UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI
DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY & RELIGIOUS STUDIES
UNIT: CRS 601-religions and ethics
TOPIC: environmental ethics in islam
NAME: OMARI, HASSAN KINYUA
Contact: Box 1776 001000
G.P.O. Nairobi, Kenya
ADMISSION NUMBER: C50 / 70095/ 2007
Environment Ethics in Islam
Islam cannot only be described as a religion but also as a way of life. It goes beyond the performance of rituals. The word for religion (dın) is Arabic word which means integrated code of behavior which deals with personal hygiene, at one end of the spectrum, to our relationships with the natural order at the other. It provides a holistic approach to existence, it does not differentiate between the sacred and the secular and neither does it place a distinction between the world of mankind and the world of nature. Current modernity and technological advancement, has affected amnyb religions.One of the greatest challeneges of Islam iosmodernity, globalization, technology among others.This is because these advancements have turned up everything upside-down. Secular ethic is tending to overshadow all other ethics. Progressively becoming the governing parameters of society, there has been a corresponding erosion of the Muslim perception of the holistic and a withering of its understanding of the sacred nexus between the human community and the rest of the natural order: “The creation of the heavens and the earth is far greater than the creation of mankind. But most of mankind do not know it.” For these and other reasons, Muslims in various parts of the world have in recent times sought the reversal of these trends through the re-establishment of Islamic governance based on the Islamic code known as the Shari’ah. Deeply embedded in its matrix are detailed and sometimes complex rules, which lay down the basis for Islamic environmental practice. Islamic jurisprudence contains regulations Concerning the conservation and allocation of scarce water resources; it has rules for the conservation of land with special zones of graded use; it has special rules for the establishment of rangelands, wetlands, green belts and also wildlife protection and conservation. Much of the traditional institutions and laws associated with sound environmental practice in Islam have now fallen into disuse. Many argue that the re-establishment of religious codes of ethics is the answer to many of our problems. We also find this to be an aspiration held by an increasing number of Muslims, there is now a growing movement amongst Muslims, led by thinkers like Seyyed Hossein Nasr, who place an immediate priority in dealing with the intractable problems that the human race is creating for itself by overexploiting and degrading the planet beyond repair. Credit is due to Seyyed Hossein Nasr for almost single handedly rekindling the consciousness of not only Muslims, but of adherents of other traditions. His first exposition on this subject was a series of lectures in May 1966, delivered at the invitation of the University of Chicago, which was eventually published .He has written voluminously on this theme since then. For Muslims this crisis calls for a fresh evaluation of the teachings of Islam and its practice in the present globalization order.
The roots of Islamic environmental practice are to be found in the Qur’an and the guidance (Sunna) of Prophet Muhammad. Muslims learn from the Qur’an that God created the universe and every single atom and molecule it contains and that the laws of creation include the elements Of order, balance and proportion: “He created everything and determined it most exactly” and “It is He who appointed the sun to give radiance and the moon to give Light, assigning it in phases . . . Allah did not create these things except with truth. We make the signs clear for people who know.” What may be described as the Islamic creed has three aspects. The first is the core...
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