In the Quraan, there are many verses that speak about the obligation to maintain and restrict of ruining the environment. Therefore, the universe and all its potential contained in it are given to man to be processed and used. To manage it and explore it requires effort and hard work. Allah does not give the finished goods but raw materials which must be processed using the potential given by Allah to man, which is “reasonable”. This can be seen clearly in the Quran
ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ وَأَنزَلَ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مَآءً فَأَخْرَجَ بِهِۦ مِنَ ٱلثَّمَرَٰتِ رِزْقًا لَّكُمْ ۖ وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ ٱلْفُلْكَ لِتَجْرِىَ فِى ٱلْبَحْرِ بِأَمْرِهِۦ ۖ وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ ٱلْأَنْهَـٰرَ
وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ ٱلشَّمْسَ وَٱلْقَمَرَ دَآئِبَيْنِ ۖ وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ ٱلَّيْلَ وَٱلنَّهَارَ
“Allah is He Who created the heavens and the earth and sends down rain from the sky. Then He produced therewith fruits as food for you; He has lowered the ships that they may sail through the sea by His will. And He has made subservient (also) for you rivers. And He has made subservient (also) to you the sun and the moon, constant in their courses (in its orbit); and subject to you night and day.” [Surah Ibrahim Verse 32-33]
Everything in Allah’s creation is for man. The question is whether to process it, leave it, or destroy it. Islam encourages its followers to cultivate, conserve and explore nature so that it can be beneficial to them. As Allah in the Quran Surah Abasa, Verse 26-32 explains:
“and then We cleave the earth [with new growth], cleaving it asunder, and thereupon We cause grain to grow out of it, and vines and edible plants, and olive trees and date-palms, and gardens dense with foliage, and fruits and herbage, for you and for your animals to enjoy.”
The Quran provides many incentives to maintain and care for nature and the environment. Therefore, the mission of Islam basically includes maintaining the universe.
وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَـٰكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَـٰلَمِينَ
“And we have not sent you except as a mercy for all mankind”. [Surah al-Anbiya, verse 107]
Having mercy on nature is included as part of the implementation of the teachings of Islam as a whole. Nature is a gift given by Allah to man. In accordance with the position of man as the vicegerent of Allah, then he is required to preserve and maintain nature as well as use and explore it. Much of the damage and havoc caused by human behaviour is because man does not pay attention to his relationship with the natural world. Oceans and terrestrial ecosystem damage is caused by humans and their failure to maintain the relationship that should exist with a perfect balance between him and the natural world. Therefore, people are required to have a certain attitude to nature and should have explored nature wisely and maintain it sustainably. Therefore, man, the noblest creature of Allah, is instructed to always do good and prohibited from doing mischief on the earth.
Environment according to Islam covers all the activities done by man in all places and at all times. The natural environment including land, water, animals and plants, and all that is on and in the bowels of the earth is Allah’s creation for the benefit of mankind and for their survival. In Islam, the preservation of the environment is not solely due to the demands of economic, political, or demands of national development programs. The preservation of the environment should be understood as a religious order and must be carried out by all man.
Every effort of management and conservation of the environment is good and true worship of Allah should be given the gift of reward. On the other hand, any act that causes damage to the environment, waste of natural resources and neglect of Allah’s creation is an act of evil. Humans have an obligation to protect the environment for the sustainability of life, not only for humans but for all other living beings. Human action in excessive use of natural resources which ignores basic maintenance and conservation resulting in environmental degradation and damage is prohibited (haraam) and can be punished. Instead if man carry`s out his responsibility of maintaining and conserving the nature, there is a reward for him from Allah.