After the dawn prayers, I was sitting in the Masjid Al Nabawi Sharif (the Grand Mosque in the city of Madinah, Saudi Arabia) and watching the most beautiful scene on earth – the Green Dome (Gunbad-e-Khadhra) at the sunrise. My eyes were filled with joyful tears and my heart was busy thanking Allah for this opportunity. Suddenly, a thought distracted me; The Greenpeace movement came to my mind. I started watching the green dome with a quite different perspective. Now, I was watching the first ever symbol of environmental protection, the Green Dome of Masjid Al Nabawi Sharif. I felt quite differently about the person resting underneath the green dome, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) –” the founder of the first ever environmental protection and conservation movement on earth.
While I was watching the glorious green dome of Masjid Al Nabawi, I started asking questions to myself. Why the human society, especially the western world, does not know much about the first and the original environmental and conservation movement on earth? This movement was started 1400 years ago by God’s (Allah) last messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him). No one before him established such comprehensive guidelines for resource conservation and environment protection. Had the humans followed him (Peace be upon him), they would have never faced the current environmental disasters.
Currently, around the world several organizations such as UNO, Greenpeace, Sierra club and other non governmental and government organizations / agencies are working to protect the environment. These agencies and organizations have now realized that the overwhelming industrialization of the world and misguided principles of human development have caused serious damages to the environment. They are now trying to control this damage. They are now setting up the standards such as Kyoto agreement to minimize the further environmental damage.
1400 years ago when no one would have thought the importance of environmental protection, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) gave the world the guiding principles for keeping the healthy environment and conserving the world resources. Islam’s Holy book, Qur’an says;
- “And produced therein all kinds of things in due balance." (Surah 15, verse 19)
- "Verily, all things have We created in proportion and measure" (Surah 54, verse 49)
- Every single thing is before His sight, in proportion” (Surah 13, verse 8)
But man’s overwhelming industrialization of earth is damaging that balance and proportions. What right does man have to change this balance and destroy Allah’s creation?
- "Have you not seen that Allah is glorified by all in the heavens and on the earth – such as the birds with wings outspread? Each knows its worship and glorification, and Allah is aware of what they do." (Surah 24, verse 41)
- "He who has spread out the earth for you and threaded roads for you therein and has sent down water from the sky: With it have we brought forth diverse kinds of vegetation. Eat and pasture your cattle; verily, in this are signs for men endued with understanding." (Surah 20, verse 53 and 54)
- "We have not created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them carelessly. We have not created them but for truth but most of them do not understand." (Surah 44, verse 38 and 39)
- "It is Allah that splits the seed and the date stone, brings the living from the dead and the dead from the living: That is Allah -how are you turned away from the truth?" (Surah 6, verse 95)
Just like humans all other things are Allah’s creation. These things know Allah and remember Him. What right does man have to destroy the animals, birds, trees, mountains, atmosphere, climate, etc. by producing pollutants in the environment?
Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said;
- "Created beings are Allah’s dependents, and the one dearest to Allah is he who does most good to Allah’s dependents." (Book of Baihaqi)
- "The world is beautiful and verdant, and verily Allah, be He exalted, has made you His stewards in it, and He sees how you acquit yourselves." (Muslim Sharif)
Allah granted human beings stewardship (KHILAFAH) on the earth. Therefore, humans are responsible for implementing Allah’s instructions, laws and regulations on earth. Humans do not own earth, or things on earth. They supposed to manage the resources on earth under the laws and regulations prescribed by the OWNER i.e. Allah. Humans must take every precaution to ensure the interests and rights of all others creatures of Allah as they are equal partners on earth. There must not be any abuse to the environment by humans.
- "If any Muslim plants a tree or sows a field, and a human, bird or animal eats from it; it shall be reckoned as charity from him." (Musnad Imam Ahmed)
- "If the day of resurrection comes upon anyone of you while he has a seedling in hand, let him plant it." (Bukhari Sharif)
Damage and destruction in any shape or form has been forbidden in Islam.
- "There shall be no destruction / damage and no infliction through destruction / damage." (Muwatta Imam Malik)
Humans are destroying the environment for the future generations by getting benefits for the current generation through the industrialization of the world. This is very selfish and is forbidden in Islam. Causing damage for benefits is forbidden in Islam.
Islam proactively stops the damage before it starts. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) provided the guidelines for handling all forms of wastes and pollutants in order to avoid the environmental damages.
- “One must not relieve himself in a water source or on a path, or in a place of shade, or in the burrow of a living creature. (Abu Dawood)
This means biological, chemicals, nuclear wastes, pesticides, herbicides are forbidden in Islam. All these pollutants cause damage to the environment. The emissions from factories and automobiles must be controlled and properly handled.
The Merciful Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said;
- Show mercy to those on earth, and He (Allah) will show mercy unto you in the Heavens. (Abu Dawood and Thirmidhi)
- One should provide the needs of any animals under his/her care, if a person causes an animal to die of starvation or thirst is punished by Allah in the hell.” (Bukhari and Muslim Sharif)
- When people asked, O Messenger of Allah, is there a reward in doing good to the animals? He (peace be upon him) said, "There is a reward in doing good to every living thing." (Bukhari and Muslim Sharif)
The universal and the most visionary Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) forbade;
- To kill animals or birds for fun or mere sports (Bukhari and Muslim Sharif)
- To lit a fire on anthill (Bukhari & Muslim Sharif)
- To cut tree that provides valuable shelter to humans or animals in the desert / jungle (Abu Dawood)
- To waste water even for ablution for prayers (Bukhari)
- He ordered a man who had taken the nestlings of a bird from their nest to return them whence he got them, to their mother which was trying to protect them." (Abu Dawood)
Muslims, around the world, have an obligation to protect the environment and conserve resources by joining the original Environmental Protection Agency on earth founded by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In other words, just believing is not enough, do some thing about it. Protect the environment from all forms of corruptions and pollutants.
It is in everyone’s interest, Muslims and non Muslims, to follow the most proactive and the pioneer of environmental protection movement, the final Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (peace be upon him). May we get some wisdom. Amen.
Those who conserve in this world will get it back in abundance in the Heavens.