Islamic Principles and Safeguarding The Planet

Islam is a way of life that emphasizes peace and harmony among all people, as well as the preservation of human values. Islam teaches that humanity must be in harmony with nature, with the environment and with themselves.

Islamic Principles and Safeguarding The Planet
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The protection of the environment, planet, and resources is considered an objective of Shariah. Chapra (2008) mentioned that humans are the trustees of the resources available on the earth and should use them responsibly as these are scarce. In the Quran, Allah has mentioned that because of the corrupt use of resources, human beings suffer.

“Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness].” (Qur’an 30:41)

Therefore, the responsible use of resources is necessary as wastage and Allah dislikes excessive use. In the Quran, Allah mentions:

“And be not excessive. Indeed, He does not like those who commit excess”. (Qur’an 6:141)
“O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess." (Qur’an 7:31)

The above verses warn and put emphasis on avoiding extravagance and preservation. The principle is also used when Prophet Muhammad advised being sensible in the use of water for ablution even if s/he has a river at disposal. Therefore, water is considered one of the important provisions.

In a village, some kids were shifting plants to their garden in their school.
Photo by Kasturi Laxmi Mohit / Unsplash

Tree plantation is counted as one of the noteworthy devout deeds in Islam. Planting trees is also considered an act of continuous charity. Thus, the preservation of trees is encouraged in Islam which is also a goal for sustainable and environmental projects.

The wilful obliteration of resources of the planet is forbidden in Islam because human beings are the trustee of Allah and have duties to protect all the creations including animals, trees, etc. as they also worship Allah in their own ways. In the Quran, Allah mentions:

“Do you not see that to Allah prostrates whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth and the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the trees, the moving creatures and many of the people?” (Quran 22:18)

This obligation of humankind is also relevant to the scientific notion of the “chain of life” and the interdependence of all creations in order to maintain the balance of life.

“And there is no creature on [or within] the earth or bird that flies with its wings except [that they are] communities like you.” (Qur’an 6:38)

Allah also reminds us that there will be consequences if the balance is not maintained.

“And the heaven He raised and imposed the balance. That you do not transgress within the balance. And establish weight in justice and do not make deficient the balance. And the earth He laid [out] for the creatures.” (Qur’an 55:7-10)

Therefore, it is evident from the numerous verses of the Qur’an and hadiths from the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) that it is obligatory for people to preserve and safeguard the environment and sustain resources. It is an absolute responsibility of humans to maintain the balance of life on the planet which is also a part of the objectives of the Shariah.

For that reason, Islamic finance has a unique economic concept that blends together the components of a financial system as well as a total value-based social system (Obaidullah, 2018). The guidance from Shariah makes sure Islamic finance accentuates the need to care for the value of the society, environment, and natural resources.

Poor mans garden
Photo by Gabriel Jimenez / Unsplash

References

CHAPRA, M. U. 2008. The Islamic Vision of Development in the Light of Maqāṣid al-Sharī‘ah. In: INSTITUTE, I. R. A. T. (ed.). Islamic Research and Training Institute, Islamic Development Bank.

OBAIDULLAH, M. 2018. Managing Climate Change: Role of Islamic Finance. Islamic Economic Studies, 26,31-62.

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