Ecology and İslam

Ocak 3, 2010

Doç. Dr. İbrahim Özdemir ile “çevre ahlakı” üzerine

Filed under: Uncategorized — e @ 3:49 pm

Bütüncül bir bakış açısı ve bütüncül bir anlayış

Çevreci bir bakış açısıyla Kur’an’ı okuduğumuzda, Kur’an’ın kutsal kitaplar içinde çevreye en çok önem veren kitap olduğunu görüyoruz. Bu sadece benim Müslüman bir  bilim adamı olarak ulaştığım kanaat değildir. Farklı konularda dünyaca ünlü,  uzman  çevreci bilim adamları var. Bunlardan birisi şu anda Florida Devlet Üniversitesi Çevre Bölümü’nde hoca olan Prof. Richard Foltz önümüzdeki günlerde “İslam’da hayvan hakları” diye bir kitabı yayınlanacak. Onun da ulaştığı sonuç şu: Çevreye ve hayvanlara en çok duyarlılık gösteren, yer veren kitap; Kur’an.

 Kur’an’ın ilk inen ayetlerinde yaratan Rabbin adı ile okunması istenir. O Rab, kerem sahibidir. Kerem, çevre açısından baktığımızda çok önemli bir kavram. Yani etrafımızdaki bütün varlıkların, tabiatta var olan ve bizim kullandığımız her şey,  Kur’an diliyle ifade edecek olursak, nimettir. Kur’an diliyle yağmur, rahmettir. Bulut görevlidir. Allah, bulutların sevkinden, dağların dik duruşundan, yıldızların hareketlerinden  birer  anlam çıkarmamızı istiyor ve bütün bunların sahibi, Rabbi olarak bize, kendisini takdim ediyor.

 Yine başka bir ayette “Yüzünüzü nereye dönerseniz dönün Allah oradadır” buyuruluyor. Allah her şeyi ihata etmiştir. Böyle bakıldığında bütün çevremizin Allah tarafından kuşatıldığı yani   manevî bir çevrede yaşadığımız görülür. Bunun psikolojik olarak çok büyük anlamı vardır. Birincisi; bu alemde sen yalnız değilsin, bu varlıklar ve alem cansız değil, hiçbir şey tesadüfen olmuş değil. Artık Darvinci evrim teorisi eski cazibesini yitirdi ve dünyanın şu andaki en yaşlı ve en tutarlı ateist filozofu Prof. Antony Flew  Aralık ayının son haftasında bütün bilim dünyasına DNA’lar  üzerinde yaptığı araştırmalardan sonra evrime inanamadığını ve ancak bir Tanrı’nın alemi yaratabileceğine inandığını ifade etti. Bu, çevre açısından da çok önemli bir tespit.

Çevrede her şey bir düzenle yaratılmış. Rahman suresinin o ilk ayetlerinde ifade edildiği gibi her şeyde bir mizan var. Allah göklerin ve yerin ölçüsünden bahsettikten sonra bize diyor ki; teraziyi tartarken ölçüye dikkat edin. Yani günlük hayatınızda, alış-verişlerinizde kosmostaki gibi bir ölçü olsun. Kosmos bir ölçüye dayanıyor. Sizin toplum hayatınız da ölçüye,  hukuka, adalete dayanmak zorunda. Hz. Ömer’e izafe edilen “adalet mülkün temelidir”   veciz ifadesindeki mülk; hem evrensel anlamda mülk ve bu mülkün sahibi Allah hem de toplum hayatında her şeyin sahibi olan Allah.  O halde adil, ölçülü ve dengeli bir hayat yaşamalıyız.

 İsra suresinde geçen bir ayette “Âlemdeki her şey O’nu tesbih eder” buyruluyor. Zemahşeri’den Elmalı Hamdi Yazır’a kadar birçok tefsire baktım. Elmalı Hamdi Yazır aslında bu tefsirlerdeki bütün görüşleri özetliyor. Diyor ki; bu ayeti iki şekilde anlaşılır. Birincisi; her şey hâl lisanıyla,  beden diliyle Allah’ı tesbih eder. Diğeri de; her şey kendi diliyle Allah’ı tesbih eder fakat biz onu anlayamıyoruz. Ben ikinci görüşteyim. Yani kuşlar, böcekler rüzgar her şey Allah’ı tesbih ediyor, ama biz şimdilik onu anlayamıyoruz.

 Yine Kur’an’da ipuçları var. Davut (a.s.)’un duasına kuşlar, dağlar iştirak ediyor, onun gibi tesbih ediyor. Kur’an bize, Süleyman (a.s)’ın, karıncaların kendi arasında konuşmasını işittiğini söylüyor. Her şeyin kendine ait bir dili, bir konuşması var, Elmalı’nın tabiriyle onun iletişimlerinin bir mantığı var.  Biz sadece şimdilik bunu anlamıyoruz. İnsanlık belki bir gün gayret sarf ettiği taktirde bu dili anlayacaktır.

 Söyledikleriniz bana Mehmet Hatipoğlu hocamızdan dinlediğim beni çok etkileyen; “yerde biten her çemende/Vahdehu la şerike leh demede”  mısralarını hatırlattı. Bu bakış açısı çevre ile olan münasebetlerimize bir ölçü bir ayar getiriyor gerçekten.

 Bu ifadeler Kur’an’ın dünya görüşünün, değerler sisteminin ifadesi, duyarlılığın, merhametin, kalpteki rikkatin eseri. Yunus ermeye gidiyorsunuz “Bütün yaratılanları Yaratan’dan ötürü severim” diyor. Neden? Çünkü yaratıcımız aynı, aynı dünyada yaşıyoruz, aynı güneş bizi ışıtıyor ve ısıtıyor. Nereye giderseniz gidin içilebilir suyun temel nitelikleri aynı. Âdeta bizim için hazırlanmış bir âlemde yaşıyoruz ve bu âlemin Rabbi Allah.

Bakara suresinde 164. ayette, o zamanın Kur’an’a inanmayanları Hz. Peygamberden mucizeler beklerken Rabbimiz; “ göklerdekilere ve yerin derinliklerine bakmazlar mı  buyuruyor. Denizlerde yüzdürülen gemilerde, kuşlarda, hayvanlarda her şeyde ayetler var.

Yani insanın aklını, gönlünü,  yüzünü tabiata çevirmesi, kainat kitabını doğru okuması lazım.

Bu konuda bizim geleneğimizin unuttuğumuz, ihmâl ettiğimiz bir boyutu var. Bizdeki biraz siyasi ama İslam ülkelerinde de bu boyut ihmal edilmiş. İunun nedeni ise İslam ülkelerinin 19 ve 20.yüzyılda hep işgal altında ve sömürge olması. Daha sonra kurtuluş mücadelesi vermeleri, bizim kurtuluş savaşımız… Biz İslamiyet’ten daha çok özgürlüğümüze, Hürriyetimize vurgu yapan kısımlarını almışız. Çanakkale destanına bakınız İstiklal marşına bakınız Sakarya Türküsüne bakınız. Hepsinde Kur’an’ın o yönü dışa vurur. Bunun yanında bir de Kur’an’ın, Kur’an medeniyetinin oluşturduğu bir insan –tabiat ilişkisi vardır. Tabiatın anlamı nedir?  Çevrenin anlamı nedir? Şair Lebi ta o zamandan söylüyor: “Kainat kitabının satırlarına dikkatle, tefekkür ederek bak. Çünkü o sana Cenab-ı Hakk’tan gelmiş mektuplardır.”  Peki bütün kainat Allah’tan bize yazılmış mektuplar olarak görmenin çevre açısından ifade ettiği değeri okuyucuların dikkatlerine ve takdirlerine bırakıyorum. Biz dinimizin Kur’an’ımızın. Hz. Peygamberimizin öğretilerini bu boyutunu dinamik tutmalıyız. Meselâ Hz, Peygamberin bu konudaki öğretileri konusunda yeterli çalışma olduğunu söyleyemem. Halbuki o, rahmet ve şefkat peygamberi. Bir kuşun yuvasını bozan askerini uyarıyor. O yavruyu getir yerine koy diyor. Onu yerine koymadıkça ibadetlerinin kabul olmayacağını söylüyor. Bu da görüyorsunuz bir bütüncül bakış. Sevgi, merhamet, şefkat temelli bir dünya görüşü var ve bu âlemdeki her şey birbirine yardım ediyor, her şey kendi lisan-ı halleriyle O’nu zikrediyor ve her şey O’nun bir ayeti. Tabiattaki her şey okuyabilenler için bir ayet.

İslam çevre ahlakının temel direkleri nelerdir?

İslam çevre ahlâkının temel direklerinden ilki tevhittir. Bu alem, Allah tarafından sonradan yaratılmıştır. Bu yaratılma tesadüfî değildir. Her şey bir hikmetle yaratılmıştır. Biz de daha sonra yaratılmışız ve bu âleme dahil olmuşuz. Dağların, göklerin yüklenmekten kaçındıkları kulluk emaneti bize verilmiştir. Peygamber bize sorumluluklarımızı iletmiştir. Biz bu dünyada yaptığımız her şeyden hesap vereceğiz. Ayetin ifadesiyle herkim zerre kadar iyilik yapmışsa onun karşılığını, kim zerre kadar kötülük yapmışsa onun karşılığını görecektir.

Bu kadar açık ifade yaptığımız her şeye dikkat etmemiz gerekiyor. Sabah yürüyüşe çıkın

Baharla birlikte yer tekrar canlanmaya başladı. Tomurcuklanan bitkileri, yerdegezen hayvanatı göreceksiniz. Bunlara bakmalıyız. Bunu sadece ben söylemiyorum.  Dünyanın en iyi çevrecileri dahi sadece çevre dengesi açısından lütfen bastığınız yere dikkat edin yerdeki canlıları ezmeyin diyor.

Kültürümüzde böyle bir rikkat var zaten. Anneler çocuklarına; karıncaları incitmeyin, .kuşların yuvasını bozmayın demezler sadece. Sakındırmak için onlara başka anlamlar da yüklerler. Bu ifadelerin dinî metinlerde doğrudan karşılığı olmasa da Kur’anın dünya görüşü içinde yeri var elbette.

O karıncanın yaratılışının bir hikmeti, bir amacı vardır. Gazali’nin, varlıkların yaratılış hikmetleri ile ilgili bir kitabı var. Yine çeşitli hayvanlarla ilgili İslâm âlimlerinin kitapları var. Meselâ Kitab-ı Hayavan  (Kimin? )diye bir kitap var. Fakat İslam medeniyetinin klâsik döneminde bu konuda kaynak çok. Fakat daha sonraki dönemde bizi kosmosa bağlayan bu konular söyleşimizin baş tarafında ifade ettiğim gibi biraz ihmal  edilmiş. Bu nedenle İslam çevre ahlâkının temeli; her şeyin Allah tarafından yaratılmış olduğu inancıdır.

İkinci olarak ifade etmem gereken yaptığımız her şeyden sorumlu olduğumuza inanmak ve bu inancın oluşturduğu bilinçle hareket etmektir. O zaman gerekmedikçe bir yaprağı bile koparamazsınız. Kedinizi ve köpeğinizi aç bırakamazsınız, saksıdaki çiçeğinizi susuz bırakamazsınız. Asla bir hayvana eziyet edemezsiniz. Arabanızın camından içtiğiniz meyve suyunun kutusunu, yediğiniz çikolatanın kağıdını arabanızın camından atamazsınız. Fabrikanızın atıklarını kontrolsüz insanların su kaynaklarına boşaltamasanız.  Sorumluluk bilinciniz bunu yapmanıza müsaade etmez. Bütün davranışlarımızla Allah’a teslim olmak budur işte.

İnsanın kendisini yeryüzünün efendisi ve hakimi olarak görmesi  tabiatla ilişkilerini nasıl etkiler?  İnsan  yer yüzünün efendisi ve hakimi mi yoksa her şey  onun emanetine verildi ve o da bu emaneti hakkıyla teslim etmekle mi sorumlu?

Sizin söylediğiniz bu husus gerçekten çok önemli. İnsanın kendini yeryüzünün efendisi ve hâkimi olarak görmesi,   çevre üzerine düşünce ortaya koyan bütün filozofların ve çevre hareketlerinin tenkit ettikleri bir husus. Özellikle 17. yüzyıldaki bilimsel devrimlerden sonra bazı bilim adamlarının ve özellikle Francis Bacon’un “tabiata gem vurma, tabiata hükmetme, tabiatın dişlerin sökme, ona hâkim olma” anlayışı, 17. yüzyıldan 20. yüzyılın yarısına kadar yükselen pozitivist görüşün etkisiyle kutsal olan şeylerin dışlanarak insan merkeze alındığı bir anlayış ortaya çıktı. Bu anlayışa göre; insan tabiata ne kadar hükmederse ona ne kadar hâkim olursa o kadar medenileşecek ve o kadar ilerleyecek. Fakat çevre sorunlarının ortaya çıkmasıyla birlikte görüldü ki; insan tabiatın efendisi ve hâkimi değil onun sorumlu bir parçası. İnsan tabiata ne yaparsa o insana nüksediyor.  Hava kirlenince yağmur olarak sulara karışıyor o suları içildiğinde insanda çeşitli hastalıklar meydana geliyor. İnsan tabiatın bir parçası olduğunu ancak altmışlı yıllardan sonra anladı. Hâlbuki bin sekiz yüzlü yıllardan sonra bir Kızılderili Amerikan Cumhurbaşkanı’na şöyle diyor: Tabiat bizim anamızdır. Tabiata tüküren kendi yüzüne tükürür. Tabiata zarar veren kendi kendine zarar verir. Aynısını Mevlana’da görüyoruz. Tabiat bizim anamızdır diyor. Biz tabiat ananın canını incittik, onu tahrip ettik.  Bütün çevre sorunlarının bize söyledikleri tek gerçek “ ey insan sen tabiatın efendisi değilsin. Sen tabiatın mütevazı bir parçasısın. Size olan her şey sana döner gelir. Çevre ile uyum içinde bir hayat ancak böyle bütüncül bir  çevre anlayışı ile  mümkün olur.

Bu bütüncül çevre anlayışı nasıl oluşturulur?

Öncelikle bir paradigma değişikliği gerekiyor. Yani kendimize ve varlık âlemine bakış açımızı değiştirmemiz gerekiyor. Bu da eğitimle mümkün olacaktır.  Ben kimim? Alimin anlamı ne? sorularını yeniden kendimize sormamız gerekiyor.  Norveçli çevreci Arne Naes diyor ki “yapılacak şey;  yeniden ve derinlemesine düşünmek”. Görülecektir ki; yaprak sıradan bir şey değil bir mucize. Bir yaprağın oluşması için o kadar şeye ihtiyaç var ki. Bizim yapacağımız şey;  önce kendimizi sorgulamak, okuduklarımızı uygulamak. Socrates’in 2500-3000 yıl önce söylediği muhteşem bir cümle vardır: “Sorgulanmamış bir hayat yaşanmaya değmez”.  Bu,  hayat boyu kendini eğitmektir, öğrenmeye açık olmaktır. Bu nedenle eski Marksist fakat ölmeden önce tekrar dine ilgi duyan Rudolf Bahro diye yeşil düşüncenin oluşmasında etkili bir düşünür var.  O İstanbul’da bir konferansta şunu söylemişti. Hz. Musa’nın, Hz. İsa’nın ve Hz. Muhammed’in yaptığı gibi bir pardigma değişikliği yapmazsak çevrenin , yani dünyanın karşı karşıya olduğu sorunları çözemeyiz.   Hz.Musa’nın, Hz. İsa’nın, Hz. Muhammed’in mesajlarına baktığımızda hepsinin özünde tevhid, yaratma., hesap verme  inancı vardır.

Yani evren bizim büyük ailemiz.

Diğer bütün varlıkların bizim gibi bir ümmet olduğunu Kur’an söylüyor. Biz ümmet kavramını sadece tüm Müslümanlar olarak anlarız. Hâlbuki Kur’an’da çok açık olarak gökteki uçan kuşların, karınları üzerine sürünenler, yürüyen bütün hayvanlar sizin gibi ümmetlerdir, topluluklardır. Onlara da size de rızkınızı veren aynı Allah’tır. Onları da sizi de yaratan aynı Allah’tır. Aynı evren de yaşıyoruz. Peygamberden mucize bekleyen insanlar için ne buyruluyor? Gökleri size bir tavan, dağları bir kazık ayı bir ışık kaynağı, ayı bir kandil gibi yapan yeryüzünü bir halı gibi ayağınızın altına seren ve renk renk çiçeklerle orayı süsleyen, gökten yağmurları bizim Rabbimiz. Özellikle Mekkî ayetleri bu konuda o kadar inci mesajlar var ki. Çevre sorunları, çevre tartışmaları açısından bunlara baktığımızda öncelikle onun güzelliğini kalbinizde hissediyorsunuz. Kozmik benle kurulan ilişki de kendi varlığınızı varlığın anlamını hissediyorsunuz. Çevre ve ekoloji  kavramı !9.yy da  Alman zoolog Prof. Hackeal’ın ortaya koyduğu bir kavram. O da dünyamızı evimiz gibi algılamalıyız diyor. Razi,ye,  Keşşaf’a, Taberi’ye  bakın   bütün Elmalı’ya kadar bütün klasik tefsirlerin Bu Mekki ayetlerinin yorumuna bakın hepsinde dünya bir ev gibi algılanıyor. Diğer varlıklar da bizim gibi bir topluluk. Çevre felsefesinin de çevreciliğin de özü bu evimize sahip çıkmak, onu temiz tutmak, onun dengesine dikkat etmek,  ona zarar vermemek.

ÇEVRECİ BİR BAKIŞ AÇISIYLA KUR’AN

Filed under: Uncategorized — e @ 2:45 pm

Peki Müslümanlığın bu anlamda diğer dinlerden bir yaklaşım farkı var mı?

Çevreci bir bakış açısıyla Kur’an’ı okuduğumuzda, Kur’an’ın kutsal kitaplar içinde çevreye en çok önem veren kitap olduğunu görüyoruz. Bu sadece benim Müslüman bir bilim adamı olarak ulaştığım kanaat değildir. Dünyaca ünlü çevreci bilim adamları da aynı kanaati paylaşıyor.

Bunlardan birisi şu anda Kanada’da öğretim üyesi olan Prof. Richard Foltz. “İslam’da hayvan hakları” diye bir kitabı var. İslam ve Ekoloji kitabının da editörlerinden biri. Onun da ulaştığı sonuç şu: Çevreye ve hayvanlara en çok duyarlılık gösteren ve yer veren kitap Kur’an’dır. Çevreci görüşleriyle bilenen ve özelikle sokak köpeklerine babalık yapan rahmetli Prof. Dr. İsmet Sungurbey’in Hayvan Hakları kitabı da bunun güzel bir örneği.

Bir diğer ilginç örnek ise İngiltere Kraliyet Veliahdı Prens Charles’tır. Bildiğiniz gibi Prens çok entelektüel bir zat. Anlaşılan İslam kültürü konusunda da malumatı var. Aslında imparatorluk geleneği olan devlet adamlarında benze bilgi birikimini görüyorsunuz.
Prens Charles 13 Kasım 1996’da İngiltere’deki uluslararası çalışmalarda saygın bir kuruluş olan Wilton Park’ın 50’inci kuruluş yıldönümünde vesilesiyle “İslam ve Batı Arasında Köprüler İnşa Etmek” konulu bir konferans vermişti. Burada “İslam medeniyetinin diğer bir çok din gibi (Yahudilik, Hinduizm ve Budizm) bizi kuşatan dünyanın kutsallığı konusunda daha bütüncül ve uyumlu bir bakış açısını muhafaza etmesiyle batı için önemli bir mesaj teşkil ettiğini” açıkça ifade etti.

Prens “İslami örfün, doğal düzenin zaman üstü geleneğine olan derin saygısını dikkatle izlemek yoluyla biz batıdakilere kendi anlayışımızın köklerini yeniden keşfetmek konusunda yardımcı olabileceğini düşünüyorum. İnanıyorum ki bu süreç inançlarımızı biraraya getirme konusunda yardımcı olacaktır. Bu aynı zamanda biz batıdakilerin mimari ve şehir planlamasında olduğu kadar sağlık, doğal çevre ve tarım konusunda da yeniden düşünmesine dahası, insanoğluna ve çevresine hizmet etmesine yardımcı olacaktır”.
Bu örnekleri çoğaltabiliriz. Ama gerek yok. Asıl üzüntü veren Müslüman toplumların hala bunun farkında olmamasıdır. Halkı Müslüman olan herhangi bir ülkeyi ziyaret ettiğinizde çevre konusundaki duyarsızlığı hemen görebilirsiniz. Tabii, bunun çok karmaşık sebepleri var. Bence en önemlisi Müslüman toplumlar birkaç yüzyıl sömürge altında yaşadılar. Adeta toplumsal hafızalarını kaybettiler. Bugün katıldığımız birçok uluslararası toplantıda Afrikalı ülkeler başta olmak üzere sömürge altında kalan ülkeler bu gerçeği olduğu gibi ifade ediyorlar. Batı sömürgeciliğinin olumsuz etkileri hala devam ediyor.

Sömürge altında yaşayan Müslümanlar kendi kutsal metinlerini ve geleneklerini ise daha çok “kurtuluş teolojisi” bağlamında anladılar. Onlar için öncelik ülkelerinin özgürlüğü idi. Ancak ülkelerinin bağımsızlığına kavuşmasından sonra da bu “kurtuluş teolojisi” anlayışının hala devam etmesi anlaşılır gibi değil. Katıldığım birçok uluslararası toplantıda Müslüman ülkelerin çevre bakanlarına ve eğitim bakanlarına çevreyle ilgili sorular sorduğumda tebessümle karşılandım. “Daha öncelikle sorunlarımız var. Çevre bizim için hala lüks” diyorlar. Hatta bazıları çevrenin batının bir oyunu olduğuna inanıyor. Dahası Müslümanların kalkınmak ve güçlü olmak için çevre dahil tüm doğal kaynakları sömürmesi gerektiğini bile söylediler.

Ancak ben böyle düşünmüyorum. Elbette, Müslümanlar da kalkınacak ve toplumlarının refah ve barış içinde yaşamalarını sağlayacaklar. Ama bu, Batınınkinde farklı olmalı. Materyalist Batının hatalarını tekrarlamak zorunda değiliz. Tarihe baktığımızda Müslümanların doğa ile barışık daha dengeli medeniyetler oluşturduğunu görüyoruz. Buna Osmanlı örneğinde döneceğiz. Şimdi yeryüzündeki tüm Müslümanlar için kutsal temel metin olan Kur’an’a çevreci bir gözle bakalım.

Ama öncelikle Mehmed Akif’in tevekkülü tembellik ve miskinlik olarak anlayan Müslümanlara verdiği çok etkili cevabı bu bağlamda hatırlatmak isterim:
Görürsün, hissedersin varsa vicdânınla îmânın:
Ne müdhiş bir hamâset çarpıyor göğsünde Kur’ân’ın!
O vicdan nerdedir, lâkin? O îman kimde var? Heyhât!
Ne olmuş, ben de bilmem, pek karanlık şimdi hissiyyât!

M. Akif haklıdır. Osmanlıyı çöküşe götüren öncelikle çarpık din anlayışı ve bunu takip eden yozlaşmadır. Bugün de Müslüman toplumların tabiat, çevre, nesli tükenen hayvanlar, küresel ısınma gibi konulardaki “hissiyatı”; duyuş ve kavrayışı çok müphem ve karanlık görünüyor. Bu sebeple olsa gerek, yabancı araştırmacıların bile itiraf ettikleri Kur’an’daki canlı ve anlam dolu “tabiat” anlayışını yeterince önemsemiyorlar. M. Akif bugün olsa çevre konusunda duyarsız Müslümanlara da şunu derdi diye düşünüyorum:

Görürsün, hissedersin varsa vicdânınla îmânın:
Ne müdhiş bir [çevre şuuru] çarpıyor göğsünde Kur’ân’ın!

Tekrar konumuza dönersek, her dinin müntesiplerine bir dünya görüşü sunduğunu yukarıda ifade etmiş ve örnekler vermiştik. İslam dini de müntesiplerine çok farklı bir âlem anlayışı sunar. Bunun en müşahhas örnekleri Mekke’de inen ilk Kur’an ayetleridir. İslam öncesi Araplar için tabiat, “anlamsız, ruhsuz ve anlamsız” bir varlık iken, daha Kur’an’ın ilk ayetlerinden itibaren, yaratıcısının kudretini, ilmini, iradesini, celâl ve cemâlini yansıtan muhteşem bir kâinat tablosu sunulur: Bu kâinatta her şey anlam yüklüdür; kendisinden ötesine işaret eden bir ayettir; O’nun hakkında bir belgedir.” Bu nedenle Kur’an’ın ayetleri ile ufuklarda ve insanın nefsinde ortaya çıkan ayetler arasında tam bir örtüşme vardır.

Bakara suresi 164. ayette, inanmak için Hz. Peygamberden mucize isteyenlere “göklerdeki ve yerin derinliklerindeki” mucizelere bakmaları istenir. Buna göre, yıldızlarda, güneşte, ayda; denizlerde yüzdürülen gemilerde, kuşlarda, hayvanlarda her şeyde “O’nu gösteren” ayetler, işaretler var. Bunlara bakılması ve farklı bir şekilde okunması istenir. Mucizelerle dolu bir âlemde yaşıyoruz. DNA’nın yapı taşlarının anlaşıldığı, içinde yaşadığımız âlemle ilgili bilgilerimizin insanlık tarihinde görülmemiş bir şekilde arttığı bir zamanda yaşıyoruz. Tüm bu birikime “âlemin Yaratıcısı ve Sahibi, ondaki düzen, ölçü ve güzelliğin devam ettiricisi (sürdürücüsü)” açısından bakıldığında bu mucizeler daha iyi anlaşılacaktır.

