Ethical Teachings of Islam in Relation to the Environment

1 January 2017

Explain how the ethical teachings of Islam in relation to the Environment, reflect the beliefs of Islam. In Arabic all ethics are an extension of Shari’a law which is itself drawn upon from the Qur’an and Sunni of the prophet. Islamic Ethics play a significant role on the way ethics regarding the environment have evolved and continue to evolve. The three keys principles in relations to environmental ethics are, Tahwid, Khilafa and akhra. These Three principles are derived from holy texts such as the Qur’an.

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Tawhid or unity is the belief in the oneness of Allah this is an overriding concept that informs Muslim ethics. As a result of such this principle relates to environmental ethics because of the belief in the integrity and unity of Allah’s creation. This is not to suggest that Allah is one with creation, but rather that creation as a whole reflects the uniqueness and oneness of Allah. Because of the greatness of Allah people are expected to obey his commands which are contained in the Qur’an and express their obedience in behaviour as well as belief.

This includes not only devotion toward Allah but ethical behaviour towards others as well. There are several passages in the Qur’an that support this concept. Such as Sura 4:36, “Serve Allah and join not any partners with him; and do good – to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, the companions by your side, the wayfarer you meet, and what your right hand possess: for Allah loves not the arrogant, the vainglorious. Khilafa or stewardship means that humans are only the managers of the universe and not its proprietors.

They are entrusted with its care and maintenance and so should not abuse, misuse or distort the natural resources and allow for future generations to benefit from them. References to this are found throughout the Qur’an, “It is he that has made you custodians, inheritors of the earth” (surah 6:165). This text clearly states that the relationship between Humankind and the rest of creations. It also highlights the relationship of responsibility which has been ordained by Allah so in turn the will of Allah.

One significant passage from the Qur’an in relation to stewardship and environmental ethics is Sura 50:7-8 “and the earth – we have spread it out and set thereon mountains standing firm, and produced therein every kind of beautiful growth – to be observed and commemorated by every devotee turning to Allah. ” The third key pillar of Islamic believe which relates to environmental ethics is Akhra or accountability, they will be held accountable on akhira or the final judgement day. In relation to environmental ethics Muslims are accountable for their use and abuse of creation and are held accountable for maintaining a balance in nature.

By acknowledging Allah as the creator and that this is his created world; Muslim must be submissive to his will and seek to live as responsible trustees of Allah’s created world. It is said that on the final judgement day or Akhra, all human beings will need to give reckoning for their actions and so accountability includes care for the world and the environment and maintaining the integrity and unity of creation and all that is in it and on judgement day of Akhra human beings will be called to account for how well this has been done.

So the three core pillars of belief in Islam reflect the ethical teachings in relation to the Environment, Islamic ethics are an extension of Shari’a. The ethical teachings of Islam all relate to the environment in some way because the environment calls for ethics. The three core pillars themselves can relate to environmental ethics. Tahwid, the concept of the uniqueness of Allah and the integrity of his creation. Khilafa, Muslims respect and care for the environment and Akhra Muslims are accountable for their use and abuse of the environment and will be held so when akhira comes to fruition.

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