There is now a growing awareness of the damage that has been wrought upon our earthly home through human-induced climate change, loss of biodiversity and pollution. This is substantiated by a scientific consensus that we are threatening our own survival through our abuse of the natural world. We need to act now if we are to ensure that we are leaving behind a liveable Earth for future generations and seek guidance from the Quran and Sunnah to show us the way:
Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea by what the hands of humankind have wrought, that He may let them taste some consequences of their deeds, so that they may turn back. (Qur’an 30:41)
As we reflect on the abundance of the Earth, large numbers of the human community go hungry every day and suffer the consequences of the profligacy of the developed world. If sustainable development is to have any chance of working in favour of the poorer sections of the world with minimum impact on its resources, the more fortunate amongst us will need to reduce our impact on the Earth’s natural systems. Our earthly home is a gift to us from Allah and Prophet Muhammad said-
The world is sweet and verdant, and verily Allah has made you stewards in it, and He sees how you acquit yourselves. (Hadīth related by Muslim from Abū Sa‘īd Al-Khudrī)
We respond to the call of the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change which was launched in Istanbul in 2015 prior to the Paris agreement (COP21). We also eagerly anticipate the publication of Al-Mizan – an Islamic Covenant for the Earth, a substantial statement of Islamic principles governing the protection of the natural world, produced by a group of international scholars with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme.
We call on all Muslims wherever they may be to take on the task of addressing the root causes of climate change, environmental degradation and the loss of biodiversity by following the example of The Prophet Muhammad, who was, in the words of the Qur’an, “a mercy to all beings.” He abhorred waste and extravagance and his kindness to animals and his empathy with the natural world is a matter of record. His commitment to social justice was second to none and he would always stand up for the rights of the poor and vulnerable.
Learning from his example we call on all Muslims to address the issues we now face regarding the degradation of the Earth, as an integral part of our lives. Having cognisance of this, we also ask the scholars (ulema), prayer leaders, mosques and madrasas:
- To reinvigorate the teachings in the Qur’an and the Hadith on the care of Allah’s creation in their teachings, talks and sermons.
- That they actualise these teachings by promoting Earth stewardship and sustainable living in their congregations and communities following the example of the Prophet.
- That they encourage the ‘greening’ of mosques, community centres and spaces where people gather so that they minimise the impact on natural resources.
We further ask politicians, community leaders and umbrella organisations to:
- Raise their voices for climate action on all the available platforms, to call for a just transition and to stand up for the rights of those affected most by the impacts of climate change and for the most vulnerable (young people, women, children, poor, refugees, asylum seekers etc)
- Use their influence to hold local authority and government agencies to account on climate and biodiversity targets.
- Encourage and support member organisations and individuals to include environmental sustainability in all their strategic plans, (e.g. rethinking the use of energy, food, water and issues relating to waste).
- Work with other groups and individuals, faith and non-faith, who are committed to this cause.
Our thoughts are with the world leaders who are gathering for the COP26 conference in Glasgow. The imperative now is to keep the Earth from warming beyond a further 1.5°C. We call on them to treat this as an opportunity not to be missed and give it the kind of guarantees that will make this an achievable target.
We further call on them to commit to the following:
- Meet Paris Agreement targets agreed at COP21.
- A unanimous sign up to a net zero emissions target.
- End to all use of public money to subsidise fossil fuels.
- Divest from fossil fuels and further commit to a total greening of energy sources.
- Access new and additional sources of finance to address climate-related loss and damage.
May Allah Almighty give us success in our endeavours. (Ameen).