Kur’an oluşturduğu ve tarihin en ihtişamlı medeniyetlerinden birisi İslam medeniyetidir. Bu medeniyet önce Şam’a, sonra Bağdat, Endülüs, Kahire Konya, Bursa, Edirne ve İstanbul’a damgasını vurdu. Buna İsfahan’ı Tebriz’i ve Hindistan’ın bazı şehirlerini de ekleyebilirsiniz.
Bu medeniyetin oluşturduğu insan–tabiat ilişkisi diğer medeniyetlerden farklıdır. Bundan dolayı da, İslam medeniyeti bağlamında baktığımızda şu soruların dikkatle irdelenmesi ve cevaplanması gerekmektedir:

•Tabiatın ve etrafımızdaki çevrenin anlamı nedir?
•İnsanın tabiattaki yeri nedir?
•İnsan-tabiat ilişkileri nedir?

İslam’ın bu sorulara verdiği cevaplar, onu diğer medeniyetlerden ayırmakta ve özgün niteliğini vermektedir. Ya da İslam medeniyetinin bu sorulara verdiği cevaplara bakıldığında diğer medeniyetlerle ayrıştığı, örtüştüğü veya onlardan etkilendiği noktalar daha iyi anlaşılacaktır. İslam’ın ilk şairlerinden Lebid Kur’an’ın âlem anlayışını iki beyitte özetliyor:
Kâinatın satırlarını derinden düşün;
Çünkü onlar sana Mele-i A’lâdan [Allah’tan] gelen mektuplardır
!”

Kâinatın ve etrafımızdaki her şeyin Allah’tan bize yazılmış mektuplar olarak görmenin çevre açısından ifade ettiği değeri okuyucuların dikkatlerine ve takdirlerine bırakıyorum. Zira bizler bir sevdiğimize ait mektubu veya başka bir nesneyi öncelikle itina ile saklamaya ve korumaya çalışırız. Maddi değerinden çok, manevi değer ve anlamını düşünürüz. Bir ömür boyu bu tür mektupları itina ile saklar ve koruruz. İşte tam da bu bağlamda, etrafımızdaki varlıklara bakalım. Onların bize sağladığı fayda ve çıkarların ötesindeki anlamını anlamaya çalışalım. Onlardaki ilahi boyutu görmeye çalışalım. Norveçli çevreci düşünür Arne Naes’ın dediği gibi “derin çevreyi” anlamaya çalışalım. İşte o zaman çevre bilinci uyanmaya ve güçlenmeye başlar.

Kur’an’ın âlem anlayışının ilk ve en muhteşem örneği olan Hz. Peygamber’in hayatına bu açıdan bakmamız lazım. Peygamberimizin öğretilerinin bu boyutunu iyi vurgulamak ve dinamik tutmak çevre bilincinin toplumumuzda gelişimi açısında çok önemli olduğuna inanıyorum. Zira Hz. Peygamberin bu konudaki öğretileri konusunda yeterli çalışma olduğunu söyleyemem. Hâlbuki o, bir rahmet ve şefkat peygamberidir. Bir kuşun yuvasını bozan askerini uyararak “derhal o yavruyu götürüp yuvasına koymasını” söylüyor. Onu yerine koymadıkça ibadetlerinin kabul olmayacağını vurguluyor.

Aslında daha Kur’an’ın ilk inen ayetlerinde insanın “Yaratan ve Kerem sahibi olan Rabbin adı ile okuması” istenir. Bu sadece yazılı bir metni, kitabı veya ezberden bir şeyi okumanın çok ötesinde bir “oku”maya çağrıydı. İslam öncesi Arap toplumunun âlem tasavvuruna göre “cansız, ruhsuz ve anlamsız olan âlem, bu yeni “okuyuşla” yeni bir anlamlar kümesine kavuşur. Mekke döneminde gelen ayetler, Kur’an’ın âlem anlayışında yaptığı bu köklü değişimi gösteren örneklerle doludur.

Ancak inen ilk ayette geçen “Rab” ve “Kerem” kavramları çevreci bir bakış açısıyla ele alınınca anahtar kelimeler olduğu görülüyor. Buna göre içinde yaşadığımız âlemin bir sahibi ve efendisi var. Ve bu efendi kerem sahibidir. Yani etrafımızdaki bütün varlıkların, tabiatta var olan ve bizim kullandığımız her şey, Kur’an diliyle ifade edecek olursak, birer nimettir. Bu âlemin sahibinin bizlere ikram ettiği ve sunduğu nimetlerdir.

Bu açıdan bakılınca Kur’an diliyle yağmur, rahmettir. Su hayatın kaynağı olup, en büyük nimettir. Bağlar, bahçeler etrafımızdaki hayvanlar hepsi Allah’ın rahmetinin somut örnekleridir. Bulut görevlidir. Bu nedenle Allah, ısrarla bulutların sevkinden, dağların dik duruşundan, yıldızların hareketlerinden, gemilerin bir kuğu gibi denizlerde akıp gitmesinde, hayvanların yaratılışından anlam çıkarmamızı ister. Anlamak için de Kur’an’ın bize öğrettiği şekliyle bunları okumamız gerekir. Dindar bir insanın günlük hayatında Fatiha’yı okurken en az kırk kez “Âlemlerin Rabbini” hatırladığını ve ona teşekkür ettiğini unutmayalım.

Yine başka bir ayette “Yüzünüzü nereye dönerseniz dönün Allah oradadır” buyruluyor. Buna göre “Allah her şeyi ihata etmiştir”. Böyle bakıldığında bütün çevremizin Allah tarafından kuşatıldığı yani manevî bir çevrede yaşadığımız görülür. Bunun psikolojik olarak çok büyük anlamı vardır. Birincisi; bu âlemde yalnız değiliz. Etrafımızdaki bu varlıklar ve âlem cansız değil, hiçbir şey tesadüfen olmuş değil. Darwinci evrim teorisinin eski cazibesini yitirdiği görülüyor.

Dünyanın şu andaki en yaşlı ve en tutarlı ateist filozofu Prof. Antony Flew geçen yıl bütün bilim dünyasına DNA’lar üzerinde yaptığı araştırmalardan sonra evrimin evreni açıklamada yetersiz kaldığını bundan dolayı da ancak bir Tanrı’nın âlemi yaratabileceğine inandığını ifade etti. Âlemin muhteşem ve girift yapısını daha yakından anladıktan sonra ulaşılan bu sonuç önemlidir. Bu, çevre açısından da çok önemli bir tespittir.

Çevremizdeki her şey belli bir düzen, ölçü, güzellik ve anlam için yaratılmış. Rahman suresinin ilk ayetlerinde muhteşem bir âlem tablosu sunulur. Aslında Rahman suresi tek başına Kur’an’ın sunduğu âlem anlayışını muhteşem bir şekilde bize özetler. Buna göre “Kur’ân’ı öğreten, insanı yaratan ve ona beyanı [kendini ifade etmeyi] öğreten” Rahman olan Allah’tır. “Güneş de ay da bir hesap ile” hareket etmekte, bitkiler ve ağaçlar [Ona] secde etmektedirler. Göğü yükselten ve mizanı[ölçüyü] koyan da O’dur. Âlemin esası bir ölçüye dayandığından insan “Sakın tartıda taşkınlık etmeyin. Tartıyı adaletle yapın, terazide eksiklik yapmayın” diye uyarılır.

Devamında da dünyanın ve içindekilerin sadece insan için yaratılmadığı, bütün canlılar için yaratıldığı ifade edilir. Başta “meyveler, salkımlı hurma ağaçları olmak üzere, “yapraklı tanelerin ve hoş kokulu bitkilerin” hepsinin Allah’ın nimeti olduğu vurgulanarak, “Rabbin nimetlerinin inkar edilmemesi” konusunda insanoğlu tekrar tekrar uyarılır. Bütün bu nimetler ve uyarılar çevreci bir bakış açısıyla değerlendirildiğinde, Mehmet Akif’in sözleriyle

“Kur’an’ın kalbinde nasıl bir çevre anlayışının” yattığı daha açık görülür.
İsra suresinde “Âlemdeki her şey O’nu tesbih eder” buyruluyor. Klasik dönemin en büyük Kur’an yorumcularından kabul edilen Zemahşeri’den, çağdaş yorumcu Elmalı Hamdi Yazır’a kadar birçok tefsire baktım. Elmalı Hamdi Yazır’ın büyük ölçüde bu tefsirlerdeki görüşleri benimsediği görülüyor. Elmalı’ya göre bu ayeti iki şekilde anlamak mümkün. Birincisi; her şey hâl lisanıyla, yani beden diliyle Allah’ı tesbih eder. İkincisi ise; her şey kendi diliyle Allah’ı tesbih eder fakat biz onu anlayamıyoruz. Hamdi Yazır ikinci görüşü tercih ediyor. “Kuşlar, böcekler rüzgâr her şey Allah’ı tesbih ediyor, ama biz şimdilik onu anlayamıyoruz” diyor.

Yine Kur’an’da bu konuda başka ipuçları var. Davut (a.s.)’un duasına kuşlar, dağlar iştirak ediyor, onun gibi tesbih ediyor. Kur’an bize, Süleyman (a.s)’ın, karıncaların kendi arasında konuşmasını işittiğini söylüyor. Her şeyin kendine ait bir dili, bir konuşması var. Hamdi Yazır’ın tabiriyle onların kendi aralarındaki iletişimlerinin bir mantığı var. Biz sadece şimdilik bunu anlamıyoruz. İnsanlık belki bir gün gayret sarf ettiği takdirde bu dili anlayacaktır.

http://www.risalehaber.com/news_detail.php?id=68691

Are Islamic Thinking and Ecofeminism Possible? – Prof. Nawal Ammar

Filed under: Uncategorized — e @ 2:46 am

In her presentation about Are Islamic Thinking and Ecofeminism Possible, Prof. Ammar explained that it is not difficult to understand the ecological crisis in its apparent manifestations as polluted air, radiation, contamination of water, and the eradication of entire species of animals and plants.

However, as Foucault (1978) argued we do not live in an ecology but we live in a culture that influences ecology. A number of new episteme have been introduced regarding the relationship between culture and the environment in the past quarter of a century, Ecofeminism is one of those episteme that examines such a relationship.

Eco-feminism is a movement that is still evolving. According to King (1988) the French theorist Francoise d’Eaubonne coined the term ecofeminism in 1974. Ecofeminism parallels an ecological critique with gender role critique. Ecofeminism is a social and political movement that unites environmentalism and feminism, with some currents linking deep ecology and feminism. Ecofeminists argue that a relationship exists between the oppression of women and the degradation of nature, and explore the intersectional between sexism, the domination of nature, racism, speciesism, and other characteristics of social inequality.

Rosemary Radford Reuther defines ecofeminism as: representing the union of the radical ecological movement, or what has been called ‘deep ecology’, and feminism. A critique of modern Western science with its dualistic, technological domination, synthesized with gender domination. The ecofeminists view the domination of earth as directly connected to a set of cultural, psychological, and economic factors that create hierarchies, which in turn oppress women, and other vulnerable segments of society. For ecofeminists, the characteristics of masculine-centered ideologies, violence, discrimination, ethnocentric views together with Western technology and science, have contributed greatly to the depletion of the biological environment, and pose a threat to the continuation of life on earth (King 1998:207, 1997; Plumwood 1993). The earth crisis to the ecofeminists is, hence, not a biological problem or a variable connected solely to fertility rates or education. It is a process that needs to be perceived in a holistic manner with a focus on issues of justice, equity, accessibility to resource and recognition of human rights for women and other vulnerable animate and inanimate components of society. Can Islam be compatible with such a theory that looks at feminism, deep ecology, and oppression?

Islam and Feminism.

Half a billion Muslim women inhabit some 40-45 Muslim-majority countries, and another 30 or more countries have significant Muslim minorities. Monolithic stereotypes of Muslim women have long prevailed in the media, and scholarship (especially in the west). Women in Muslim societies and communities (Both Muslim and non-Muslim women, from Asia to North Africa) face gender-based inequalities associated with the so-called patriarchal gender system.

The system, regardless of religion, features kin-based extended families, male domination, early marriage (and consequent high fertility), restrictive codes of female behavior, the linkage of family honor with female virtue, and occasionally, polygamous family structure.

Women in Muslim societies and communities (Both Muslim and non-Muslim women, from Asia to North Africa) face gender-based inequalities associated with the so-called “patriarchal gender system.

The system, regardless of religion, features kin-based extended families, male domination, early marriage (and consequent high fertility), restrictive codes of female behavior, the linkage of family honor with female virtue, and occasionally, polygamous family structure.

Most current scholarship rejects the idea that the Islamic religion is the primary determinant of the status and conditions of Muslim women. Variation in Muslim women’s status and conditions, researchers typically explore factors that vary across nations and regions. For example, variations in the economic structures, or variations in the preexisting cultural value patterns of a given nation. The conclusion from textual analysis is generally either that the Qur’an’s revelation is inherently ethical and egalitarian in spirit (Ahmed, Badran, Barlas, Keddie,Mernissi, Stowasser, and Wadud).

It is patriarchal readings of the Qur’an and the fiqh (rules of jurisprudence), as well as the structure of religious and sexual power in Muslim societies, rather than Islam,that discriminate against women. While the texts embody egalitarian principles whereby women and men have moral equality Islam’s sacred texts are bound up with their time and place. They, therefore, require ongoing reinterpretation to disentangle outmoded cultural ideas and practices from the authentic Qur’anic norms and message of revelation.

Islam is the only monotheistic religious doctrine to deny the concept of woman as evil seductress, responsible for the original sin and fall of humankind .

Equality between men and women in their creation:

O humankind! Verily We have created your from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other…. (Qur’an, 49:13; cf. 4:1).

The Creator of heavens and earth: He has made for you pairs from among yourselves …(Qur’an 42:11)

And Allah has given you mates of your own nature, and has given you from your mates, children and grandchildren, and has made provision of good things for you. Is it then in vanity that they believe and in the grace of God that they disbelieve?

Qur’an (16:72)

Equality in responsibility

And their Lord has accepted (their prayers) and answered them (saying): ‘Never will I cause to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female; you are members, one of another…” (3:195; cf 9:71;33:35-36;66:19-21).

History shows that women in early Islam participated in public life, in debates about the religion, in protecting early Muslims from attacks, in work outside the home and in the transmission of the religion.

Endearing girl-children

And when the female (infant) buried alive – is questioned, for what crime she was killed.” (Qur’an 81:8-9).

When news is brought to one of them, of (the Birth of) a female (child), his face darkens and he is filled with inward grief! With shame does he hide himself from his people because of the bad news he has had! Shall he retain her on (sufferance) and contempt, or bury her in the dust? Ah! What an evil (choice) they decide on? (Qur’an 16: 58-59).

Prophet’s Sayings:

“And when the female (infant) buried alive – is questioned, for what crime she was killed”. (Qur’an 81:8-9).

When news is brought to one of them, of (the Birth of) a female (child), his face darkens and he is filled with inward grief! With shame does he hide himself from his people because of the bad news he has had! Shall he retain her on (sufferance) and contempt, or bury her in the dust? Ah! What an evil (choice) they decide on?

(Qur’an 16: 58-59).

Whosoever has a daughter and he does not bury her alive, does not insult her, and does not favor his son over her, God will enter him into Paradise. (Ibn Hanbal, No. 1957).

Whosoever supports two daughters till they mature, he and I will come in the day of judgment as this (and he pointed with his two fingers held together).

Whosoever has a daughter and he does not bury her alive, does not insult her, and does not favor his son over her, God will enter him into Paradise. (Ibn Hanbal, No. 1957).

Whosoever supports two daughters till they mature, he and I will come in the day of judgment as this (and he pointed with his two fingers held together).

Feminism

Feminism is a collection of social theories and an ideology of liberation and respect of women. Offen (1988) define feminism as a person (male or female) who recognizes the validity of women’s own interpretation of their lived experiences and needs. Protests against the institutionalized injustice perpetrated by men as a group against women as a group, and advocates the elimination of that injustice by challenging the various structures of authority or power that legitimate male prerogatives in a given society . Another way of expressing this is that one of the main goals is to correct andocentric bias.

According to American Heritage Dictionary, feminism is belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. The movement organized around this belief.

Several subtypes of feminist ideology have developed over the years. Early feminists and primary feminist movements are often called the first- wave feminists , and feminists after about 1960s the second-wave feminists . More recently, some younger feminists have identified themselves as third-wave feminists while the second-wave feminists are still active.

In Marilyn French’s (1985) its effects on the world at large, she defines patriarchy as a system that values power over life, control over pleasure and dominance over happiness. According to French, “it is not enough either to devise a morality that will allow the human race simply to survive. Survival is an evil when it entails existing in a state of wretchedness. Intrinsic to survival and continuation is felicity/pleasure. Pleasure has been much maligned, diminished by philosophers and conquerors as a value for the timid, the small-minded and the self-indulgent. ‘Virtue’ too often involves the renunciation of pleasure in the name of some higher purpose, a purpose that involves power (for men) or sacrifice (for women). Pleasure is described as shallow and frivolous in a world of high-minded, serious purpose. But pleasure does not exclude serious pursuits or intentions, indeed, it is found in them, and it is the only real reason for staying alive. This philosophy is what Marilyn French offers as a replacement to the current structure where power has the highest value.

Status of Women in General

According to studies cited by the United Nations Human Development Report (2004) on average, women work more than men do, when both paid employment and unpaid household tasks are accounted for. In rural areas of selected developing countries, women performed an average of 20% more work than men, or an additional 102 minutes per day.

In the OECD countries (Organization for Economic and Co-operation Development), a survey showed that on average women performed 5% more work than men, or 20 minutes per day. In fact, UN statistics cited by the May 2001 Pan Pacific Southeast Asia Women’s Association 21st International Conference are even more specific, stating that “in the world as a whole, women comprise 51 percent of the population, do 66 percent of the work, receive 10 percent of the income and own less than one percent of the property”. On average, women work more than men, when both paid employment and unpaid household tasks are accounted for. In rural areas of selected developing countries, women performed an average of 20% more work than men, or an additional 102 minutes per day. In the OECD countries surveyed, on average women performed 5% more work than men, or 20 minutes per day.

Overall women wage earners in developed countries receive an average of 77 cents on the dollar, in developing countries 73 cents. — World Bank, Gender and Equality, April 4, 2003.

According to the World Bank, 60% of the 110 million primary-school-age children in developing countries not attending school are girls. In Senegal, only 15% of all girls go on to secondary education. In Turkey, only 48%. In Thailand, 80%.

Source: Women in National Parliament (UNESCO, 2006). Total MPs 43’755 Gender breakdown known for 42’734 Men 35’480 Women 7’254 Percentage of women 17.0% Source: Population Resource Center, 2001 (Tabel)

Source: RPB, 1997 World Population Data Sheet

Islam and Deep Ecology

In Islam the connection and Linkage between nature and other Creations of God lies at the center of the theology and social existence.

Deep Ecology

The Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess coined the phrase deep ecology in 1972. According to Devall & Sessions, (1985) and Naess deep ecology is based on eight ethical principles.

The well-being and flourishing of human and nonhuman life on earth have value in themselves (synonyms: inherent worth; intrinsic value; inherent value). These values are independent of the usefulness of the nonhuman world for human purposes.

Richness and diversity of life forms contribute to the realization of these values and are values in themselves. Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital needs. Present human interference with the nonhuman world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening. The flourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantial decrease of the human population. The flourishing of nonhuman life requires such a decrease. Policies must therefore be changed. The changes in policies affect basic economic, technological structures. The resulting state of affairs will be deeply different from the present. The ideological change is mainly that of appreciating life quality (dwelling in situations of inherent worth) rather than adhering to an increasingly higher standard of living. There will be a profound awareness of the difference between big and great. Those who subscribe to the foregoing points have an obligation directly or indirectly to participate in the attempt to implement the necessary changes. Islamic ideas are in many ways appropriate with the general ideas of Deep Ecology. They differ mainly on two ideas (principally different). That is Tawhid (relationship between creator and created) and the issue of interdependence.

Respect of earth/ecology/nature is not due to its inherent value or respect of quality of life is not due to its inherent value. The sacred nature of earth that renders its value and the quality of life on it of value.

In addition, Prof. Ammar said that the source of the sacredness of earth is not an inherent one, but rather an associated one. Nature itself is not sacred. It is sacred in as far as it is a reflection of the will of God.

A creation

As a creation of God, it stands in the same class as humans. The Prophet concerning God’s creation said, All creatures are God’s dependents and the most beloved to God among them is the one that does good to God’s dependents.

Characteristics of the class of created:

All creation is a reflection of God’s sacredness, glory and power. God’s creation is orderly, has purpose and with function. The created category is all actualized to worship and obey God. Created have all been created from the same element, water. The unity of God’s creation as a category is also exemplified in Islam in terms of the social structure. Otherwise, Islam has many commonalities with deep ecology, but a different approach:

The whole universe is one single system created and united by Allah. Humans were given the responsibility for managing the earth because they possess special qualities, and not because they have better qualities. For some reasons the universe is given to humans as a “trust”, ammanah that they accepted when they bore witness to God in their covenant of Tawhid, there is not God but Allah . In her presentation, Prof. Ammar pointed out that:

People should to improve the earth, to enjoy and use the bounties of the earth and to maintain the balance between the two. Population pressure (and regulation) is another disagreement with the principles of deep ecology. Population regulation as a permanent measure is not accepted in Islam, however one looks at it. From the explanation, we can see that Islam is compatible with Deep Ecology and compatible with feminist ideas.

One of the Prophet’s Sayings clearly underscores this:

“Verily, this world is sweet and appealing, and Allah placed you as vice regents therein; He will see what you will do. So, be careful of [what you do in] this world and [what you do to/with] women, for the first test of the children of Israel was in women!” [Sahih Bukhari].

Before closing her presentation, Prof Ammar argued how to do ecofeminism.

Equity of access among creatures (including different gender). Improving conditions (of life and use) for all creatures (including different gender). Protecting the rights of all creatures (including different gender). Maintain harmony in all communities (including human communities). Reduce (or eliminate) treating any creature violently (including women). Respect the diversity and contributions of all creatures (including women).

http://www.crcs.ugm.ac.id/news.php?news_id=6

HAYVANLARIN KORUNMASI – Dr. İbrahim Özdemir

Filed under: Uncategorized — e @ 2:30 am

Çevreyle ilgili önemli bir konu ise beraber yaşadığımız hayvanlara karşı iyi davranmak ve onları korumaktır. Daha doğrusu şefkat ve merhametimizi onlara da teşmil etmektir. Halbuki günümüzde bir çok hayvanın nesli tükenmektedir. Kimisi de sokaklarda başıboş bir şekilde aç ve perişan bir halde dolaşmaktadır. Tüm bunları göz önüne alınca, bizlerin hayvanlara çok iyi davrandığımız ve onlara karşı görevlerimi yerine getirdiğimiz söylenemez. Bunun en önemli nedenlerinden birisinin İslami değerlere olan duyarsızlığımız olduğunu düşünüyorum. Zira İslamiyet sadece insan-insan, insan-toplum ve devlet ilişkilerini değil, aynı zamanda insan-tabiat ve insan-çevre ilişkilerini de düzenlemiştir. Bunun tabii bir sonucu olarak da insan, tabiata ve hayvanlara karşı olan tavır ve fiillerinden de Allah’a karşı sorumlu tutulmuştur. Bunu Peygamber Efendimizin şu hadislerinde görmek mümkündür:

  Kim haklı bir sebebe dayanmadan bir serçeyi, hatta ondan küçükbir canlıyı öldürürse o canlı kıyamet günü davasını Allah’a götürür ve: Ey Rabbim, falan kimse beni, bir fayda olmaksızın öldürdü der.[34]  

Böylece tabiattaki canlıların-küçük olsun, büyük olsun- amaçsız ve rast gele öldürülmelerinin yasaklandığı, böyle bir şey yapanların ahirette Allah’a hesap verecekleri vurgulanmıştır. Kur’an’da Hayvanlar

Kur’an’a şöyle bir baktığımızda, eko sistemin önemli üyeleri olan hayvanlara verilen önem hemen fark edilir. Kur’an’ın bazı sûrelerinin çeşitli hayvan adlarını taşıdığı görülmektedir: Bakara (İnek) Sûresi, Nahl (Arı) Sûresi, Ankebut (Örümcek) Sûresi, Neml (Karınca) Sûresi.

Kur’an’ın hayvanlarla ilgili dikkat çekici bir ifadesi de, hayvanların da “ümmet” olduklarının ifade edilmesidir. İslâmi gelenek ve literatürde özel ve önemli bir kavram olan “ümmet”in hayvanlar için de kullanılması gerçekten dikkat çekicidir:

Yeryüzünde yürüyen hiçbir hayvan ve iki kanadıyla uçan hiç bir kuş yoktur ki, onlar da sizin gibi birer ümmet olmasınlar. Biz Kitabta hiç bir şeyi eksik bırakmamışızdır. Sonra onlar Rablerinin huzuruna toplanacaktır.[35] Kur’an, ayrıca hayvanları yaratıcının sanatındaki mahareti ve üstünlüğü dile getiren bir başka sanat eseri olarak da takdim eder: Kuşkusuz sizin için hayvanlarda da büyük bir ibretvardır. Zira size, onların karınlarındaki fışkı ile kan arasından(gelen), içenlerin boğazından kolayca geçen halis bir süt içiriyoruz.[36] Hadis-i Şeriflerde Hayvanlar Kur’an’ın konuya verdiği öneme paralel olarak, Hz. Peygamber’in de hayvanların korunması, onlaramerhamet ve şefkat gösterilmesi konusuna çok önem verdiği görülmektedir. Onun hayvanlara şefkat gösterilmesi, korunması, eziyet edilmemesi, aşağılanmaması konularında gösterdiği titizlik gerçekten de dikkat çekicidir. Günümüzde, Allah’ın en mükerrem yaratığı insana her türlü işkence ve zulümler hâlâ uygulanırken, Hz. Peygamber’in (SAV) hayvanlara bile işkence ve zulüm yapılmasını yasakladığı görülmektedir.

