Administrator on August 5th, 2009
Climate Change -The Clock is ticking
Leeds Makkah Masjid is dedicated to increasing the awareness of and sympathy for issues affecting our planet; the environmental crisis that we are facing requires the attention and action of the Muslim community. The challenge that we human face is enormous. We are moving towards the edge of catastrophe but we are not alive to this issue. Imam Qari Asim of Makkah Mosque is keen to raise awareness of the environmental crisis that we are facing. He provides seminars and lectures on Climate Change and environment and sustainability.
Climate change is a self-inflicted wound and currently our awareness of this challenge is limited. According to the HRH Prince of Wales Rainforests Project, tropical rainforests are being destroyed at the rate of 6 million hectares per year – that’s an area the size of a football pitch every four seconds. The reason of their destruction is chiefly the consumer demand or human greed – demands of the developed world for food and minerals.
According to some scientists the North Polar ice cap is melting so fast that they are predicting that in seven years time it will completely disappear in Summer. Other scientist that the melting of the North Polar ice will take longer. However, unless something is done soon to put an end to the abuse of the natural recourses, the disaster is inevitable.
God has created everything in this universe in due proportion and measure both quantitatively and qualitatively. The Quran states:
- “Verily, all things have We created by measure” (Quran 54:49)
- “And We have produced therein everything in balance.” (Quran 55:7)
- As for the earth, We have spread it out, set firm mountains on it, and made everything grow there in due balance (Qur’an 15:19)
All creation of God have been given the right to enjoy and share in the resources of the earth. Human being’s abuse of any resource, such as water, air, land, and soil as well as other living creatures such as plants and animals is forbidden. The Qur’an directly states: ‘Do not cause corruption on the earth’ (2:11).’
Human beings have tended to forgot about the pollution, deforestation, climate change and desertification that they have caused in favour of economic benefit.
Man as a Guardian of Nature
Man is effectively a trustee/guardian of the resources that are at his disposal. Allah has appointed Man his viceroy on the earth and has made all other creation his subject, as illustrated by the following verses:
- “…Your Lord said unto the angels: “Lo! I am about to place a viceroy on the earth…,”(Quran 22:65);
- “Do you not see that God has made subject to you (humans) all that is on the earth”(Quran 2:30); and
- We have honoured the children of Adam and carried them on land and sea, and provided them with good things, and preferred them greatly over many of those We created (Qur’an 17:70).
A trustee does not ‘kill’ those that are in his trust, does not destroy their homes, pollute carelessly with toxic wastes, and have deformities and diseases resulting from the careless and wasteful disposal of carcinogens. Rather a trustee takes every caution to protect the life, home and amenities that are enjoyed by those in his guardianship. The pollution, destruction of planet, the animals, birds and other inhabitants of the world caused by human abuse begs the question whether Man has taken his responsibility seriously.
Discharging the Responsibilities
Muslims seek God’s help in discharging their responsibilities in a manner that pleases Him and to show gratitude to Him for the extraordinary bounties and resources that He has provided to human beings. Just as God has been good to man so also man must act with the same beneficence, kindness and mercy toward nature so that he may safeguard himself when facing God. The rewards of tending to the environment are great indeed. Anas reported God’s Messenger as saying, “Whenever a Muslim plants trees or cultivates land and birds or a man or a beast eats out of them, it is a charity on his behalf.” (Sahih Muslim)
Human Greed v Moderation
In simple terms the reasons for the environmental crisis are the human greed, self-gratification, consumer waste, disregard for nature, neglect, mismanagement, laziness, greed and wasteful methodologies. Islam discourages luxurious and lavish living. The Qur’an warns against living a lavish living without any regard for others needs. ” Those who squander are the brothers of Satan, and Satan is most ungrateful to his Lord” (Qur’an 17:27) Numerous animals and plants are thoughtlessly killed and harvested when people waste tons of unused food. Thousands of rainforest are cut down to ’support’ our luxurious lifestyle. Muslims have been warned about the pollution and corruption that raises its head if human beings do not discharge their responsibilities properly. “Corruption appears on land and sea because of (the evil) that men’s hands have done, so that He may make them taste a part of what they have done, in order that they may return.” (Quran 30:41)
In contrast to being greedy and wanting more and more, the Qur’an guides us to moderation, balance, and preservation. Allah says that Muslims are to be ‘moderate’ in all things:
- “And We have willed you to be a community of the middle path (umatan wasatan)” (Qur’an 2:143).
For Muslims, the path between extremes – the middle path – is enjoined on them:
- For, the true servants of the Most Gracious are they who … whenever they spend are neither wasteful nor niggardly, but (remember) that there is always a just mean between these two extremes (Qur’an 25:63).
Long before it became fashionable or ‘politically correct’ to care about the environment, the Qur’an and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) encouraged Muslims to care for nature and other creation of God. Cutting down trees was seen as an abomination and discouraged. In the words of the Prophet, looking after the nature is so important that: “When doomsday comes, if someone has a palm shoot in his hands, he should plant it.”
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
It is more important than ever for Muslims to take action and take their responsibility of being viceroy on the earth (khalifatullah) seriously. Islam teaches Muslims to respect Allah’s creation and maintain the balance He created. As Muslims make up at least one fifth of the world’s population, they should set example for other people to follow.
Man’s rapacious attitude towards his environment shall come to haunt him unless serious, long-term positive steps are taken. A culture of environmental sustainability will have to be created. Muslims can put into practice the 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle). Muslims can increase awareness about their duty of care for the whole of God’s creation. It is a test of the amana or trust, that mankind pass on to future generations these resources. The present generation needs to act to save this planet for future generations since the environmental crisis has reached a defining moment. Makkah Masjid as the UK’s Model Mosque sees it as its responsibility to raise awareness to preserve the natural environment that God gave us.
Imam of Makkah Masjid, Qari Asim believes that the clock is tacking fast and the global environmental crisis affecting everyone on the planet needs to at the forefront of the social and the political agenda for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
If you would like to find out more about the training/seminar that Imam Qari Asim of Makkah Mosque provides on Climate Change, environmental crisis please e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org