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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Earth Day & Islam - Hadiths of the Prophet on the Environment

Earth Day, April 22nd, 2009 / the Environment & Islam:

Muslims have long had a responsibility to be "Green" & environmentally friendly long before these terms became as commonplace as they are today, Allah (SWT) compels Muslims in the Quran to respect and revere the environment when He says:

40:57 - -
لَخَلْقُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ أَكْبَرُ مِنْ خَلْقِ النَّاسِ وَلَكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ (40:57)
Baset - Hussari - Minshawi

Lakhalqu alssamawati waalardi akbaru min khalqi alnnasi walakinna akthara alnnasi la yaAAlamoona

  • 40:57 (Asad) Greater indeed than the creation of man is the creation of the heavens and the earth: [41] yet most men do not understand [what this implies].

  • Trees and the Environment in Hadiths of the Prophet (PBUH)

    Both in his practices and in various of his Hadiths, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) attached great importance to planting trees, protecting existent ones, planting forests, as well as to conserving existent ones. A’isha, one of his wives, said: “His character was the Qur’an.”[30] His practices and conduct related to conservation of the environment should therefore be considered from the Qur’anic standpoint. For us his actions are sources of inspiration constituting his Sunna or practices, which we are obliged to follow. To put it another way, as in all matters, the exemplar of Islamic conduct related to the environment and the person who displayed it in most perfect fashion was God’s Messenger (PBUH). As this, and his commands concerning it, are learnt, our weighty responsibilities become clear.

    Some Hadiths of the Prophet connected with planting trees and protecting them:

    “If you have a sapling, if you have the time, be certain to plant it, even if Doomsday starts to break forth.”[31]

    “Whoever plants trees, God will give him reward to the extent of their fruit.”[32]

    “Whoever reclaims and cultivates dry, barren land will be rewarded by God for the act. So long as men and animals benefit from it He will record it for him as almsgiving.”[33]

    “Whoever plants a tree, reward will be recorded for him so long as it produces fruit.”[34]

    If a Muslim plants a tree, that part of its produce consumed by men will be as almsgiving for him. Any fruit stolen from the tree will also be as almsgiving for him. That which the birds eat will also be as almsgiving for him. Any of its produce which people may eat thus diminishing it, will be as almsgiving for the Muslims who planted it.[35]

    The reward accruing from seven things continue to reach the person concerned even if he is in his grave: knowledge he has taught, water he has provided for the public benefit, any well he has dug, any tree he has planted, a mosque he has built, recitations of the Qur’an bequeathed to him, and children who pray for him after his death.[36]

    On migrating to Medina, God’s Messenger (PBUH) organized the planting of trees and of date groves. He made the forests and green spaces conservation areas, where every sort of living creature lived. These were called sanctuaries (hima). For example, a strip of land approximately twelve miles wide around Medina was proclaimed a sanctuary and made a conservation area. We know that he proclaimed other areas, similar to this, sanctuaries. All these show the paramount importance —as a religion— Islam gives to nature conservancy and protection of all nature’s living creatures.

    [30] Muslim, Musafirun, 139; Musnad, vi, 91, 111, 163, 188, 216.
    [31] al-Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir, iii, 30.
    [32] Musnad, v, 415.
    [33] al-Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir, vi, 39; Haythami, Majmau al-Zawaaid, iv, 67-8.
    [34] Majma' al-Zawaid, v, 480.
    [35] Bukhari, Tajrid al-Sahih, vii, 122; Muslim, Musaqat, 2 No> 2.
    [36] al-Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir, iv, 87.

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