Bu çerçevede, Hz. Peygamber (SAV) Müslümanlara sadece insanlara değil, bütün canlılara karşı merhametli olmalarını öğretmiştir:

Merhametli olanlara Rahman (yani merhamet sahihi olan Allah) merhamet eder. Yerde olanlara merhametli olun ki, gökte olanlar da (melekler) size rahmet etsin.[37] Yine yukarıda ifade edildiği gibi, “Haksız olarak bir serçeyi öldürenden, Cenab-ı Hak kıyâmet gününde hesap soracaktır.[38] Ayrıca Hz. Peygamber (SAV)’in, kuşların yuvalarının bozulmamasını, yumurta ve yavrularının alınmamasını da emretmiştir.[39] Bir yuvadan aldığı yavruları torbasına doldurup şehre getiren birine Peygamber Efendimiz onları derhal analarının yanına, aldığı yuvaya iade etmesi uyarısında bulunmuştur. Böylece bu sevimli yavrularının anne yuvalarında ve tabii ortamda özgürce büyümeleri temin edilmiştir. İslam medeniyetinin özünü ve hayvanlara bakış açısını çok iyi yansıtan bir diğer örneği ise Peygamber Efendimizin yakın arkadaşlarından Abdullah b. Mes’ud’dan öğreniyoruz

  Allah’ın Resulüyle bir seferde idik. Yanında iki yavrusu bulunan serçe biçiminde bir kuşa rastladık. Yavruları yakalayıverdik. Bunun üzerine anneleri, feryat ederek kanatlarını çırpmaya başladı. Resulullah dönüp de yaptığımızı görünce: ‘Bunu yavrusundan kim ayırdı? Yavrularını ona iade edin’ dedi. Biz de onları serbest bıraktık.[40]  

Görüldüğü gibi, Hz. Peygamber, hayvanların ve kuşların korunmasını, onlara eziyet edilmemesini, temizlik ve bakımlarının yapılmasını, yaratılışlarına uygun işlerde kullanılmasını, fazla yük yüklenmemesini, av yasağı koyarak rast gele eğlence için avlanılmamalarını emretmiştir. Bir gün etrafında oturanlar şu hikayeyi anlatmıştı: Yolda gitmekte olan birinin susuzluğu arttı. Hemen bir kuyuya inip suyundan içti. Çıkınca, susuzluktan dilini çıkarıp soluyan ve rutubetli toprak yalayan bir köpekle karşılaştı. Adam kendi kendine, ‘bu hayvan da benim gibi susamış’ deyip kuyuya indi. Mestine su doldurdu. Mestini ağzıyla tutup çıktı, köpeği suladı. Bundan dolayı Allah bu kulunu övdü ve günahlarını bağışladı.” Bunun üzerine arkadaşları:

Hayvanları sulamakta bize de sevap var mıdır?’ diye sorduklarında Rasulullah şöyle cevap verdi: “Yaşamakta olan her canlıyı sulamaktasevap vardır.”[41]

Hayvanlara kötü davranmayı yasaklayan Peygamber Efendimiz, “Bir kadın, bağlayıp yemek vermediği ve yer haşerelerinden yemesi için serbest bırakmadığı kedi yüzünden cehenneme girdi.”[42] diyerek bu konuda bizleri uyarmıştır. Peygamber Efendimiz, çalıştırılan hayvanlara, insanlar gibi dinlenme hakkı vermiş ve yolculuk sırasında yapılan dinlenmelerde öncelikle hayvanların ihtiyaç ve istirahatlerinin sağlanması vurgulanmıştır. Sahabeden Enes b. Malik bize şu hikayeyi anlatmaktadır: “Biz bir konaklama yerine geldiğimizde hayvanların yüklerini çözüp (onları istirahate terk etmeden) namaza başlamazdık.” [43]

Görüldüğü gibi, İslam dini hiçbir canlıya eziyet ve işkence edilmesine izin vermez. İnsan olsun, hayvan olsun her canlının kendine göre hakları vardır. Bu haklara saldıranlar ve uymayanlar devlet tarafından, bu mümkün olmassa ahirette Allah tarafından cezalandırılırlar. Bu gerçeği şu sözleriyle ifade etmiştir: “ Şu bir gerçektir ki, öteki hayatta hak sahiplerine bütün haklarını ödeyeceksiniz. Hatta boynuzsuz koyun kendisine vuran boynuzlu koyundan kısas yoluyla hakkını alacaktır.”[44]

Hz. Peygamber’in bu tavır ve tavsiyelerinin tarih boyunca Müslümanlar üzerinde çok etkili olduğu görülmektedir. Hz. Peygamber’den aldıkları bu bakış açısıyla hareket eden Müslümanlar herkese karşı merhamet ve hoşgörüyle bakmışlardır. Düşmanlarına bile işkence etmemişlerdir. Başka din ve inanç sahipleri Müslümanlar arasında huzur içinde yaşamışlardır. Bu merhamet, sevgi ve hoşgörü medeniyetinden hayvanlar da nasibini almıştır. Ayrıca hayvanlara iyi davranmanın insanı cennete, kötü davranmanın ise, cehenneme girmesine sebep olabileceğini de yine bizzat Hz. Peygamber (SAV)’in hadislerinden anlıyoruz.

http://www.nur.org/en/nurcenter/nurlibrary/Hayvanlarin_Korunmasi_825

İslâm’ın Çevreye Bakışı – Dr. İbrahim Özdemir

Filed under: Uncategorized — e @ 2:28 am

Öncelikle belirtelim ki, İslam’a göre bütün kainat Allah tarafından yaratılmıştır. Gökleri güneş, ay ve yıldızlarla; yeryüzünü çiçekler, ağaçlar, bağlar, bahçeler ve çeşitli hayvan türleriyle süsleyen Allah’tır. Yeryüzünde suları akıtan, gökleri (direksiz) tutan, yağmurları yağdıran, gece ve gündüz arasındaki sınırı koruyan yine Allah’tır. Kainat bütün zenginliği ve canlılığıyla Allah’ın, yani kainatın yaratıcısının eseri ve sanatıdır. Bitkileri ve hayvanları çift olarak yaratan ve onların çoğalmasını sağlayan da yine Allah’tır. Allah daha sonra da insanoğlunu yaratmıştır.

Bizler Allah’ın yeryüzündeki emanetçileri ve halifeleriyiz. Tabiatın ve dünyanın efendileri olmadığımız gibi, dünya da dilediğimiz gibi tasarrufyapacağımız veya yapabileceğimiz bir malımız değildir. Tabiat, Allah tarafından yaratılmıştır ve Allah’ındır. Tabiattaki her şey de Allah’ın varlığının bir âyeti, yani işareti ve belgesidir. Bu gerçeği Kur’an şöyle belirtmektedir:

Onlara, gerek içinde yaşadıkları âlemin her tarafında, gerekse kendi nefislerinde âyetlerimi göstereceğiz. [1] Şüphesiz göklerin ve yerin yaratılmasında, gece ile gündüzün birbiri peşinden gelmesinde, insanlara fayda veren şeylerle yüklü olarak denizde yüzüp giden gemilerde, Allah’ın gökten indirip de ölü haldeki toprağı canlandırdığı suda, yeryüzünde her çeşit canlıyı yaymasında, rüzgârları ve yer ile gök arasında emre hazır bekleyen bulutları yönlendirmesinde düşünen bir toplum için (Allah’ın varlığını ve birliğini isbatlayan) birçok deliller vardır. [2]

Bu nedenle Müslüman âlimler tabiata bir kitap gibi bakmışlar ve hatta ona “kainat kitabı” demişlerdir. Böylece, kainatın da tıpkı Kur’an gibi bizlere Rabbimizi ve Yaratıcımızı tanıttığını vurgulamışlardır. Bu kitabın korunması ve muhafazası ise bizlere emanet edilmiştir. Allah’ın kitabı olan Kur’an’a saygı ve haşyetle yaklaşanlar, ona abdestsiz ele sürmeyenlerin, kainat kitabına da aynı hürmet ve muhabbetle yaklaşmaları gerekmez mi? Bu nedenle, Allah’ın halifesi ve emanetçisi olarak görevimiz ise bu emanete saygı göstermek, titiz bir şekilde korumaktır. Doğal kaynakları kullanırken veya tüketirken kesinlikle israf yapmamaktır. And olsun, ilk yaratılışı bildiniz. Düşünüp ibret almanız gerekmez mi?Şimdi bana, ektiğinizi haber verin.Onu siz mi bitiriyorsunuz, yoksa bitiren biz miyiz?Dileseydik onu kuru bir çöp yapardık da şaşar kalırdınız.”Doğrusu borç altına girdik.Daha doğrusu, biz yoksul kaldık” (derdiniz).Ya içtiğiniz suya ne dersiniz?Buluttan onu siz mi indirdiniz, yoksa indiren biz miyiz?Dileseydik onu tuzlu yapardık. Şükretmeniz gerekmez mi?Söyleyin şimdi bana, tutuşturmakta olduğunuz ateşi,Onun ağacını siz mi yarattınız, yoksa yaratan biz miyiz?Biz onu bir ibret ve çölden gelip geçenlerin istifadesi için yarattık.Öyleyse ulu Rabbinin adınıtesbih et. [3] İslam ilahi mesajların sonuncusu olarak, tabiatın bu kutsal ve manevi boyutuna ısrarla dikkatimizi çekmektedir. Bunun arkasından da Allah tarafından yaratıldığımızı ve hesap vermek için tekrar ona döneceğimizi öğretir. Bunun anlamı: Bütün yaptıklarımızdan, yani iyi yaptıklarımızdan da kötü yaptıklarımızdan da sorumlu olduğumuzdur. Halife olan insan, Ahiret günü emanete karşı nasıl davrandığı ve muamele ettiğinden hesaba çekilecektir. İslam’ın öz ve temelini ifade eden kavram Tevhid, yani Allah’ın birliği, kavramıdır. Allah’ın birliği insanlığın ve tabiatın birliğinde de kendini göstermektedir. Bu nedenle Allah’ın yeryüzündeki halife ve emanetçileri mahlukatın birliğini, dünyanın bütünlüğünü, flora ve faunayı, yaban hayatını ve doğal çevreyi korumada birinci dereceden sorumludur.

Böylece birlik, emanet ve sorumluluğun İslam’ın üç temel kavramı olduğu görülmektedir. Bu ilkeler aynı zamanda İslâm çevre ahlakının da temel direkleridir. Bu kavramlar Kur’an tarafından öğretilen temel değerleri de meydana getirmektedir.

Kur’an’ı- Kerim’de yeryüzü ile ilgili ayetler okunduğu zaman yeryüzünün, aslında, insanlar için bir huzur ve dinleme yeri olduğuna dair kuvvetli işaretler buluruz. Böylece Kur’an dikkatlerimizi tabiata ve orada cereyan eden olaylara çeker:

Yedi gök, dünya ve bunlarda bulunan her şey Allah’ı tesbih eder. O’nu övgü ile tesbih etmeyen hiç bir şey yoktur. Ne var ki siz, onların tesbihini anlayamazsınız, O, çok halîm (merhametli) ve bağışlayıcıdır. [4] Görmedin mi ki, göklerde olanlar ve yerde olanlar; güneş, ay, yıldızlar, dağlar, ağaçlar, hayvanlar ve insanların birçoğu Allah’a secde ediyor. [5]

Size tohumlar, bitkiler, (ağaçları) sarmaş dolaş olmuş bağlar bahçeler yetiştirmek için üstüste yığılıp sıkışan bulutlardan şarıl şarıl akan sular indirdik. [6]

Şöyle ki: Yağmurlar yağdırdık. Sonra toprağı göz göz yardık da oradan ekinler, üzüm bağları, sebzeler, zeytin ve hurma ağaçları, iri ve sık ağaçlı bahçeler, meyveler ve çayırlar bitirdik. (Bütün bunlar) sizi ve hayvanlarınızı yararlandırmak içindir. [7]

Rab ki, yeri sizin için bir döşek, göğü de (kubbemsi) bir tavan yaptı. Gökten su indirerek onunla, size besin olsun diye (yerden) çeşitli ürünler çıkardı. Artık bunu bile bile Allah’a şirk koşmayın. [8]

Yoksa yeryüzünü oturmaya elverişli kılan, aralarından ırmaklar çıkaran, orada sabit dağlar yaratan ve iki deniz arasına bir perde koyan kimdir? Allah ile beraber başka bir tanrı mı var? Hayır, onların çoğu bilmiyorlar. [9]

Yeryüzü, karşılıklı ilişki kavramı için de önemlidir. İnsanlar yeryüzünün iki unsurundan yaratılmıştır: Toprak ve Su. Böylece insanın tabiata ve yeryüzüne yabancılaşması kendi özüne de yabancılaşmasıdır. O, yeryüzünün efendisi ve hâkimi değil, mütevazi bir üyesidir. Sahip olduğu özellik ve üstünlükler, onun sorumsuz olarak bu güzellikleri ve kaynakları tahrip etmesini ve tüketmesini değil, büyük bir sorumlulukla hareket etmesini gerektirmektedir. Allah sizi yerden bir bitki olarak bitirmiştir. Sonra yine oraya geri çevirecek ve tekrar çıkaracaktır. Allah size yeri bir sergi yaptı ki, onda (açılan) geniş geniş yollarda gidesiniz. [10] Yeryüzü (arz) kelimesi bu kısa ayette iki defa zikredilir ve Kur’an’da bu kelime, öneminin basit bir ölçüsü olarak, toplam 485 defa geçer ve yeryüzü insanlığın hizmetine sunulmuş olarak tarif edilir: O, size yeri boyun eğer yaptı. Haydi onun omuzlarında yürüyün ve Allah’ın rızkından yiyin. [11]Düzgün kiraz ağacı,Meyveleri salkım salkım dizili muz ağaçları,Uzamış gölgeler,Çağlayarak akan sular,Tükenmeyen ve yasaklanmayan, sayısız meyveler içindedirler. [12] Kur’an’ın bu ve benzeri âyetleri tüm Müslümanlar için ilham kaynağı olmuş ve tabiata bu âyetler çerçevesinde bakmışlardır. Kainata ve tabiat bu Kur’anî bakış açısıyla bakmışlardır. Bunun en güzel örneklerini Müslüman düşünürlerin ve özellikle de büyük mutasavvıfların eserlerinde görmek mümkündür. Burada sadece iki örnek vermekle yetineceğiz. Birinci örneğimiz 13. Yüzyıl düşünürlerimizden Mevlana’dır. Bu konuda şunları söylemektedir: “Bu cansız olan bulut vaktinde yağmur yağdırmanın gerekli olduğunu ne bilir? Bu bitkiyi kabul edip, bir yerine on veren toprağı da görüyorsun. Bunları bir kimse yapıyor. İşte sen asıl O’nu gör.” [13] “Toprak bile Allah’ın kendisine verdiği her şeyden, cansız olmasına rağmen, haberdardır. Eğer öyle olmasaydı suyu nasıl kabul ederdi ve her şeye nasıl süt-annelik eder ve onu beslerdi.” [14]

“Dünya her nefeste yeniden yaratılmada, yenilenmektedir. Fakat biz dünyayı öylece durur gördüğümüzden, bu yenilenmeden haberdar değiliz.”

Diğer örneğimiz ise çağdaş âlimlerimizden olan Bediüzzaman Said Nursî’den. Aynı âyetler onun kalbinden ise şöyle yansımaktadır: Bir bahçeye benzeyen arzını, sanatının sergisi, yaratıklarının toplanma yeri, kudretinin aynası, hikmetinin medarı, rahmetinin çiçekdanlığı, Cennetinin tarlası, mahlukatının geçiş yeri, mevcudatının mecrası, masnuatının ölçeği yapan Allah, bütün noksan sıfatlardan beridir. Süslü canlılar, nakışlı kuşlar, meyveli ağaçlar, çiçekli bitkiler ilminin mu’cizeleri, sanatının harikaları, cömertliğinin hediyeleri, lütfunun müjdecileridir. Meyvelerin zinetinden, çiçeklerin tebessümü, seher meltemlerinde kuşların ötüşmesi, çiçeklerin yaprakları üzerine yağmurların ahenkle düşmesi, annelerin küçük yavrulara karşı şefkat beslemeleri bir Vedud’un, cin ve insanlara ruhani ve canlılara, meleklere ve cinlere kendisini tanıttırması, bir Rahman’ın merhametini sergilemesi, bir Mennan’ın şefkatini göstermesidir. [15]

Ayrıca yeryüzü, İslâm tarafından bir temizlenme ve Allah’a ibadet yeri olarak kabul edilmiştir. Hz. Peygamber (SAV) şöyle buyurmuştur: “Yeryüzü bana (ve Müslümanlara) bir ibadet yeri (mescid) ve temizleyici kılınmıştır.” Bu, su bulunmadığında, toprağın, ibadetten önce bir kimsenin temizlenmesi (teyemmüm) için kullanabileceği anlamına gelir. [16] Hz. Peygamberin bir hadis-i şerifi şunu vurgular: Allah güzeldir ve güzel olan her şeyi sever.Cömerttir, cömertliği sever; temizdir, temizliği sever. Böyle olunca, İslâm’ın “Yeryüzünü korumak için bütün insanlar birbirini uyarmalı”, şeklindeki çevreyle ilgili tavrı şaşırtıcı değildir. Yeryüzü tahrip edilirken insanlar geriye çekilmemelidir. Özellikle de maddi ve manevi temizliğe çok önem vermelidirler.

http://www.nur.org/en/nurcenter/nurlibrary/Islam_in_Cevreye_Bakisi_793

AN ISLAMIC APPROACH to THE ENVIRONMENT – Ibrahim Ozdemir, Ph.D.*

Filed under: Uncategorized — e @ 2:18 am

Contents

Preface

1. What is the Environment?

2. The Islamic View of the Environment.

3. The Importance of Cleanliness.

4. The Cleanliness of the Social Environment

5. The Preservation of Trees, Woodland, and Green Areas

     5.1. Trees in the Qur’an

     5.2. Trees and Woodlands in Hadiths of the Prophet (PBUH)

6. The Protection of Animals

     6.1. Animals in the Qur’an

     6.2. Animals in Hadiths of the Prophet (PBUH).

7. Some Examples From Islamic History

8. Not Wasting the Earth’s Resources

Bibliography and Further Readings

Preface

An international conference was held in Chicago from 11th to 13th November 1997 to which representatives of all the major religions had been invited, and in which I myself also took part. In the course of it we were asked to note down what we considered to be the three most important problems facing the world. When the results were compiled, the following emerged as the most important problems:

     1- Peace.

     2- Environmental problems.

     3- Education.

A decision was taken by the members of all the different religions participating in the conference to co-operate in solving these problems. For it has been stated by social scientists that moral and religious values will dominate the 21st century. In the present booklet, which I have prepared in this spirit, I have attempted to put forward the Islamic principles concerning the environment. My aim has been to set out clearly how Muslims consider the environment, or how they should consider it.

If this small work assists in the growth of environmental consciousness, all humanity will profit from it. For the environment belongs to all of us. Or more correctly, it has been given to all of us in trust by God. Our greatest responsibility should therefore be to treat this trust in the best way, and not to pollute it or destroy it. Furthermore, those things that have to be done, have to be done here and now; we must put nothing off until tomorrow.

Success is from God alone.

İbrahim ÖZDEMİR

1. What is the Environment?

We know that the problem of the environment is one of today’s most serious problems. It is a problem that threatens not only ourselves, but the whole world, and future generations and their right to live in a healthy environment. It is therefore causing humanity to approach the 21st century in a state of anxiety. This compels us to understand the environmental problems and to help in solving them. We should therefore first of all ask: what do we understand by ‘the environment’? That is, what is the environment?

One scientist answered this question by saying “we have 4095 environments.” By this he wanted to emphasize that when saying “environment,” it is insufficient to understand only the natural environment. As a Muslim, I understand the phrase “Sustainer of All the Worlds” as meaning this. The Sustainer of all the worlds, that is, all environments; our Sustainer, Who embraces and encompasses all environments. The Qur’an expresses this truth as follows:

To God belong the East and the West; whithersoever you turn, there is God’s countenance. For God is All-Embracing, All-Knowing. [1]

Another noteworthy point of the Qur’an’s related to the environment is this:

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

All praise be to God, the Sustainer of all the worlds. [2]

This induces us to consider the environment from a broad perspective. We should not forget that the Creator and Owner of all environments is at the same time our Creator.

Thus, our environment is formed by our house, garden, and car, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the town in which we live, and the people we live with. So too, it is formed by the seas, lakes, rivers, roads, mountains, and forests, which are shared by all the members of society.

Thus, when we say “environment,” we understand all these natural surroundings in which we and all living creatures live. While by “environmental pollution,” we mean the dirtying and spoiling of these natural surroundings. The air is polluted, the seas are polluted, the ozone layer is diminishing, animal species are becoming extinct. Pollution of the social environment should be added to these: poverty, deprivation, homelessness, migration problems, racism, abandoned children, drug abuse, alcohol addiction, and other problems.

Many contemporary thinkers and scientists have stated that religion has an important role to play in overcoming these problems and in the development of comprehensive and integral environmental consciousness. We shall therefore discuss the importance the religion of Islam attaches to the environment.

2. The Islamic View of the Environment

Firstly, I should say that according to Islam, everything in the universe is created by God. It is God Who adorns the skies with the sun, the moon and the stars, and the face of the earth with flowers, trees, gardens, orchards, and the various animal species. It is again God Who causes the rivers and streams to flow on the earth, Who upholds the skies (without support), causes the rain to fall, and places the boundary between night and day. The universe together with all its richness and vitality is the work and art of God, that is, of the Creator. It is again God Who creates all plants and animals as pairs, in this way causing their procreation. God created man subsequently to all these.

We are God’s vicegerents on the earth; it has been given us in trust. Just as we are not the lords of nature and the world, so the world is not our property which we can dispose of as we wish or as we are able. Nature was created by God and it belongs to God. Everything in nature is a sign of God’s existence; that is, a token or missive. The Qur’an expresses this truth as follows:

We shall show them our signs in the [furthest] regions [of the earth], and in their own souls. [3]

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 God 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 subjugated between the sky and earth — [here] indeed are signs for a people who thinks. [4]

The above verse illustrates why Muslim scholars look on nature as a book, even calling it “the book of the universe,” in this way pointing out that just like the Qur’an, the universe makes known to us our Sustainer and Creator. And the book of the universe has been entrusted to us to preserve and protect. Should those who hold the Qur’an in respect and awe, not touching it unless purified by ablutions, not also treat the book of the universe respectfully and lovingly? Our duty, therefore, as God’s vicegerents and trustees, is to show respect for the trust, and to preserve it carefully, in no way wasting its natural resources when using or consuming them.

And you certainly know already the first form of creation: why then do you not celebrate His praises?

See you the seed that you sow in the ground?

Is it you that cause it to grow, or are We the cause?

Were it our will, We could crumble it to dry powder, and you would be left in wonderment,

[Saying], “We are indeed left with debts [for nothing];

“Indeed are we shut out [of the fruits of our labour].”

See you the water which you drink?

Do you bring it down [in rain] from the cloud or do We?

Were it our will, We could make it salt [and unpalatable]; then why do you not give thanks?

See you the fire which you kindle?

Is it you who grow the tree which feeds the fire, or do We grow it?

It is We Who make it a means to remind [you of Us], and an article of comfort and convenience for the denizens of deserts.

Then celebrate with praises the name of your Sustainer, the Supreme! [5]

As the final Divine message, Islam insistently draws our attention to this sacred and spiritual dimension of nature. It teaches us too that we are created by God and that we shall return to Him in order to give account for our actions. This means that we are answerable for all that we do, both the good, and the evil. As God’s vicegerent on earth, at the Last Judgement man will be called to account for how he acted towards the trust, and how he treated it.

So glory to Him in Whose hands is the dominion of all things: Ant to Him will you be all brought back. [6]

According to Yusuf Ali the message conveyed in this verse is the core of Revelation; it explains the Hereafter: All things were created by God; are maintained by Him; and will go back to Him. But the point of special interest to man is that man will also be brought back to God and is answerable to Him, and to Him alone. [7]

The concept of Divine unity is the basis and essence of Islam. Divine unity is apparent in the unity of humanity and of nature. God’s vicegerents on the earth, the holders of His trust, are therefore primarily responsible for preserving the unity of creatures, the integral wholeness of the world, the flora and fauna, and wildlife and natural environment.

Thus, ‘unity’, ‘trust’, and ‘responsibility’ are the three basic concepts of Islam. These principles are at the same time the chief pillars of the Islamic environmental ethic. They form also the fundamental values taught by the Qur’an.

