Spiritual cure for Air Pollution according to Islamic ethics

The writer is an alim (classical Islamic scholar) and doctoral scholar with Centre for Media, Culture & Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia. Contact him at grdehlavi@gmail.com

According to Islamic ethics, protection of air from pollutants is an individual sacred duty of every human being on Earth.

Right from the capital to all the metropolitan cities in India, air pollution has engulfed the entire country. This is due to human misconduct, like vehicle emissions, heavy industries, construction and residential fuel burning. Thus, the polluted air in India is comprised of a complex mix of human error and abuse of natural sources like dust and sea salt.

That we people are not able to breathe freely in metropolitan cities is the direct outcome of our own transgressions against nature. This form of air pollution is referred to in the 44th chapter of the Quran as “Surah al-Dukhan” meaning smoke. The Quran clearly states: “Then watch thou for the day that the sky will bring forth a kind of smoke plainly visible, enveloping the people; this is a painful torment.”

According to Islamic ethics, protection of air from pollutants is an individual sacred duty of every human being on Earth. Prominent scholars of Islam considered all types of smoke to be hazardous which is warned in the Quran as “a grievous penalty”. The Quran considers air pollution “mischief” and seeks attention to the retribution awaiting those who do it: “And do no mischief on the earth after it has been set in order.”

The Quran exhorts man to live an eco-friendly, moderate and balanced life without causing any harm to the nature, air or Earth. Thus, the cure for air pollution does exist in our scriptures but we take no cognisance of it. The panacea for this ill lies in compliance with the creation plan of the almighty. He created this universe in a fine balance. But we human beings did not leave the environmental systems intact. We have exploited them in our crazy, selfish deeds in irrational ways. For instance, we have used our technological system to interact with the earth system and the economic system in an attempt to further our desire to expand the areas of agricultural lands.

Remarkably, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) offered a completely integrated view of the universe where human soul and the environment, mind and matter are all part of one living, conscious whole. He forbade us from spreading pollution and exhorted us to plant trees and not to pollute water. Planting a tree in Islam is a sadaqah jariya (constant charity). One of the Prophet’s traditions that seek to care for all creations, protect the environment, conserve water and preserve the nature is: “If a believer plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift (sadaqah) for him.”

Source: http://www.asianage.com/opinion/oped/281117/mystic-mantra-spiritual-cure-for-air-pollution.html

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