There are Qualitative Principles within the Islamic Tradition that outline environmental responsibility for the human family. Four of these principles from the Qur’an, the word of God revealed to Muhammad, peace be upon him, are as follows:
1. Walking on the Earth lightly:
And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth lightly, and when the ignorant address them harshly, they say words of peace.
2. Living within and preserving the balance of the diverse creation:
The sun and the moon run on their fixed courses of orbit;
And the stars and the trees both prostrate in worship;
He has raised high the Heavens, and He has set up the balance.
Therefore do not transgress the balance set!
3. The way out of self-destruction caused by wrongdoing is to return to ethical responsibility:
Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea due to what the hands of people have wrought so He may let them taste part of the consequence of what they have done that perhaps they will return to goodness.
4. God is faithful when we mend our ways
Nor would your Lord be the One to destroy communities for a single wrong-doing, if its members were to mend their ways.
By Afroz Ali
This is an excerpt of an article entitled "The Good Green Word" that appeared in the Autumn 2010 edition of the Green Pages.
On the value of creation
"To God belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth" (Qur'an, Al-Nisa, 4:126)
"The seven heavens and the earth and all things therein, declare His glory: there is not a thing but celebrates His praise; and yet you understand not how they declare His glory!" (Qur'an, Al-Isra', 17:44)
"See thou not that to God bow down in worship all things that are in the heavens and on earth, - the sun, the moon, the stars; the hills, the trees, the animals; and a great number among Mankind" (Qur'an, Al-Hajj 22:18)
"And the herbs and the trees – both (alike) bow in adoration" (Qur'an, Al-Rahman, 55:6)
"Verily, all things have We created in proportion and measure" (Qur'an, Al-Qamar, 54:49)
"The earth He has assigned to all living creatures" (Qur'an, Al-Rahman, 55:10)
"There is not a moving (living) creature on earth, nor a bird that flies with its two wings, but are communities like you...then unto their Lord they (all) shall be gathered" (Qur'an, Al-An'am, 6:37)
On our role as caliph (steward)
"Behold your Lord said to the angels: "I will create a vicegerent/steward (caliph) on earth."" (Qur'an, Al-Baqarah, 2:30).
"The world is beautiful and verdant and God has appointed you as His stewards over it. He sees how you acquit yourselves" (hadith narrated in Muslim)
"Truly We did offer the trust to the heavens and earth, and the mountains, but they declined to bear it and were afraid of it. But the man bore it." (Qur'an, Al-Ahzab, 33:72) (Tr. Ali).
"And the sky has He raised high, and has devised (for all things) a balance, so that you might never transgress the balance: weigh, therefore (your deeds) with equity, and do not upset the balance" (Qur'an, Al-Rahman, 55:7-9)
"Corruption has appeared on the land and in the sea because of what the hands of humans have wrought. This is in order that we give them a taste of the consequences of their misdeeds that perhaps they will turn to the path of right guidance (Qur'an, 30:41).
On remembering the poor
"A true believer does not hurt anyone with his thoughts, words or actions" (Bukhari)
"And you devour the inheritance (of others) with devouring greed" (Qur'an, Al-Fajr, 89:19)
"If any one deprives an heir of his inheritance, Allah will deprive him of his inheritance in Paradise on the Day of Resurrection" (Ibn Majah)
On taking action on climate change
"Truly, God does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves."(Quran 13:11)
"And your Lord has said: Invoke Me: I will respond to your invocation." (Qur'an, 40:60)
"There is no Muslim on the face of the earth that asks Allah for anything except that Allah gives it to him, or averts from him a similar evil, as long as he does not ask for something evil or for breaking the ties of kinship."(Tirmidhi)
"Verily your Lord is the One modest and Generous, and when His servant raises his hands to Him in supplication, He is diffident (in some wordings, shy or hesitant) from returning them empty." [Ahmad, Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi]
"There is nothing more noble in the sight of Allah than du'a." (Tirmidhi)
On consumption and waste
"The worldly comforts are not for me. I am like a traveller, who takes a rest under a tree in the shade and then goes on his way" (Tirmidhi)
"Richness does not lie in the abundance of goods but richness is the richness of the soul (heart, self)" (Ibn Majah)
"But waste not by excess, for God loves not the wasteful" (Qur'an, Al-An'am 6:141)
"Do not waste water, even if you perform your ablution on the banks of an abundantly-flowing river" (Ibn Majah)
On speaking up for change
"Whoever of you sees an evil must then change it with his hand. If he is not able to do so, then [he must change it ] with his tongue. And if he is not able to do so, then [he must change it] with his heart. And that is the slightest [effect of] faith." (Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) narrated by Abu Saeed al-Khudri in Muslim).
"Verily, Allah does not change the condition of a people unless they change their inner selves." (Qur'an: 13:11)