When we read the Qur’an’s verses about the earth, we find that they suggest strongly that it is for man a peaceful place which he should take heed of. Thus, the Qur’an draws our attention to nature and to the events that occur in it:

The seven heavens and the earth, and all beings therein, declare His glory; there is not a thing but celebrates His praise; and yet you understand not how they declare His glory! Verily He is Oft-Forbearing, Most Forgiving! [8]

See you not that to God 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 of mankind? [9]

And do We not send down from the clouds water in abundance,

That We may produce therewith corn and vegetables,

And gardens of luxurious growth? [10]

For that We pour forth water in abundance,

And We split the earth in fragments,

And produce therein corn,

And grapes and nutritious plants,

And olives and dates,

And enclosed gardens, dense with lofty trees,

And fruits and fodder —

For use and convenience to you and your cattle. [11]

O you people! Worship your Sustainer….

Who has made the earth your couch and the heavens your canopy; and sent down rain from the heavens; and brought forth therewith fruits for your sustenance; then set not up rivals unto God when you know [the truth]. [12]

Or who has made the earth firm to live in; made rivers in its midst; set thereon mountains immovable, and made a separating bar between the bodies of flowing water? [Can there be another] god besides God? Nay, most of them know not. [13]

The earth is also important in regard to the concept of mutual relations. Human  beings are created from two of its elements: earth and water. Thus, if man becomes alienated from the earth, he becomes alienated from his very nature. He is not the lord and ruler of the earth; he is a humble member of it. The superior qualities and faculties he possesses require not that he irresponsibly consumes and destroys its beauties and resources, but that he acts in awareness of his great responsibility towards them.

And God has produced you from the earth, growing [gradually],

And in the end He will return you into the [earth], and raise you forth [again at the resurrection]?

And God has made the earth for you a carpet [spread out],

That you may go about therein, in spacious roads. [14]

The word “earth” (ard) is mentioned twice in these short verses. A clear indication of its importance is the fact that it is mentioned 485 times in the Qur’an as a whole and is portrayed as being offered for man’s convenience:

It is He Who has made the earth manageable for you, so traverse through its tracts and enjoy of the sustenance which He furnishes. [15]

[They will be] among Lote-trees without thorns,

Among Talh trees with flowers [or fruits] piled one above another —

In shade long-extended,

By water flowing constantly,

And fruit in abundance,

Whose season is not limited, nor [supply] forbidden. [16]

These verses and those similar to them have been sources of inspiration for Muslims and they have looked on nature in their light. They have regarded the universe and nature from this Qur’anic point of view. One can see the finest examples of this in the works of Muslim thinkers, and particularly the great Sufi masters. We shall suffice here with only two examples. The first is Mawlana Jalaluddin Rumi, a thinker of the 13th century:

“How does this lifeless cloud know when it has to pour down rain? And you see the earth, which holds this flower and produces ten in its place. Someone is doing these things. It is He that you have to see.” [17]

“Despite being lifeless, even the earth knows everything God has bestowed on it. How could it otherwise have accepted the rain, suckled all the plants and nurtured them?” [18]

“The world is being re-created and renewed at every breath, but we are unaware of this, for we see it as static.”

Our second example is from Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, a contemporary scholar. The same verses are reflected as follows in his heart:

“Glory be to the One who made the garden of the earth an exhibition of His art, a gathering of His creatures, a place of manifestation of His power, the means of His wisdom, the flower-bed of His mercy, the tillage of Paradise, a place of passage of creatures, for the flood of beings, a funnel for His artefacts.

The adorned animals, decorative birds, fruit-bearing trees, and flowering plants are miracles of His knowledge, wonders of His art, gifts of His munificence, propitious signs of His grace. The blossoms smiling at the embellished fruits, the birds twittering in the breezes of the early morn, the pattering of the rain on the petals of the flowers, the tender affection of mothers for their infants and young all show to jinn and men, and spirits and living creatures, and angels and spirit beings a Loving One making Himself known, a Merciful One making Himself loved, a Tenderly Kind One bestowing His mercy, a Gracious Bestower manifesting His kindness.” [19]

The earth is also considered by Islam to be a place of purification and worship of God. God’s Messenger (PBUH) said: “The earth was made a place of worship and purification for me [and Muslims].” The meaning of this is that when water is not available before worship, earth may used for canonical ablutions (tayammum) in its place. [20] God’s Messenger (PBUH) was emphasising this point when he said:

“God is beautiful and He loves the beautiful; He is generous and loves generosity; He is clean and loves cleanliness.”

One should not therefore be surprised at the Islamic view related to the environment, that “everyone should remind each other to conserve and protect the earth.” They should not hang back diffidently while the earth is being spoiled. They should attach the greatest importance to cleanliness and purity, physical and particularly moral and spiritual.

3. The Importance of Cleanliness

ıslam considers cleanliness to be one of the fundamentals of belief. It thus makes a direct connection between belief and cleanliness. It is because of this that throughout the ages cleanliness has been one of the Muslims’ most striking characteristics. In one Hadith, God’s Messenger (PBUH) says: “Cleanliness is half of belief.” [21] Some of the earliest verses revealed to him by God were:

O you wrapped up [in a mantle]!

Arise and deliver your warning!

And your Sustainer magnify!

And your garments keep free from stain!

And all abomination shun! [22]

It may be noted here that by requiring the cleanliness of clothes, on the one hand physical cleanliness is being emphasized, and by demanding that “abomination” is shunned, on the other moral and spiritual purity are being underlined. Thus, in Islam, physical and moral and spiritual cleanliness form an indivisible whole. Muslims should neglect neither the cleanliness of their surroundings, houses, the roads they use, and parks and gardens, nor any sort of moral and spiritual cleanliness.

The clearest example of this approach in Islamic life may be seen in the Six Books of Prophetic Hadiths, the chief and most reliable source of Islamic civilization. On looking at these books, it is seen that the sections on cleanliness come at the beginning. This shows clearly the priority the religion and civilization give to cleanliness. The Qur’an says:

O you who believe! When you prepare for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands [and arms] to the elbows; rub your heads [with water]; and [wash] your feet to the ankles. If you are in a state of ceremonial impurity, bathe your whole body… [23]

As is seen, the first condition of the obligatory prayers —which are the foundation of Islam, the support of religion, and ‘Ascension’ of the believers— is cleanliness. The Qur’an therefore commands that at least five times a day we wash those parts of the body that may become dirtied like the hands, face, nose, ears, mouth, neck, head, and feet, and that we keep them clean. The place the prayers are to be performed also has to be clean, as well as the clothes worn.

Another dimension of the Islamic approach to cleanliness is apparent in the Divine Name of Most Holy (Quddûs), one of God’s Most Beautiful Names (al-Asma al-Husna). In his explanations of this Divine Name, Bediuzzaman Said Nursi points out the cleanness of the universe, and states that the face of the earth and such beings as the clouds, rain, flies, crows, maggots, earthworms, ants, various insects, and the red and white corpuscles in the human body all manifest the Name of Most Holy in their functions, and carry out duties as “cleansing officials.”

Throughout his life the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) paid the greatest attention to cleanliness of every sort. For instance, he was always careful when going to the mosque or to visit someone or when being in the company of others to wear clean and presentable clothes, to rub fragrant scents on himself, and not to eat things like onion and garlic which would be unpleasant to others. [24]

It is clear then that Muslims are obliged to always be clean in every respect, both physical and moral and spiritual. A Muslim who pays attention to physical cleanliness, that is, who keeps his body, house, and surroundings clean, will not neglect the purity of his heart and spirit and his moral purity —it is not possible that he neglects these. We all know that the most important condition for protecting ourselves against illness is being clean and living in a clean environment. What preventative medicine tells us is nothing different to this. Also, we should never forget this admonition of the Qur’an:

God loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean. [25]

4. The Cleanliness of the Social Environment

One of the most important topics that come to mind when one says “environmental health” is the cleanliness of the common environment. These are places such as roads, places of worship, schools, parks, children’s playgrounds, stadiums, excursion spots and picnic places, public lavatories, public beaches, and other such places.

What has to be done to maintain the cleanliness of the social environment is to think not of ourselves but of others. We should not forget that God’s Messenger (PBUH) forbade the dirtying of the roads and paths people used, and the places they sat and rested, like shady places and under trees and walls. He said that to remove a branch or a thorn that would cause hurt to people as they passed was a part of belief. He said too that God does not love those who cause hurt and pain to believers.

Muslims should scrupulously avoid doing anything to upset or disturb others in any circumstances or in any place. To pollute or dirty the city in which one lives, or the town or village and their surrounding countryside, waters, air, or views, and to scatter rubbish and refuse is both a sin and extremely discourteous. It is lack of thought both for oneself and for others. For thoughtful people know that others will be disturbed by any place they have dirtied, and the beauties of nature spoilt. They are aware that it is an attribute of the believer and a sign of maturity not to leave scattered nutshells, bottles, cans, wrappers, and bits of paper and other refuse in the streets and picnic areas, or to do anything that will disturb other people, or even the animals.

5. The Preservation of Trees, Woodland, and Green Areas.

     5.1. Trees in the Qur’an

Doubtless, one of the most important aspects of protecting the environment and ecology is the conservation of the trees, forests, woodland, countryside, and all the living creatures whose habitats are such areas. We see that the religion of Islam puts forward important principles for these too. These noteworthy principles related to the conservation of such areas may be classed as moral and legal.

If we look at the Qur’an, we see that the word “tree” is mentioned with various meanings. Despite containing no direct command to plant trees, it speaks of trees and gardens and orchards so frequently and descriptively that it is not possible for any attentive reader of the Qur’an not to grow in awareness of them. For when creating this world, God adorned it with trees and gardens and offered them for man’s use. The word “tree” is mentioned 26 times in the Qur’an, and the word “paradise” in the sense of garden around 146 times.

It is He Who sends down rain from the skies; with it We produce green [crops], out of which we produce grain, heaped up [at harvest]; out of the date-palm and its sheaths [or spathes] [come] clusters of dates hanging low and near; and [then there are] gardens of grapes, and olives, and pomegranates, each similar [in kind] yet different [in variety]; when they begin to bear fruit, feast your eyes with the fruit and the ripeness thereof. Behold! in these things there are signs for people who believe. [26]

It is He Who produces 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 God loves not the wasters. [27]

It is He Who sends down rain from the sky. From it you drink, and out of it [grows] the vegetation on which you feed cattle. * With it He produces for you corn, olives, date-palms, grapes, and every kind of fruit. Verily in this is a sign for those who give thought. [28]

These verses thus mention the rain, trees, earth, gardens, vineyards and date groves, and clouds; they point out the Divine balance between all the elements making up nature, and want us to take lessons from them. To put it another way, we are being required to raise our heads in our personal and daily lives and to look at the world about us in a different way. For through their order and systems and ecological balances, all creatures point to their Creator.

In another place, the Qur’an draws our attention to the balance of nature, then indicates that we should be careful to observe the balances and rights in the life of society. That is to say, rights and balances are universal rules that we have to observe.

The sun and the moon follow courses [exactly] computed; * And the herbs and the trees — both [alike] bow in adoration. * And the firmament He has raised high, and He has set up the balance [of justice], * In order that you may not transgress [due] balance. * So establish weight with justice and fall not short in the balance. [29]

It is clear that the Islamic world view could not endorse any view of man’s vicegerency of the earth which destroys and spoils the ecological balances and the order and systems of nature, which it teaches that God has created and put as signs of His own existence. For vicegerent (khalifa) means ‘deputy’. And this in turn means that man is the sole being whom God holds responsible for the earth, to whom He has entrusted its preservation. Such a deputy would not betray the trust of the One who created the world with a particular order, balance, and harmony. If he was to spoil the order and harmony and destroy them, he would be known as an unreliable and perfidious deputy.

     5.2. Trees and Woodlands in Hadiths of the Prophet (PBUH)

Both in his practices and in various of his Hadiths, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) attached great importance to planting trees, protecting existent ones, planting forests, as well as to conserving existent ones. A’isha, one of his wives, said: “His character was the Qur’an.” [30] His practices and conduct related to conservation of the environment should therefore be considered from the Qur’anic standpoint. For us his actions are sources of inspiration constituting his Sunna or practices, which we are obliged to follow. To put it another way, as in all matters, the exemplar of Islamic conduct related to the environment and the person who displayed it in most perfect fashion was God’s Messenger (PBUH). As this, and his commands concerning it, are learnt, our weighty responsibilities become clear.

Some Hadiths of the Prophet connected with planting trees and protecting them:

“If you have a sapling, if you have the time, be certain to plant it, even if Doomsday starts to break forth.” [31]

“Whoever plants trees, God will give him reward to the extent of their fruit.” [32]

“Whoever reclaims and cultivates dry, barren land will be rewarded by God for the act. So long as men and animals benefit from it He will record it for him as almsgiving.” [33]

“Whoever plants a tree, reward will be recorded for him so long as it produces fruit.” [34]

If a Muslim plants a tree, that part of its produce consumed by men will be as almsgiving for him. Any fruit stolen from the tree will also be as almsgiving for him. That which the birds eat will also be as almsgiving for him. Any of its produce which people may eat thus diminishing it, will be as almsgiving for the Muslims who planted it. [35]

The reward accruing from seven things continue to reach the person concerned even if he is in his grave: knowledge he has taught, water he has provided for the public benefit, any well he has dug, any tree he has planted, a mosque he has built, recitations of the Qur’an bequeathed to him, and children who pray for him after his death. [36]

On migrating to Medina, God’s Messenger (PBUH) organized the planting of trees and of date groves. He made the forests and green spaces conservation areas, where every sort of living creature lived. These were called sanctuaries (hima). For example, a strip of land approximately twelve miles wide around Medina was proclaimed a sanctuary and made a conservation area. We know that he proclaimed other areas, similar to this, sanctuaries. All these show the paramount importance —as a religion— Islam gives to nature conservancy and protection of all nature’s living creatures.

Following these commands of the Qur’an and the exemplary practices of God’s Messenger (PBUH), throughout history Muslims have given importance to planting trees and protecting existing one’s. Abu Bakr, the first Caliph, for example, when sending an expedition for a battle to Muta, gave some instructions and underlines that: “Do not  cut down trees and do not kill animals except food (in the enemy territory).”

Green is the colour of Islamic civilization, so too the dome of Prophet’s tomb is green. These are not mere coincidence; they should be seen as reflecting the importance Islam gives to greenery, nature, and trees.

6. The Protection of Animals

Another important question related to the environment is the good treatment of the animals in our lives, and the protection of them; or more correctly, extending our kindness and compassion to them. However, today many animal species are becoming extinct. Other animals stray abandoned and hungry in the streets. Taken as a whole, therefore, it cannot be said that we treat animals well and carry out our duties towards them. In my view, one of the most important reasons for this is our indifference towards Islamic values. For Islam regulates not only relations between individuals and between individuals and society and the state, it also regulates relations between man and nature and man and the environment. A natural consequence of this is that man is answerable to God for his attitude and actions towards nature and animals. This may be seen in the following Hadith of the Prophet (PBUH):

If without good reason anyone kills a sparrow, or a creature lesser than that even, the living creature will put his plaint to God on the Day of Judgement, saying: ‘So-and-so killed me for no purpose. [37]

It is thus stressed that the purposeless and arbitrary killing of the living creatures of nature, whether large or small, is prohibited, and that those who do so will be called to account by God on the Last Day.

     6.1. Animals in the Qur’an

On looking at the Qur’an, the prominent place given animals, the key members of the eco system, is immediately apparent. A number of its Suras bear animals’ names: al-Baqara (The Cow); al-Nahl (The Bee), al-Anqabut (The Spider), al-Naml (The Ant).

One of the striking expressions the Qur’an uses about animals is that they are a “community” (umma). It is especially noteworthy that this concept, which is a significant concept in Islamic tradition and literature, should also be used for animals:

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. [38]

The Qur’an also portrays animals as works of art displaying the Maker’s skill and perfection:

And verily in cattle [too] will you find an instructive sign. For what is within their bodies, between excretions and blood, we produce, for your drink, milk, pure and agreeable to those who drink it. [39]

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?  [40]

These verses invite man to contemplate four things, which they can see in every-day life, and which are full of meaning, high design, and the goodness of God to man. As we know camel is a domesticated animal, which for Arab countries is par excellence the Camel. What a wonderful structure pas this Ship of the Desert? He can store water in his stomach for days. He can live on dry and thorny desert shrubs. His limb are adapted to his life. And withal, he is so gentle! Who can sign his praises enough?

     6.2. Animals in Hadiths of the Prophet (PBUH)

As with the important place given to animals by the Qur’an, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) also insisted on the protection of animals and the kind treatment of them. His concern that they should be well treated, protected, and not abused or degraded is truly noteworthy. While at the present time torture and oppression of every sort are meted out to man, whom God created as the noblest of creatures, the Prophet prohibited torture and abuse of animals even.

Thus, God’s Messenger (PBUH) taught that Muslims should act kindly not only towards human beings but to all living beings:

The Most Merciful One is merciful towards those who are merciful. Act kindly to those on the earth so that those in the heavens [the angels] will be merciful to you. [41]

And as given above: “Anyone who kills a sparrow without good reason will be called to account by God at the Last Judgement.” [42] God’s Messenger (PBUH) also commanded that birds’ nests should not be disturbed, or the eggs or chicks stolen. [43] On one occasion he ordered someone who had filled his bag with fledglings stolen from nests and brought them to the town to return them to their nests immediately. The young birds were thus able to grow to maturity in natural surroundings in their mothers’ nests.

We learn of another example which reflects clearly the essence of Islamic civilization and how it regards animals from ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ud, one of the Prophet’s close Companions:

“We were on a journey with God’s Messenger when we came across a bird the size of a sparrow with two chicks. We seized the chicks, whereupon the hen started beating its wings and screeching. God’s Messenger turned and when he saw what we had done, asked: ‘Who separated those chicks from their mother? Return them at once!’ So we left them free.” [44]

The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) thus enjoined the protection of animals and birds, that they should not be ill-treated, but should be well looked after and kept clean, and employed in work suitable to their natures, and should not be loaded with burdens greater than they can bear. He put a ban on hunting, forbidding the arbitrary hunting of animals for pleasure.

He one day related the following story to those sitting by him:

“A traveller felt a great thirst as he went on his way, so stopped at well and drank of its water. As he came up from the well he saw a dog licking the damp soil with its thirsty, lolling tongue. Saying to himself: ‘This animal is thirsty like I was,’ he went back down to the well and filled his shoe with water. Then holding it firm returned and held it for the dog to drink. God praised that servant of His for his act and forgave all his sins.”  His Companions then asked him:  “So are we rewarded for watering animals?”  God’s Messenger replied: “There is a reward for giving any living creature to drink.” [45]

God’s Messenger (PBUH) prohibited the ill-treatment of animals, and warned us concerning this question when he said:

A woman was sent to Hell because she tied up her cat and neither gave it food nor allowed it free to hunt the cockroaches. [46]

God’s Messenger stated that like men, animals employed in various tasks had the right to rest, and when stopping to rest on journeys, in particular insisted that the animals’ needs should be met and that they should be rested. Anas ibn Malik, one of the Companions, related:

“Whenever we arrived at a stopping-place, we would never start the prayers until we had removed the loads from the pack-animals [and left them free to rest].” [47]

Reynold A. Nicholson, for example, is very impressed by Muslims treatment of animals. In his book The Mystic of Islam we find the following story:

Bayazid [ninetieth century Muslim mystic] purchased some cardamom seed at Hamadhan, and before departing put into his gabardine a small quantity which was left over. On reaching Bistam and recollecting what he had done, ho took out the seed and found out that it contained a number of ants. Saying, “I have carried the poor creatures away from their home” he immediately set off and journeyed back to Hamadhan-a distance of several hundred miles.

We see then that the religion of Islam permits that no living creature is tormented or abused. Whether man or beast, all living creatures have rights. Those who violate their rights or disregard them will be punished in the hereafter by God if it not possible for them to be punished by the authorities here. God’s Messenger (PBUH) expressed this in the following way:

“It is a fact that in the next life you will render their rights to those to whom they are due. The hornless sheep even will receive its right by way of retaliation from a horned sheep that butted it.” [48]

This stance of the Prophet, and his admonitions, have had a powerful effect on Muslims down the ages. Being imbued with the Prophet’s attitude, Muslims have always looked kindly and tolerantly on people. They have never tortured their enemies even. Members of other religions and faiths have lived in security amongst them. Animals too have received their share of this loving, compassionate, and tolerant civilization.

‘Izz ad-Din ibn ‘Abd as-Salam , the thirteenth century Muslim legal scholar, formulated the following principles of animal rights which appears to be based on the very teaching of the Qur’an  and the Sunna of the Prophet  (S):

that he spend on them the  provision that their kinds require, even if they have aged  or sickened such that no benefit comes from them;

that  he not burden them beyond what they can bear;

that he not put them together with anything  by which they would be injured,  whether of their own kind or other species, whether by breaking their bones  or butting or wounding;

that  he slaughter them with kindness;

that when he slaughters them he neither flay their skins nor break  their bones until their bodies have become  cold and their lives he passed away;

that  he not slaughter their young within their sight  but that he isolate them;

that he make comfortable their resting places and watering places;

that he put their males and females together during their mating seasons;

that  he not discard  those which he takes  as game; and neither shoot them with anything that breaks their bones nor bring about  their destruction by any means that renders  their meat unlawful to eat. [49]

We saw, moreover, from the Prophet’s Hadiths that treating animals well is a means of a person entering Paradise, while ill-treatment of them may be the cause  of a person going to Hell.

7. Some Examples From Islamic History

If one studies the histories of the Muslim peoples, one sees that they lived in harmony with nature and its creatures. The most reliable witnesses to this were Western travellers who visited the Muslim lands.

The famous French writer Montaigne touched on this subject when he said: “The Muslim Turks found hospitals and pious foundations for animals even.”

The French lawyer Guer, who travelled in the Ottoman Empire in the 17th century, mentioned a hospital in Damascus where sick cats and dogs were treated. While Prof. M. Sibai gives the following details about the pious foundations for animals.

In the old tradition of pious foundations, areas were allotted for the grazing and treatment of sick animals. The ‘Green Mar‘a’ (the area now covered by Damascus sports stadium) was a place that at one time had been made over to the grazing of helpless animals, which were no longer fed by their owners since they had lost the power to work. Such animals grazed here till their deaths. Among the pious foundations of Damascus there were also places where cats could eat and sleep and wander about. There were hundreds of cats here which, having no difficulties in finding their daily provender, were like the permanents fixtures of the place.

Birds have always had a special place in Muslims’ lives. They have felt particular affection not only for songbirds like nightingale, but for others such as chiefly the pigeon, and storks, doves, and swallows. This affection has been manifested in various ways: the defence of birds’ rights, establishing pious foundations for the feeding of birds, founding hospitals to tend to sick birds, the taming of some species and keeping them in cages, as well as the opposite of this, setting them free from captivity. Just as many people have released them from their cages out of love for them, so many others have kept them in cages.

The famous French poet Lamartine recorded the following observations:

Muslims have good relations with all creatures, animate and inanimate: trees, birds, dogs, in short, they respect all the things God has created. They extend their compassion and kindness to all the species of wretched animals which in our countries are abandoned or ill-treated. In all the streets at specific intervals they leave bowls of water for the dogs of the district. Some Muslims found pious foundations at their deaths for the pigeons they have fed throughout their lives, thus ensuring that grain will be scattered for [the birds] after they have departed.

Thus, the religion of Islam attaches the greatest importance to the conservation of the environment as a whole. For the environment and all the living beings within it are created by God. As human beings, we have been entrusted with conserving and developing it. The conservation of the environment is therefore not only a human obligation but also a religious obligation. Indeed, believers should undertake this responsibility more than anyone. It is understandable if someone who does not believe in God and the Last Judgement is unconcerned with it, but for a believer to be unconcerned is both incomprehensible and unforgivable. How profound are Yunus Emre’s, the Turkish poet of 13th century, words:

“We love creatures for the sake of their Creator”!

No concerned and believing Muslim individual will forget that he is answerable for how he treats not only men but all creatures, or that one day he will be called to account for how he acted. With the following verse, the Qur’an warns all Muslims: Whoever does an atom’s weight of good shall see it,And whoever does an atom’s weight of evil, shall see it. [50]

8. Not Wasting the Earth’s Resources

A further important Islamic principle related to the environment is the Islamic prohibition concerning thoughtless consumption; that is, wastefulness and extravagance. Wastefulness is not only the thoughtless consumption of natural resources; it is at the same time disrespectful towards God, the Creator and Owner of all the bounties. For this reason, in Islam, eating and drinking of licit food is lawful, but wastefulness is forbidden. At this time we know better than at any other that the world’s resources are limited. Extravagance and over-consumption will affect not only ourselves, but forthcoming generations. We are therefore compelled to be aware and sensitive concerning this matter. In the Holy Qur’an, God says:

Verily We have created all things in proportion and measure. [51]

If we keep this in mind, we see that carefully preserving the balance and measure is a human obligation. The science of ecology shows us that the universe contains extremely sensitive eco systems and balances, and that man has therefore to maintain these ecological systems.

Modern man only came to realize the environmental problems with the help of ecology when the problems became apparent, whereas the Qur’an draws our attention to this balance in particular, which now everyone is trying to maintain. The obligation of maintaining this balance, which is God’s work, is man’s, whom God created on “the best of patterns,” and who is His vicegerent or deputy on earth. No Muslim therefore will spoil the universe’s balance, nor will any Muslim look on indifferently while other’s spoil it. For the natural balance is at the same time a mirror reflecting Almighty God’s Most Beautiful Names.

Islam permits utilization of the environment, but this should not be arbitrary. Wastefulness and extravagance are prohibited by God:

O children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer; eat and drink, but waste not by excess, for God loves not the wasters. [52]

The eating and drinking in this verse refer to utilizing the resources necessary for the continuation of our lives. This should not be uncontrolled. The elements that support life should be conserved so that they can be utilized continuously. More than this, such conservation should be unselfish. That is, it should not only have human interests in view.

