God has created everything in this universe in due proportion and measure both quantitatively and qualitatively. God has declared in the Qur’an:
“Verily, all things have We created by measure” (Qur’an 54:49)
“…Everything to Him is measured.” (Qur’an 13:8) “And We have produced therein everything in balance.” (Qur’an 55:7)
Islam has attached much importance to the protection of environment asking its followers not to cut trees, pollute rivers or contaminate the atmosphere.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught people to live on less, to protect animal and plant life, and to worship the Creator by being merciful to the creation.
“If a Muslim plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift (sadaqah) for him.” (Al-Bukhari)
In the universe there is enormous diversity and variety of form and function. The universe and its various elements fulfill human welfare and are evidence of the Creator’s greatness; He it is Who determines and ordains all things, and there is not a thing He has created but celebrates and declares His praise.
“Have you not seen that God is glorified by all in the heavens and on the earth — such as the birds with wings outspread? Each knows its worship and glorification, and God is aware of what they do.” (Qur’an 24:41)
Each thing that God has created is a wondrous sign, full of meaning; pointing beyond itself to the glory and greatness of its Creator, His wisdom and His purposes for it.
“He Who has spread out the earth for you and threaded roads for you therein and has sent down water from the sky: With it have We brought forth diverse kinds of vegetation. Eat and pasture your cattle; verily, in this are signs for men endued with understanding.” (Qur’an 20:53-54)
God has not created anything in this universe in vain, without wisdom, value and purpose. God says:
“We have not created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them carelessly. We have not created them but for truth.” (Qur’an 44:38-39)
Thus, the Islamic vision revealed in the Qur’an is of a universe imbued with value. All things in the universe are created to serve the One Lord Who sustains them all by means of one another, and Who controls the miraculous cycles of life and death:
“God it is that splits the seed and the date stone, brings the living from the dead and the dead from the living: That is your God — how are you turned away?” (Qur’an 6:95)
“Blessed is He in Whose Hand is dominion, and He has power over every thing: He Who has created death and life to try you, which of you work the most good.” (Qur’an 67:1-2)
Man is part of this universe, the elements of which are complementary to one another in an integrated whole indeed, man is a distinct part of the universe and it has a special position among its other parts. The relation between man and the universe, as defined and clarified in the glorious Qur’an and the Prophetic teachings, is as follows:
• A relationship of meditation, consideration, and contemplation of the universe and what it contains.
• A relationship of sustainable utilization, development, and employment for man’s benefit and for the fulfillment of his interests.
• A relationship of care and nurture for man’s good works are not limited to the benefit of the human species, but rather extend to the benefit of all created beings; and “there is a reward in doing good to every living thing.” (Al-Bukhari)
Therefore, in addition to being part of the earth and part of the universe, man is also the executor of God’s injunctions and commands. He is only a manager of the earth and not a proprietor; a beneficiary and not a disposer or ordainer.
Heaven and earth and all that they contain belong to God alone. Man has been granted stewardship to manage the earth in accordance with the purposes intended by its Creator; to utilize it for his own benefit and the benefit of other created beings, and for the fulfillment of his interests and of theirs. He is thus entrusted with its maintenance and care, and must use it as a trustee, within the limits dictated by his trust.
The Prophet declared said: “The world is beautiful and verdant, and verily God, be He exalted, has made you His stewards in it, and He sees how you acquit yourselves.” (Saheeh Muslim)
All of the resources upon which life depends have been created by God as a trust in our care. He has ordained sustenance for all people and for all living beings.
“And He has set within it mountains standing firm, and blessed it, and ordained in it its diverse sustenance in four days, alike for all that seek.” (Qur’an 41:10)
Thus, in Islam the utilization of these resources is the right and privilege of all people and all species. Hence, man should take every precaution to ensure the interests and rights of all others since they are equal partners on earth.
To be continued