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Interfaith Dialogue ( 22 Jun 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Climate Change and Environment Conservation – Concerns of Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism and Other Faiths Are the Same

By Arman Neyazi, New Age Islam

23 June 2021

Spiritual and Religious Teachings Will Be Of Great Help to Make the World Nation Understand Their Duties towards the Climate Change and Environments Degradation

Main Points:

1.    Planet earth is gasping for breath due to climate change.

2.    Climate change is in process of altering the sense of weather that humankind had experienced since its inception.

3.    Senseless and unplanned industrialisation of the world is responsible for the dying environment.

4.    Religious scriptures are an un-availed treasure as far as concerns regarding climate change and environmental conservation are concerned.

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(Photo courtesy: Waheed Foundation/ …and do not walk upon the earth exultantly. Indeed, you will never tear the earth [apart], and you will never reach the mountains in height. (Al-Isra’:37))

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Our planet earth is gasping for breath due to climate change. Climate change is in process of altering the sense of weather that humankind had experienced since its inception till a few decades ago.

Humankind, by nature, refuses to accept the wrongs committed by him. Acceptance of the fault is a natural beginning of its solution. No natural solution, therefore, is in sight as no acceptance of conducting wrong ideals of life by us has been accepted. The world is busy finding out the reasons and causes of climate change. Had 'all the world is a village' maxim been accepted, nations had not been divided in East, West, South or North and fault finding process would not have started.

Senseless and unplanned industrialisation of the world is indeed responsible for the dying environment. This also is true that the whole world has taken the route to industrialization as per its capacity. Environmental havoc created because of humankind race to stamp the supremacist policies and highhandedness on the smaller and underdeveloped countries needs to be studied and stopped to save the human race. Rich nations will have to play a kind and generous elder brother instead of a ‘Big Brother' syndrome to bring atmospheric order to the world. The process of environmental conservation will bring the process of climate change to a halt and the beauty of the world will return in its full glory.

To make the world nations, in particular and human being in general, understand their duties towards their future race, spiritual and religious teachings will be of great help. This is because man’s spiritual instinct is ingrained so deep in his birth that it had changed a dacoit and athletic serial killer like Angulimala into a monk. (According to Buddhist scripture). The magical effect of spiritualism and mankind’s ingrained humanity will make the world behave in a responsible vicegerent of God and the environment conservation will be a dream come true.

Our Environment That Nearing Its Death Needs Us More Than Ever Before

Our religious scriptures and the sayings of our religious faith leaders are also an un-availed treasure as far as religious concerns regarding climate change and environmental conservation are concerned. The need of the hour is to study and follow the below mentioned Quranic Ayat, verses from Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism, Jainism and Buddhism etc. for the sake of saving humanity from destruction and pain.

The evolvement of human life on the planet earth is defined by all religions as the birth of living souls through the environmental ingredients, like water, soil, air, and the environment itself.  All the religious scriptures define human being relation with the earth in the same voice but little different words and feelings, such as:

"We created man from sounding clay, from mud moulded into shape..." (15:26).

"The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants." (Leviticus 25:23)

The Earth is our mother and we are all her children. (Ancient Hindu teaching)

"Air is the Guru, water is the father and Earth is the great mother.  (Shri Guru Granth Sahib)

The most important principle of the environment is that you are not the only element. (Mahavira)

The above mentioned religious scriptures voice the same feelings for the earth, environment and all that is here. The world religions ask their followers to look after the earth as their life depends on the conservation of the beauty of the environment and weather. Amid all the misdeeds we may knowingly or unknowingly be performing misdeeds going against the commands of our Creator, the Kindest and the Most Gracious. We must promise to ourselves to be true to the lessons related to the conservation of the planet earth and preserve its beauty and serenity.

Consider the following texts of various religious scriptures to understand the value of the conservation of the environment and the reasons and cure of climate change.

Ayat from the Holy Quran on the Importance of Environmental Conservation

A study of the Ayat mentioned below exhibit the concern of Allah, the Creator of the Universe. The following Ayat call human being as its viceroy on the earth and commands to respect the earth and all that it has. Allah, the Most Merciful says that He has created everything on the earth for the use of humankind whom He takes as the ‘best of the creations’. Therefore they must enjoy the weather, the environment, the fruit-laden trees but he should refrain from being extravagant as Allah does not like the corruptors of nature (Al-Qasas: 77) and the extravagant (Al-Anam: 141).

Consider the following:

"It is He Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon; all (the celestial bodies) swim along, each in its rounded course" (21:33).

…"made from water every living thing" (21:30)

"He began the creation of man from clay and made his progeny from a quintessence of fluid" (32:7-8).

