(4) Saving Planet Earth (Part 2)

Saving Planet Earth (Part 2)

Saving Planet Earth

Part 2:  Be proactive in helping to keep the environment clean and unpolluted

Earth Day on 22 April and Earth Hour on 23 March are annual events observed globally to save the earth.

Scientists tell us that we have been misusing and abusing our dear earth to a largeextent. The Quran too warns us against ill-treating our earth when it is giving us so much sustenance. In the forceful language of the Quran, this is “mischief” and “corruption”. The Quran points out that people “spread mischief through the earth and destroy crops and animals.” (2:205) and that: “Corruption has spread on land and sea because of what men’s hands have wrought…” (30:42).

These verses give concern to the environmental pollution and monetary greed (apart from their spiritual rendering).

Environmental pollution includes noise, fumes from traffic and factory chimneys, nuclear waste, and chemicals. Greed is in the form of over-forestation, over-fishing, killing of wildlife, capture of rare animals for sale and killing of animals for their skin (tigers), tusks (elephants) and fins (sharks). All these activities would offset the balance created in nature. Indeed, many animals have lost their natural habitat and many are in the brink of extinction.

Allah says that He “loves not mischief” (2:205) and urges man to “return to the path of right.” (30:42) Thus, if we realise our follies and immediately “return to the path of right” – protecting and conserving nature – there is still hope for a good life on earth, especially for our future generations.

In this regard, in a subtle way, Allah informs mankind: “It is He (Allah) who produces gardens with and without trellises, and dates and olives and pomegranates similar (in kind) and different (in variety). Eat of their fruit in their season, but render the dues that are proper on the day that the harvest is gathered. And waste not by excess: for Allah loves not the wasters.” (6:141)

In another chapter, Allah addresses mankind in with a similar appeal: “O children of Adam! … eat and drink: but waste not by excess, for Allah loves not the wasters.” (7:31)

In this regard, smoking is a waste of money. Unlike food and drink, smoking has no benefits for the function of one’s body and maintenance of health. On the contrary, smokers, over time, develop a host of health and social problems as highlighted by medical authorities and the World Health Organisation. Worse, smokers bring harm to the non-smokers around them, babies and children among them, when they (the non-smokers) inhale the secondary smoke. It would therefore be good for smokers to quit smoking by going for counselling or seriously following a “Quit smoking” resolution.

The Quran exhorts us to reflect on the many things that we do that come under
“mischief”, “evil” and wastage, and rectify ourselves and “return to the path of right.” (30:42)

While authorities and environmentalists are occupied with national and inter-national conservation concerns, we ordinary people ought to contribute our share in any small or simple way and as much as we can everyday towards fulfilling the same objective – to save the environment. A few of the ways are as follows:

Throw rubbish in rubbish bins. For example, don’t leave food and drink containers, food left-overs, wrappers, cigarette-butts, etc. anywhere in public areas as they create untidiness and diseases, attract stray animals and birds and clogs ditches and drains.

Use electricity when necessary. For example, switch off non-essential lighting. Do not keep the toilet light switched on when nobody is using it or that of the bed-room light when everyone is watching TV in the living room.

Don’t waste water. For example, use less water when showering and taking wudhu. Do not turn on the tap to the maximum when washing plates, for instance. Collect the wudhu water in a pail and use this (recycled) water instead of using the toilet flushing system after urinating.

Don’t create air-pollution. For example, do not burn dried leaves or paper for whatever reasons near homes as it causes smoke and ash to be airborne and these substances are bad for health.

Be conscious about plastics. They are bad for the environment. Recycle those plastic bags that you get when making purchases for other domestic uses first and then throw them in “Re-cycling” bins for proper disposal by the disposal companies.

Create gardens however small. Trees and plants provide oxygen and beauty, but be mindful of stagnant water as they become grounds for mosquito-breeding.

Saving earth efforts ought to be a daily affair.

For us Muslims, the true spirit of the garden and mosque comes to mind.

In the Quran, Paradise is allegorically described as “gardens”. A garden is meant to reflect all things positive like beauty, serenity, happiness and unity.

How nice it would be if much of the world is turned into a garden with its natural disposition retained and maintained!

Muslims have created attractive gardens on earth to depict Paradise. Termed as Islamic gardens, they constitute an area where the air is pure and where a variety of plants and trees are well-grown, well-arranged and well-landscaped, some even accompanied by ponds and cascading and running water to portray the Quranic message that nature is serene and beautiful.

Plants and trees act as natural “filters”. They filter the air from harmful substances by absorbing some amount of the pollution, thus cleansing the air that we breathe in. Flowers and fruits attract butterflies, insects, small animals like squirrels and birds, and they help in pollination and seed-spreading.

How nice it would be if the whole world is turned into a garden – expanding portion by portion in a country, and country by country around the world! In this respect, the gradual turning of Singapore into a gorgeous Garden City with lots of shades and colours from shrubs, plants and trees, recreational garden parks and flower-and- lake gardens all over the country with the whole island declared as a bird sanctuary is an excellent example for other countries to follow.

In Islam, the whole earth is a mosque. A mosque is a place used for worship and adoring the Creator; it is a place to get personal peace of the mind and soul. Thus, the mosque is kept clean, tidy, sanctified and sacred.

Since the whole earth is a mosque, it, too, has to be revered, and it must exude peace and sacredness. Homes and the environment have to be clean. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Cleanliness is part of faith.” If we can keep ourselves clean, both physically and spiritually, we also ought to keep our environment clean and, at a global level, keep the whole earth clean and “healthy”.

It is time for Muslims and all people in the world to stand together in unity to protect and love Mother Earth just as Mother Earth feeds and loves us. Be filled with the true spirit of the garden and the mosque and save our Planet Earth so we can live in harmony with nature not only for our enjoyment and fulfillment but also for that of our future generations.

Shaik Kadir

10 Apr 2013

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