Do no harm

Rushdy El-Ghussein, former president of the Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City: Muslims believe that God entrusted human beings to act as his agents in this life. One aspect of this responsibility is to take care of the environment. The environment belongs to all of us, and none of us will escape the effects of its mistreatment. In the same token, all of us will benefit from being good environmental stewards.

Muslims are taught to conserve, protect and guard the environment. For example, when the prophet taught Muslims to perform Wudu (ablution), he said to conserve the water even if we are beside a river. I do recall that a Muslim leader instructed his soldiers not to cut a tree or poison water, even if it feeds or benefits an enemy or his animals. By valuing and preserving the environment, we are honoring God for the responsibility that he has given us. We are thanking him for the bounties that he bestowed upon us. We are acknowledging God’s creativity and showing our appreciation for this. Moderation is a virtue that should be encouraged in our daily life.

As religious people we are forbidden from harming ourselves. Harming the environment harms us. If we do not protect and share the abundance in this world, we will fall into the trap of selfishness, which brings nothing but destruction and hopelessness. Let us not be of those who are selfish and narcissistic.


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