In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Ever Merciful
Praise be to Allah
May Allah's Prayers and Peace be upon the Prophet of Human Fraternity and the Messenger of universal mercy, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah. May Allah's Prayers and Peace be upon him.
May Allah’s Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon you,
This word of mine is not meant to propagate the precedency of Islamic Shari`ah over contemporary international laws and charters in the field of environment conservation. This is none of my intentions. Rather, I mean to let you listen to the sound of “religion” on this crisis or, so to speak, on this ‘catastrophe.’ If the reign is left in the hands of the reckless who tamper with Allah’s graces on earth and sky, then none would escape the destructive consequences of such tampering, in the East of the West. And those reckless whoa are rebelling against the limits set by Allah and mocking His Divine Revelation and Guidance.
Dear respected attendees,
Briefly speaking, we can first assert that, in the philosophy of divine religions, humans’ relation to the cosmos is one of mutual love, and humans are earthly creatures, in terms of creation, growth and eventual return to it at the end of the journey there. Besides, Allah’s Discourse to the believers on this issue is clear in the Glorious Qur’an, “From the earth We created you, and into it We will return you, and from it We will bring you back again.” (Qur’an 20: 55)
So, the claim that humans-environment relationship is sheerly material, involving nothing more than food, drink and bodily desires. Rather, it is a relationship based on responsibility, principles and morals, taking into account the aesthetic aspects instilled by Allah in nature and that appreciation of beauty is intrinsic in humans. Even callous persons cannot satisfy their material desires without turning to the beauty, splendor, and magnificence with which nature. In all heavenly messages, thus, Almighty Allah reminds humans of such beauty and urges them to contemplate its manifestations as a way towards knowing and believing in Him. Pondering on the Qur’anic verses that underscore Almighty Allah’s utterly perfect creation of everything induces a sense of responsibility towards this beautifully ordered cosmos, a feeling comparable to a child’s warm feelings towards a tender mother, given that the earth itself is a second mother to humans.
Hence, religion warns the believers against spreading corruption on earth; “Do not spread corruption in the land after it has been set in order.” (Qur’an 7: 56) It also notes that no human is totally free in spreading corruption on earth, neither in land, sea, or air. For nature in all its manifestations, factors, and resources are owned by Almighty Allah and it is unlawful for humans to treat it as other than a trust to be watched over by them, being accountable before their Lord and their conscience.
While Islam asserts the theory of cosmic love, it denounces the theory of vanquishing or subverting nature, which is embraced by our contemporary materialist civilization, leading to disturbance of human goodness and pure instinct, besides the extinction of diverse species in land, sea and air and the creation of environmental problems, including water scarcity, global warming, desertification, erosion of fertile land, food baskets shrinkage.
A pressing need regarding corruption on earth is that the world should stand together in collaboration before such corruptive tendencies transfer to other environments, given the recent claims by some countries to “ownership” of certain natural recourses and singlehanded control of it in a way that harms life in other countries. For those who believe in it and respect its laws, religion clearly dictates that ownership of natural resources that are indispensable for people’s lives are commonly owned, and they should never be left for a single individual, people, or country to unilaterally control it, to the exclusion of other countries sharing it, no matter what!
Here, water in its broadest sense, from the drop to the rivers and seas, comes at the top of such indispensable resources, as religious laws dictate that its ownership should be common and collective, forbid singlehanded or exclusive control of it by a certain individual, people, or country. Such singlehanded, restrictive control means denying others a right granted to them by Almighty Allah; they control things that they do not own.
Such accentuated religious forbiddance of exclusive control of natural resources is due to the fact that Allah has made water the source of all forms of life and thus Allah alone is the one who owns it, sends it down from the skies and makes it a common property for all humans. No human has ever created a single drop of water so that they could claim ownership of it that entitles them to exclusive control of it. So, whoever exclusively controls it is unjust and transgressive, and respective local, regional, and international entities should prevent the people’s rights by holding the transgressor back and preventing it from its excess and corruption on earth.
There is a lot to be said about the Shari`ah of Islam and of its preceding heavenly laws, which exceeds the remit of this speech. Yet, I shall conclude my word with a reference to a single rule that should be observed in cases of fighting the enemies. In such cases, the Muslims are forbidden to kill women or children in the enemy army. The Muslims are also forbidden to kill monks in the monasteries or farmers in the fields. Likewise, it is forbidden to demolish buildings in the enemy country, kills animals – except for indispensable need and in proportion to satisfying such a need only, or uproot or burn plants, especially palm trees. You may wonder when you know that it is forbidden in Islam it is forbidden to disperse, drown or burn bees.
Still, there is a lot to say about the dictates of the Glorious Qur’an and the commandments of the Prophet of Islam, the Prophet of fraternity and mercy, on religious and moral responsibility towards conserving environment; earth, land, and air, but it goes beyond the scope of this speech.
Thanks for your kind attention.
May Allah’s Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon you.
Grand Imam of Al-Azhar
Shawwal 22, 1442 AH
June 3, 2021