Islam stresses on preserving the environment
Islam pays great attention to the environment and forbids all physical exploitations, including polluting the environment and it has taken the lead in setting rules that guarantee its safety, stability and beauty, and preserve its various resources, and this is consistent with the view of this valuable religion in the universe that is God’s creation and management, and one of the effects of His power and greatness.
We must appreciate, respect and maintain it. Environmental protection has become one of the biggest problems in this era.
Islam is keen that the environment be beautiful and good, free from everything that affects its beauty and splendor. Islam has legislated some legislations that contribute to the environment, those rules and legislations are based on the Quran and hadiths of the Messenger of Godﷺ one of them is: “no harm and no reciprocated harm”(Ibn Majah). This rule depicts the famous proverb “As you sow, so shall you reap” that each individual is absolutely free and he gets the same responses from nature as he has done with nature. some other rules include:
A. Combat desertification by urging the reconstruction, revival, reclamation and afforestation of the land so that it does not remain barren, and the Prophet ﷺsaid: “He who cultivates a land that is not for anyone then he is more entitled to it”(Bukhari).Prophet ﷺ also forbade cutting trees, because cutting them affects the beauty of the environment on the one hand, and deprives people and animals benefiting from it, as the Messenger of God ﷺ said:“Do not cut down trees, it is a protection for cattle’s (lives) in barrenness” (Musanaf Abdur Razaq).Prophet ﷺ also said:“the Muslim who plants a tree or sow’s crops, then a bird or a person, or an animal eats from it, that is charity for him” (Muslim).
B. Islam urges cleanliness of environment such as public squares, homes, roads and all other places as prophet ﷺ said: “purity is half of faith”(Muslim). Islam also commanded the removal of harmful things, such as dirt, dirt, and everything that is harmful from the road, so that the earth would remain clean and beautiful as Prophet ﷺ said:“Beware the three curses. One of them is Excrement in resources and on the side of the road” (Abu Dawood).
C. Conservation of water: Islam orders to conserve water and forbids throwing waste in it or extravagance in all its forms. Because its scarcity affects the life of humans, plants and animals, and this would affect the environment in general, as drought spreads in it or greenery decreases. in the hadith that the Prophet ﷺ, passed by Saad bin AbiWaqqas while he was performing ablution and said: “What is this extravagance?” He said, Is there extravagance in ablution? He said: Yes, even if you are on a flowing river” (Ibn Majah).
The Prophet ﷺ also forbids pollution of food and water by body fluids that carry germs and transmits infection as He ﷺ said: “None of you should urinate in stagnant water nor should bath in the water if the water is in the state of impurity (Muslim) and “he ﷺ also forbad from urinating in a bathroom” (Tirmidhi). Contaminating water resources with feces and the germs it contains is a key factor in transmitting diseases, directly through contaminated water, or indirectly through contamination of the vegetables and fruits that are irrigated with this water.
D. Removing harm: Removing harm is a comprehensive word for everything that harms people. And Islam came with the idea of reserves, in which hunting and cutting trees are prohibited. As the hadith is witnessing “O people, God prohibited killing, hunting and cutting in Makkah from the day he created the heavens and the earth, so it is forbidden until the Day of Resurrection. Al-Abbas said, except Al-Adhkhir because it is for homes and graves”(Muslim).Also, Abu Bakr advised the commander of his army and forbade cutting down trees, burning palm trees, or drowning them and the Messenger of Godﷺ, forbade slaughtering without a purpose, and said: “Whoever kills a bird and above it without its right, God Almighty will ask him about killing it! It was said: O Messenger of God, what is its right? He said: He slaughters it and eats it, and does not cut off its head and throws it” (Mishkath). There is no place to play with animal life without a legitimate aim. And God Almighty has honored the animals by giving the names of some of them to the surahs of the Noble Qur’an, such as the cows, the cattle, the bees, the ants, the spider and the elephant.
From these above-mentioned hadiths, we can extract some other rules to preserve the environment which are as under:
The harm is removed as much as possible: the guardians have the right to compel those who cause harm in homes, streets, markets, or the elements of the environment to remove the damage resulting from their actions and behavior, which may result harm to people, animals, or the quality of the environment.
What leads to the forbidden is forbidden: Everything that harms people fall under the threat of the forbidden here, and therefore any source that harms people in their health or comfort, such as the emission of gases that harm them, or the creation of noise disturbing their comfort is unacceptable.
Preserving the main components of the environment in Islamic legislation: The protection and preservation of the environment lies mainly in preserving its four elements, namely: water, food, air, and soil.
Prohibition of hunting in a specific crisis and in specific places, and this would provide an opportunity for animals and birds to reproduce by which environment become safe.
In order to live in a good environment, everyone is required to take these remedial measures: First: Spreading awareness among people about the importance of preserving the environment, warning of the danger of pollution through various advertising media, holding scientific conferences, and finding specialized study centers for that.
Second: Demanding countries in the Islamic world to move towards urbanization towards the desert to protect agricultural areas from the encroachment of urbanization and construction.
Third: to claim the governments to establish industrial projects away from population centers that no negative effects of these industries will occur.
Fourth: Inviting countries to address the problems caused by wastewater purification plants so that they can be far from water sources, springs, dams, lakes and population centers.
Fifth: Inviting thinkers and researchers to present their vision regarding these things.
Sixth: Ensuring the role of government and private organizations and institutions in spreading environmental awareness in accordance with Islamic rules.
These are the rules for preserving the environment from all the dangers that threatens it. The preventive aspect has the greatest impact on preserving the environment if it is properly presented. Islam has made self-censorship a basis for the actions of a Muslim in this life, and made fear of God’s punishment the pillar upon which human life is based.
Hence, awareness plays an important role in preserving the environment, because it enlightens the people about what he has to do towards it, and awakens his conscience to take care of it. One of the ways to develop environmental awareness is to make clear to the human being the extent of his connection with the environment and to teach him that his rights in the environment always correspond to duties towards it.
Here is no doubt that a healthy mind resides in a healthy body in a healthy environment. The Muslim is keen to implement the teachings of his true religion, and it is necessary to educate him about the importance of preserving the cleanliness of the environment and the sanctity of spoiling it, so that it remains free from diseases and damages.
On the remedial side, there must be some penalties for those who cause harm to the environment, according to the “no harm, no harm” rule. Among the possible penalties are financial fines. because the Messenger of God,(PBUH forbade such acts.
(The author is a Research Scholar, Department of Arabic BGSB University, Rajouri)