“And do no mischief on the earth after it has been set in order: that will be best for you if ye have Faith” (Surat Al A’raf: 85)

“It is He who has appointed you viceroys in the earth … that He may try you in what He has given you.” (Surah 6:165)

"And We send down from the sky water in measure, and We give it lodging in the earth, and lo! We are able to withdraw it." - Quran, 23:18

"Then We produce for you therewith gardens of date-palms and grapes, wherein is much fruit for you and whereof ye eat." (Quran, 23:19)

...“ Follow the nature designed by Allah, the nature according to which He has fashioned mankind; there is no altering the creation of Allah.” (Surah Al-Roum: 30)

“And there is no animal that walks upon the earth nor a bird that flies with its two wings but they are like yourselves; We have not neglected anything in the book, and then to their Lord shall they be gathered.” (SurathAl-An’am:38)

... And do not inequitably seek to work corruption in the land; surely Allah does not love the corruptors." (Al-Qasas: 77)— Dr Ghali

Eat of its fruit when it bears fruits, and pay its due on the day of harvest, and do not be extravagant. Surely, Allah does not like the extravagant (Al-Anam: 141) — Mufti Taqi Usmani

Environment Conservation and Prophetic Traditions

“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.” (Muslim)

“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.” (Bukhari)

 “Whoever plants a tree and diligently looks after it until it matures and bears fruit is rewarded,” (Musnad)

Narrated by Anas bin Malik (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: “There is none amongst the Muslims who plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it but is regarded as a charitable gift for him.”? (Bukhari).

“He who cuts a lote-tree [without justification], Allah will send him to Hellfire.” (Abu Dawud).

According to Hazrat Jabir (RA) reported that Prophet Muhammad (SAW] said: “No Muslim, who plants a shoot, except that whatever is eaten or stolen from it, or anyone obtains the least thing from it, is considered [like paying) almsgiving on his behalf until the Day of Judgement.” (Muslim)

One day Prophet Pbuh passed by Sa`d ibn Abi Waqas (RA) while he was performing Wudu’. The Prophet (saw) asked Sa`d: “What is this wastage?” Sa`d replied: “Is there wastage in Wudu also?” The Prophet said, “Yes, even if you are at a flowing river.”(Ibn Majah)

Likening a believer with a growing tree, the Prophet Pbuh said: “The example of a believer is that of a fresh tender plant; from whatever direction the wind comes, it bends it, but when the wind quietens down, the plant becomes straight again…” (Bukhari)

“Partake of it gladly so long as you are the benefactor, not a despoiler; a cultivator, not a destroyer. All human beings, as well as animals and wildlife, enjoy the right to share Earth’s resources. Man’s abuse of any resource is prohibited as the juristic principle says ‘What leads to the prohibited is itself prohibited”.

Christianity and Environmental Importance for Humankind

"And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." (Genesis 1:28]

"And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it." (Genesis 2:15)

.... You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim in the paths of the seas.” Psalm 8:3-8

Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. (Genesis 9:3)

The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. (Psalm 24:1)

Teachings from Bhagavad Gita on the Importance of Safeguarding Environment

Food is the life of all beings, and all food comes from the rain above. Sacrifice brings the rain from heaven, and sacrifice is a sacred action. (3:12)

Those who are under the delusion of the forces of Nature bind themselves to the work of these forces. Let not the wise man who sees the All disturb the unwise who sees not the All. (3:27-29)

The visible forms of my nature are eight: earth, water, fire, air, ether; the mind, reason, and the sense of 'I'. ...I am the taste of living waters and the light of the sun and the moon..... I am the pure fragrance that comes from the earth....  (7:4-10)

I watch and in its work of creation nature brings forth all that moves and moves not: and thus the revolutions of the world go round. (9:4-10)

“so long as the Earth preserves her forests and wildlife, man’s progeny will continue to exist.” This is the Hindu approach toward the conservation of ecology. (Swami Vibudhesha Teertha)

Sikhism Relates Human Life with the Conservation of Environment

Day and night are like two nurses who look after us".  (Shri Guru Granth Sahib)

"...we shall reap the results, of the seeds which we sow". (Shri Guru Granth Sahib)

Air, water, earth and sky – the Lord has made these His home and temple.  (Shri Guru Granth Sahib)

“The Lord infused His Light into the dust and created the world, the universe. The sky, the earth, the trees, and the water – all are the Creation of the Lord. ||1||” – Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (Ang 723)

 The SGGSJ states, "In all beings is the Lord pervasive, the Lord pervades all forms male and female" (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, p.605)

"Pehla Pani Jeo Hai Jit Harya Sab Koye, this means that there are living beings even in water and if we spoil the water then those living beings that live in the water, they will die and the people who drink water, they will also be harmed so we should not pollute the water."   (Guru Granth Sahib)

