With businesses in the UAE slowly beginning to take the environment message seriously, it seems that scholars and imams are now doing the same. During a Ramadan seminar titled ‘Islam and Environment’ organised by the Emirates Environmental Group, the renowned Islamic scholar Ahmad Al Kubaisi launched a campaign asking citizens to moderate their use of water in the country.
According to reports from Gulf News, Al Kubaisi noted that earth is mentioned 88 times in the Qur’an, which highlights its importance, and he added that “The Prophet cursed anyone who muddies a water stream, while he said that he saw a man in the highest ranks of paradise because he removed a thorn from the road.”
What Islam says about littering
This marks what appears to be a concerted effort to tackle the generally lax attitudes towards the environment in the country. Last week another Imam in the UAE, Sheikh Musa Furber, came out against the harmful aspects of littering, stating that it violated the one of the most important tenants of Islam: doing good for others.
Furber explained that it was reported by one of the companions of the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) that removing harmful things from a pathway was an act of charity. Consequently, littering would be an act of harm. The Grand Mufti Dr Ali Ahmed Mashael also noted the need for moderation when using water and buying possessions, as well as avoiding harm to animals.
At the seminar on the environment and Islam, the chairperson Dr Habiba Al Marashi explained the importance of the timing with Ramadan. She remarked that Ramadan is a month of love- love of God, of people and also the earth- and so “we must translate this into action through our daily behaviour, and this is what we aim to achieve through our first Ramadan seminar on the environment.”
Back to green basics
Dr Mohammed Abdul Raouf, who is Director of Environment Research at the Gulf Research Centre and also spoke at the seminar, recently published an article in the Gulf News on the link between Islam and caring for the environment. In it, Raouf states that Islam instructs us to care for the planet: “Islam calls on man to care for the environment, enjoy its beauty and not spoil it, as is clearly evident from the following verses ‘and do good as Allah has been good to you, and seek not mischief in the land. Verily, Allah likes not the Mufsidun [those who commit great crimes and sins, oppressors, tyrants, mischief-makers, corrupters]’ (Al Qasas 28:77).”
Raouf also mentioned that many modern concepts related to the environment such as sustainable development, ecological balance, and quality of life are already mentioned in the Qur’an or Hadith (sayings of the Prophet Mohammed [pbuh]) and now they just need to be understood and applied.
In fact, what all these Islamic leaders and Imams have shown is the need for Muslims to go back to the basics so that the ‘green’ tenets of Islam, such as conservation and caring for the planet, can help resolve the modern problems of climate change.
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