The holy month of Ramazan is around the corner. One of the most significant preparations that we should make to welcome this month of mercy is an adherence to the Quran on environmental protection. The month-long fasting in Ramazan optimises one’s potential to modify his/her life style in full synergy with the nature and environment. From the first reflection of the new moon in the sparkling pool of our earthly environment, everyone who keeps fasting in Ramadan is blessed with the balance between soul and body. In fact, an empty stomach inspires a healthy perception of the internal forces sustaining our soul as well as our environment. A sound body is always the good seat of sound mind which is not possible without maintaining a protected environment.
The first step towards the fulfillment of every divine duty, the Quran tells us, is give up everything that causes “abuse” or “corruption” (Fasad) on the earth. Allah enjoins in the Quran: Eat and drink what God has provided, but “don’t commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption.” (2:60). In this verse, the “corruption on the earth” (fasad fil ard) connotes not only conventional crimes such as murder, suicide, rape, theft etc. but also the different forms of earthly corruption such as deforestation, dumping toxic wastes and indiscriminate use of pesticides and everything antithetical to the environmental protection.
Several verses in the Quran call for an eco-friendly life without creating harm to the nature, as the natural forces are considered to be beautiful expressions of the Almightily Allah and, thus, they too are venerable entities. While the Quran is the word of God, the nature is the work of God which has the clearest signs (A’ayaat Bayyinaat) of His being. Therefore, Qur’an urges man to preserve the nature and ponder over its divine universal truths. Prophet Muhammad’s entire early life in Mecca was famous for his truthfulness (sidq), trustworthiness (amanah) and justice (adl), while his later life in Madina is epitome of service to humankind (khidmah), caring for all the creatures of Allah (khalq-ul-lah), preserving the earth, planting trees and protecting the environment.
The Prophet was so keen on planting trees that he exhorted his Companions: “Whoever plants a tree and diligently looks after it until it matures and bears fruit is rewarded” (Musnad). Whenever a human being or even an animal shelters under the shade of a tree or relishes a fruit that it produces, the planter will earn rewards, even after his or her death. The Prophet (pbuh) and his companions set practical examples of how to protect the rights of other creatures.
They took special care of crippled animals, rescued strays and guarded birds’ nests. One of the companions was named “Abu Huraira” (“father of cats”) because he was very fond of cats. The Prophet accorded great value to animals. Inspired by his care and compassion for all the creations, our livelihoods, our neighborhoods, in fact our entire environment should be benefitted from this beautiful Prophetic tradition. Strengthened by the spiritual discipline of fasting during the month of Ramadan, we can strive for higher goals to gain the common goodwill in this holy month.