Hima: Integration of Religion and Conservation

Revisiting the earliest days of rural, pastoral- and agriculture-based societies offers thought-provoking answers to solve today’s crises. At the highest levels of international concern, Islam’s formalized system of “Hima,” or Nature Conservation, is receiving optimistic attention. One of the reasons why Hima is an interesting solution for today’s conservation needs is because it developed under a similar set of crises. Relatively speaking, the ratio of human population to accessible natural resources in the days of Moses was just as dire as today’s challenges. It is possible to recognize the development of Hima by following the early days of Prophet Moses, … Continue reading

The Islamic Discourse on Climate Change

Global ecological trends show that we face the risk of tipping points and irreversible changes in the environment and in its capacity to support and sustain human life in all its dimensions.  This state of imbalance and pollution is referred to as “fassad” in Islam which is attributed to human-made actions. Transforming society and the world’s economy to a sustainable basis presents the most significant challenge to the 21st century. It is inspiring to harness local knowledge and culture to inform sustainability. Islam as a worldview and a way of life can provide a fresh outlook to human-environmental in a … Continue reading

Islam and Environmental Protection: A Fresh Perspective

There is an inseparable relation between the environment and our soul. It will be great if Muslims in particular and the wider world in general learn from the Holy Scriptures, like the Holy Qur’an and Hadith, to try to wage an eco-friendly jihad (noble effort) to promote environmental balance and stability. This will be the true jihad to please God and ensure easy entry to heaven, in the existing world, not to speak of the hereafter. Thus, we can taste the bliss of heaven on this planet before we chance upon the eternal paradise. Quran and Environmentalism The Holy Qur’an … Continue reading

Environmental Initiatives in Middle East – Challenges and Remedies

Environmental protection has become an increasingly important item on the social and economic policy agenda of Middle East nations. As I read last week’s piece titled “Environmental Impacts of Plastic Bags” I was struck by the succinct summary of the main problems with the ongoing use of plastic bags and how their effects can be felt in many ways, some widely publicized and others not. The article prompted a series of reflections upon other environmental initiatives emerging in the Middle East and North Africa, especially in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. In this article, I wish to share my … Continue reading

Islamic Teachings on Animal Welfare

During the last few decades, agriculture and animal-rearing has become commercialized and industrialised. The breeding and slaughtering of farm animals in Muslim countries has become an unethical money-making business. In addition, the halal label  has lost its real meaning due to focus on maximum productivity and minimal compassion towards animals. The consumption of meat products  has increased manifolds in recent years which has led to significant increase in public health issues. Moreover, it is having harmful effects on the environment and on animal health as well. Animals and the Holy Quran Long before the emergence of the animal rights movement, … Continue reading

Animal Welfare: Guiding Principles in Islam

Survival and sustainability of animals are key principles in Islam. We are not their creator, only their caretakers, and have no right to engage in practices that will bring about their extinction or even their suffering. Animals have God-given roles to play on the earth and we are not entitled to stop or hinder them, except in the case of defending ourselves or our property from danger. We are not entitled to destroy the environments in which animals live, as this also impacts their ability to survive. Animals, humans, and plants all live together in an interrelated ecosystem, dependent on … Continue reading

Reflecting Upon Signs of God: Call to Climate Action

As over a billion Muslims celebrate Ramadan, the month of the Qur’an, it behooves us to reflect upon all the āyāt – verses or signs – of God. God enjoins us over and again to contemplate every āyah (verse) of the Holy Writ, as in Surah Muhammad: ‘Do they not contemplate the Qur’an? Or do hearts have their locks upon them?’ (47:24). In Surat al-Mu’minūn, He says: ‘Have they not contemplated the Word, or has there come unto them that which came not unto their forefathers?’ (23:68). In Surat al-Baqarah we are told: ‘Thus does God make clear unto you the signs (āyāt), that … Continue reading

Towards a Green Hajj

Despite the spiritual perfection of the rites of the Hajj pilgrimage, there are some deep issues with its practical implementation. In a journey where one is meant to recalibrate one’s consciousness of the one true Creator, it seems paradoxical that such an excursion should lead to environmental harm (or destruction). Why is it then that I walk the street of the Haram (sacred land) and find them littered with boxes of chicken and rice, strewn on the curb in front of beggars who offer to pray for you in exchange of spare change? A Deluge of Waste In 7:31, the … Continue reading

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

Food Waste and the Spirit of Ramadan

In recent years, enormous generation of food waste during the holy month of Ramadan has been a matter of big debate in Muslim countries and elsewhere. As per conservative estimates, around one-fifth of the food purchased or prepared during Ramadan finds its way to garbage bins or landfills. This translates into thousands of tons of precious food which could have been used for feeding tens of millions of hungry people in impoverished countries of Asia, Africa and elsewhere. The staggering amount of food waste generation during Ramadan urgently demands a strong strategy for its minimization, sustainable utilization and eco-friendly disposal. Gravity 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

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