The Natural World

Quick revise
Environmental Problems

Some examples:

  • Pollution (e.g. waste products being pumped into the air, sea, etc.)
  • Global Warming (The greenhouse effect is changing the climate in the world.)
  • Deforestation (destruction of rainforests means less oxygen is produced by the trees.)
  • The Ozone Layer (holes in the ozone layer mean we are not protected by from harmful rays from the sun.)
  • Population Explosion (which stretches the world’s resources.)
  • Use of fossil fuels (not using renewable energy means we are wasting the world’s resources.)
  • Animal and plant extinction (upsetting the balance of nature.)
General Muslim beliefs
  • Allah created the world and so we must respect it.
  • We must be good stewards (khalifahs) – looking after the world.
  • All life is holy (sacred) and should not be destroyed unnecessarily.
  • People will be judged according to the way they have treated the world.
Specific Teachings

‘He has given you the earth for your heritage’ (Qur’an, surah 6.165).

‘To [Allah] belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth’ (Surah 2.256-7).

‘Live in this world as if you were going to live forever’ (Hadith).

Animals

  • Muhammad (pbuh) was kind to animals so we should follow his example.
  • It is haram (forbidden) to cage animals to test cosmetics.
  • Animals may be used to find cures for disease as long as the suffering is kept to a minimum.

‘A good deed done to a beast is as good as doing good to a human being; while an act of cruelty to a beast is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being.’ (Hadith)

Blood Sports

Animals have feelings and purpose.

‘Whoever kills anything bigger than a sparrow without a just cause, Allah will hold him accountable for it'. The listeners asked, “O Messenger of Allah, what is a just cause?” He replied, “That he kill to eat, not simply to chop off its head and then throw it away.”

Vegetarianism

Muslims are permitted to eat meat, but only halal meat. In fact it is part of their religious practice at times to eat meat (at the feast of Eid-ul-Adha animals are killed and the meat shared out).

Halal meat comes from animals that have been killed in a more human way ‘in the name of Allah the merciful, the compassionate’.

Qur’an, surah 16.114-5 ‘Eat the lawful and good food that Allah has provided for you. He has forbidden only carrion, blood and swine-flesh.’

What can Muslims do?
  • Make sure that their lifestyles are fitting for their role as khalifahs.
  • Support charities that work for the good of the environment (e.g. the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences).
  • Encourage governments to have respectful policies.
  • Recognise that as part of the ummah (worldwide community), Muslims must work together as khalifahs.

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