By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi
An essential necessity for human existence is the environmental protection and care for all the creations. As the year 2017 falls, people around the world strive for cleaner air and water and greener Earth.
Given the increasing pollution causing an irreparable damage to flora and fauna, the world leaders aspire to reach an accord by the end of this year to cut down on emissions following the Kyoto Protocol, an agreement between several countries that they will protect the environment and fight the global warming.
Though this is an insurmountable task to achieve in a short span of time, however, it would be easier if each of us draws an inspiration for the environmental protection from his/her own faith/tradition. Every religion and culture has something to offer to the people trying to protect the increasingly polluted environment. These traditions need to be refreshed and revived.
According to the world scriptures, human soul and the environment are an integral part of one living, conscious whole. For instance, Rig Veda has a tradition enunciating that the universe consists of five basic elements: earth, water, air, fire and space. It further enjoins that there should be a balanced relationship between the human soul and the environment. In full synergy with this Vedic exhortation, the Quranic traditions on the environmental protection also emphasise an integral balance between man and nature. While Vedas envisage a beautiful natural environment on this planet, the holy Quran exhorts man not to pollute the Earth. It says: “And remember when Moses prayed for water for his people; We said: ‘Strike the rock with thy staff.’ Then twelve springs gushed forth. Each group knew its own place for water. So eat and drink of the sustenance provided by God, and do no evil or mischief on the earth.”
This spells out that water conservation and the environmental protection is an individual duty incumbent on all people. And the first step towards the fulfilment of this divine duty, the Quran tells us, is give up everything that causes “abuse” or “corruption” and spreads pollution on Earth (fasad fil ardh). Allah enjoins in the Quran: “(We said), Eat and drink what God has provided, but ‘don’t commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption’.”
In this verse, the “corruption on the Earth” does not imply only conventional crimes. Rather, it includes the serious form of earthly corruption such as deforestation, dumping toxic wastes and indiscriminate use of pesticides and everything antithetical to the environmental conservation.
More to the point, numerous verses in the Quran exhort us to live an eco-friendly life, as the natural forces are considered to be beautiful expressions of the almighty and, therefore, they too are venerable entities. Any harm caused to them would amount to the desecration of God’s art. According to the Islamic exegesis, while the Quran is the word of God, the universe is work of God, which embodies the clearest signs (a’ayaat bayyinaat) of his being. Therefore, the Quran urges man to preserve the planet and ponder over its divine universal truths. (Courtesy: The Asian Age)