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

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

The Holy Quran: A New Ecological Paradigm

Among the world scriptures, the Holy Quran provides a unique resource for building a new ecological paradigm. Grounded in the Abrahamic tradition, it presents a harmonious view of nature reminiscent of the Far East. In the Quran, “whatsoever is the heavens and on the earth glorifies God” (59:1; 61:1; 62:1; 64:1). “The stars and the trees prostrate” (55:6), “the thunder hymns His praise” (13:13), and “unto God prostrates whosoever is in the heavens and whosoever is on the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the trees, and the beasts” (22:18). In these and many other verses, the … Continue reading

Islamic Principles on Sustainable Development

A huge number of verses in Qura’n and several sayings of the Prophet Muhammad indicate the great importance that has been given to environmental concerns and the responsibility of man to the environment. The concept of sustainable development in Islam can be defined as “The balanced and simultaneous realization of consumer welfare, economic efficiency, attainment of social justice, and ecological balance in the framework of a evolutionary knowledge-based, socially interactive model defining the Shuratic process”. The Shuratic process is the consultation or participatory ruling principle of Islam. The over arching principle in the use of nature is derived from the prophetic … Continue reading

Environmental and Spiritual Benefits of Ramadan Fasting

Our environment is more than trees, water, land, and air. It is a sense of peace, an understanding of our place in our society. It sustains our satisfaction in life and our interest in caring for the life around us. Recognizing the sustaining forces that make up our environment sometimes requires a time of deep introspection. Few practices in the human repertoire can guide us to deep introspection like the profound practice of fasting in the holy month of Ramadan. For one full month in every year, fasting is required for Muslims all over the world. The day-long fasting process in … Continue reading

Food Waste, Ramadan and the Middle East

With the holy month of Ramadan only a few days away, huge food wastage in the Middle East is again hogging limelight. It is a widely acccepted fact that almost half of the municipal solid waste stream in the Middle East is comprised of food wastes and associated matter. The increasing amount of food waste in the Middle East urgently demands a strong food waste management strategy to ensure its minimization and eco-friendly disposal.  Food Waste in Ramadan Middle East nations are acknowleded as being the world’s top food wasters, and during Ramadan the situation takes a turn for the worse. In 2012, the Dubai Municipality … Continue reading

Muslims and the Environment: A Mischance

The detachment of the modern-day man from the environment can be attributed to the desacralization of nature, and the modernist destitution of the inner state of the soul which, according to the scholar Seyyed Hossein Nasr in ‘Man and Nature’, accounts for the phenomenon of the ‘prostitution of nature’: “For modern man, nature has become like a prostitute ─to be benefited from without any sense of obligation and responsibility toward her.” Eradication of Natural World Mankind has surrounded itself with square walls and barren concrete structures for the sake of creating this artificial industrial world. Its constant need to feed … Continue reading

Rediscovering the Natural World – The Islamic Approach

Today more than half the world’s population live in cities. Our increasingly urban lives have ensured an almost total disconnection from the natural world to the extent that it is not uncommon to meet children who believe that milk originates in plastic supermarket cartons. It is as well to be conscious of this as much is left out in their education, both religious and secular, to the extent that we are continuing to cause irreparable harm to the Earth. Muslims are no exception to this, having also adopted urban lifestyles and modern modes of living that reveal an almost complete … Continue reading

Environmental Sustainability in Islam

Islamic beliefs, traditions and values provide an effective and comprehensive solution to the current environmental challenges faced by the human race. Islam has a rich tradition of highlighting the importance of environmental protection and conservation of natural resources. According to Islamic law, the basic elements of nature – land, water, fire, forest, and light – belong to all living things, not just human beings. The Holy Qur’an and Sunnah are a guiding light to promote sustainable development in Islamic countries as well as around the world. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) commands human beings to avoid doing mischief and wasting resources … Continue reading