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Religious Studies

Islam: beliefs about care of the planet

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The relationship between human beings and the earth is increasingly complicated and urgent. Every day there are stories about pollution, global warming and animal species facing extinction. Religion is responding with views on the enviroment and our responsibility for it.

Islamic belief about the environment

Although human beings are seen as the most intelligent life form on earth, they are responsible for almost all the damage done to the planet. If we imagined the earth is aged 46, all the damage done has taken place in the last 60 seconds of the earth's life.

The Qur’an [Qur'an: That which is read or recited. The Divine Book revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. Allah's final revelation to humankind. ] says that Allah (God) is the Creator of the world. Human beings are on the world as trustees or ‘viceregents’ - they are told to look after the world for Allah and for the future:

The Earth is green and beautiful, and Allah has appointed you his stewards over it. The whole earth has been created a place of worship, pure and clean. Whoever plants a tree and diligently looks after it until it matures and bears fruit is rewarded. If a Muslim plants a tree or sows a field and humans and beasts and birds eat from it, all of it is love on his part.

Hadith

In the Qur’an, Muslims are instructed to look after the environment and not to damage it:

Devote thyself single-mindedly to the Faith, and thus follow the nature designed by Allah, the nature according to which He has fashioned mankind. There is no altering the creation of Allah.

Surah 30:30

Muslims have to look after the earth because it is all Allah’s creation and it is part of a human’s duty to Allah:

Allah is He Who raised up the heavens without any pillars that you can see. Then He settled Himself on the Throne, and constrained the sun and the moon to serve you; each planet pursues its course during an appointed term. He regulates it all and expounds the Signs, that you may have firm belief in the meeting with your Lord. He it is Who spread out the earth and made therein firmly fixed mountains and rivers, and of fruits of every kind He has made pairs. He causes the night to cover the day. In all this, verily, are signs doer a people who reflect.

Surah 13:3-4

Because of this passage, people see themselves as being responsible for the world which Allah created and they have to make their own decisions about how to do this.

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