Thus, while utilizing the world’s bounties, the Muslim should not do so with an unconstrained and irresponsible approach to consumption. On the contrary, he is obliged to base all such actions and the measure of his consumption on Islamic economic principles. Every passing day it is becoming better understood that the world’s resources are limited. The following commands of the Qur’an are striking at a time feasible development and economic models are being widely discussed:

And render to the kindred their due rights, as [also] to those in want, and to the wayfarer; but squander not [your wealth] in the manner of a spendthrift.

Verily spendthrifts are brothers of the Evil Ones and the Evil One is to his Lord [Himself] ungrateful. [53]

Those who, when they spend, are not extravagant and not niggardly, but hold a just [balance] between those extremes. [54]

The Qur’an commands us to eat and drink, but waste not by excess, for God loves not the wasters [55] so that we become accustomed to avoiding wastefulness and extravagance in our daily consumption of food and drink. It frequently points out that frugality and consuming what one has without being over-lavish is the measure of what God loves.

In some verses, Almighty God states that He “created every animal from water,” showing in a most interesting and meaningful way that water is the basis of life and living. [56]

God’s Messenger (PBUH) also attached great importance to water, and forbade the excessive use of it even when taking the ablutions, saying that to do so was ‘detestable’ (makruh). He thus prevented people using too much water even for something like ablutions, when they are preparing to enter the Divine presence and court. A Hadith about this is the following: “God’s Messenger (PBUH) appeared while Sa‘d was taking the ablutions. When he saw that Sa‘d was using a lot of water, he intervened saying: ‘What is this? You are wasting water.” Sa‘d replied asking: “Can there be wastefulness while taking the ablutions?” To which God’s Messenger replied:  “Yes, even if you take them on the bank of a rushing river.” [57]

While interpreting this Hadith, scholars have pointed out that it does not refer only to using less water while taking the ablutions, but to a basic principle of Islam. They have emphasized the following points in connection with it:

• God’s Messenger is stating an important prohibition.

• The prohibition concerns something for which no effort was exerted in obtaining it, nor money spent, but is free: the water of a flowing river.

• Moreover, the excessive use of water causes no deficiency to nature, nor does it cause pollution, nor spoil the ecological balance.

• It causes no harm to living beings.

• Furthermore, the matter in question, that is, taking the ablutions, is not some trivial matter; it is a necessary condition for the obligatory prayers.

If then, despite all the above, it is ‘detestable’ to use excessive water from a river while taking the ablutions and it was prohibited by the Prophet, how much stronger is the proscription on being wasteful and extravagant in some matter in which the above statements are not applicable? That is, if wastefulness

• is in something that required the expending of effort, expense, or at least time;

• if it caused deficiency to or pollution of nature, thus spoiling the ecological balance;

• if it harmed living beings;

• if it violated the rights of forthcoming generations to live in a healthy environment;

• if it was arbitrary and meaningless, and merely for enjoyment;

• if it was contrary to the basic aim; then what would the situation be?

The Qur’an and Sunna stipulating that water is the basis of life lays a number of obligations and responsibilities on Muslims: the conserving of existent water supplies in the best possible way; the prevention of any activity that might lead to the pollution of water sources or spoil the purity and characteristics of the water; never adopting an extravagant and irresponsible attitude in the consumption of water; rational and regular utilization of water and water sources.

There are very good reasons for Islam prohibiting wastefulness and prodigality so forcefully. We may put it this way: there are between five and six thousand million people living in the world today. Just think of each individual person cutting down a tree or killing an animal just for the fun of it. Six thousand million trees or six thousand million animals would perish. Or think of the water they would waste, or the bread or other foodstuffs they would throw away. The serious consequences of those apparently insignificant actions are clear. Moreover, for the greater part it is not possible to reclaim the resources we have polluted, destroyed, or annihilated. It is in this light that we may understand how meaningful was the point God’s Messenger (PBUH) was emphasizing when he said: “Even if you take the ablutions in a flowing river, do not waste the water,” and how important it is for the preservation of the ecological balance.

The world belongs to all of us. We are all obliged to conserve and protect. We must co-operate and work together for a better world, a better future, and a better environment. We must love and preserve our environment and all the living creatures within it in the name of our Sustainer, Who created them and entrusted them to us. In this way, the 21st century will be the century of peace, happiness, tolerance, and brotherhood. Not only for men, but for all creatures, animate and inanimate.

I conclude this work with the following prayer which Muslims say many times during five daily prayers:

Our Lord! Give us the best of  this world as well as the best in the Hereafter.

Bibliography and Further Readings

The Holy Qur’an. Trans. Yusuf Ali Maryland: Amana Corp., 1983). and also A.A. Razwy’ edition, (New York: Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an Inc., 1995).

Kütüb-ü Sitte (Turkish trans.), (Istanbul: 1982).

Atik, M. Kemal, Kur’an ve Çevre, (Kayseri:  E.Ü. Yayınları, 1992).

Bayraktar, Mehmet, İslâm ve Ekoloji, (Ankara: TDV Yayınları, 1992).

Canân, Prof. Dr. İbrahim, Âyet ve Hadislerle Çevre Ahlakı, (Istanbul: Yeni Asya Yayınları, 1995).

Chittick, W. “God Surrounds All Things: An Islam ic Perspective on the Environment”, The World and I, vol.I, no.6, June,1986.

Danişmend, İsmail Hami, Garb Menbalarına Göre Eski Türk Seciye ve Ahlakı, (Istanbul: Kitabevi, 1961).

Hatib, Abdülaziz, Risale-i Nur’dan Dualar, (Istanbul: Gençlik Yayınları, 1993).

Husaini, W. A. Islam ic Environmental Systems Engineering, (London: 1980).

Iqbal, Sir Mohammad. The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam , (Lahore: The Ashraf Press, 1958).

Izzi Deen, Mawil Y. (Samarrai), “Islam ic Environmental Ethics, Law, and Society”, in Ed. J. Ronald Engel ve Joan Gibb Engel. Ethics of Environment and Development. Global Challenge, International Response. (London: Belhaver Press, 1990).

Khalid Fazlun and O’Brien, Joanne.  (ed.), Islam  and Ecology, (New York: Cassell Publishers Limited, 1992).

Manzoor, S. Parvez. “Environment and Values: the Islam ic Perspective”, in The Touch of Midas: Science, values and environment in Islam and the West, ed., Ziauddin Sardar, (Manchester: Manchester University Press,1984).

Mevlana, Mesnevi [Turkish trans. Veled İzbudak], (Istanbul: MEB Yayınları, 1988).

Mevlana, Fihi Mafih [Turkish trans. Meliha Ambarcıoğlu], (Istanbul: MEB Yayınları, 1989).

Nasif, Abdullah Omar. “The Muslim Declaration of Nature”, Environmental Policy and Law, 17/1 (1987).

Nasr, Seyyed Hossein, Man and Nature, (Chicago: Kazi Publications, 1997).

“Islam  and the Environmental Crisis”, in Spirit of Nature, (edts) Steven C. Rockefeller and John C. Elder, (Boston: Beacon Prass, 1992).

Nicholson, Reynold,  The Mystics of Islam, (London: Routledge  and Kegan Paul, 1975).

Nursî, Bediüzzaman Said, Risale-i Nur Külliyatı, (Istanbul: Yeni Asya Yayınları, 1996).

The Words, trans: Sükran Vahide (Istanbul: Sözler Publication, 1992).

Özdemir, Dr. İbrahim, Çevre ve Din, (Ankara: Çevre Bakanlığı Yayınları, 1997).

The Ethical Dimension of Human Attitude Towards Nature, (Ankara: Ministry of Environment, 1997).

Çevre ve Din (Environment and Religion), (Ankara: Ministry of Environment, 1997).

“Çevre-Ahlak İlişkisi”, (Environment and Ethics). Felsefe Dünyası, Kış sayı: 14, 1994.

“Science and Environment: Is Science Responsible for the Environmental Crisis?” The Journal of the Environment and Social Sciences, vol.1, no. 1-2, 1996.

“Çevre Korumada Çevre Ahlakı’nın Önemi”, (The Importance of Environmental Ethics for Environmental Protection), 3rd  Convention of Environment, Ministry of Environment, Dec. 4 – 6 1996, Antalya.

Çevre Sorunlari ve İslam, (Environmental Problems and Islam), (Ankara: DIB Yay, 1995).

Vahide, Sükran. Bediüzzaman Said Nursi (The Author of Risale-i Nur), (Istanbul: Sözler Publications, 1995).

© Ibrahim Ozdemir  2002.

All rights reserved. No parts of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner and the publisher.

About the Author:

Ibrahim Ozedmir   ozdemir@hartsem.edu or iozdemir@yahoo.com

* Ibrahim Ozdemir is a professor at the Divinity School of Ankara University, Turkey. He received his Ph.D. degree from the Middle East Technical University, Graduate School of Social Sciences.

Presently, He is a Visiting Luce Professor of Abrahamic Religions at University of Hartford & Hartford Seminary.

His major interests are Islamic Ethics, environmental philosophy and environmental ethics. He is an interfaith and environmental activist. He contributes regularly to a host of Western and Islamic scholarly journals. Some of his books are:

The Ethical Dimension of Human Attitude Towards Nature, (Ankara: Ministry of Environment, 1997).

Cevre ve Din (Environment and Religion), (Ankara: Ministry of Environment, 1997).

Yalnız Gezegen, (Lonely Planet: Essays on Environmental Ethics and Philosophy) (Istanbul: Kaynak, 2001).

Postmodern Dusunceler (Potmodern Thoughts: Essays On philosophy, philosophy of Science, and Postmodernity),  (Istanbul: Kaynak Yayinlari, 2002).

1. Qur’an, 2:115.
2. Qur’an, 1:1-2.
3. Qur’an, 41:53.
4. Qur’an, 2:164.
5. Qur’an, 56:62-74.
6. Qur\’an:36:83.
7. Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur\’an, (Maryland: Amana Corp., 1983) p. 1188, ff.4029.
8. Qur’an, 17:44. See also, 57:1; 62:1.
9. Qur’an, 22:18.
10. Qur’an, 78:14-16.
11. Qur’an, 80:25:32.
12. Qur’an, 2:21-2.
13. Qur’an, 27:61.
14. Qur’an, 71:17:20.
15. Qur’an, 67:15.
16. Qur’an, 56:28-33.
17. Mevlana, Fihi Mafih [Turkish trans. Meliha Ambarcıoğlu], Istanbul, MEB Yayınları 1989, 61.
18. Fihi Mafih, 340.
19. Abdülaziz Hatip. Risale-i Nur’dan Dualar, (Istanbul: Gençlik Yayınları, 1993), 57-9.
20. Bukhari, i, 86.
21. Muslim, Tahara, 1.
22. Qur’an, 74:1-5.
23. Qur’an, 5:6.
24. Qur’an, 6:99, 141.
25. Qur’an, 2:222.
26. Qur’an, 6:99.
27. Qur’an, 6:141.
28. Qur’an, 16:11.
29. Qur’an, 55:5-9.
30. Muslim, Musafirun, 139; Musnad, vi, 91, 111, 163, 188, 216.
31. al-Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir, iii, 30.
32. Musnad, v, 415.
33. al-Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir, vi, 39; Haythami, Majmau al-Zawaaid, iv, 67-8.
34. Majma\’ al-Zawaid, v, 480.
35. Bukhari, Tajrid al-Sahih, vii, 122; Muslim, Musaqat, 2 No> 2.
36. al-Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir, iv, 87.
37. Nasai, Sayd, 34.
38. Qur’an, 6:38.
39. Qur’an, 16:66.
40. Qur\’an, 88:17-20.
41. Tirmidhi, Birr, 16.
42. Abu Dau\’d, ii, 11.
43. Bukhari, al-Adab al-Mufrad, 139.
44. Abu Dau\’d, Jihad, 122, No: 2675; iii, 125-6.
45. Bukhari, Tajrid al-Sahih, vii, 223, No: 1066.
46. Bukhari, Adhan, 90; Musaqat, 9; Muslim, Birr, 133; Musnad, iv, 351.
47. Abu Dau\’d, Jihaad, 48.
48. Muslim, Birr, 60.
49. ‘Izz ad-Din ibn ‘Abd as-Salam, Qavaid al-Ahmak fi Masalih al-Anam, (Beirut: Daru\’l- Ceyl, 1980), vol.1, p. 167; Fazlun Khalid and Joanne O’Brien. (ed.), Islam and Ecology, (New York: Cassell Publishers Limited, 1992).
50. Qur’an, 99:7-8.
51. Qur’an, 54:49.
52. Qur’an, 7:31.
53. Qur’an, 17:26-7.
54. Qur’an, 25:67.
55. Qur’an, 7:31.
56. See, Qur’an, 24:45; 25:54.
57. Musnad, ii, 22; Ibn Maja, Tahara, 48, No: 425; i, 147.

http://www.nur.org/en/nurcenter/nurlibrary/An_Islamic_Approach_to_the_Environment_132

AĞAÇLARIN, ORMANLARIN ve YEŞİL ALANLARIN KORUNMASI – Dr. İbrahim Özdemir

Filed under: Uncategorized — e @ 2:14 am

Kur’an’da Ağaç

Çevre korumanın ve çevreciliğin en önemli konularından birisi de hiç şüphesiz ormanların, ağaçların, yeşil alanların ve bu gibi yerlerde yaşayan her türlü canlı türünün korunmasıdır. Bu açılardan da İslam dininin önemli prensipler getirdiğini görmekteyiz. Bu alanların korunması ile ilgili olarak hem ahlakî, hem de hukuki prensipler dikkatimizi çekmektedir.

Kur’an’a baktığımızda ağaç kelimesinin çeşitli şekillerde geçtiği görülmektedir. Bir bütün olarak ele alındığında, Kur’an’da doğrudan “ağaç dikiniz” diye bir emir yoktur. Bununla beraber, ağaç, bağ ve bahçelerden o kadar çok ve akıcı bir üslupla bahseder ki, her dikkatli Kur’an okuyucusunda bir ağaç, bağ ve bahçe bilincinin oluşmaması mümkün değildir. Zira, Allah bu alemi yaratırken, onu ağaçlar, bağ ve bahçeler ile süslemiş ve insanın istifadesine sunmuştur. Ağaç kelimesi Kur’an’da 26 defa geçerken, bağ ve bahçe anlamındaki cennet kelimesi ise yaklaşık 146 defa geçmektedir.

O, gökten su indirendir. İşte biz her çeşit bitkiyi onunla bitirdik. O bitkiden de kendisinde üst üste binmiş taneler bitireceğimiz bir yeşillik; hurmanın tomurcuğundan sarkan salkımlar; üzüm bağları; bir kısmı birbirine benzeyen, bir kısmı da benzemeyen zeytin ve nar bahçeleri meydana getirdik. Meyve verirken ve olgunlaştığı zaman her birinin meyvesine bakın! Kuşkusuz bütün bunlarda inanan bir toplum için ibretler vardır. Çardaklı ve çardaksız (üzüm) bahçeleri, ürünleri çeşit çeşit hurmaları, ekinleri, birbirine benzer ve benzemez biçimde zeytin ve narları yaratan O’dur. Herbiri meyve verdiği zaman meyvesinden yeyin. Devşirilip toplandığı gün de hakkını (zekât ve sadakasını) verin, fakat israfetmeyin; çünkü Allah israf edenleri sevmez..[24]

(Allah) su sayesinde sizin için ekinler, zeytinler, hurmalar, üzümler ve diğer meyvelerin hepsinden bitirir. İşte bunlarda düşünen bir toplum için büyük bir ibret vardır.[25]

Görüldüğü gibi bu ayetler su, ağaç, toprak, bağ ve bahçelerden, bulutlardan bahsederek; tabiatı oluşturan bütün unsurlar arasındaki ilahi dengeyi vurgulamakta, tüm bunlardan ibret almamız istenmektedir. Başka bir ifadeyle, kişisel ve günlük hayatımızda başımızı kaldırıp etrafımızdaki aleme farklı bir şekilde bakmamız istenmektedir. Zira bütün mahlukat sahip oldukları düzen, nizam, ekolojik dengelerle Yaratıcısını göstermektedir. Yine diğer bir yerde Kur’an tabiattaki dengeye dikkat çekmekte ve arkasından da toplumsal hayatta da dengeye, hak ve hukuka dikkat etmemiz gerektiği sonucunu çıkarmaktadır. Yani hak, hukuk ve denge uymamız gereken evrensel kurallardır:

Güneş ve ay bir hesaba göre (hareket etmekte) dir. Bitkiler ve ağaçlar secde ederler.

Göğü Allah yükseltti ve mîzanı (dengeyi) O koydu.

Sakın dengeyi bozmayın.

Ölçüyü adaletle tutun ve eksik tartmayın.[26]

İslâm Dünya Görüşünün, Allah’ın yarattığı ve kendi varlığının ayetleri olarak bildirdiği ekolojik dengeleri, tabiattaki nizam, intizam ve düzeni yok eden, bozan tahrip eden bir halifelik anlayışını onaylamayacağı açıktır. Zira halife demek, vekil demektir. Bunun anlamı ise, insanın Allah’ın yeryüzünden sorumlu tuttuğu, yeryüzünün sorumluluk ve korunmasını ona bıraktığı tek varlıktır. Bu vekil, bu alemi belli bir düzen, denge ve ahenkle yaratan Zat’ın emanetine ihanet edemez. Bu düzeni ve ahengi bozduğu ve tahrip ettiği anda artık o kötü bir vekil olarak anılacaktır. Hadis-i Şeriflerde Ağaç ve Yeşil Alanlar

Hz. Peygamber’in gerek uygulamalarında ve gerekse çeşitli hadis-i şeriflerinde ağaç dikmeye, mevcut ağaçları korumaya, ormanlar teşkiletmeye ve yine mevcut ormanları korumaya çok önem verdiği görülmektedir. Peygamberimizin hanımlarından Hz. Aişe, Hz. Peygamber’in ahlakını Kur’an ahlakı olarak tanımlamıştır.[27] Bu nedenle, O’nun çevre korumayla ilgili uygulamaları ve davranışları bu açıdan değerlendirilmelidir. Bu uygulamalar bizim için uyulması gereken bir sünneti oluşturan ilham kaynaklarıdır. Başka bir ifadeyle, İslâm çevre ahlakının ilk örneği ve uygulayıcısının Hz. Peygamber olduğu görülmektedir. Onun konuyla ilgili uygulama ve emirlerini öğrenince, sorumluluğumuzun önemi kendiliğinden ortaya çıkar.

Hz. Peygamber’in ağaç dikme ve ağaçları korumayla ilgili hadislerinden bir kısmını zikredecek olursak:

Elinizde bir ağaç fidanı varsa, kıyamet kopmaya başlasa bile, eğer onu dikecek kadar vaktiniz varsa, mutlaka dikin.[28] Kim ağaç dikiminde bulunursa, onun için ağaçtan hasıl olan ürün miktarınca Allah sevap yazar.[29]

Her kim boş, kuru ve çorak bir yeri ihya edecek olursa, bu amelinden dolayı Allah tarafından mükafatlandırılır. İnsan ve hayvan ondan faydalandıkça orayı ihya edene sadaka yazılır.[30]

Bir kimse bir ağaç dikse, o ağaç meyve verdikçe sevabı ona yazılır.[31]

Müslümanlardan bir kimse bir ağaç dikerse, o ağaçtan yenen mahsul mutlaka onun için sadaka olur. Yine o ağaçtan çalınan meyve de o Müslüman için sadaka olur. Kuşların yediği de sadakadır. Herkesin ondan yeyip eksilttiği mahsul da onu diken Müslümanlara ait bir sadakadır.[32]

Kişi kabirde bile olsa yedi şeyden meydana gelen sevap devamlı olarak kendisine ulaşır: Öğretilen ilim, halkın yararlanması için akıtılan su, açılan kuyu, dikilmiş ağaç, yapılan mescid, okunmak üzere bağışlanan Kur’an ve ölümünden sonra kendisine dua edecek evlad.[33]

Hz. Peygamber Medine’ye göç edince burada bir ağaçlandırma ve orman tesis etme faaliyetine girişmiştir. Her tür canlının yaşadığı yeşil alanları ve ormanları koruma altına almıştır. Buna hima (koruluk) denilmektedir. Örneğin Medine’nin etrafındaki yaklaşık 12 mil genişliğindeki bir alanı hima (koruluk) olarak ilan ederek koruma altın almıştır. Bunun gibi başka benzer bölgeleri de hima olarak ilan ettiğini bilmekteyiz. Bütün bunlar İslam’ın bir din olarak tabiatın ve tabiattaki tüm canlıların korunmasına ne kadar önem verdiğini göstermektedir. Müslümanların tarih boyunca Kur’an’ın bu buyrukları ve Hz. Peygamber’in örnek davranışları doğrultusunda ağaç dikmeye ve mevcut ağaçları korumaya önem verdikleri görülmektedir. Yeşil İslam Medeniyetinin rengi olduğu gibi, Hz. Peygamberi’in türbesinin kubbesi de yeşil renktedir. Bunlar tesadüf olmayıp, İslam’ın yeşile, tabiata ve ağaca verdiği önemin bu medeniyetteki yansımaları olarak anlaşılmalıdır.

http://www.nur.org/en/nurcenter/nurlibrary/Agaclarin_Ormanlarin_ve_Yesil_Alanlarin_Korunmasi_796

Towards an Islamic Jurisprudence of the Environment

Filed under: Uncategorized — e @ 2:06 am

Fiqh al-Bi’ah fil-Islam

By: Prof. Mustafa Abu-Sway

[This paper is based on a lecture given at the Belfast Mosque in February 1998]

This paper aims at formulating a coherent and systematic jurisprudence of the environment based on the Islamic revealed knowledge and heritage. The latter reflects the practical experience in the field and, therefore, forms the ground for a positive relationship with the environment. Within the Islamic world-view, this positive relationship is perceived as an act of faith which comes in line with the essential role of human beings on earth; to worship the one and only God. Therefore, our relationship with the environment should be regulated in the field of jurisprudence.

    In addition, the paper explores how the Islamic world-view takes care of the different components of the environment, each separately. Finally, there is a discussion of the aims [maqasid] of the Shari’ah, where the aims are reconsidered.

The Epistemological Framework:

    Islam is considered a comprehensive way of life whose teachings cover, directly or indirectly, every possible human relationship including that with the environment. These teachings are primarily available in the revealed knowledge which comprises the Qur’an and the Sunnah. There remains two other sources, namely the Ijma’ and Qiyas; they are dependent on the first two in different ways and degrees. The relationship is so complex that cannot be represented in this paper for brevity. It is discussed, however, in books of Usul al-Din.

    In what follows, some of the verses that define the epistemological parameters of the Qur’an are considered. One verse, at the beginning of Surat Al-Baqarah, presents the Qur’an as a book of guidance:

“This is the Book; In it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear God” (Qur’an, 2:2)

Moreover, Allah [S.W.T] shows that the Qur’an encompasses the foundations for knowledge and ethics, He says:

“…Nothing have We omitted from the Book…” Qur’an, 6:38

In addition, the Qur’an announces that Islam, as a Din, has been perfected by Allah [S.W.T]. It is considered a comprehensive way of life which accommodates every aspect of it. The Islamic world-view is established upon the very notion of Islam as a perfect religion:

“…This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” Qur’an, 5:3

It is no wonder, in the light of what has been discussed above, that a jurisprudence of the environment is founded. This paper presents all aspects of the environment from within the Islamic world-view, an not as something alien to it.

Jurisprudence [Fiqh] vs. Philosophy of the Environment:

    This paper chose jurisprudence (fiqh) over philosophy for many reasons. The first reason is that “philosophy” is a term borrowed from the western world-view and therefore remains, until today, not welcomed in Islamic consciousness. Philosophy is still associated with sophistry and metaphysics which hampers its ability to bring about favorable behavior. Fiqh, on the other hand, is a accepted and associated in Islamic consciousness with the lawful and the prohibited in human behavior. Therefore, it is more capable of modifying behavior positively.

    Furthermore, once this subject is accepted as part of jurisprudence, it becomes, relatively speaking, easier to include as integral part of the books of Fiqh, and in school curricula. This may facilitate the spread of environmental awareness, which is part and parcel of Islam.

