When it comes to the issues of environment, the patrons are usually the environmentally-conscious. Rarely we hear religious leaders being advocates for environmental protection. As a muslim though, we have to lead by example as we have a role by fitra in protecting and sustaining the environment. After all, we are the khalifah on earth as stated in Surah Al-An’aam verse 165:
“It is He Who has made you (His) vicegerents, inheritors of the earth: He has raised you in ranks, some above others: that He may try you in the gifts He has given you: for your Lord is quick in punishment: yet He is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.”
Being vicegerent, we are entrusted to protect and sustain the resources on earth which includes living and non-living things.
There are a number of traditions that forbid the unjustified killings of animals. Ibn `Umar reported that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “A woman who tied a cat will go to Hellfire; she neither fed it, nor allowed it to find food on its own.” And in another tradition, a prostitute’s sins are washed away because she gave drinking water to a thirsty dog.
It is clear that animals are to be treated well and can only be killed for food and that with a very sharp blade so as not to torture the animal further. A tradition states “For charity shown to each creature, there is a reward.”
In terms of saving water, the Prophet himself provided the model which should prove to be useful if followed by Muslims and non-Muslims alike; The Messenger of God, peace and blessings be upon him, performed ablution using one mudd [i.e. a measure equal to a handful of water].
The Quran itself have countless number of verses on the creations on earth which are all signs of the Greatness of Allah. If we khalifahs are not playing our part in protecting the environment then we must prepare to face the consequences.
The climate change report in an international global warming conference in Belgium 2007 reports:
The world’s average temperature have risen from 1990 levels. A further increase in the average temperature in the future would result in dire consequences.
+ 1 degree Celcius
Between 400 million and 1.7 billion extra people can’t get enough water, some infectious diseases and allergenic pollens rise, and some amphibians go extinct. But the world’s food supply, especially in northern areas, could increase. This would happen around 2020.
+ 2 degree Celcius
2 billion people could be without water and about 20 percent to 30 percent of the world’s species near extinction. Also, more people start dying because of malnutrition, disease, heat waves, floods and droughts—all caused by global warming. That would happen around 2050, depending on the level of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels.
All in all, the rising of temperature of earth would lead to
– rising sea levels
– water shortages
– loss of biodiversity
– receding glaciers
and all this would lead to the human population at risk.
More on Islamic jurisprudence of the the environment:
Interactives on Global Warming: