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Protection of the Environment

May 08, 2014
By Sheikh Abdurrahman Al-Sudais – 03 Rajab 1435

His Eminence Sheikh Abdurrahman Al-Sudais – May Allah protect him-  delivered the Friday’s Khutbah titled “Protection of the Environment” in which he talked about the necessity of taking care of the environment. He presented evidence showing the Muslims’ duty in this regard, and urged them to encourage the younger generation to take care of the environment and to protect it.

Praise be to Allah Almighty! We praise You our Lord, seek Your assistance and forgiveness, repent to You of our sins, and direct all our appreciation and thanks unto You!
 
(The Sheikh recited two lines of poetry)

We thank the Lord of the Worlds
Times and times again, tirelessly,
Night and day, day and night,
Our praising Him will steadily grow and multiply.

I bear witness that there is no deity except Allah Almighty with no associate. He has granted us an exclusively lustrous sharia which is like the mid-day sun that fills the world with its loftiness and light. I also bear witness that our Prophet and Master Muhammad is the Servant and Messenger of Almighty Allah; He sent him as a saviour of the sorrow-ridden world to uncover the progress of civilization and lay down its foundation. O Allah, send Your infinite Salat (Graces, Honours, Mercy), Peace and Blessing upon the best of mankind, his noble and pious Companions who had attained the pinnacle of glory, upon the tabi’in (the contemporaries of the Companions of the Prophet [May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him] after his death) and those who followed in righteousness.

Now then, O Servants of Allah!

The best exhortation to be offered day and night by way of obedience and submission is taqwa (fear of disobeying Allah Almighty). He who adheres to taqwa will be saved from punishment, and will be rewarded by the Almighty as he hoped and wished.
"And take a provision (with you) for the journey, but the best provision is At-Taqwa (piety, righteousness, etc.). So fear Me, O men of understanding!" [Al-Baqarah: 197]
 
(The Sheikh recited two lines of poetry):

Let it be known that of all provisions taqwa is the best,
So save the prattle and gossip,
For it is the best of the Two Abodes
And the humble servant’s glory.
 
O Muslims!

When we survey the sublime tenets of our Islamic sharia, our humanitarian values and their lustrous cultural implications, a global and ancient issue emerges where our pure sharia has precedence over bygone nations and communities. It has called for caring for the environment, giving it priority and care on account of its importance, magnificence and splendour.

This is – may Allah protect you-  the protection of the environment, the maintenance of the vital components of life and the subservient objects of the universe. How many a thirsty person they have satiated! How many a diseased fellow they have cured and a depressed man they have cheered up!

O Muslims!

Protecting the environment is a branch of faith and an aspect of righteousness and good doing. Nay, it is a divine command sent down by the Divine King. Suffice it to say that our Sharia offers conclusive evidence in this regard:

"…and do not act corruptly, making mischief on the earth."" [Al-Baqarah: 60],  "And do not do mischief on the earth, after it has been set in order, and invoke Him with fear and hope; Surely, Allah's Mercy is (ever) near unto the good-doers." [Al-A’rāf: 56]

Imam Al-Qurtubi – may Allah bless his soul-  says, “He proscribed all mischief, major or minor, after righteousness major or minor.” In an authentic hadith, the Prophet, the Master of Adnan’s progeny, said, “Faith is more than seventy branches, the most sublime is saying ‘Lā ilāha illā Allah’ (There is no deity except Allah) and the humblest is removing harm off the road.” [Narrated by Muslim in his Sahih]

Harm includes both concrete and abstract harm.
Allah is Great! How about removing harm from all aspects of life so as to keep it beautiful, healthy and pure? Undoubtedly, it would be much more awesome and beautiful to the thoughtful and the obedient.

Brothers and sisters in faith!

In this context, what else could we be but be pioneers in protecting the environment as this beautiful nature and attractive environment have been granted by Allah Almighty to His servants. Allah Almighty says:

"And the earth! We have spread it out, and set thereon mountains standing firm, and have produced therein every kind of lovely growth (plants). An insight and a Reminder for every slave turning to Allah (i.e. the one who believes in Allah and performs deeds of His obedience, and always begs His pardon)." [Qāf: 7-8]

In this and other verses there is an open call for the protection of the environment including humans, animals, birds, buildings, land, sea, air, space and sky, as well as trees, plants, and water in order to maintain their beauty, cleanliness, strength, vivacity, safety and purity.
 
(The Sheikh recited three lines of poetry which read as follows):

In His creatures Allah has a secret
Whose bright light puzzles the minds,
For not an atom in the universe but
Has a lengthy explanation,
This, O brother, is wisdom from the All-Wise.
To the beauty of life there is a noble origin.

O Believers!

The environment which is magnificently embellished by the beautiful creation and splendid creatures is but a bounty from the Creator and one of His overwhelming favours. The benefits and usages reaped from it are multifarious. It is like enjoying the fruits of the environment, the happiness that the souls derive from flowers; its verdance is the solace and traquility that one feels under its shade, and the fresh, clean air that one breathes. It inspires wonder and excitement, eases exhaustion and ennui, confers upon the souls the beauty of solemnity, and on the noble values the splendour of purity and virtue.

It even calls for glorifying the Supreme Giver and Creator. That explains why Prophet Muhammad [May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him] called for the reclamation and protection of the environment.  He said, “While walking, a man put aside a bramble (a thorny bough) he found lying on the road. Allah then commended him for such an act and forgave his sins.” [Narrated by Bukhari]

The Prophet [May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him] also warned against polluting and contaminating the environment; he said, “Avoid the three profanities: defecating in water sources, by the roadside, and in the shade.” [Narrated by Abu Dawoud and Ibn Majah]

I assure you that this is a healthy, precautionary and accurate directive, as well as an environment-friendly prophetic procedure unprecedented in ancient or recent world recommendations.