The Categories of the Relationship Between Human Beings and the Environment:

1. Vicegerency (Khilafah):

    The human being, in the Islamic world-view is considered a vicegerent (khalifah). This vicegerency is declared before the creation of the first human being:

“Behold, your Lord said to the angels: “I will create a vicegerent on earth.” They said: “Will place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood? While we do celebrate Your praises and glorify Your holy (name)?” He said: “I know what you know not.”” Qur’an, 2:30

In her/his capacity as a vicegerent, the human being is perceived as the trustee of the earth. She/he is not supposed to cause corruption in any form on earth (i.e. the environment). Life on earth entails great responsibilities. It is a test with accountability. It is followed by either reward or punishment. These meanings are mentioned in the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Vicegerency as a test is found in the following verse:

“It is He who has made you (His) vicegerents, inheritors of the earth: He has raised you in ranks, some above others: that He may try you in the gifts He has given you: for your Lord is quick in punishment: yet He is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” Qur’an, 6:165

On the other hand, this vicegerency is subjected to observation:

“Then We made you heirs in the land after them, to see how you would behave!” Qur’an, 10:14

The same message is implied in the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah, [S.A.A.S.]:

“Verily, this world is sweet and appealing, and Allah placed you as vicegerents therein; He will see what you will do. So, be careful of [what you do in] this world and [what you do to/with] women, for the first test of the children of Israel was in women!”[1]

It is rather clear, now, that the Islamic world-view indicates that vicegerency on earth forms a test which includes how human beings relate to the environment. Is it going to be based upon divine instructions, or based upon personal desires and conjectures that might lead to the destruction of our environment. If the latter condition prevails, then vicegerency will be entrusted to a different people or generation. This possibility of this kind of switch is understood from the following two verses:

“…Call in remembrance that He made you inheritors after the people of Noah…” Qur’an, 7:69

“And remember how He made you inheritors after the ‘Ad people and gave you habitation in the land…” Qur’an, 7:74

The declaration of the institution of khilafah, which Allah [S.W.T] has informed the angels about, was reinforced by the verse that shows that Allah [S.W.T] has taught Adam the ‘names’ (asma’) of all things:

“And He taught Adam the nature of all things…” Qur’an, 2:31

This discussion leads us to realize that there is an organic connection between proper knowledge and right behavior. Indeed, knowledge becomes a tool that renders humanity morally responsible. Ibn kathir said in his exegesis, regarding the above verse, the following important statement:

“The right (interpretation) is that He taught him the names of all things: their particulars, attributes and functions”[2]

Therefore, vicegerency is based upon knowledge that enables the human being to be a care taker of the environment in which he/she dwells. Humanity should behave in such a way that would maintain the balance that exists within the environment. Rather, I should say to retrieve the balance that has existed before we have caused, collectively, many ecological disasters:

“And the earth We have spread out; set thereon mountains firm and immovable; and produced therein all kinds of things in due balance.”Qur’an, 15:19

2. Subjection (Taskhir):

The earth is made available for human use, without abuse or misuse. The circle of things available for the benefit of humanity is much greater than that of the environment. There are numerous verses in the Qur’an that could be cited in this respect, but it suffices to mention three of them:

“And He has subjected to you, as from Him, all that is in the heavens and on earth: behold, in that there are Signs indeed for those who reflect.” Qur’an, 45:13

“Do you not see that God has subjected to your (use) all things in the heavens and on earth. And has made His bounties flow to you in exceeding measure, (both) seen and unseen?” Qur’an, 31:20

“He has made subject to you the Night and the Day; the Sun and the Moon; and the Stars are in subjection by His command: verily in this are Signs for people who are wise.” Qur’an, 16:12.

There are other verses that point to the temporal nature of the subjected elements. The reason behind highlighting the temporality of things is to remind people of the Hereafter. It is hoped that once people are conscientious of the limitation of life on earth, they will behave in a positive and constructive way. As a result, it is anticipated that the environment itself will benefit from the proper behavior of people. That the cosmic order and natural phenomena ultimately come to an end, is reflected in this verse:

“…He has subjected the sun and the moon (to his Law)! Each one runs (its course) for a term appointed. He does regulate all affairs, explaining the Signs in detail, that you may believe with certainty in the meeting with your Lord.” Qur’an, 13:2

The subjection of the elements that make up the environment is spoken of in many chapters of the Qur’an:

“It is He who has made the sea subject, that you may eat thereof flesh that is fresh and tender., and that you may extract therefrom ornaments to wear; and you see the ships therein that plough the waves, that you may seek (thus) of the bounty of God and that you may be grateful.” Qur’an, 16:14.

“It is God who has created the heavens and the earth and sends down rain from the skies, and with it brings out fruits wherewith to feed you; it is He who has made the ships subject to you, that they may sail through the sea by His command; and the rivers (also) has He made subject to you.” Qur’an, 14:32

“Then We subjected the Wind to his power, to flow gently to his order, whithersoever he willed …” Qur’an, 38:36

The above list does not exhaust all the relevant verses. There is a unique quotation from the Qur’an that connects the notion of ‘subjection’ with the Hereafter. The following three verses, though specifically mention the subjection of animals and ships for riding, certainly go beyond the literal meaning:

“That has created pairs in all things, and has made for you ships and cattle on which you ride,
In order that you may sit firm and square on their backs, and when so seated, you may celebrate the (kind) favor of your Lord, and say, “Glory to Him Who has subjected these to our (use), for we could never have accomplished this (by ourselves),
“And to our Lord, surely, must we turn back!”
 Qur’an, 43:12-14

It is clear that humanity was not restricted to the use of ships and animals to move from one place to another. There are many other modes of transportation that are subjected to our use. One can see the underlined supplication (du’a’) contained within the above verses imprinted on stickers which decorate many Muslim cars, or hanging inside cars. One can also here the du’a’ recited before takeoff of many airplanes that are owned by Muslim companies. But it seems that this is not the limit!

    If we drop for one minute that which is subjected, we will be left with the notion of ‘subjection’ along with that of returning ultimately to our Lord. What I would like to suggest here is the possibility of extending, in an abstract way, the notion of ‘subjection’ to every thing that is of help to human beings, regardless of its degree of sophistication. That end result will be a human psyche that is constantly reminded of the Hereafter. This should not be interpreted as a gloomy approach. On the contrary, I think that people who reach this state appreciate life as the farm which one works out here, yet the harvest is there in the Hereafter.

    Therefore, all mentioned verses clearly state that the heavens and the earth, the rivers and the seas, the cattle and animals, and much more are subjected to humanity. In this, we find support and backing for the institution of Khilafah. This will strengthen the human being to fulfill his/her basic role on earth, which is to worship God.

3. “Inhabitation” (I’mar):

The Qur’an, moreover, makes it clear that the earth is our habitat and that we are required to dwell on it, work it out and establish a balanced way of life without excesses or deficiencies. To limit the translation of I’mar‘ to inhabitation will not do justice. The meaning includes spreading and settling all over the earth, inhabiting every livable quarters, building …etc. In short, it includes every positive activity that would make life on earth prosperous. If an activity diverts humanity from the right path (i.e. against the Shari’ah), then it cannot be considered as I’mar. The following verse reflects the relationship between creation and the positive role expected from humanity:

“To the Thamud People (We sent) Salih, one of their own brethren. He said: “O my People! Worship God: you have no other God but Him. It is He Who has produced you from the earth and settled you therein: then ask forgiveness of Him, and turn to Him (in repentance): for my Lord is (always) near, ready to answer” Qur’an, 11:61

This verse reminds us of the bounty that God has bestowed upon humanity. There is a beautiful connection in the verse between demanding pure monotheism from humanity at large, despite the context which uses the people of Thamud as a medium. Believing in the oneness of God and the notion of I’mar come hand in hand.

The renowned contemporary Muslim scholar Sayyid Qutub commented on this verse, he said:

“And Salih reminded them (the people of Thamud) about their origination from earth, the creation of every individual from the nutrition of the earth or from its components that make up their bodies. Despite being (created ) from this earth and its elements, Allah appointed them vicegerents so that they may inhabit it! He wanted them to be vicegerents as a species, and as individuals to replace those who came before they did!”[3]

Here, I came to the conclusion that the search for another livable planet, according to my understanding of the verses of the Qur’an,[4will yield nothing. All the scenarios in this respect will remain listed under the heading: “Science Fiction”! We should rather make life on earth possible for generations to come. I hope that my position regarding the said issue will not be interpreted as anti-science, or against research in outer space. Nevertheless, I would like to see that the enormous funds spent on building observatories to receive messages from outer space, will be used to relief the poverty and diseases that infest our planet earth. At least no one can deny the clear message that we are receiving all the time from disenchanted fellow human beings. It is the imbalance between the south and the north, caused at the hands of the latter, which prevents a proper I’mar.

I have always been sarcastic about them (aliens!) discovering us on earth doing what we are doing now! Before we invite guests from outer space, our home (i.e. earth) should be tidy. From an Islamic perspective, this is only possible if the Shari’ah is fulfilled, and humanity lives according to divine law. The Qur’an shows that any attempt to achieve I’mar and prosperity away from divine revelation and guidance will certainly lead to destruction:

“Do they not travel through the earth; and see what was the End of those before them? In strength they tilled the soil and populated it in greater numbers than these have done: there came to them their apostles with Clear (Signs), (which they rejected, to their own destruction): it was not God who wronged them, but they wronged their own souls.” Qur’an, 30:9

    The I’mar of the earth should be in areas and projects that could benefit humanity and not harm her. This means that projects and activities that destroy the environment are excluded. The capitalist system encourages destructive industries such as the tobacco industry. It pollutes the air, destroys the health which results in lost time and money in treating the resulting diseases, misuse of the land which could be used to plant a nutritious crop, …etc. One can only cite the statement of Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi regarding this issue, he said:

“As regarding smoking [tobacco], it is physically, psychologically and economically harmful; the ruling appropriate for it is prohibition [al-tahrim]; similar to the [following example whereby] God said in describing His Messenger [Muhammad] in the Books [Torah and Injil] of the ancient people: (…he allows them as lawful what is good [and pure] and prohibits them from what is bad [and impure].)

The natural disposition [fitrah], the intellect and experimentation confirm that ‘tobacco’, or ‘smoking’ is not at all good.”[5]

Taking Care of the Environment as an Act of Faith:

    The basic role of the human being on earth is to worship Allah [s.w.t.]:

“I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me.” Qur’an, 51:56

To serve God or to worship Him is a comprehensive way that covers every aspect of life. Fulfilling all that God has demanded from us in terms of praying, fasting, zakah and hajj indicates worshipping. The same could be said regarding any action that the human being performs in accordance with the Islamic world-view, as long as I is done for the sake of God.

Every act, as long as it is good [e.g. protecting the environment] and done for the sake of Allah [s.w.t.], is considered an act of worshipping that generates reward in this life and the hereafter. This is the via media between two extremes; total disregard for the environment, and worshipping it as the case of nature worshippers.

The total disregard for the environment is detrimental for the human being. The same could be said regarding the extreme position of protecting the environment in an absolute sense. An example is advocating the protection of every single member of the animal kingdom to the level which might endanger the life of the human beings involved in rescue operations. 

It should be known that Islam advocates the protection of the environment, though not in name, for the word ‘environment’ [bi’ah], along with its connotations, evolved in recent times. That Islam has high regard for the environment is something that can be found in the Qur’an and the Sunnah as we shall discuss later in this paper. The fact that to protect the environment is considered an act of worshipping, does not mean that every component of the environment should be saved. In fact, it is sometimes to the contrary. The Prophet [S.A.A.S.] stated that a person who uprooted a tree [which formed an obstacle] in the path of people, ended up in heavens.

The Islamic position forms a middle path between human behavior that has disregard to the environment and those who practically worship the environment or certain parts of it. While the Islamic world view supports the protection of environment from the greedy behavior of human beings, it allows room for sustainable development.

The Environment is the Loci of the Signs Pointing to Allah [S.W.T.]:

    The environment is perceived as the place where the signs (e.g. rivers, plants, and birds), pointing to Allah [S.W.T.] exist:

“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 (throughout the earth), are Signs for those of assured Faith. And the alteration of Night and Day, and the fact that God 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 that are wise.”Qur’an, 45:3-5

As a result, any destruction occurring to the environment is tantamount to destroying these signs. If any species becomes extinct, it is considered a loss of a Sign that reflects the greatness of the Creator. It is indeed a very sad thing if we continue to destroy the environment, because we will prevent the generations to come from having a healthy relationship with the environment, where “healthy” means the chance to experience these Signs.

It has been said that there are two books; the one which is read [i.e. the Qur’an] and the one which is seen [i.e. the universe]. While it is known why the Qur’an is described as a Book, the universe is considered a book in the sense that includes signs pointing to God. A transparent heart is needed, though, in order to unveil the way these signs function. Indeed, once the person is not blocked from “reading” the signs that fill up the universe, beautiful forms of dhikrare ensued, and a correlation between many verses of the Qur’an and the corresponding “verses” of the universe are established.

Being blocked from the Signs is best expressed with the example of the large industrial or metropolitan city. The huge structures, including high rise buildings, change the horizon. Sunrise and sunset are not anymore phenomena that form a part of daily experiences; at least not for those who are trapped inside the city. One needs a lot of ingenuity to see a “sign” in concrete slabs! 

In the absence of green lungs for the city, its dwellers, who only see steel and concrete growth, might not experience the natural cycles of growth stated in the following verse:

“A Sign for them is the earth that is dead: We do give it life, and produce grain therefrom, of which ye eat.” Qur’an, 36:33.

Though we do not understand how, everything in the universe, including the components of the environment, participates in making remembrance [dhikr] of God:

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.” Qur’an, 17:44

There are many verses that mention specific beings that praise God; some of which are the following:

“Nay, thunder repeateth His praises, and so do the angels, with awe …” Qur’an, 13:13

“Seest thou not that it is God Whose praises all beings 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 God knows well all that they do.” Qur’an, 24:41

“…It was Our power that made the mountains and the birds celebrate Our praises, with David…” Qur’an, 21:79

It is rather obvious that both animate and inanimate objects celebrate the praises of God. As such, the destruction of the habitat of any species means the extinction of a Sign that, not only leads people to remember God, but also participates in praising God. With just a little imagination, one can see the universe in a constant circle of dhikr. Excluded of course are those whose hearts are not sensitive enough to see the need to join the rest of the universe.

    That the creation inherently point in the direction of the Creator is something widely discussed by Muslim scholars and mystics. A very beautiful and illuminating statement by Sa’id Al-Nursi (d. 1960) indicates that every creature, by its own nature, has what I would translate liberally as a Divine stamp that cannot be imitated.

“An illuminated heart is capable of seeing the stamp which help in transcending this realm to the other!”[6]

The Impact of Faith on the Environment:

    Allah [S.W.T.] provided humanity with sustenance; He only asked them not to worship or associate anything or anyone with Him:

“ye people! Adore your Guardian-Lord, who created you and those who came before you, that ye may have the chance to learn righteousness; Who has made the earth your couch, and the heavens your canopy; and sent down rain from the heavens; and brought forth therewith fruits for your sustenance; then set not up rivals unto God when you know the (the truth).” Qur’an, 2:21-22.

The Qur’an shows that there is a correlation between the behavior of people and the conditions of the environment. The right and moral behavior yield positive results:

“If the people of the towns had but believed and feared God, We should indeed have opened out to them (all kinds of) blessings from heaven and earth…” Qur’an, 7:96

“And o my people! Ask forgiveness of your Lord, and turn to Him (in repentance): He will send you the skies pouring abundant rain, and add strength to your strength: so turn ye not back in sin!” Qur’an, 11:52

The opposite is also true. Disbelief and swerving from the right path that God has designated for humanity will result in negative impact on the environment:

“But whosoever turns away from My Message, verily for him is a life narrowed down …” Qur’an, 20:124

In addition, there are verses that establish a correlation between natural disasters and disbelief, immoral behavior, or a combination of both:

“…He flingeth the loud-voiced thunder-bolts, and therewith He striketh whomsoever He will …” Qur’an, 13:13

“Do ye feel secure that He will not cause you to be swallowed up beneath the earth when you are on land, or that He will not send against you a violent tornado (with showers of stones) so that ye shall find no one to carry out your affairs for you? Or …a heavy gale to drawn you because of your ingratitude…” Qur’an, 17:68-69

The end result of disbelief or immoral acts, when they become prevalent, is the total destruction of the environment. Such is the story of prophet Nuh (Noah) and the flood which destroyed every thing except the Ark and its load of people and animals. The order that came to end the flood show that the water gushed and abated at God’s command:

“When the word went forth: “O earth! Swallow thy water, and O sky! Withhold (thy rain)!” and the water abated, and the matter was ended. The ark rested on mount Judi, and the word went forth:” Away with those who do wrong!” Qur’an, 11:44

    The Qur’an is full with stories that reflect the correlation between wrong doing and Divine punishment which lead to a certain measure of destruction. The chapter of the Cave [Kahf] include a story about two separate owners of two fruit orchards with water flowing in between. One of them faithfully and humbly put his trust in God, but the other did not have the proper relationship with God; he arrogantly alleged that his garden will always be the same without invoking the Will of God [i.e without saying: “Insha’Allah“]. How did this parable end?

“So his fruits (and enjoyment) were encompassed (with ruin), and he remained twisting and turning his hands over what he had spent on his property, which had (now) tumbled to pieces to its very foundations, and he could only say, “Woe is me! Would I had never ascribed partners to my Lord and Cherisher!” Qur’an, 18:42

The same criterion could be applied to the story of the owners of the garden in the chapter of Pen [Qalam]. The owners wanted to gather the fruits very early in the morning so that no needy people would have a share. The result was that before they went to the garden, and in the course of the night, there came a visitation from God which swept away all around. When they saw that their garden looked like a dark and desolate spot, they were reminded by one of them that they have transgressed:

“They said:” Glory to our Lord! Verily we have been doing wrong!”” Qur’an, 68:29

As a general rule, there is a direct relationship between wrong doing and calamities:

“Whatever misfortune happens to you, is because of the things your hands have wrought, and for many he grants forgiveness.” Qur’an, 42:31

In addition, committing sin generates corruption everywhere:

“Mischief has appeared on the land and sea because of (the meed) that the hands of people have earned, that (God) may give them a taste of some of their deeds: in order that they may turn back (from Evil).” Qur’an, 30:41

Corruption [fasad] in this context covers all kinds of material and spiritual damage. One should be thankful that God did not hasten punishment whenever humanity erred. Had punishment been simultaneous, life on earth would have been interrupted long time ago:

“If God were to punish people according to what they deserve, He would not leave on the back of the(earth) a single living creature: but He gives them respite for a stated Term: when their Term expires, verily God has in His sight all His servants.” Qur’an. 35:45

In Surat Al-Nahl [Bee], the same notion is reinforced again:

“God sets forth a Parable: a city enjoying security and quite, abundantly supplied with sustenance from every place: Yet was it ungrateful for the favors of God: so God made it taste of hunger and terror (in extremes) (closing in on it) like a garment (from every side), because of the (evil) which (its people) wrought.” Qur’an, 16: 112

Its clear that not thanking God for His bounty led to its disappearance. For hunger means that there was a Divine order that led to the interruption of the normal function of the environment which led eventually to less sustenance in a way commensurate with the sin that people have committed. Had they been thankful, the situation could be reversed:

“And remember! Your Lord caused to be declared (publicly): “If ye are grateful, I will add more (favors) unto you…” Qur’an, 14:7

This verse is a proof that positive moral behavior, which is in line with the Islamic world-view, leads to a better physical environment; God willing, of course.

The Islamic Protection of The Environment:

    This section provides detailed accounts from the Qur’an and the Sunnah regarding the protection of the following areas: human beings, animals, plants, land, water, and air.

1. Human Beings:

Despite the differences regarding the inclusion of human beings as a part of the environment, this paper consider humans to be part of the ecological system. I have adopted this position though I know that the rest of the ecosystem is subservient to humans.

Islam called for the protection of the human being. The Shari’ah specifically called for the protection of five things pertaining to humans: life, religion, offspring, intellect, and property.

Islam emphasized the sanctity of human life in the strongest possible terms:

“On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person-unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land- it would be as if he slew the whole people. And if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people…” Qur’an, 5:35

The rulings of the Shari’ah aim at preserving the life of the human being including murderers. It is a well established fact that punishment for murder is death penalty. Nevertheless, the Qur’an encouraged the family of the murdered person to forfeit their right that the murderer be executed:

“Nor take life-which God has made sacred-except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we given his heir authority (to demand Qisas or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the Law).” Qur’an, 17:33

For the same reason, committing suicide is prohibited:

“…Nor kill (or destroy) yourselves: for verily God hath been to you Most Merciful!” Qur’an, 4:29

Moreover, a fetus has a life which should be preserved. Abortion is prohibited unless for a permitted reason (ex. the life of the mother is endangered). In Islamic jurisprudence, there is blood money to be paid by a person who kills a fetus intentionally or accidentally. 
Wars remain a major factor in killing human beings and in the destruction of the environment. The Islamic position, which is quite to the contrary of the picture depicted by the western media, states in clear terms that peace is the norm and war is the exception. The Prophet [S.A.A.S] prohibited that a Muslim wishes to confront the enemies in the battlefield.[7] I understand that the raison d’etre of this hadith is to give priority to peaceful solutions whenever conflicts surface between Muslims and other fellow humans. In fact, the first thirteen years of the history of Islam in Makkah reflect passive resistance. Nevertheless, self-defense is permitted to protect Islam and Muslims. If Muslims have to go to war, then they have to abide by Islamic codes of conduct during warfare:

“Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loveth not transgressors.” Qur’an, 2:190

The essential limits that should not be transgressed are best expressed by Abu Bakr, the first Caliph, in his address to Yazid Ibn Abu Sufian, the commander of the army that went north to Sham [i.e. Greater Syria]:

“…And I instruct you [to fulfill the following] ten [orders]: Do not kill a woman, nor a child, nor an old man; do not cut down fruitful trees; do not destroy [land or housing] in use; do not kill a goat or a camel unless for food; do not flood palm trees [with water] nor burn them down …”[8]

Such a quotation, which reflects the ethos of the Shari’ah, defines the norm that the life of those who do not engage themselves directly in war should be spared. Protection is also extended to animals and plants; they should not be used as part of collective punishment.

Accordingly, all weapons of mass destruction are unacceptable from an Islamic perspective. All chemical, biological and nuclear weapons should be prohibited world wide without any exceptions. It is not enough to have nuclear non-proliferation treaties that exempt certain countries because they did not sign. If the super powers only head to the fact that humanity needs a safer and cleaner earth! No country should be able to stock weapons of mass destruction or non-conventional weapons.

Here I find myself at odds with a statement of Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi. He said, in one of his most recent books, that “regarding the kinds of weapons that are used in fighting, how to make them and how to train [soldiers] how to use them, etc., is not an issue to [be settled by] religion; it is the business of the ministry of defense and the headquarters of the armed forces.”[9]

I do believe that Dr. Al-Qaradawi is troubled by what is happening to Muslims around the world, and that he aims at allowing room for decision makers in the Islamic world to consider measures that would deter aggressors from attacking them with weapons of mass destruction. I think that this is a legitimate concern, yet the statement is very broad and it might be misinterpreted by those in office. On the other hand, Muslim scholars should voice their concern about these issues and not to give a free hand to the military apparatus which could waste the resources of the Ummah in compiling weapons, rather than investing them in the re-establishment of a leading Islamic civilization.

We should remember that the American use of atomic bombs against Japan, during World War II, is a much protested and regretted act. The increase in ecological awareness is making it difficult for governments to continue its nuclear programs. There was a global protest against the French nuclear tests that took place in the French Polynesian Islands. Though it is not good enough, it appears that the French government pledged an end to nuclear tests.

Not only weapons on that scale should be prohibited, but also weapons such as anti-personnel mines should be banned. There is nothing that could justify the killing or the maiming of human beings by these mines. Millions of them are spread around the world; only concerted efforts on a global level might bring some relief and hope. While one prays for an end to armed conflicts, one should remember that killing the enemy during war is not an end in itself. 

The fact the Muslims are subjected to different forms of attacks that range from ethnic cleansing to discrimination in the work place, should not be used by Muslims as a pretext to behave in the same way as their enemies:

“O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for God, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from Justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear God. For God is well-acquainted with all that ye do.” Qur’an, 5:9

Many of the conflicts around the world were/are fueled by inhuman ideologies that stress the supremacy of one “race” over the other. This form of social Darwinism was translated into a systematic program by the Nazis to annihilate other races. The Serbs performed some of the most heinous crimes against humanity in Bosnia and Kosova, despite the fact that the “race” is the same! It is clear that Muslims in these cases were victimized because of their faith.

The Islamic world view does not permit any ideas of negative value judgment regarding the biological differences in terms of color and shape. They are to be perceived positively as Signs pointing to God:

“And among His Signs is the creation of heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colors: verily in that are Signs for those who know.” Qur’an, 30:22

The differences in the colors of people function exactly like those between animals, plants and inanimate objects:

“Seest thou not that God sends down rain from the sky? With it We then bring out produce of various colors. And in the mountains are tracts white and red, of various shades of color, and black intense in hue. And so amongst men and crawling creatures and cattle, are they of various colors. Those truly fear God, among His Servants, who have knowledge: for God is Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving.” Qur’an, 35:27-28

Those who know will appreciate the differences; those who are ignorant do not. There aren’t many races; there is one human “race” reflecting many prisms. The beautiful different colors and shapes of flowers do not invite us to damage all but one. They are there as gifts and Signs from God to help us remember Him. As such, they should be appreciated and preserved. 

The only legitimate differentiation in Islam is based upon moral, not physical character:

“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (Not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And God has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).” Qur’an, 49:13

The compendiums of hadith are full with reports that reflect the spirit of brotherhood regardless of the physical appearances. The companions of the Prophet himself reflect a rainbow of colors: they comprised Muhammad the Arab, Suhayb the Roman, Suleiman the Persian and Bilal the Ethiopian. 

In addition, Islam was pluralistic in its relationship with the “other” from the outset. It is already established that if the “otherness” is based upon differences in color, it does not generate a conflict. In addition, if the “otherness” is based upon a different belief, such as the Jews and the Christians, it is also tolerated in the Islamic world-view. Tolerance is emphasized in the Qur’an and in the Sunnah in many contexts:

“God forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for God loveth those who are just.” Qur’an, 60:8

    Where other systems of belief and communities failed to deal justly with the “other” who lives amongst them, Islam succeeded. One may compare the history of the “other” in the Islamic state and that of the “other” in Europe. The best case is that of the “other” as a Jew!

    There are ways and means to protect the life of the human being in Islam. There is a broadly stated principle in the Qur’an which prohibits all harm:

“…And make not your own hands contribute to (your) destruction; but do good; for God loveth those who do good.” Qur’an, 2:195

This verse highlights the dangers that fall within the responsibility of the individual towards oneself. They include taking drugs, alcohol, or any activity which is contrary to natural disposition such as homosexuality. Islam is amongst the minority (the Catholic church condemns the act but not the homosexual) that condemns homosexuality; some reformed synagogues and some Protestant churches allow marriages between the members of the same sex. Taken to an extreme, homosexuality leads to the annihilation of mankind!

