Islam and Environment Economics


Salman Ahmed Shaikh

Economic choices influenced by animalistic instincts in an ethically neutral framework have not only resulted in huge disparity in distribution of income, wealth and standard of living, but, as we now realize, it has also resulted in unprecedented loss to ecology and environment with catastrophic consequences for future generations. More than ever, Economics as a discipline of knowledge needs an ethical base to rekindle spiritual rationality that can enable us to take into account equity considerations more explicitly.

Below, we mention several verses from Quran and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) which discuss the responsibilities to the environment.

Incorporating social costs in private actions

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“I swear by Allah, one cannot become fully Muslim until he (or she) likes for others whatever he (or she) likes for himself (or herself).”

(Sahih al-Bukhari)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“He who cuts a lote-tree [without justification], Allah will send him to Hellfire.”

(Tirmidhi)

Promising private rewards to socially desirable actions

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“There is none better among the believers than the one who plants a tree from which a person or an animal eats thereof. This will be regarded as having given a charitable gift for which there is great recompense.”

(Sahih Al-Bukhari)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“Whoever plants trees, God will give him reward to the extent of their fruit.”

(Musnad Ahmad)

Ensuring equity and absolute justice

The holy Quran says that:

“He who does good of an atom’s weight, he will see it. And he, who does ill of an atom’s weight, he will see it.”

(Az-Zilzaalaha)

Promising private rewards to socially desirable actions

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“If a Muslim plants a tree or grow grains, and a bird, a person or an animal eats from it, this act will be counted as a charity for him.”

(Sahih Muslim)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“Whoever plants a tree and diligently looks after it until it matures and bears fruit, he will be rewarded.”

(Musnad Ahmad)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“Whoever plants a tree and it matures, Allah plants a tree in paradise for that person.”

(Musnad Ahmad)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“If the Hour is imminent and anyone of you has a palm shoot (to plant) in his hand and is able to plant it before the Hour strikes, then he should do so and he will be rewarded for that action.”

(Sahih Al-Bukhari)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“Removing harmful things from the road is an act of charity (Sadaqah).”

(Narrated by Abu Dharr Al-Ghafari)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“A good deed done to a beast is as good as doing good to a human being; while an act of cruelty to a beast is as bad as an act of cruelty to human beings,” and that: “Kindness to animals was promised rewards in life hereafter.”

(Mishkat al-Masabih)

Protection of biodiversity

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“On the day of Judgment, Allah will ask those who kill a sparrow unfairly.”

(Sahih Muslim)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“If anyone wrongfully kills even a sparrow, let alone anything greater, he will face God’s interrogation.”

(Narrated in Mishkat al Masabih)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“A man suffered from intense thirst while on a journey. He found a well, came to it, drank (water) and then came out. Suddenly, a dog appeared with its tongue out due to thirst. The man said: This dog has suffered from thirst as I had suffered from it. He reached down the well and brought water for the dog. So, Allah appreciated this act of his and pardoned him. Then, the companions asked: ‘O Allah’s Messenger, is there reward even for (serving) such animals’? Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: ‘Yes, there is a reward for the one who makes a service to any living being.’”

(Sahih Muslim)

“The Prophet (pbuh) was asked whether acts of charity even to the animals were rewarded by Allah or not. He replied: ‘yes, there is a reward for acts of charity to every beast alive.’”

(Sahih Muslim)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“The one to whom his horse is a source of reward and who keeps it in the path of God, and ties it by a long rope in a pasture or a garden. Such a person will get a reward equal to what the horse’s long rope allows it to eat in the pasture or the garden. And if the horse breaks its rope and crosses one or two hills, then all marks of its hoofs and its dung will be counted as good deeds for its owner. And if it passes by a river and drinks from it, then that will also be regarded as a good deed on the part of its owner.”

(Sahih al-Bukhari)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“We were on a journey with the Messenger of God, and He (pbuh) left us for a while. During his absence, we saw a bird called Hummara with its two young and so we took the young ones. The mother bird was circling above us in the air, beating its wings in grief, when the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) came back, He (pbuh) said: ‘Who has hurt the feelings of this bird by taking its young? Return them to her!’”

(Sahih Muslim)

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was seen wiping the face of his horse with his gown. When asked why He was doing that, He replied: ‘Last night, I was reprimanded by God for having neglected my horse.’

(Narrated in Muwatta Imam Malik)

In order to protect land, forests and wildlife, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) created inviolable zones known as hima and haram, in which resources were to be left untouched. Hima applies particularly to wildlife and forestry and usually designates an area of land where grazing and woodcutting are restricted, or where certain animal species are protected.

Conservation of natural resources

The holy Quran says:

“But waste not by excess: for Allah does not love those who waste.”

(Al-Anam: Verse 141)

When the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) saw Sa’d performing wudu, He (pbuh) said: “What is this? You are wasting water.” Sa’d replied: “Can there be wastefulness while performing ablution?” The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) replied: “Yes even if you perform it in a flowing river.’”

(Sunan Ibn-e-Maja)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“(Among the)… three types of people with whom God, on the Day of Resurrection, will neither exchange words, nor look at … is the one who possesses an excess of water but withholds it from others…”

(Sahih Al-Bukhari)

Informing about value of natural resources

In one verse, the holy Quran says:

“Say: Have you considered, if your water were one morning to have seeped away, who then could bring you clear-flowing water?”

(Al-Mulk: Verse 30)

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About Salman Ahmed Shaikh

PhD Economics. Author, Researcher, Teacher and Consultant. He can be contacted at: salman@siswa.ukm.edu.my
This entry was posted in Articles on Islamic Economics and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Islam and Environment Economics

  1. MODERN DEFINITION OF ECONOMICS ‘ ECONOMICS IS THE STUDY OF SOCIAL AND HUMAN WELL BEING’ ALSO SHOWS THAT WE ARE DIVIDING IN TWO POLAR EXTREMES. WHERE ONE WAY OF BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS IS PROFITEERING BY HOOK OR CROOK. OTHER WAY IS COMPLETELY OPPOSITE AS SHOWN IN THE ABOVE DEFINITION. WE MUST CONSIDER IT THAT ANY ECONOMIC AND BUSINESS ACTIVITY WHICH IS NOT FRUITFUL FOR A COMMON MAN IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED IN ISLAM…………BECAUSE ISLAM PROVIDES GUARANTEE TO THE WELL BEING OF HUMANITY AT ANY COST.

    Dr. Asim Mashkoor

    Like

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