Islam and Ecology

The Qur’an teaches us that everything is weighted, and that quality of life requires a proper balance in order to be fulfilling and meaningful. This religious principle can be related to ecological balance as well.

Dr Mohtar from the Qatar Foundation

Ecology in the Quran

“In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, and the ships that run in the sea with that which benefits mankind, and the water that Allah sends down from the sky, then gives life with it to the earth after its death and spreads in it all (kinds of) animals, and the changing of the winds and the clouds made subservient between heaven and earth, there are surely signs for a people who understand.” Qur’an 21:107

The animals are chosen by Allah (swt) to execute His decrees, such as in the story of the prophet Yunus, who was swollen by the big fish, after he left his people to whom he had to continue to preach. And also, when Allah (swt) sent a She-camel to the people of Thamud, the people of the prophet Salih (pbuh).

And, O my people! This will be (as) Allah’s she-camel for you, a sign; therefore leave her to pasture on Allah’s earth and do not touch her with evil, for then a near chastisement will overtake you. But they slew her, so he said, enjoy yourselves in your abode for three days that is a promise not to be belied. So when Our decree came to pass, We delivered Salih and those who believed with him by mercy from Us, and (We saved them) from the disgrace of that day; surely your Lord is the Strong, the Mighty. And the rumbling overtook those who were unjust, so they became motionless bodies in their abodes, As though they had never dwelt in them; now surely did Thamud disbelieve in their Lord; now surely, away with Thamud. (11:61-68)”

Allah saved the believers: Yunus, Salih and also the Nuh’s ark from the flood (peace be upon them). All the prophets came with the same message: to worship one unique God. Accepting the tahweed help to be included in the unity and to maintain it. Indeed, the declaration of faith, first pillar in Islam, is to declare that there is one unique God, and that the prophet Muhammad is His messenger.

Climate changes are increasing because of what man has done. This subject is mentioned in Quran.

Allah Almighty says: (Corruption doth appear on land and sea because of (the evil) which men’s hands have done, that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return.) [Ar-room: 41].

The Earth on the Day of Judgment, Yawm Al Qiyamah

The prophet Muhammad said that one of the pillars of faith (Iman) is to believe in the Day of Judgment. The Earth will be actually a witness against our actions on the Day of Judgment, as the surah Zalzalah (The Earthquake) tells:

  1. When the earth is shaken with its (final) earthquake.
  2. And when the earth throws out its burdens,
  3. And man will say: “What is the matter with it?”
  4. That Day it will declare its information (about all what happened over it of good or evil).
  5. Because your Lord has inspired it.
  6. That Day mankind will proceed in scattered groups that they may be shown their deeds.
  7. So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it.
  8. And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it.

Ecology in the Hadiths

“Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “While a man was walking he felt thirsty and went down a well and drank water from it. On coming out of it, he saw a dog panting and eating mud because of excessive thirst. The man said, ‘This (dog) is suffering from the same problem as that of mine. So he (went down the well), filled his shoe with water, caught hold of it with his teeth and climbed up and watered the dog. Allah thanked him for his (good) deed and forgave him.” The people asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! Is there a reward for us in serving (the) animals?” He replied, “Yes, there is a reward for serving every living being.” -English Translation of Holy Hadith -sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)-(Sahih Bukhari) by M. Muhsin Khan, Volume 3, Book 40, Number 551

“Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “There are three types of people whom Allah will neither talk to, nor look at, on the Day of Resurrection. (They are): 

1. A man who takes an oath falsely that he has been offered for his goods so much more than what he is given, 

2. a man who takes a false oath after the ‘Asr prayer in order to grab a Muslim’s property, and 

3. a man who withholds his superfluous water. Allah will say to him, “Today I will withhold My Grace from you as you withheld the superfluity of what you had not created.” – English Translation of Holy Hadith (Sahih Bukhari) by M. Muhsin Khan, Volume 3, Book 40, Number 557

Other Resources on Islam and Ecology

To read an article about Islam and ecology from Professor Abu Sway, click here.

To watch an interview with Professor Abu Sway click here.

The original and longer statement with videos about environmental issues and teaching of the Quran and the Sunna can be found here.

Here is the 13-page Muslim Green Guide to Reducing Climate change according to the Qur’an and the Sunna, that you can share with family and community. It was co-published by LifeMakers UK & Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences.For other faith’s statements on the environment, please click here.

Toward an Islamic Jurisprudence of the Environment (Fiqh al-Bi’ah fil-Islam), By: Prof. Mustafa Abu-Sway. [This paper in Arabic is based on a lecture given at the Belfast Mosque]A 21-page document on Islamic contributions to sustainable development is available in the Pegasus Journal, November 2015. It can be downloaded as a zip file at this link. Professor Abdullah Al-Ahsan and colleagues created it, with a list of goals toward a sustainable society.

5 Examples of Islam and Ecology

Related Videos

More on Islam and Ecology:

The Ecology of Sufism
Islamic call on climate appeals to 1.6 billion Muslims
Mosque greening project
Islamic Faith Statement on the Environment