    Add to this gloomy picture is adultery and common use of needles in drugs. As such, the number of people contracting AIDS is mushrooming. Against this background, the Islamic way of life provides a safety valve which, if accepted, can save humanity.

2. Animals:

    Islam has enjoined upon Muslims right relationship with animals. They are asked to treat animals well, and they are not allowed to kill animals except for food. The latter permission has to be carried out in accordance with the Shari’ah. Only in limited cases some animals are allowed to be killed when they endanger the life of the human.

    To slaughter an animal, one has to use sharp object that will save the animal the pain associated with the use of a blunted object. Shaddad Ibn Aws reported that the Prophet [S.A.A.S] said:

“…and excel in slaughtering; sharpen your blade [so you may] relief your slaughtered [animal].”[10]

In fact, Islam went beyond any expectations when the Shari’ah demanded that the pysche of the animal should be taken into consideration. Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal narrated from the report of ‘Umar that the Prophet [S.A.A.S] made it imperative to sharpen the blades and to hide them from [the sight of] animals. This ethos is reiterated in another context. Ibn ‘Abbas reported that a man [kept] a sheep laid down while he was [still] sharpening his blade; the Prophet [S.A.A.S] said [to him]:

“Would like to it to die twice? Why didn’t you sharpen your blade before laying it down?”[11]

The protection of animals in Islam includes the notion of hunting. While hunting is permitted in principle, it might become prohibited depending on the conditions the surround it. Ibn Taymiyyah, the Hanbalite medieval scholar, said that “hunting out of necessity is permitted; if it is for fun and playing, it is detested; and if it causes injustice to people, by destroying their fields and property, it is prohibited.”[12]

People should be behave with great responsibility regarding hunting. Hunting should be out of necessity; where necessity is defined in terms of need for food, where other means are not possible. One should also take into consideration the authorities determination of hunting seasons and the kind and number of animals and birds allowed to be hunted. Also, hunting tools that cause great pain should be prohibited. The latter include traps that lock on the leg of the animal causing pain and bleeding until the hunter returns which could be for days!

    The following story shows that the Prophet [S.A.A.S] did not tolerate any “hunting” which was not out of necessity. Ibn Mas’ud said: ” We were traveling with the Prophet [S.A.A.S] when he left [us for a while]; we saw a bird with its two chicks and we took the chicks. [Their mother] started spreading its wings [in protest]. When the Prophet [S.A.A.S] came [and saw what happened] he said: “Who caused her to become bereaved [by taking away] her two children ? Return her two children to her!”[13]

One can appreciate the position of the Prophet [S.A.A.S] much more when one realizes the choice of words used in the hadith. Instead of chicks [farkhiyha], he used children [waladayha] which, reflect the a very humane perspective.
    
    Moreover, one should not take lightly the issue of killing, without any justification, even if the victim is a very small animal or bird. ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr reported that the Prophet [S.A.A.S] said:

“No human being kills a sparrow or [something] larger, without right, except that God will ask him about it (hold him responsible!) on the Day of Judgment” It was said: O Prophet of God! What is its right? He said: ” Its right is that you slaughter it and eat it, not that you decapitate it and through it!”[14]

Another hadith to the same effect was narrated by Ahmad, Al-Nisa’i and Ibn Habban from the report of Al-Sharid [May God be pleased with him], he said: I heard the Prophet [S.A.A.S] saying:

” If you kill a sparrow senselessly, it will hasten to God on the Day of Judgment saying : O Lord! So and So killed me for play and not for use!”

Commenting on the previous two narrations and what could be deduced from them, Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi said:

“The Jurist [faqih] deduces from the them the prohibition of the killing of an animal except for food. That is why Imam Al-Mundhiri included both of them in his book al-Targhib wa al-Tarhib, in order to warn people against mutilating animals, and killing them except for food.

Animal rights groups deduce that it is imperative to respect these living beings, to protect their life, and not to touch them except for a need.

The ecologists see in these two narrations the necessity to preserve the components of the environment, and not to allow [destructive] playing which will lead to the annihilation and extinction of these components without any reason.

As for the economist, he understands that the hadith clearly brings the attention to the imperative need to protect all resources. They should not be wasted in vain without any economic return. Killing an edible animal without eating it means the loss of a part of the national resources, albeit small.

The scholar of ethics realizes the comprehensive nature of Islamic ethics. He also sees how broad is the domain of responsibility which includes, in addition to human beings, all living beings including animals and birds. Indeed, in other narrations, it includes inanimate objects.

The same applies to the scholar of education, for Islamic education has a broad horizon, and goes beyond religious education, which in the minds of many people is restricted to imbuing the creed, and teaching the rituals. It is education that encompasses every activity of the human which practiced in life: spiritual and material, religious and worldly, individual and social, theoretical and practical.”[15]

Another area of prohibition covers the hunting of wild animals for reasons other than food (e.g. for fur). Mu’awiya [May God be pleased with him] reported that the Prophet [S.A.A.S] said: “Do not “ride” on silk and tiger fur”[16]

The prohibition of the use of silk and tiger fur, for seating, whither on saddles or in homes, is to prevent pompous life styles. One can deduce, by analogy, that the fur of all wild cats can not be used. This might come in handy to help in the protection of the endangered Asian tigers that face the extinction though for a different reason. Many people in South East Asia and the Far East believe in the existence of Aphrodisiac foods that are associated with “strong” animals including parts of tigers…etc.

    In addition, Islam prohibits the use of animals as targets for shooting. Ibn ‘Umar passed by a group of youth, from the tribe of Quraysh, who were shooting their arrows at a bird, and whenever they miss the aim, the owner of the bird takes the arrow for himself. But when they saw Ibn ‘Umar they dispersed. He exclaimed: who did this? May he be cursed![17The Prophet [S.A.A.S] cursed those who create a target out of a being with a soul.
Any unjustified killing of an animal, direct or indirect is prohibited. There is a great punishment awaiting those who do so. Ibn ‘Umar reported that the Prophet [S.A.A.S] said:

“A woman who tied a cat will go to Hellfire; she neither fed it, nor allowed it to find food on its own.”[18]

The prohibition to kill animals for no public or private good has been already mentioned in the speech of Abu Bakr to the Muslim army. 

    Furthermore, hitting the animals and marking them in the face is prohibited. Jaber reported a hadith to this effect: one should look for alternative ways to mark animals such as non poisonous paint…etc.[19]

    It is also prohibited to set animals against one another. This practice is associated nowadays with gambling. Ibn ‘Abbas reported a hadith in which the Prophet [S.A.A.S] prohibits this practice.[20]

The Shari’ah aims to protect animal abuse in the name of having fun or sport. It is clear that “wrestling” bulls cannot be accepted from an Islamic perspective as a sport. I find it obnoxious that sport programs air these “sports”! One should reconsider whither harming oneself or others, be it humans [e.g. boxing] or animals, could be included in sports.

To protect the animals, Islam has also looked into the load an animal can carry without harm. The Prophet [S.A.A.S] prohibited riding on weak animals.[21]

The Companions and later on generations acted according to this Hadith: Malik reported that ‘Umar Ibn Al-Kattab, when he was a Caliph, passed by a donkey with mud blocks on it. He [assessed that the load was excessive and] unloaded two blocks. The lady who owned the donkey asked ‘Umar: Do you have an authority over my donkey? He answered: What do you think I am doing in this position?[22]

It is clear that the institution of the Caliphate, the highest executive office in the Islamic state, is responsible for the welfare of all the living beings within its jurisdiction. This clear in the answer of ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab. It is also vivid in the decrees of Caliphs who came later. According to Ibn ‘Abd Al-Hakam, ‘Umar Ibn ‘Abd Al-‘Aziz sent a lettre to the governor of Egypt asking him to reduce the load of a camel from one thousand to six hundred pounds.[23]

Not only physical harm to animals is prohibited, but also insulting or cursing. Al-Nawawi, in his famous compendium of Hadith Riyad al-Salihin which has a topical arrangement, established a chapter under the title “The Prohibition of a Cursing a Specific Human being or an Animal”. He narrated a hadith based on the report of ‘Imran Ibn Al-Hasin who said:

“The Messenger of God [S.A.A.S] was traveling once[with a group of companions which included] a woman from amongst the Ansar on a camel. [It seems that at one point driving her camel became difficult] she was annoyed, and cursed the camel! The Messenger of God heard her and said: “Now that it is cursed, unload it and allow it [to roam free]”

‘Imran said: I can almost see it now going around amongst people and no one pays attention to it.[24]

One of the most unique features of the Shari’ah is the way voluntary almsgiving [sadaqah] is distributed. It is stated that it could be given “to rescue those in need amongst the servants of God and the creatures that God has enjoined upon us to take care of them.”[25]
This position is also stated by Ibn Taymiyyah who said that “being good to animals is one way of Worshipping God [‘ibadah]”.[26] All this is in line with the Hadith of the Prophet [S.A.A.S]: “There is reward in [caring for] every living being.”[27]

The books of jurisprudence are full with discourses regarding the care of animals. This should not come as a surprise if we know that one of the prophets of Islam, Suleiman [Peace be upon him], has changed the path of his army to avoid hurting ants:

“At length, when they came to a (lowly) valley of ants, one of the ants said: “O ye ants, get into your habitations, lest Solomon and his soldiers crush you (under foot) without knowing it.” 
So he smiled, amused at her speech; and he said: “O my Lord! So order me that I may be grateful for thy favors, which Thou hast bestowed on me and my parents, and that I may work the righteousness that will please Thee: and admit me, by Thy Grace, to the ranks of Thy righteous Servants.”
 Qur’an, 27:18-19

So the greatness of the kingdom that was granted to prophet Suleimanm, along with all the might associated with it, did not prevent him from heeding to the ants. This position towards the ants is further confirmed in a Hadith narrated by Abu Dawud, with a sound chain of narrators, that Ibn ‘Abbas reported that the Prophet [S.A.A.S] prohibited the killing of four creatures: “The ant, the bee, the hoopoe and the sparrow-hawk.”

The story of Nuh and the Flood also confirms the utmost care to prevent the extinction of any species. God commanded him to carry a pair of every species in the ark:

“…We said: “Embark therein, of each kind two, male and female…” Qur’an, 11:40

Yet, when an animal is proven to be a source of danger or harm, it is permitted to kill it. Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated from the report of ‘A’ishah that the Messenger [S.A.A.S] said:

“Five creatures, all harmful, can be killed in the Haram: the crow, the kite, the scorpion, the mouse and the dog that bites [people without being provoked]”.

If it were not for the harm, actual or anticipated, there would be no permission to kill these animals, rodents, insects and birds. This message is further confirmed in another Hadith of the Prophet [S.A.A.S], he said:

“Weren’t the dogs a community like all communities, I would have ordered the killing of [all] of them. So kill the wild and black amongst them.”[28]

The reference to animals living in communities is clearly stated in the Qur’an:

“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…” Qur’an, 6:38

The Hadith that allows killing the said five animals in the Haram, shows that the original position towards the Haram, the Noble Sanctuary in Makkah, is to prohibit any act of killing, including hunting, by pilgrims. Also cutting the trees of the Haram is prohibited. The Haram might be considered the first protected “natural reservation” in the history of humanity. To emphasize the sanctity of the Haram, which is created by Divine order, the transgressors are punished:

“ye who believe! Kill not game while in the Sacred precincts or in pilgrim garb. If any of you doth so intentionally, the compensation is an offering, brought to the Ka’bah, of a domestic animal equivalent to the one killed, as adjudged by two just men among you; or by way of atonement, the feeding of the indigent; or its equivalent in fasts: that he may taste the penalty of his deed. God forgives what is past: for repetition God will exact from him the penalty. For God is Exalted, and the Lord of Retribution.” Qur’an, 5:98

3. Plants:

    Islam prohibited the cutting or destruction of trees and plants, and encouraged people to protect and increase plants for the great reward associated with that. The speech of Abu Bakr, that was mentioned earlier, included the prohibition to destroy trees as an act of vengeance or collective punishment. If this is the status of plants in the Islamic world-view during war, it must be that they “enjoy” a better position during the peaceful times.

    Millions of trees are cut around the world each year to celebrate Christmas and New Year. I am sure that Jesus Christ would not have condoned that such acts are done in his name. Considering the environment, Alden Hinkely said that Christianity has the worst record. He also stated that Marx’s call to “control” nature “echoes the teachings of the Bible”.[29]

For the sake of comparison, the following Hadith of the Prophet [S.A.A.S] should prove to be useful:

“He who cuts a lote-tree [without justification], God will send him to Hellfire.”[30]

The lote-tree grows in the desert and it is very much needed in an area which has scarce vegetation. Dr. Al-Qaradawi understands this Hadith in terms of protecting the natural resources and preserving the balance that exists between the creatures in the environment.[31Against this background, where the life of one tree is appreciated, one can see what is the Islamic position towards destroying millions of trees as a result of humans directly acting upon nature (e.g. deforestation) or indirectly (e.g. acid rain).

    Islam encourages people to plant trees and all useful plants. In deed, similar to all acts performed in line with the Islamic world-view, and when done intentionally for the sake of God, they are considered and rewarded as acts of worshipping. Jaber reported that the Prophet [S.A.A.S] 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 Judgment.”[32]

The Prophet [S.A.A.S] encouraged people to work hard under all circumstances; he explained that in terms of planting a palm-tree seedling, even if one realizes that it is the Day of Judgment and that the world is coming to an end. It is for this reason that is prohibited to let the land set idle for a long time without working it out. Reviving a “dead” land could lead to creating a legal right to use it indefinitely, as long as he continues to plant it.

4. Land:

    Protecting the land from pollution is indicated in the many Hadiths that demand encourage people to keep it clean. One Hadith states, among other things, that God likes goodness, cleanliness, and generosity. The Hadith ends with a request by the Prophet [S.A.A.S] asking Muslims to clean their courtyards.[33]

The message that this Hadith sends is that cleanliness is something desirable, good and reflects an act of generosity towards the environment. Indeed, if cleanliness is something good, then it should be reflected everywhere.

    Islam has created a bond between faith and cleanliness, rendering the the latter as a part of creed. The Prophet [S.A.A.S] said:

“Faith is some seventy branches, the highest of which is “There is no god but God, and the least is removing obstacles from the path of people, and that shyness is a branch of faith.”[34]

It is obvious that clearing the path means, in this context, the removal of material obstacles or solid waste which constitute a kind of pollution. Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet [S.A.A.S] said: “Be ware of the two [acts that bring] curses: relieving oneself in the path of people, or in the shade [i.e. where they usually rest].[35]

The same concept is reiterated in another Hadith which, in addition to the above two prohibitions, it mentions the prohibition of relieving oneself in water sources (e.g. ponds, rivers …etc.).[36]

The prohibition in these two Hadiths is intended to prevent pollution in the language of today. The direct human polluting activity at the time is extended to indirect sources of pollution, such as through sewers. The natural pollutants of the time are extended to include the chemical pollutants.

I would like to translate the language of the Hadith which prohibits the pollution of water into a contemporary context. We know already that chemicals such as pesticides, insecticides, herbicides…etc., are detrimental to the health of humans, and we know that much of these chemicals reach the aquifers. So, by analogy, from the perspective of the Shrai’ah, this is prohibited. It is not my intention, nor my field, to address solutions, but the basic requirement is that scientists should come up with environment-friendly solutions.

The Shari’ah aims at protecting the environment, and while the individual is asked to help in this respect, the ultimate responsibility is in the hands of the state. When Abu Musa was sent to Al-Basrah as the new governor, he addressed the people saying:

” I was sent to you by ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab in order to teach you the Book of your Lord [i.e. the Qur’an], the Sunnah [of your prophet], and to clean your streets.”[37]

The function of the governor who represents the authority, in the narration about Abu Musa, includes keeping the environment clean. This position should be highlighted, because it challenges the authority to deliver sound policies regarding the environment and to implement them.

5. Water:

    It is God’s will that all living beings on earth are dependent for their existence on water:

“…We made from water every living thing…” Qur’an, 21:30

Furthermore, there are tens of verses in the Qur’an that reflect the direct involvement of the Divine Will whenever it rains. Following are three examples:

“And God sends down rain from the skies, and gives therewith life to the earth…” Qur’an, 16:65

“…and He sends down rain from the sky and with it gives life to earth…” Qur’an, 30:24

“And We send down from the sky rain charged with blessing, and We produce therewith gardens and grain for harvests.” Qur’an, 50:9

While we already know that every thing that takes place in this universe is subject to Divine Will, such verses further highlight this fact. We have already discussed the impact of faith and good conduct on the environment. So, whenever there is a shortage of rain, the “why” is known (without excluding the possibility of human factors such as the greenhouse effect which, if proven right, is left to the cause-effect realm of relationship) and the address of the authority that can send relief, is also known.

    In addition to the protection of water from pollution, the Sunnah emphasized the proper use of water without wasting it. One more Hadith regarding the protection of water is related to the use of clean still water. The Prophet [S.A.A.S] said: “No one should bathe in still water, when he is junub [i.e. either had intercourse or a wet dream]”[38]

The Hadiths that directly focus on the proper use of water include the following:

The Prophet performed ablution three [times] and said “Whoever increases [more than three] he does injustice and wrong.”[39]

In addition to the encouragement to save water, the Prophet himself provided the model which should prove to be useful if followed by Muslims and non-Muslims alike:

The Messenger of God [S.A.A.S] performed ablution using one mud [i.e. a measure equal to a handful of water].[40]

Moreover, the Prophet [S.A.A.S] took a shower using one sa’ [four handfuls]. The Muslim scholars understood the message of the Prophet in this respect and they have reiterated it in their writings.[41Imam Al-Ghazzali said that to have a shower one should not keep pouring water, but should restrict oneself to the amount needed.[42]

In a Hadith that reflects the future scene regarding the said issue, the Prophet [S.A.A.S] said: “There will be a people amongst this Ummah who will transgress in their supplication and ablution.”[43]

It is obvious that the transgressing in ablution means the use of excessive amounts of water. This is contrary to the Islamic ethos.

6. Air:

    Protecting the air from pollutants can be deduced from the many Hadiths that, at the time of the Prophet [S.A.A.S], discouraged or prohibited activities that result in offensive smells and odors, from taking place in certain public places. We have already mentioned some of the Hadiths that prohibit the Muslims from relieving themselves near the rest place under a tree or near their paths. It is clear that there are two associated harms with such behavior: offensive scenes and smells. The Prophet himself, when traveling with the companions, used to disappear from sight whenever he had such a need.

    Another Hadith aims at protecting the Muslim community from offensive smells that result from eating garlic or onion. The Prophet [S.A.A.S] said: “He who eats from this tree – meaning garlic – should not get close to our mosque.”[44]

Jaber reported the following: “He who eats garlic or onion should stay away from us”, or he said: “should stay away from our mosque and stay at his home.”[45]

The period which one should stay away from the mosque is limited to the duration of the smell. This is understood from the Hadith of Al-Mughirah Ibn Shu’bah:“He who eats from this wicked plant, should not get close to our mosque, until its smell goes.”[46]

Commenting on eating garlic and onion, and the harm they cause to others because of their smell, Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi stated the following:

“What should be prohibited in our times, without any doubt, is smoking [tobacco] for it harms people. These [onion and garlic] plants are originally lawful, yet smoking is harmful to the [physical] and mental health, and to the economy. So, the appropriate ruling is to prohibit it…”[47]

So Al-Qaradawi based his religious ruling [fatwa] upon the fact that smoking is detrimental to the health of primary and secondary smokers. It is the harm that results from releasing anything into the air which forms the backbone of al-Qaradawi’s fatwa. By analogy, anything that pollutes the air and is detrimental to the health should be prohibited. This includes indirect harm such as in the case of CFC which depletes the ozone. Harmful fumes that cannot be prohibited all together, should be reduced and alternatives should be made popular. The level of Carbon Monoxide would certainly be reduced if “solar” cars become popular!

Protecting the Human being Against Noise Pollution:

    Islam took care of the human being and made sure that he should not be subjected to loud and annoying noises to prevent harm to him both physically and psychologically. The Hadith states that loud noise is foolish and harmful. In the Qur’anic, Luqman advised his son saying:

“…and lower thy voice; for the harshest of sounds without doubt is the braying of the ass.” Qur’an, 31:19

The Islamic Shari’ah does not allow loud voices in the mosques, even if it is Qur’an that is recited. The right of the others to pray peacefully or to recite the Qur’an quietly on their own, during times other than the obligatory prayer which is performed together, should be respected.

    The argument goes that if a loud voice reciting the Qur’an, using loud speakers, is prohibited because it harms and annoys people, then other sources of noise pollution deserve the same judgment; they are prohibited. It is already established that if one is subjected to loud noise over a long period of time, it reduces the person’s hearing ability and possibly psych-somatic illnesses.

The Aims of Islamic Shari’ah:

    The agreed upon major aims (maqasid) of the Shari’ah, through out of its history and untill recent times, are five: protection of religion, life, mind, offspring, and property. Sheikh Muhammad Al-Tahir Ibn ‘Ashur (d. 1973) went beyond the original five and added another two: equality and freedom.[48]

This paper firmly believes that protecting the Environment is a major aim of the Shari’ah. I am not adding to the aims of the Shari’ah; I am only discovering one more. Looking at the original five, we would recognize that to protect the environment is a major aim. For if the situation of the environment keeps deteriorating, there will ultimately be no life, no property and no religion. The environment encompasses the other aims of the Shari’ah.
The destruction of the environment prevents the human being from fulfilling the concept of vicegerency on earth. Indeed, the very existence of humanity is at stake here. Excessive pollution might lead to sterility, deformities, abortion and chronic diseases.

As far as protecting the mind or reason, the highly polluted industrial cities might not see the sun for long days resulting in deep depressions which effects the person’s ability to rationalize properly. Certain radiation might also destroy the brain.

The attempt to protect the property will also be in vain in the context of a highly polluted environment. There are already many rivers and lakes that are considered dead with no marine life. This is a direct result of acid rain which destroys also forests. These forests and water sources form the natural habitat of many species; their death means the possible extinction of some of the Signs pointing in the direction of God.

To consider the protection of the environment as one of the major aims of the Shari’ah will hopefully enable the neo-model of Islamic civilization a chance to be advanced as an alternative to the already existing western model which is the primary source of pollution. 

Adopting this position makes it imperative for the Muslim governments to establish laws for the protection of the environment and implement them.

Conclusion:

    This paper is a modest attempt to show that the Islamic world-view is indeed comprehensive and that it could adopt itself and live up to the new challenges that face humanity. Moreover, the Islamic position is considered a via media compared to the extreme positions regarding the environment. Finally, like in every problem that challenges the Muslim Ummah, the Qur’an and the Sunnah have an appealing tone. As such, it is hoped that such a topic will find the right place among the other issues in books of jurisprudence. We cannot afford to remain indifferent, or to think that environmental issues are alien to the Islamic world-view.

Notes

1. Muslim, Sahih.

2. Ibn Kathir, Tafsir; vol. 1, p. 7 (Beirut Edition).

3. Sayyid Qutub, Fi Zilal al-Qur’an. 12th Edition (Dar al-Shuruq) Vol. 12, p. 1907. Again, the original word in the Qur’an for ‘populated’ is ‘amaruha, which has the same root as I’mar. It is obvious that the meaning goes beyond populating the earth.

4. Qur’an, 7:157.

5.
 Yusuf Al-Qaradwai, al-Sunnah Masdaran lil-Ma’rifati wal-Hadarah (Cairo: 1977, Dar al-Shuruq), p. 286.

6. 
Sa’id Al-Nursi, al-Mathnawi al-‘Arabi al-Nuri; Ihsan Qasim Al-Salihi, ed. 1988, p. 53.

7. 
Sayyid Sabiq, Fiqh al-Sunnah, vol. 2, pp. 477-79.

8. 
Malik Ibn Anas, al-Muwatta’ (Narrated by Malik from the report of Yahya Ibn Sa’id in the chapter on Jihad # 918)

9.
 Yusuf Al-Qaradawai, al-Sunnah Masdar Lil-Ma’rifah, p. 15.

10. 
Narrated by Muslim.

11.
 Narrated by Al-Hakim; he stated that it is a sound hadith according to the methodology of Al-Bukhari.

12. 
Ibn Taymiyyah, al-Fatawa; vol. 4, p. 619

13. 
Narrated by Abu Dawud in the chapter on Jihad # 2675

14. 
Narrated by Al-Nasa’i, 7/ 207; and by Al-Hakim who stated that it has a sound chain of narrators. His statement was approved by Al-Mundhiri and Al-Dhahabi.

15. 
Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, al-Sunnah Masdaran Lil-Ma’rifah wal-Hadarah; pp. 145-6

16. 
Narrated by Abu Dawud, # 4129.

17. 
Narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim; Al-Lu’lu’ wal-Marjan, # 1279.

18. 
Narrated By Al-Bukhari. 

19. 
Narrated by Muslim, # 2117.

20. 
Narrated by Abu Dawud, # 2556.

21.
 Narrated by Abu Dawud, # 2548; Ahmad, 4: 180, 181; and Ibn Hibban, 545.

22. 
Al-Qaradwai, op. cit., p. 295

23. 
Ibid, p. 296.

24. 
Narrated by Muslim, # 2595.

25. 
Isma’il al-Hasani, Nazariyyat Al-Maqasid ‘Ind Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn ‘Ashur (IIIT: Herndon, 1995) p. 142.