He, the Lord, knows their condition, O Nanak. Nanak, having created beings, the lord takes care of them all. The creator who created the world, He takes thought of it as well. (Guru Granth Sahib, page 466)

“The Creator created himself…… And created all creation in which he is manifest. You Yourself the bumble-bee, flower, fruit and the tree. You Yourself the water, desert, ocean and the pond. You Yourself are the big fish, tortoise and the Cause of causes. Your form can not be known (Guru Granth Sahib Page 1016)

“I perceive Thy form in all life and light; I perceive Thy power in all spheres and sight.” (Guru Granth, page 464)

“The God-conscious person is animated with an intense desire to do good in this world.” (Guru Granth Sahib, page 273)

A Sikh theologian, Kapur Singh, explains:

....the highest goal of spiritual progression is harmony with God, while remaining earth-conscious, so that the world itself may be transformed into a spiritual plane of existence.“

“When I saw truly, I knew that all was primeval. Nanak, the subtle (spirit) and the gross (material) are, in fact, identical.” (Guru Granth Sahib, page 281)

That which is inside a person, the same is outside; nothing else exists; By divine prompting look upon all existence as one and undifferentiated; The same light penetrates all existence. (Guru Granth Sahib, page 599)

“Men, trees, pilgrimage places, banks of sacred streams, clouds, fields, islands, spheres, universes, continents, solar systems, the sources of creation, egg-born, womb-born, earth-born, sweat-born, oceans, mountains and sentient being; He, the Lord, knows their condition, O Nanak. Having created beings, the lord takes care of them all. The Creator who created the world, He takes thought of it as well (SGGS Ji, page 467).

Jain ideology for the Conservation of Environment

Jainism teaching of non-violence is as much related to the killing of the environment as it is for any living being.

Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture or kill any creature or living being. (Jain Scripture)

There is no quality of soul more subtle than non-violence and no virtue of spirit greater than reverence for life. (Mahavira)

"One who neglects or disregards the existence of earth, air, fire, water and vegetation disregards his own existence which is entwined with them". (Mahavira)

“All life is bound together by mutual support and interdependence.” - Mahavir Bhagwan, Tattvartha Sutra

"Thoroughly knowing the earth-bodies and water-bodies and fire-bodies and wind-bodies, the lichens, seeds, and sprouts, he comprehended that they are, if narrowly inspected, imbued with life" (1.8.1.11–12; in Jacobi, 1884)

A hungry person with the most negative black Lesya karma uproots and kills an entire tree to obtain a few mangoes. The person of blue karma fells the tree by chopping the trunk, again merely to gain a handful of fruits. Fraught with grey karma, a third person spares the trunk but cuts off the major limbs of the tree. The one with orangish-red karma carelessly and needlessly lops off several branches to reach the mangoes. The fifth, exhibiting white or virtuous karma, "merely picks up ripe fruit that has dropped to the foot of the tree." (Jaini, 1916, p. 47)

Buddhism and Its Relation with Climate

Skamp (1991) concludes the importance of spirituality and environmental education as follows:

Our response to 'Truth' as we see it (conscious or otherwise) will be a powerful (perhaps the) determinant of the actions we take for the environment (Skamp, 1991, p.84).

...teachers of environmental education need to seriously consider the role of spiritual development of the students in their care when they are focusing upon humankind, with the world in which they live. (Skamp, 1991, p.85).

(Courtesy: Procedia Social and Behavioural Sciences)

 

(Photo courtesy/ The Financial Times © James Ferguson)

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Time to Reboot the Environment and Stop the Climate Change

Religious discourses of all the religions unequivocally show their concern towards the deteriorating environment and climate changes occurring on the planet earth. The beauty of the texts lies in the fact that they provide the solution as well.

Our universally acknowledged concern for climate change is well known hence it may be feasible to take the religious and spiritual teachings to the doorsteps of the world citizens and ask them to rectify the mistakes being done against the environment. Rebooting the environment and stopping the planet earth from going on the path of destruction is in the hands of the developed nations more than that of the common man. Our developed nations will have to be conscious of the necessity of the preservation of natural glory that is the future of our future generations.

Human beings being religious and spiritual will be of much help in creating their concern and awareness of the need for conservation of the environment. Environmental conservation will create an exuberant society and will bring sobriety and humility in the life of humankind that is missing due to the unnecessary race towards materialistic favour.

And Allah Knows the Best.

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Arman Neyazi is a columnist with NewAgeIslam.com.

URL:   https://www.newageislam.com/interfaith-dialogue/climate-environment-conservation/d/125006


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