Significance of Rural Culture in Islam

Rural culture developed magnificently during medieval times in the Islamic Mediterranean countries. It has left its mark on many aspects of daily life in the countryside, from Sicily and the Spanish Levant to the Maghreb and the Eastern regions. Al-Andalus was a perfect example. Not only are Arabic words present in every movement, skill and tradition throughout much of Spain, but the actual rural landscape forms part of this heritage. And the same can be said about age-old customs for the distribution and use of water, for sowing, grafting, harvesting and storing, and many of today’s extensive, organic farming methods. … Continue reading

Waste Management Awareness in Oman: A Pilot Study

The four Rs (reduce, reuse, repurpose, and recycle) of waste management have not yet entered the everyday discourse of Oman, but does this mean that they are not part of everyday life in Oman? We think the people of Oman can help us to answer this question. To get a first-hand understanding of the degree of waste management awareness in Oman, a pilot study was designed, a questionnaire was prepared, and in a series of interviews with individual Omanis we recorded their responses. Insights into the Survey The questionnaire covered household consumption habits, food waste and other household waste, and awareness of … Continue reading

Overpopulation, Overconsumption and Climate Change: An Islamic Perspective

Overpopulation- and incipient overconsumption- are the twin products of the capitalist system. Consumerism is characterized by the desire for material goods. It is the dominant ideology of our times and holds responsibility for the Climate Crisis. This is as consumerism is intimately linked with anthropocentrism, environmental destruction and global inequality Moreover, Islam can provide a thoroughgoing critique of the prevailing socio-economic system.  As such, it is necessary to develop a strong Islamic platform in order to work towards economic justice and sustainability. Overpopulation can be better understood through analysis of overconsumption and resource depletion. The scale of the problem can … Continue reading

Islam, Economics and a Blueprint for Sustainable Development

Islamic economic thought is heavily based on the concepts of fairness and justice. Trade is encouraged- but only within the guidelines of the Shariah (Islamic law). As a result, the Islamic economic system is largely value-driven and fits within the principles of sustainability. A key Islamic principle concerns how “everything belongs to God, and wealth is held by people in trust”. [1] This means that human beings have a God-given duty to care for the Earth. In turn, this links with the idea of Khilafa (stewardship).  The Holy Qur’an states, “Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea on … Continue reading

Water Conservation in Islamic Teachings

Water occupies a pivotal role in Islam, and is recognized by Muslims as a blessing that “gives and sustains life, and purifies humankind and the earth”. The Arabic word for water, ma’a, is referenced exactly 63 times throughout the Holy Qur’an and is a recurring topic in many of the sayings of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him). Water is not only praised for its life providing and sustaining properties, but it is essential in the daily life of a Muslim. A follower is required to complete ablution prior to the performance of the prayer, five times a day. … Continue reading

Solid Waste Management in the Middle East – Major Challenges

Middle East is one of the most prolific waste generating regions of the world. Solid waste management in the Middle East is bogged down by major challenges like lavish lifestyles, ineffective legislation, infrastructural roadblocks, indifferent public attitude and lack of environmental awareness. High standards of living are contributing to more generation of waste which when coupled with lack of waste collection and disposal facilities have transformed ‘trash’ into a liability. Major Hurdles The general perception towards waste is that of indifference and apathy. Waste is treated as ‘waste’ rather than as a ‘resource’. There is an urgent need to increase … Continue reading

Islam and Animal Rights

All living beings – humans, birds, animals, insects etc – are worthy of consideration and respect. Islam has always viewed animals as a special part of God’s creation. Mankind is responsible for whatever it has at its disposal, including animals whose rights must be respected. The Holy Qur’an, the Hadith, and the history of Islamic civilization offer many examples of kindness, mercy, and compassion for animals. According to Islamic principles, animals have their own position in the creation hierarchy and humans are responsible for their well-being and food. Islam strongly asks Muslims to treat animals with compassion and not to abuse them. The Holy Qur’an states … Continue reading

Islam and Environment Protection

Environment protection is an important aspect of Islam. Being stewards of the Earth, it is the responsibility of Muslims to care for the environment in a proactive manner. There is a definite purpose behind the creation of different species, be it plants or animals. Muslims are encouraged to reflect on the relationship between living organisms and their environment and to maintain the ecological balance created by Allah. Protection of the environment is essential to Islamic beliefs and mankind has the responsibility to ensure safe custody of the environment. Environment Protection and Resource Conservation The Islamic perspective on environment protection reflects … Continue reading

Attitudes towards Waste Management – The Case in Oman

Responses to the Oman waste management questionnaire were interesting, enlightening, and often unexpected. The Omani interviewees gave thoughtful answers and additional insights and opinions that stemmed from their sociocultural backgrounds as well as from their individual experiences. Often, statements and assertions from these respondents were found to be corroborated by evidence from other types of research, such as the study on the composition of refuse found in dumpsites in Muscat, or the feeding habits of camels cited earlier. Food waste On the topic of food waste, respondents generally had a strong belief that such waste was immoral. When asked about … Continue reading

Islam – In Harmony With Nature

The ecological crisis of the world presents one of the biggest challenges of our time. Through prophets and messengers, God has revealed holy books that bring both glad tidings and warnings, so that people act in a righteous and just manner. In the Holy Quran, God speaks of creating everything in balance, and warns that transgression of the balance shall have disastrous consequences. This holds true not just for the world around us, but also for our souls, for Islam does not differentiate the world of man from the world of nature.  There are over 6,000 verses in the Holy Quran … Continue reading

Rethinking Sustainability: Islamic Perspectives

The 21st century is characterized by a number of global environmental challenges that shaped and defined the discourse and agenda of the West with respect to the developing world, specifically the Islamic world. Islam provides new sustainability perspectives for discovering and explaining the root causes for the current environmental, economic and social crises as manifested in climate change, HIV, poverty and human security. For example, the Islamic perspective on climate change is that the root cause of this global issue is the absence or lack of human stewardship and is an indication of market failures. Pitfalls of the Western Model … Continue reading

Water in Islamic Culture

The great cultural bloom that took place during the al-Andalus period was made possible from a material and social viewpoint thanks, among other factors, to the wise water management at those times. Countryside, cities, public bathhouses and fountains, mosques and gardens honoured the element of water. However, this water culture emerged from a distinctively Islamic conception which is briefly summarized in the following paragraphs. Water in the Holy Quran In Islam, life and knowledge originated from water, a divine gift that symbolises profound wisdom, the drink that quenches the soul’s thirst. But it is also science. Thus, the word al-ma’a – water … Continue reading