created you first: aye, ye thought We shall not fulfill the appointment made to you to meet
Us!' And the Book of Deeds will be placed before you; and thou wilst see the sinful in great terror because of what is recorded therein; they will say:
'Ah! Woe to us! What a book is this! It leaves out nothing small or great, but takes account
thereof!' They will find all that they did, placed before them: and not one will thy Lord treat with injustice.
# When the earth is shaken to her utmost convulsion,
And the Earth throws up her burdens from within,
And man cries distressed; 'What is the matter with her?'
On that Day will it declare its tidings:
For that thy Lord will have given it inspiration.
On that Day will men proceed in companies sorted out, to be shown the deeds that they had done.
Then shall anyone who has done an atom's weight of good, see it!
And anyone who has done an atom's weight of evil, shall see it. (Quran 99:
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