Islam and Environmentalism: Is a Greener Islam Possible?


IS A GREENER ISLAM POSSIBLE?

"We did indeed offer the Trust to the Heavens and the Earth and the Mountains; but they refused to undertake it, being afraid thereof: but man undertook it; He was indeed unjust and foolish." (Quran 33:72)

Green is the color which is most often associated with Islam and coincidently green is also the color which is associated with the environmentalist movement. While the modern Environmentalist movement goes back to the efforts of Rachel Carlson, one can argue that the care of environment has been integral to most of the religious traditions of the world.

In recent years environment friendly groups have emerged in all the major religions of the world, perhaps the strongest statement on the issue has come from the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, nicknamed the Green Patriarch, who stated harming the environment could be considered a sin.

Many Evangelical Christians have also shown keen interest on the issue of Environmentalism which call Creation Care. In rural Thailand, Buddhist monks have ordained trees as part of their monastic order with the consequence that villagers refrain from cutting down such trees. Islam is no exception to the surge in religious interest in the environmentalist movement.

Recently Environmentalism has come to the fore again mainly through the media spotlight generated by Al Gore and thus this is a good opportunity to see how the issue affects Muslims as individuals and as a whole.

According to the Islamic world view, while humans are God's vicegerents on Earth, they do not have absolute autonomy but rather they have been entrusted the Guardianship of the Earth. The Islamic tradition is rich with references to issues like the protection of the environment and even animal rights. (MORE)

The author M. Aurangzeb Ahmad is a doctorate student. He can be reached at aurangzeb.ahmad@gmail.com

 


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