Muslim Declaration

islam.jpgUnity, trusteeship and accountability, that is tawheed, khalifa and akrah, the three central concepts of Islam, are also the pillars of the environmental ethics of Islam. They constitute the basic values taught by the Qur’an. It is these values which led Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam to say: “Whoever plants a tree and diligently looks after it until it matures and bears fruit is rewarded,” and “If a Muslim plants a tree or sows a field and men and beasts and birds eat from it, all of it is charity on his part,” and again, “The world is green and beautiful and God has appointed you his stewards over it.” Environmental consciousness is born when such values are adopted and become an intrinsic part of our mental and physical makeup.

Muslims need to return to this nexus of values, this way of understanding themselves and their environment.  The notions of unity, trusteeship and accountability should not be reduced to matters of personal piety; they must guide all aspects of life and works. Shariah (Islamic law) must not be relegated just to issues of crime and punishment, it must also become the vanguard for environmental legislation. We often say that Islam is a complete way of life, by which it is meant that our ethical systems provide the bearings for all our actions. Yet our actions often undermine the very values we cherish. We must judge our actions by them. They furnish us with a world-view which enables us to ask environmentally appropriate questions, draw up the right balance sheet of possibilities, properly weight the environmental costs and benefits of what we want, what we can do within the ethical boundaries established by God, without violating the rights of His other creations. If we use the same values, the same understanding in our work as a scientist and technologist, economist or politician as we do to know ourselves as Muslims –those who subject themselves to the Will of God — then, I believe, we will create a true Islamic alternative, a caring and practical way of being, doing and knowing, to the environmentally destructive thought and action which dominate the world today.

By Dr. Abdullah Omar Nassef
Secretary General, Muslim World League

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