5 Quranic Verses to Guide Us to a Greener Future
Ethics and equilibrium are key ingredients to peace (salaam).
1. Anti-Corruption Police
Living a balanced, moderate life is easy to say, harder to follow through. Yet this doesn’t detract from the verses:
Think about it:
How many forms of corruption are there? Crime, political fraud, illegal banking systems, theft, rape. Sound pretty major don’t they. Now add to that list littering, deforestation, toxic waste and pesticides. Sure, these are hardly equivalent to murdering, but in the long run these things take human lives too. That is what the Qur’an is alarming readers about.
2. Call Yourself A Human?
“Indeed, We (God) offered the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, and they declined to bear it and feared it; but man [undertook to] bear it. Indeed, he was unjust and ignorant. (Qur’an 33:72)
In Arabic the word for earthling is Khalifa (خلِيفةً) pronounced kha-leaf-ah. This is a magnificent word with multiple meanings like deputy, guardian, ‘friend of Earth’ and viceroy, although it all boils down to Stewardship. Human beings are the most intelligent beings on earth so it makes sense that we have the responsibility to care for our planet, to give it a hug and a health check now and again .
“And it is He (God) who has made you successors (khala’ifa) upon the earth and has raised some of you above others in degrees [of rank] that He may try you through what He has given you. Indeed, your Lord is swift in penalty; but indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Qur’an 6:165).
Interestingly, this idea of humans being ‘successors’ or stewards resonates in the Bible, particularly in Exodus and Corinthians. In the well-known Genesis verses the earliest humans alive are taught to sow and reap from the fields, in order to understand the functionality of earth and be in awe of its beauty. The Torah too instructs its followers with a job description similar to a noble janitor.
Muslims are supposed to hold this responsibility deeply. We are not the masters but we have been given a short-term trust. Anyone who creates corruption and pollution abuses their power and has violated this trust. Such a person fails as a Human and needs to earn the title back.
3. Preservation of Water
Water is a huge life-providing theme in the Qur’an. God talks about how He creates life through water then sustains it by streams, the rains, rivers and oceans that are homes for so many creatures.
“And Allah has sent down rain from the sky and given life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who listen.” (Qur’an, 16:65)
In the Qur’an, God uses the analogy of life and death for Muslims to recognise the value of water. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said that one day people will wage war over rivers of gold. He was talking about water. We have taps that fill our basins with gold, but we cannot afford overflows while people wait for the rains. Third-world countries in desert climates are counting on us to give the cost of our water to them.
By starting something simple like a well-fundraiser you kickstart a chain reaction that will motivate others to do the same. People will call your mosque a Green Mosque for following the prophetic Eco-Wudhu and preserving water. Whomever receives your well/water-pump will be able to plant crops, fruits and trees for generations.
“And We have sent down blessed rain from the sky and made grow thereby gardens and grain from the harvest.” (Qur’an, 50:9)
As water is another natural creation, Muslims believe it belongs to God and nobody can monopolize it. Water is for sharing and there is enough water for all.
3. Gardens of Paradise
The Qur’an contains lots of horticultural information which science has reaffirmed by more than 90%. Like previous revelations in the Gospels and Torah, Quranic plants are mentioned in detail with the medicinal properties of herbs being highlighted. God speaks about His creative design and the nutrition available from natural produce as an encouragement to eat healthily:
“And it is He who sends down rain from the sky, and We produce thereby the growth of all things. We produce from it greenery from which We produce grains arranged in layers. And from the palm trees – of its emerging fruit are clusters hanging low. And [We produce] gardens of grapevines and olives and pomegranates, similar yet varied. Look at [each of] its fruit when it yields and [at] its ripening. Indeed in that are signs for a people who believe.” (Qur’an, 6:99)
Among the plants mentioned in the Qur’an there is garlic, grapes, pomegranate, herbs, dates, ginger, olives, lentils, onion, cucumber, figs, mustard, a variety of trees including the cedar and the acacia flower.
What do we learn from this? Plants are already part of our diet so there’s not much impetus to start talking to trees but we could always take it a step further.
4. Treating Animals With Dignity
“And there is no creature on [or within] the earth or bird that flies with its wings except [that they are] communities like you. We have not neglected in the Register a thing. Then unto their Lord they will be gathered.” (Qur’an, 6:38) http://quran.com/6/38
God uses the word ‘community’ (umma) to describe the similarity between people and animals. We have our social groups, animals have theirs. There is a beauty and majesty in the innate construct of swimmings shoals of fish or flocks of birds dancing in the skies. Muslims reflect, where do penguins learn parenting skills? How do baby turtles know to head to water? For Muslims, this answer is divinely inspired.
It’s a sad reality that animal rights are grossly violated throughout the Muslim world. Violence like hunting for skins or tusks means that several animal species are extinct. Imagine those animals were ethnicity groups, could you really accept all of Europe or south-east Asia being wiped out? I don’t think so.
In many countries animals are needlessly killed or eaten without health considerations. For true Muslims, both actions are illegal. This is why pork is unlawful (haram); it’s very unhealthy. A few animals cannot be consumed under Islamic law and all animals have to be raised with dignity, with the exception of an attack (think poisonous snakes!)
5. Understanding The Creation
The Art in Design (and the Design in Art):
“Do you not see that Allah sends down rain from the sky and makes it flow as springs [and rivers] in the earth; then He produces thereby crops of varying colours; then they dry and you see them turned yellow; then He makes them [scattered] debris. Indeed in that is a reminder for those of understanding.” (Qur’an, 39:21)
Tectonic plates and mountain ‘pegs’:
“And He has cast into the earth firmly set mountains, lest it shift with you, and [made] rivers and roads, that you may be guided,” (Qur’an, 16:15)
Travelling on sea:
“He released the two seas, meeting [side by side]; Between them is a barrier [so] neither of them transgresses.” (55:19-20)
“And it is He who sends the winds as good tidings before His mercy until, when they have carried heavy rainclouds, We drive them to a dead land and We send down rain therein and bring forth thereby [some] of all the fruits. Thus will We bring forth the dead; perhaps you may be reminded.” (7:57)
“It is Allah who sends the winds, and they stir the clouds and spread them in the sky however He wills, and He makes them fragments so you see the rain emerge from within them. And when He causes it to fall upon whom He wills of His servants, immediately they rejoice.” (30:48)
“It is He who shows you lightening, [causing] fear and aspiration, and generates the heavy clouds.” (13:12)
All these verses are amazing starting points for activism. Environmental welfare is described as something sacrilegious, beneficial for us, and so naturally Muslims are going to act on them, right? I mean, to say that being The Eco Muslim is a spiritual act is laughable for many but I see it as a real integral part of my faith.
By reading these verses it should at the very least make you aware of Islam’s harmonious core. Living as socially responsible and exemplary human beings is one of the Islamic commands of God.
TIPS FOR THE ECO MUSLIM:
- Cut a tree, plant a tree. For every bouquet of flowers you give, plant flower seeds; at least once a year, sponsor a sapling in Palestine; grow fruit trees with your kids. Grow stuff man!
- Build an eco-system by filling hanging baskets with luscious compost or peat.
- Needless to say, increase your intake of heavenly greens and fruits.
- Finally, take time out to appreciate the beauty of meadows and foliage around you. These moments of reflection count as worship for Muslims, they are moments of connection to the Creator. But you can take it however you want. Gratitude is the key.
Source: The Eco Muslim