This article is taken from Living Green: The Way of the Greatest Environmentalist (peace be upon him). Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Shaykh Ali Hani, and Ustad Amjad Tarsin answer questions on care, responsibility and stewardship of the environment. This is the second article in the series.
Allah made the universe in further order by sending Prophets and Messengers. The spread of corruption first happened by changing the religion of Allah, changing the beliefs of people, spoiling their character and instilling selfishness into their hearts.
From that then comes the great other forms of lesser corruption that we see in the universe.
كُلَّمَاۤ أَوۡقَدُوا۟ نَارا لِّلۡحَرۡبِ أَطۡفَأَهَا ٱللَّهُۚ وَیَسۡعَوۡنَ فِی ٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَسَاداۚ وَٱللَّهُ لَا یُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُفۡسِدِینَ
“Whenever they ignite a fire for war, Allah puts it out; And they strive to spread corruption across the earth; And Allah loves not those who corrupt.”[Keller, The Quran Beheld 5:64]
وَلَا تَعۡتَدُوۤا۟ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا یُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُعۡتَدِینَ
“But commit no transgression whatsoever; Verily Allah loves not transgressors. ” [Keller, The Quran Beheld 2:190]
All large conferences organized in order to solve the problem of the environment neglect this underlying cause. Allah says:
ظَهَرَ ٱلۡفَسَادُ فِی ٱلۡبَرِّ وَٱلۡبَحۡرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتۡ أَیۡدِی ٱلنَّاسِ
“Blighted corruption has appeared on land and sea for what men’s own hands have earned” [Keller, The Quran Beheld 30:41]
Corruption has appeared as a result of the sins of mankind.
The foundational cause of the environmental problems is disbelief in Allah and sins.
Prophets (Upon Them Be Peace)
Allah tells of the Prophets. They were good and kind to the animals around them. Prophet Nuh carried animals with him in the ark when the flood came. Prophet Sulaiman was famous for his justice. The ants on the ground testified to his justice. Allah says:
حَتَّىٰۤ إِذَاۤ أَتَوۡا۟ عَلَىٰ وَادِ ٱلنَّمۡلِ قَالَتۡ نَمۡلَ یَـٰۤأَیُّهَا ٱلنَّمۡلُ ٱدۡخُلُوا۟ مَسَـٰكِنَكُمۡ لَا یَحۡطِمَنَّكُمۡ سُلَیۡمَـٰنُ وَجُنُودُهُۥ وَهُمۡ لَا یَشۡعُرُونَ
“Until, when they reached the Valley of Ants, an ant said, ‘O ant, enter your homes; Let not Solomon and his legions crush you unawares.’” [Keller, The Quran Beheld 27:18]
In a famous hadith, we learn that a woman entered paradise because she gave a dog water to drink and another woman entered the hellfire because she imprisoned a cat and didn’t let it eat until it starved to death.
We should not be wasteful when eating or drinking.
Wastefulness is a foundational reason for the destruction we see around us. It is permissible for us to eat and drink. But, don’t be wasteful. Allah says:
وَكُلُوا۟ وَٱشۡرَبُوا۟ وَلَا تُسۡرِفُوۤا۟ۚ إِنَّهُۥ لَا یُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُسۡرِفِینَ
”And eat and drink, but not in prodigal waste: Verily He loves not those who exceed the due] bounds” [Keller, The Quran Beheld 7:3]
In other verses, Allah says:“
وَءَاتِ ذَا ٱلۡقُرۡبَىٰ حَقَّهُۥ وَٱلۡمِسۡكِینَ وَٱبۡنَ ٱلسَّبِیلِ وَلَا تُبَذِّرۡ تَبۡذِیرًا
إِنَّ ٱلۡمُبَذِّرِینَ كَانُوۤا۟ إِخۡوَ ٰنَ ٱلشَّیَـٰطِینِۖ وَكَانَ ٱلشَّیۡطَـٰنُ لِرَبِّهِۦ كَفُورا
“And give the kinsman his due, and the needy, and the destitute wayfarer; An waste not wealth on senseless spending.
Truly wastrels are the very brethren of devils, and a devil was ever to his Lord an utter ingrate [Keller, The Quran Beheld 17:26-27]
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:
مَا مِنْ مُسْلِمٍ يَغْرِسُ غَرْسًا أَوْ يَزْرَعُ زَرْعًا فَيَأْكُلُ مِنْهُ طَيْرٌ أَوْ إِنْسَانٌ أَوْ بَهِيمَةٌ إِلاَّ كَانَ لَهُ بِهِ صَدَقَةٌ
[Shaykh Hamza’s translation:] “There is no Muslim who plants a tree or some other plant and then after he plants it, then a bird or a human being or any other animal he eats from that plant except that it will be counted as a charitable act for the person who planted that tree or plant”
[Translation from sunnah.com]: “Never does a Muslim plant trees or cultivate land and birds or a man or a beast eat out of them but that is a charity on his behalf.”
In another Hadith, The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) emphasized the importance of being kind to the earth and making it flourish by saying:
حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو الْوَلِيدِ، قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا حَمَّادُ بْنُ سَلَمَةَ، عَنْ هِشَامِ بْنِ زَيْدِ بْنِ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ: إِنْ قَامَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَفِي يَدِ أَحَدِكُمْ فَسِيلَةٌ، فَإِنِ اسْتَطَاعَ أَنْ لاَ تَقُومَ حَتَّى يَغْرِسَهَا فَلْيَغْرِسْهَا
“If the hour comes and in one of your hands there is a sapling that he is about to plant then let him plant the sapling.”
One should think about how much this emphasizes the importance of causing the earth to flourish. The hour is about to come, and the world is about to come to an end, but if you have a sapling in your hand, you should plant it.
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) reportedly said:
لَا ضَرَرَ وَلَا ضِرَارَ
“Harm not, nor reciprocate the harm of someone else with a harmful action”
It is also reported that he (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:
الْإِيمَانُ بِضْعٌ وَسَبْعُونَ شُعْبَةً أَعْلَاهَا لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ، وَأَدْنَاهَا إِمَاطَةُ الْأَذَى عَنِ الطَّرِيقِ
“Belief has 72 branches and the highest of these branches is La Ilaha illa Allah (there is no god but Allah) and the lowest of these branches is removing any harm from the pathways.”
Concern for the environment is nothing new for the Muslims. They wrote tens of books on this topic.
Among these books is one from the fourth Islamic century (a thousand years ago) by a scholar named Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Al-Tamimi. He wrote an entire book named, “The Substance of remaining through setting aright the Air that Has been Polluted and Avoiding the Harm of Diseases” (Madat al-Baqa fi Islahi Fasad al-Hawa wa al-Tahruz min Darar al-Awba’).
The subject of this book was environmental pollution, its causes, its effects and solutions. Al-Tamimi wrote about how to purify the air and water. He was one of the hundreds of scholars who addressed this topic among Muslims.
The only way that we can save mankind is by returning to Allah and the Sunna of His Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace). By returning to sacred law.
Allah created the universe He created human beings. Somebody who turns away from guidance will merely try, try, and try without success.