Brothers and sisters in Islam!

Notwithstanding the emphasis on the merits of reward and punishment for our deeds vis-à-vis the environment, in many instances the latter has been transformed from a beautiful and pleasant garden to dilapidated ruins, defaced antiquity, and decayed wasteland. Many an environment has become a refuse dump and a filthy landfill ruined by chaos, negligence and damage.

Polluting the ecosystem is an incurable disease brought about by the misguided and the delinquent. Abdullah Ibn Omar – may Allah be pleased with both him and his father-  reported that the Prophet [May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him] said, “No man kills a bird or a bigger creature without a good cause but would be held accountable before Allah Almighty.” Narrated by Ahmad and Al-Nasāῑ. The Prophet [May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him] also said, “Allah will turn the head of the one who chops off a tamarisk tree toward the hellfire.” [Narrated by Al-Bayhaqi and Abu Dawood, who added, “That is (who chops it off) playfully and needlessly with no obvious good cause.”]

This is the punishment for just felling a tamarisk tree in the wilderness, let alone poaching and deforestation, carbon dioxide emission from factories and cars, and garbage heaps, cesspools, open sewers, etc.

More serious are the tyranny of oppression, weapons of mass destruction, nuclear and chemical weapons, toxic gases, mines, barrel bombs that have brutally annihilated and maimed hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children and brutally wiped out in its heinous attacks all sources of life and environmental riches, leaving nothing behind but a trail of diseases, destruction and death. The sources of bliss and well-being have been transformed into battlefields and conflicts.
 
The most salient examples in this regard are the Zionists practices against Muslim sanctities, the Syrian crisis, and the deterioration of humanitarian conditions in Syria as a result of hideous terrorism against Islam, humanity and the environment.
Woe to all the devilish cliques that have wiped out the beauty of the environment and incurred all kinds of pollution: oral, visual, and verbal which put virtue and chivelry to shame. Allah is our resort for help!

O Believers!
 
Full consciousness, general education to defend the environment and protect its resources, elements, and tasks, as well as environmental awareness constitutes a legal trust, a moral responsibility, a national imperative, a social necessity, and a cultural value; they can only serve to boost a nation’s civilization, degree of loftiness and advancement, and safeguard and protect its values.

(The Sheikh quotes three lines of poetry paraphrased as follows):

You have got the fields, their roses, perfume,
Breeze, and the singing nightingale.
Water around you like flowing silver,
And the sun above like glittering gold,
So tread upon it with full understanding,
For indeed loveliness is a characteristic of those who can understand.

Brothers and sisters in Islam,

When the sagacity of nations reaches up to the spheres of Islam, its organizing legislations, wise secrets, humanitarian and environmental insights, medical protective measures, then they will reach the peak of success. This is reflected in the words of the Almighty and the All-Powerful (Allah):

"So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it. And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom (or a small ant), shall see it." [Al-Zalzalah: 7-8]

Then, Allah willing, success will be on the side of those nations; Allah will bestow on them from His Bounty, and victory will be their practice; they will pursue the paths of glory and make it to the peaks.
 
O Muslim Ummah!

Protecting the environment includes the social, national, familial, political, societal, and economic environments. It also includes the protection of natural life and the environment of worshipping (Allah) whose peak and attractive process is the spiritual environment. This can be obtained by acknowledging the oneness of Allah and faith through the Holy Qur'ān and the Prophet's Sunnah which purify societies from sins and vices, cleanse them from the dirt of atheism, associating partners with Allah, innovations (in religion), sins, abominable deeds, excessiveness, suspicion, faltering of fixities and values, and wasting of resources and assets. Only then could societies become more scented than the perfumed breeze and more lustrous than pleasant tranquillity.
 
Now then, O Brothers of faith!

Preserving the environment is a sign of good lofty ethics, and the head of adhering to the shiny Sunnah. Indeed the unique Islamic approach is the source and spring of the environment preservation; it is, therefore, necessary that we set right the view of the world towards the environment by pulling it out of the limited materialistic space and extending it to the friendly space of worshiping Allah. We have to consolidate Islam's precise concepts within the hearts of our children, generations of youth I schools, institutes, colleges, and universities in all fields. We have to teach them environmental education as a Sharia, a form of worship, and something that brings them closer to Allah; it is not merely a matter of taste and habit.

Even more, we should highlight the beneficial and aesthetic aspects of environmental culture, stress its significance, and pinpoint the disadvantages of its absence. This will provide our children with guidance and happiness and will refine their natural predisposition to undertake good deeds without so much effort. This is our hope and ultimate ambition: how excellent such intention and determination are!

 I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Satan:

"And of mankind there is he whose speech may please you (O Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam), in this worldly life, and he calls Allah to witness as to that which is in his heart, yet he is the most quarrelsome of the opponents. And when he turns away (from you "O Muhammad") (May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him), his effort in the land is to make mischief therein and to destroy the crops and the cattle, and Allah likes not mischief." [Al-Baqarah: 204-205]

O Allah! We implore You to bless us by the Noble Qur'ān and the Sunnah and to make them beneficial to us through the verses and wisdom they contain! This being said, I ask Allah, the Almighty, to forgive you and me and all Muslims of all sins; so ask Him for forgiveness and turn in repentance to Him, for my Lord is Most Forgiving!

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