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Exploring Islam's Reverence for Nature and Eco-friendly Traditions

Exploring Islam’s Reverence for Nature and Eco-friendly Traditions



Islam and Environmental Stewardship

Nurturing a Respectful Relationship with Creation

Islam, at its core, advocates for environmental conservation and responsible stewardship of the Earth. Quranic verses and Hadiths emphasise the concept of Khalifah (stewardship) entrusted upon humans, urging them to be caretakers of the environment, preserving its resources and ensuring sustainability for future generations.
And [mention, O Muḥammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.”1 They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we exalt You with praise and declare Your perfection?”2 He [Allāh] said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.” [Quran 2:30]

Eco-friendly Practices in Islamic Tradition

Adopting Sustainable and Respectful Ways

Islamic teachings advocate for simple and eco-friendly living. Practices such as water conservation, moderation in consumption, and the prohibition of wastefulness (Israf) align with principles of sustainability. Prophetic traditions encourage planting trees, conserving water, and respecting animals, instilling a deep sense of responsibility towards the environment.

Hadith (Sahih Muslim) — “If a Muslim plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person, or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift (Sadaqah) for him.”

Islam’s environmental ethics foster a profound connection between faith and ecological responsibility. By advocating for sustainable practices and emphasizing the sanctity of nature, Islam provides a guiding light for Muslims and offers valuable insights to all individuals on living harmoniously with the environment, nurturing a world where reverence for nature and ecological balance prevail.
The Prophet Muhammad said: “Do not waste water, even if you perform your ablution on the banks of an abundantly-flowing river.” (Ibn Majah)
In the Islamic teachings, the sanctity of life extends beyond human beings to encompass all living creatures. There are specific injunctions that prohibit the killing or harming of certain animals and plants, even during times of conflict or war. The Prophet Muhammad specifically forbade the killing of ants, considering them creatures of God deserving of protection. Similarly, the hoopoe bird, mentioned in the Quran, is considered a symbol of wisdom and was protected from harm, among other creatures prohibited to be killed. 
Islamic principles of warfare emphasise the preservation of the environment, including trees and vegetation. The Prophet Muhammad forbade the cutting down of trees, especially fruit-bearing trees, during conflicts or wars. This prohibition aimed to safeguard the environment and ensure that civilians and the ecosystem were not needlessly harmed during warfare.
These teachings highlight the value Islam places on respecting and preserving life, whether it be through the protection of animals or the preservation of the environment, even in the midst of conflict. The emphasis is on compassion, mindfulness, and the ethical treatment of all living beings, aligning with the overarching principles of mercy and stewardship emphasised in Islamic teachings.

References:
  • Green Deen: What Islam Teaches about Protecting the Planet by Ibrahim Abdul-Matin

  • Islam and Ecology: A Bestowed Trust by Richard C. Foltz



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