26. 
Ahmad Nawfal et al, al-Thaqafah al-Islamiyyah, p. 85.

27. 
Narrated by Muslim, 7:44

28. 
Abu Dawud, # 2839; Al-Tirmidhi, # 1489,: Al-Nassa’i, # 4285; and Ibn Majah, # 3204.

29. 
Alden D. Hinckley, Applied Eccology (Macmillan: New York, 1976), pp. 317-318. 

30. 
Narrated by Al-Tirmidhi, # 5239.

31. 
Al-Qaradawi, op. cit., pp. 143-144.

32. 
Narrated by Muslim.

33. 
Narrated by Al-Tirmidhi, # 2799.

34. 
Narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

35.
 Narrated by Muslim, Ahmad, and Abu Dawud.

36. 
Narrated by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Al-Hakam and Al-Bayhaqi.

37. 
Narrated by Al-Darimi, # 560.

38. 
Narrated by Muslim.

39. 
Narrated by Abu Dawud, Al-Nasa’i, and Ibn Majah. 

40. 
Narrated by Al-Tirmidhi.

41. 
Abu Bakr al-Jaza’iri, Minhaj Al-Muslim (Dar Al-Shuruq: 1991), p. 267.

42. 
Al-Ghazzali, The Revival of Islamic Sciences, vol. 1, p. 139.

43. 
Narrated by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Ibn Habban and Al-Hakim.

44. 
Narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim, Al-Lu’lu’ wal-Marjan, # 331, 332.

45. 
Ibid, # 333.

46. Narrated by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and Ibn Hibban.

47. Al-Qaradawi, op. cit., p. 286

48. Isma’il Al-Hasani, Nazariyyat Al-Maqasid ‘ind Al-Imam Muhammad Al-tahir Ibn ‘Ashur, p. 16.

Prof. Mustafa Abu-Sway
Al-Quds University

—————————–
[Currently, he is in the Department of Philosophy at al-Quds University, Jerusalem. He was formerly a Senior Research Fellow at the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation (ISTAC) in Kuala Lumpur. He was also the head of the Department of Philosophy at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). He has written books such as Al-Ghazzaliyy: A Study in Islamic Epistemology (1996).]

http://homepages.iol.ie/~afifi/Articles/environment.htm

Islam and Ecology

Filed under: Uncategorized — e @ 2:01 am

Islamic Faith Statement

O children of Adam! … eat and drink: but waste not by excess for Allah loveth not the wasters.

Hyder Ihsan Mahasneh is a biologist and Islamic scholar and was the first African head of the Kenya National Parks Service. He was appointed by the Muslim World League to compile this paper.

Humans and the Environment

Humanity’s most primordial concepts of religion relate to the environment. Human history on planet Earth is, on a geological scale, very short indeed. Planet Earth itself is a mere 3,800 million years old; human beings only appeared one million or maybe two million years ago. 

Most of the physical patterns of planet Earth were probably in place, broadly speaking, by the time humans evolved. Apart from what they first saw, they also probably witnessed some spectacular changes themselves. They must, at the very least, have gone through one Ice Age and seen some graphic volcanic eruptions—assuming they were able to avoid the consequences. The environment, therefore, very probably induced the first thoughts of a Super-Being—a God, if you like—whose manifestations lay in human beings’ immediate surroundings. 

The environment also provided another dimension in humanity’s relationship with nature. To survive in a given environment, humans have to adjust what they take from that environment to what can give them sustainable yields on (at the very least) an annual basis. In effect this meant that early humans had to learn to conserve at an early age. Being largely dependent on what was available rather than on what they could cultivate, they entered into a partnership with the environment. 

To take more than the regenerative capacity of the environment could lead to serious subsequent exhaustion—quite rightly seen as harsh retribution from an angry God. The converse situation of exploitation with moderation led to sustained yields, which were (again, quite rightly) taken as having pleased God. 

The Industrial Revolution

Behold thy Lord said to the angels: “I will create a vice-regent on earth.” They said “Wilt thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood? Whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy [name]?” He said: “I know what ye know not.”

This relationship between conservation and religion is thus not only a natural one but also probably as old as the proverbial hills. But when we quickly open most of the pages of human history on planet Earth and come to the past 300 years or so, we find the advent of the Industrial Revolution. It made possible the production of large quantities of goods in a very short time. That meant that raw materials in ever-increasing quantities had to be found to feed the hungry mills ready to convert them into finished or semi-finished goods. 

The consequences were many—economic, social, and environmental. The material achievements of the human race in the past 100 or so years have overshadowed the contributions made by all past civilizations. 

The Industrial Revolution that took place in Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries exacted a high social and environmental cost. Now these costs are even higher and more universal, being manifestly so in the great urban centers of the world. The paradox of “progress” today is the easily perceived correlation between complex consumer societies and the degeneration of the human being. Or as John Seymour puts it: 

We see men now wherever we look, so blinded by arrogance and the worship of man as God that they are doing things no one but the insane would do … men maddened by the belief that they are both omniscient and omnipotent, that they are indeed God. 

The pursuit of money

The Industrial Revolution also proclaimed a new revival of another God: Mammon. Mammon regrettably has no respect for environmental integrity—nor do his followers. The last 250 years have seen a growing decimation of ever more pristine areas of nature to feed the insatiable industrial cuckoo and its resultant consumerism. Forests—particularly tropical forests—have been systematically hewn down, the seas ransacked, the lands made totally dependent on a host of inorganic fertilizers and pesticides for food production. Wastes galore have filled the seas, the rivers, and the lakes, not to mention the landfills. 

We must also take note that the “unmatched material progress” of this century that we are often fond of talking about has only been possible for the few: that is, the population of the northern hemisphere and a small minority among the peoples of the South. This is usually translated as less than 25 percent of the world’s population consuming over 75 percent of the world’s resources. 

This rate of consumption by a minority of the human species has caused unparalleled climatic change, ecosystem disintegration, and species extinction. As a report by the World Wide Fund for Nature observes: 

Loss of biodiversity worldwide, and the combination of global warming with other human pressures will present the greatest challenge in conservation for decades to come. 

This would lead us to conclude that there is a profound and inherent contradiction in the efforts made by the “North” to keep ahead of the rest as consumers, and the push by the remaining 75 percent of the world’s population to catch up. Given this scenario, if just Eastern Europe or Russia or India or China managed to raise its standard of living by just a few percentage points, then the consequences of putting this extra load on the earth’s ecosystem, which is already under severe strain, would be catastrophic. 

This is the background against which the followers of the relatively ancient, environmentally conscious (indeed environmentally concerned) God have gathered to reexamine and to restate their own commitment to environmental integrity from their own individual religion’s standpoint. We for our part will look at the underpinnings of conservation in Islam. 

Islam and conservation

There are several Islamic principles that, when taken individually, seem to have little bearing on conservation. Together, however, they add up to a clear concept of the Islamic view on conservation. 

Tawheed

The first Islamic principle that relates to conservation is that of the Oneness of Allah, or Tawheed. This principle is absolutely fundamental to Islam. Every Muslim must believe in this Oneness of Allah. It is said by some Ulamaa that some two-thirds of Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) early preaching—and indeed of the Qur’an itself—were and are dedicated purely to endorsing this very Oneness of Allah. One indivisible God means to a Muslim that there is no separate deity for each of the many attributes that to Muslims belong to the One Universal God who is also God of the Universe. 

Tawheed is the monotheistic principle of Islam and it begins by declaring that “there is no God but God” (the second half of this declaration asserts that “Muhammad is His Messenger”). We are for the present concerned with the first part, which affirms that there is nothing other than the Absolute, the Eternal, All Powerful Creator. This is the bedrock statement of the Oneness of the Creator from which stems everything else. 

It is the primordial testimony of the unity of all creation and the interlocking grid of the natural order of which man is intrinsically a part. 

God says in the Qur’an: 

Say: He is Allah the One and Only; Allah the Eternal Absolute; He begetteth not nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him. (112.001-4) 

God is Real, not an abstract idea or concept; He is One, the Everlasting Refuge for all creation. 

Man’s relation to God

The emphasis on Tawheed is significant in itself but it is even more relevant to the present discussion by virtue of defining a Muslim’s relationship to Allah. The Omniscience and Omnipotence of Allah means, by definition, that a Muslim’s relationship to Allah is total. To Him—and to Him only—should humans refer for all their needs: physical, mental, and spiritual. Indeed, Allah would not have it any other way. As He says in the Qur’an: 

Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with him; but He forgiveth anything else to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin most heinous in deed. 004.048. 

But Allah is not only the One Indivisible God. He is also the Universal God as well as the Lord of the Universe: 

Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds. 001.002. 

And again:

Say: “Allah’s guidance is the [only] guidance and we have been directed to submit ourselves to the Lord of the worlds.
To establish regular prayers and to fear Allah; for it is to Him that we shall be gathered together. 
It is He Who created the heavens and the earth in true [proportions]: the day He saith “Be” Behold! it is. His Word is the truth. His will be the dominion the day the trumpet will be blown. He knoweth the Unseen as well as that which is open. For He is the Wise well acquainted [with all things]. 006.071-3. 

To Allah belongs the earth and the heavens

Yet another principle that underpins Islamic commitment to the conservation of nature and natural resources is the principle of divine ownership of all that exists on earth and in the heavens—animate and inanimate. There are countless verses in the Holy Qur’an that state this. A few are given below. 

In the celebrated Ayatul Kursiyy: 

Allah! There is no Allah but He the living the Self subsisting Eternal. No slumber can seize him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth what [appeareth to his creatures as] before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of his knowledge except as He willeth. His throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them. For He is the Most High the Supreme [in glory]. 002.255. 

And again:

To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of affairs. 004.171

To Him belongeth all that dwelleth [or lurketh] in the night and the day. For He is the One Who heareth and knoweth all things. 006.013. 

To Him belongs what is in the heavens and on earth and all between them and all beneath the soil. 020.006. 

To Him belong all [creatures] in the heavens and on earth: even those who are in His [very] Presence are not too proud to serve Him nor are they [ever] weary [of His service)]. 021.019. 

But we are reminded that all things animate and inanimate, in their own ways, submit themselves to the Glory of Allah. There are many verses in the Qur’an about this:

To Him belongs every being that is in the heavens and on earth: all are devoutly obedient to Him. 030.026. 

And again: 

Whatever is in the heavens and on earth doth declare the Praises and Glory of Allah the Sovereign the Holy One the Exalted in Might the Wise.062.001.

Thus Allah, the One Indivisible God, the Universal God and the Lord of the Universe is the Owner also of all that is in the universe, including man. After all, we are reminded to say constantly: 

Be sure We shall test you with something of fear and hunger some loss in goods or lives or the fruits [of your toil] but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere. 
Who say when afflicted with calamity: “To Allah we belong and to Him is our return.” 
002.155-6 

The above set of principles — all taken from Islam’s ultimate authority, the Holy Qu’ran — define the perspectives of the relationship of humanity to God and of God to the environment in its totality. A second set of principles that the Holy Qur’an enunciates prescribe man’s relationship to the environment after, of course, humanity has accepted the preceding principles. 

Man and the Khalifa

The most important of this second set of principles is that which defines the human role and responsibilities in the natural order that Allah provided. The appointment of people as Khalifa, or guardians, is the sacred duty God has given to the human race. The appointment of humanity to this elevated position gives rise to the one occasion when the Angels actually questioned Allah’s decision as seen in the following verses: 

Behold thy Lord said to the angels: “I will create a vice-regent on earth.” They said “Wilt thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood? Whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy [name]?” He said: “I know what ye know not.” 

And He taught Adam the nature of all things; then He placed them before the angels and said: “Tell Me the nature of these if ye are right.” 

They said: “Glory to Thee of knowledge we have none save that Thou hast taught us: in truth it is Thou who art perfect in knowledge and wisdom.” 

He said: “O Adam I tell them their natures.” When he had told them Allah said: “Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of heaven and earth and I know what ye reveal and what ye conceal?” 

And behold We said to the angels: “Bow down to Adam”; and they bowed down, not so Iblis he refused and was haughty he was of those who reject Faith.002.030-34 

Clearly Allah preferred unprogrammed free will of humanity to the pre-programmed goodness of Angels! 

And again: 

It is He who hath made you [His] agents inheritors of the earth: He hath raised you 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. 006.165.

The exercise of the vice regency is defined in the Qur’an by another set of principles in which man’s privileges as well as his responsibilities are clearly defined.

Mizaan

One of the most important attributes conferred on human beings is the faculty of reasoning. This, above all, might well be the deciding fact in their appointment as God’s vice regents on earth. Here are the relevant verses: 

[Allah] Most Gracious!
It is He Who has taught the Qur’an.
He has created man:
He has taught him speech [and Intelligence]
The sun and the moon follow courses [exactly] computed;
And the herbs and the trees—both [alike] bow in adoration.
And the firmament has He raised high and He has set up the balance [of Justice]
In order that ye may not transgress [due] balance.
So establish weight with justice and fall not short in the balance.
It is He Who has spread out the earth for [His] creatures:
Therein is fruit and date-palms producing spathes [enclosing dates]:
Also corn with [its] leaves and stalk for fodder and sweet-smelling plants.
Then which of the favors of your Lord will ye deny?
 (055.001-013) 

Humans were not created to function exclusively on instinct. The “explanation” was taught to us because we had the capacity to reason and understand. 

There is order and purpose in the whole pattern of creation. The Sun and Moon following stable orbits make life possible. The whole universe is in submission to the Creator—the stars that enable us to steer courses and the trees that give us sustenance, shelter and other uses. The world functions only because creation follows a preordained pattern. Man then has a responsibility by virtue of being able to reason, to behave justly, “to transgress not in the balance.” We owe this to ourselves as much as for the rest of creation. 

Justice

The capacity to reason and to balance intellectual judgment would in itself be insufficient without the additional moral commitment to Justice. And this is what the Qur’an prescribes for Muslims: 

O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice as witnesses to Allah even as against yourselves or your parents or your kin and whether it be [against] rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts [of your hearts] lest ye swerve and if ye distort [justice] or decline to do justice verily Allah is well acquainted with all that ye do. 004.135. 

And again: 

Whoever recommends and helps a good cause becomes a partner therein: and whoever recommends and helps an evil cause shares in its burden: and Allah hath power over all things. 004.085. 

Allah doth command you to render back your trusts to those to whom they are due; and when ye judge between man and man that ye judge with justice: verily how excellent is the teaching which He giveth you! for Allah is He who heareth and seeth all things. 004.058 

And again: 

O ye who believe! stand out firmly for Allah as witnesses to fair dealing and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to Piety: and fear Allah for Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.005.009. 

[They are fond of] listening to falsehood of devouring anything forbidden. If they do come to thee either judge between them or decline to interfere. If thou decline they cannot hurt thee in the least. If thou judge judge in equity between them; for Allah loveth those who judge in equity.005.045. 

Use but do not abuse

Several times in the Qur’an, man is invited to make use of the nourishing goods that Allah has placed on earth for him, but abuse—particularly through extravagance and excess—is strictly forbidden. Sometimes these principles are stated in one breath, so to speak. Sometimes they are stated separately. But the message is the same, as the following verse indicates: 

O children of Adam! … eat and drink: but waste not by excess for Allah loveth not the wasters. 007.031. 

There are as many invitations to partake of nature as provided for man and for other creatures of the earth as there are for the avoidance of wasteful extravagance. Time and again, Allah reminds us that He loveth not wasters. 

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. 006.141. 

Fitra

Fitra can be taken as perhaps the most direct injunction by Allah to man to conserve the environment and not to change the balance of His creation. This is specifically contained in the verse below: 

So set thou thy face steadily and 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. 030.030. 

Thus, Islam teaches that humanity is an integral part of the environment; it is part of the creation of Almighty God. We remain deeply locked into the natural domain despite the fact that there is talk of bringing the environment to the people as though we were independent of it. 

The power given to man by God is seen in Islam to be limited by the responsibilities he bears, not only toward God and other men and women, but also toward the rest of creation. 

Seyyed Hossein Nasr says: “The Divine Law (al shariah) is explicit in extending the religious duties of man to the natural order and the environment.” 

Conclusion

As we indicated at the beginning, there are several Qur’anic principles that, taken separately, do not have an obvious connection with conservation. But taken in their totality, they state in clear terms that Allah, the One True God is the Universal God and the Creator of the Universe and indeed, the Owner of the Universe. To Him belong all the animate and inanimate objects, all of whom should or do submit themselves to Him. 

Allah, in His Wisdom, appointed humans, the creatures that He has conferred with the faculty of reason and with free will, to be His vice regents on earth. And while Allah has invited people to partake of the fruits of the earth for their rightful nourishment and enjoyment, He has also directed them not to waste that which Allah has provided for him—for He loveth not wasters. 

Furthermore, Allah has also ordered humans to administer his responsibilities with Justice. Above all, people should conserve the balance of Allah’s creation on Earth. By virtue of their intelligence, humanity (when it believes in the One Universal Allah, the Creator of the Universe) is the only creation of Allah to be entrusted with the overall responsibility of maintaining planet Earth in the overall balanced ecology that man found. 

If biologists believe that humans are the greatest agents of ecological change on the surface of the earth, is it not humans who, drawn from the brink, will—for their own good—abandon Mammon and listen to the prescriptions of God on the conservation of their environment and the environment of all the creatures on earth? The Islamic answer to this question is decisively in the affirmative. 

This was printed, along with Statements from ten other faiths, in Faith in Conservation by Martin Palmer with Victoria Finlay, published by the World Bank in 2003.

http://www.arcworld.org/faiths.asp?pageID=75

Islam and Ecology: A Bestowed Trust – Inviting Balanced Stewardship

Filed under: Uncategorized — e @ 1:30 am

http://fore.research.yale.edu/religion/islam/#5

Frederick M. Denny
University of Colorado

Introduction
The Qur’an, Islam’s primary authority in all matters of individual and communal life, as well as theology and worship, tells of an offer of global trusteeship that was presented by God to the Heavens, the Earth, and the Mountains (Sura 33:72), but they refused to shoulder the responsibility out of fear. Humankind seized the opportunity and bore the “trust” (amana), but they were “unjust and very ignorant.” Even so, God through mercy has guided and enabled humankind in bearing the responsibility of the amana, although they have in the process also been subjected to punishment for their hypocrisy and unbelief. The Qur’an, however, is clear that God is the ultimate holder of dominion over the creation (e.g., Sura 2:107, 5:120), and that all things return to Him (Sura 24:42) and are thus accountable each in their own ways. There is, in the Qur’an and in the teachings and example of the Prophet Muhammad, preserved in a literary form known as Hadith, much with which to construct an authentic Islamic environmental ethic that both sustains what Muslims have achieved traditionally in this direction and leaves open a wide avenue for creative and innovative solutions in the contemporary context.

With respect to humankind’s stewardship of the earth, the privilege entails a profound responsibility. Other living species are also considered by the Qur’an to be “peoples or communities” (ummas; Sura 6:38). The creation itself, in all its myriad diversity and complexity, may be thought of as a vast universe of “signs” of God’s power, wisdom, beneficence, and majesty. The whole creation praises God by its very being (Sura 59:24; compare with 64:1).

“With Him are the keys (to the treasures) of the Unseen that no one knows but He. He knows whatever there is on the earth and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but with His knowledge: there is not a grain in the earth’s shadows, not a thing, freshly green or withered, but it is (inscribed) in a clear record” (Sura 6:59).

According to the Qur’an, the creation of the cosmos is a greater reality than the creation of humankind (Sura 40:57), but human beings have been privileged to occupy a position even higher than the angels as vicegerents of God on the earth. Even so, they share with all animals an origin in the common substance, water (Sura 24:45), and they will return to the earth from which they came. The idea of human vicegerency on earth has drawn much criticism in environmental ethics, principally since the publication of an influential article by historian Lynn White some thirty years ago.1 Muslims, as well as Jews and Christians, have had to face the intrinsic problems of such a position, historically as well as in contemporary global economic, political, and social life. But Muslims are reflecting on their fundamental and enduring religious teachings and discovering theological and moral bases for an environmental ethics that have been present, whether explicitly or implicitly, both in their sacred textual traditions and in their habits of heart, thinking, public administration, and daily life since Islam’s founding.2 A common conviction among Muslims in this discourse is that nature is not independently worthwhile but derives its value from God.

The earth is mentioned some 453 times in the Qur’an, whereas sky and the heavens are mentioned only about 320 times. Islam does understand the earth to be subservient to humankind but it should not be administered and exploited irresponsibly. There is a strong sense of the goodness and purity of the earth. Clean dust may be used for ablutions before prayer if clean water is not available. The Prophet Muhammad said that: “The earth has been created for me as a mosque and as a means of purification.” So there is a sacrality to the earth which is a fit place for human’s service of God, whether in formal ceremonies or in daily life. A former United States Secretary of the Interior said stewardship of the environment was not really such an urgent matter in light of the prophesied destruction of the natural order on doomsday. In contrast, the Prophet Muhammad said, “When doomsday comes, if someone has a palm shoot in his hand he should plant it.”3

Muslims envision heaven as a beautiful garden which the Qur’an describes in many places. If life on earth is preparation for eternal life in heaven, then the loving care of the natural environment would seem to be appropriate training for the afterlife in the company of God and the angels in an environment that is perfectly balanced, peaceful, and verdant. Muslims believe that all generations will be gathered together at the Last Judgment and that in heaven the saved will enjoy the company of generations of faithful Muslims who have been rewarded with a blessed afterlife. Whether one plants a palm shoot as the end is closing in or invests in an environmentally sound way of life for the sake of her/his posterity, it comes to the same thing: serving God through a stewardship that reflects what the Qur’an throughout sets forth as God’s generosity, mercy, and guidance in the first place. As the Divine Saying so beloved by Sufis declares concerning God’s reason for creating the universe: “I was a Hidden Treasure and I wanted to be known, so I created creatures in order to be known by them.”4Community between God and His creatures does not end with death; rather it truly begins with the Afterlife, according to Islamic belief. In a stirring passage describing the end of the world, the Qur’an details the destruction of the natural and familiar world and then declares: “When Hell shall be set blazing; and when the Garden is brought near—then shall each soul know what it has produced” (Sura 81:12–13).

“Do you not observe that God sends down rain from the sky, so that in the morning the earth becomes green?” (Sura 22:63). The color green is the most blessed of all colors for Muslims and, together with a profound sense of the value of nature as God’s perfect and most fruitful plan, provides a charter for a green movement that could become the greatest exertion yet known in Islamic history, a “green jihad” appropriate for addressing the global environmental crisis. 5 
 

About This Author
Frederick M. Denny is Professor Emeritus of Islamic Studies and History of Religions at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has conducted field research on Qur’anic recitation, Muslim popular ritual, and characteristics of contemporary Muslim societies in Egypt, Indonesia, and Malaysia. His current research includes Muslim community formation in North America, and Muslim human rights discourses. His college level textbook An Introduction to Islam, Third Edition (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Printice Hall, 2005) is widely used and his University of South Carolina Press series, Studies in Comparative Religion, publishes pioneering books on diverse subjects. He serves on the editorial boards of The Muslim WorldThe Journal of Islamic Law and Culture , and Studies in Contemporary Islam . He also has served on the board of directors of the American Academy of Religion for 11 years (1992-1997, 2001-2007). He published with John Corrigan, Carlos M. N. Eire, and Martin S. Jaffee,Jews, Christians, Muslims: A Comparative Introduction to Monotheistic Religions(Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1998), together with a related anthology, Readings in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1998). He co-edited, with Richard C. Foltz and Azizan Baharuddin, Islam and Ecology: A Bestowed Trust (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003). He is lead editor for the second edition of Atlas of the World’s Religions (Forthcoming, 2007 from Laurence King Publishing Ltd. and Oxford University Press).
Endnotes
1 Lynn White, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis,” Science 155 (1967) 1203–1207. See the critical response to White by Patrick Dobell, “The Judaeo-Christian Stewardship Attitude to Nature,” Christian Century (12 October 1977). There is much in Dobell’s article that would apply to Islam too, as a cognate “Abrahamic” tradition. 

2 For a brief survey of Islamic environmental ethical principles and a sense of both what Islam and Muslims have embraced in the past and are engaged in sustaining and developing further today, see Mawil Y. Izzi Deen (Samarrai), “Islamic Environmental Ethics, Law, and Society,” in Ethics of Environment and Development: Global Challenge, International Response, J. Ronald Engel and Joan Gibb Engel, eds. (Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 1990) 189–98; and Seyyed Hossein Nasr, “Islam and the Environmental Crisis,” in Spirit and Nature: Why the Environment is a Religious Issue, Stephen C. Rockefeller and John C. Elder, eds. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1992) 85–107.

3 Quoted from Mawil Y. Izzi Deen, “Islamic Environmental Ethics,” loc. cit., 194. The author comments that “Even when all hope is lost, planting should continue for planting is good in itself. The planting of the palm shoot continues the process of development and will sustain life even if one does not anticipate any benefit from it. In this, the Muslim is like the soldier that fights to the last bullet.” This is the deeper meaning of jihad as “exertion” in the service of God.

4 “Divine Saying” is a translation of the Arabic hadith qudsi, an utterance inspired by God but expressed verbally by the Prophet Muhammad. The Qur’an is held by Muslims to be completely God’s composition, which the Prophet faithfully transmitted orally after receiving it through a revelatory process.

5 For this idea, I am indebted to Kaveh L. Afrasiabi, “Toward an Islamic Ecotheology,” Hamdard Islamicus, XVIII, no. 1 (1995) 40. Frustrated with the traditional theological practices of many contemporary Muslim thinkers, the author calls for an “alternative Islamic theology” or perhaps even a “theological detour” based on Qur’an and Prophetic Tradition (Hadith) that are not shackled by the “common obliviousness, on the part of leading Shi’ite jurisprudents [and by extension to other legal schools], to ecological insights.”

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