Apr 21, 2014

Environmental Issues Series: Why should Muslims care about the Environment? - Part 2

By Tara Alomari

Why should Muslims care Part 1 | Water Conservation Part 1 | Water Conservation Part 2 | Animal Rights Part 1 | Animal Rights Part 2


We all know that the Muslim Ummah is in dire straits. With widespread poverty and starvation in many places and extravagant wealth in others, to conflicts, oppression, ignorance and injustices, there are many issues which catch our attention. However, how many of us stop to think of the environment and how it relates to these other issues? The first part of this article answered the question of why we, as Muslims should make the environment a priority over, or at least equal to, other issues of concern to our Ummah, as well as demonstrate how all the other problems are connected to the issue of the environment. We shall continue this discussion in this part.

The reality of climate change is supported by every single reputable and rigorous scientific association in the world. There really is no debate about the fact that it is happening, and we should seriously question the motives of those who try to make it seem debatable. For example, according to NASA, carbon dioxide levels are higher than they have ever been in human history. This disturbance in the age old balance of carbon has multiple negative effects on the earth and all living things; effects which echo off each other, creating negative feedback loops that make the problems worse and worse. For example, the warming of the atmosphere caused by elevated carbon dioxide levels has been causing the arctic ice to melt; when the ice melts the arctic becomes less covered in white and loses its ability to reflect the sun’s rays, which causes even further ice to melt.

This graph depicts the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere over the course of the last 400,000 years. In 1950, which was about 100 years after the beginning of the industrial revolution, the levels rose higher than ever before. After 1950, levels continued to rise so swiftly that it practically looks like a straight line. These are not just estimates. They are based off of hard data obtained from ice core samples, geological sediment records, and other sources. In case you’ve ever wondered, where such statistics come from, there are scientists today studying the amazing record of our earth which is preserved deep in the ice in Antarctica. What happens is this: every year, a very fine layer of ice collects on the surface of Antarctica, trapping below it the previous year’s layer along with a variety of other molecules, such as carbon dioxide, oxygen, helium, etc., which were present in the air and water that year. Over the years, these records pile up, like pages in a book, recording the atmospheric conditions of our planet over the millennia.

One of the most easy-to-recognize manifestations of climate change is the rapid melting of polar ice caps and other glaciers all over the world. Let us look at Africa again and examine the case of Mount Kilimanjaro. A mountain coated in year-round snow that has supported life (all the animals of the area as well as countless civilizations) for thousands and thousands of years (at least 11,000 years) from rivers derived from its glacial top has only in the last 50 years begun to disappear. Does that not seem strange to you? In fact, from 1920 to the present, 80% of Kilimanjaro’s ice cap has disappeared. Now, the rivers that flow from it are becoming smaller and smaller, some drying up in the summer, and some disappearing completely, resulting in the desertification of the area, crop failure, starvation, malnutrition, conflict over resources, and a range of other problems.

Just as it was mentioned that the heavens and earth reflect the signs sent down in the Quran, reflect on this:

Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so that He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done so that perhaps they will return [to righteousness]. (Surah Ar-Rum 30:41)

This is climate change in a nutshell, described perfectly and succinctly by Allah in the Quran. We are now beginning to taste a little of what we have done. The corruption, oppression, destruction, and fouling of the environment we live in cannot carry on forever without consequences. We, as Muslims must stand up and reclaim our honored position as Khalifas. We as an Ummah must face climate change head-on with the wisdom of the Quran and the example of the Prophet Muhammad, sal Allahu aleyhi wa sallam, and reestablish justice in every form on earth. We must return to righteousness.

Stay tuned for part two of this series: the How’s and Why’s of water conservation!

[i] Courtesy of NASA. Available at http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/


JazakAllah khair for the timely reminder - our children are our priority and we should never underestimate the value of the time we should dedicate to spending with them.

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