Planting Trees: An Eco-Friendly Jihad

By Ghualm Rasool Dehlvi, Editor WordForPeace.com

Prince Charles, the heir apparent of Queen Elizabeth II, once elaborated on how Islam and the environment are in full harmony. Addressing an enlightened gathering of the Oxford University, he beautifully said, “From what I know of the Quran, again and again it describes the natural world as the handiwork of a unitary benevolent power. It very explicitly describes Nature as possessing an intelligibility and that there is no separation between Man and Nature, precisely because there is no separation between the natural world and God.

Clearly, there is an inseparable relation between the environment and our soul. It will be great if Muslims in particular and the wider world in general learn from the Holy Scriptures like the Qur’an and try to wage an eco-friendly jihad. This will be the true jihad (noble effort) to please God and ensure easy entry into a heaven in this existing world, not to speak of the hereafter. Thus, we can taste the heavenly bliss on the very planet before we chance upon the eternal paradise.

The holy Quran offers a completely integrated view of the Universe where human souls and the environment are all part of one living, conscious whole. Therefore, it exhorts us to live a balanced, moderate and an eco-friendly life without causing any harm to the Nature or Earth. It says it in so many words. For instance, “And do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption.” (Qur’an, 2:60) and again, And do not desire corruption in the land. Indeed, God does not like corruptors.” (Qur’an 28:77).

In the Quranic view, corruption on the earth is not confined to only political crimes such as frauds, theft, rape, illegal banking or other prevalent malpractices. Deforestation, toxic waste, pesticides, and cutting so many trees on the earth are also grave corruption and hence brazen violation of the true Islamic universal values. Prophet Muhmmad (pbuh) set glaring examples of being eco-friendly and going green in his life. He spent all his life in an eco-friendly jihad, saving the humankind, caring for other creations, preserving the earth, planting trees and protecting the environment at large.

Right from his young age, the Prophet (pbuh) was inclined towards the preservation of trees. When he was just 12, he travelled to Syria with his uncle and took shelter under a tree. Today, after more than 14 hundred years, the same tree is alive and agile in the northern deserts of Jordan. This tree, which sheltered the Prophet, is the only living tree in hundreds of square miles of emptiness. It speaks volumes about the Prophets utmost care for the preservation of the trees. Even after his death, he left behind a living inspiration for all humankind to go green, that is, his holy shrine known as the Green Tomb. Greatly venerated by Muslims the world over, it is one of the most visited Islamic heritage sites.

Just as the Prophet (pbuh) was keen on planting trees, similarly his Companions also carried on with this virtuous act. Gladly enough, the Prophet (pbuh) promised ample rewards and heavenly bliss for those who engage in it in any way: whoever plants a tree and diligently looks after it until it matures and bears fruit is rewarded (Musnad).

Like the above hadith, scores of prophetic sayings emphasize the need to go green, preserve the earth and become environment-friendly reminding us of our humane duty to plant trees on our soil. For the Prophet Muhmmad (pbuh), tree was not only a resting place, but also an infinite mercy of God that one should take care of. Ultimately, planting a tree is a Sadaqah Jariya (an ever-lasting charity) in Islam. Whenever a human being or even an animal shelters under the shade of a tree or relishes a fruit that it produces, the planter earns infinite rewards, even after his/her death. For the poor and the rich alike, planting a tree is the easiest and and the surest way to earn Sadaqah Jariya. So, let us all try and plant away.

Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is a classical Islamic scholar, speaker and an English-Arabic-Urdu writer. He can be contacted at grdehlavi@gmail.com

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