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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What Islam teaches Muslims about protecting the planet and environment?

Nowadays we are using another term 'Green Deen' which represents the relation of Islam and environmental issues. Islam teaches Muslims about environment and protecting the planet in many ways. Informed Muslim can easily speak on Islam and the environment for a number of reasons.

First of all, Islam is described in the Qur'an as the religion of nature. Allah declares:

"Therefore, orient yourself, with all due sincerity and uprightness towards the natural religion; this is consistent with the nature He (God) has created in humankind. Never will there be any change in that nature, this is the straight way. However, most of humanity realizes it not." (Qur'an 30:30)

Having created us, and then through the institution of religion oriented us towards Him, our Creator then situated us in a delicate, intricate system where our success, and indeed the perpetuation of that system, rests in maintaining a balance between all things. He says in the Qur'an:

"The Merciful. He has taught the Qur'an. He has created the human being. He has taught him elocution. The sun and moon flow along in their established orbits. The stars and trees recline themselves humbly in prostration. He has raised aloft the firmament of the sky and established the balance. Therefore, cheat not in maintaining the balance. Establish just measure and do not fall short in maintaining the balance." (Qur'an 55:1-9)

In this group of verses, Allah enumerates some of His Blessings to humanity. He starts by mentioning the Majestic Qur'an. As Muslims, we believe that the Qur'an contains the enduring message of God to humanity. Its guidance defines the worldview of the conscientious believer.

God reminds us: "Remember the blessing of God upon you, and the Scripture and Wisdom that He has revealed unto you, by way of admonition. Be mindful of God, and be assured that He knows all things." (Qur'an 2:231)

In Islam, Muslims believe that man has been given a responsibility by Allah (i.e., Arabic for God) on this earth and that man will be accountable to God for his actions and the trust placed in him. Prophet Muhammad said, ”Everyone of you is a guardian and is responsible for his charges. The ruler who has authority over people is a guardian and is responsible for them” (Sahih Bukhari 3.46.730). Islam has urged humanity to be kind to nature and not to abuse the trust that has been placed on the shoulders of man.

Nature and environment have always played an important part in the lives of devout Muslims. Muslims understand that God has not created all this for nothing. In fact, Muslims have been commanded to find the wonderful signs of God around them so that they will only increase them in their awe of their Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer).

Author Ibrahim Abdul-Matin's Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet, has presented to Muslims and anyone interested in what Islam has to say about the environment what a green deen is.

He starts the book by defining the word Deen not as a religion, but as a "way of life" in Arabic, a system of living and interpreting the world as a way to arrive at peace with it. Add the color green to it, and Green Deen was written as a practical approach to merge personal faith with the common cause of environmentalism:

"Green Deen means understanding that God created us directly from the Earth and that we must do all that we can to take care of it, protect it, and manage all of its bounty in a sustainable way."

From his perspective, everyone, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, can create a green Deen because everyone can contribute to how we take care of the Earth in our public and private lives.

It is unfortunate that Muslims forget this, do not care to recycle or at least use less, and actually contribute to the degradation of our planet. It doesn’t matter your faith to be a greener person, but Muslims should step up to the plate.

Useful links for more information:

* Going Green For The Deen at 'Muslim Youth for Truth' blog'
* Environment & Ecology in Islam
* Environmental Responsibility Clear in Islamic Scriptures
* Man and Ecology: An Islamic Perspective
* Islam and the Protection of the Environment
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