In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Kind
Why Nature is Sacred to Muslims
The natural environment includes both biological (living) components, such as flora, fauna and insects; and biophysical (non-living) components, such as climate, natural resources, water, rocks, and air. It also includes all the interactions between them, occurring within and across ecosystems. Basically, all of Allah’s perfect Creations here on Earth, are encompassed in the natural world!
Allah SWT says in the Holy Qur’an:
And We created not the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, for mere play. We created them not except with truth, but most of us do not comprehend. (Al-Dukhan 44:38-39)
This beautiful natural world was created by Allah SWT, with Truth, for His purpose. That, in itself, bestows upon the environment a sacredness that must be recognised by all Believers. Purely out of love for Allah SWT, as Muslims, this means that we must not only have the utmost care and respect towards nature, but we should hold it in very high regard. Allah SWT says:
Do you not see that Allah is exalted (glorified) by whosoever is in the heavens and the earth, and [by] the birds with wings outspread? Of each one He knows indeed his prayer and his glorification, and Allah All-Aware of what they do.” (An-Nur 24:41)
Everything in nature constantly praises Allah SWT: all creatures and features on land and sea, animals and plants of all sizes and shapes; insects, trees, bees, seas, mountains and all celestial features too; the moon, the sun and the stars! All praise Allah SWT!
“Do you not see that whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the mountains, and the trees, the moving creatures and many of mankind prostrate themselves to Allah? But upon many, the punishment has been justified. And he whom Allah disgrace, none can honour him. Verily Allah does what He wills.” (Al-Hajj 22:18)
As Muslims, we have been given clear guidance from Allah SWT, through the Quran and the sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWS). Allah SWT clarifies our responsibilities as human beings towards the environment through the Qur’anic word kholeefah (meaning viceroy, representative or steward). Allah SWT described Adam (A.S) to the Angels with the following verse:
And (remember) when your Lord said to the Angels: “Lo! I am about to place a viceroy on earth (Al-Baqara, 2:30). Allah SWT also says: He is Who has made you viceroys on earth … (Fatir, 35:39).
This means that human beings have been appointed by Allah SWT Himself, as His representatives on Earth. We are His stewards, and we must therefore live and act responsibly in this world. It is our duty to maintain the world, protect and care for it, tread carefully on it, and not be wasteful of the bounties that Allah SWT has bestowed upon us.
By pondering over the verses of the Quran, will we be able to understand the wonders and miracles of the creation? Allah SWT invites us to travel the land and learn about His creation:
Say, [O Muhammad], “Travel through the land and observe how originated the creation, and then Allah will bring forth the creation of the Hereafter. Verily, Allah is Able to do all things.” (Al-‘Ankabut 29:20)
It is the duty of every Muslim to learn from, honour, protect, cherish and, at the very least, do-no-harm to, the environment. It is further our duty to ensure that we do not plunder the Earth’s resources, be wasteful or use more than what we need. After all, it is through nature and its resources that Allah SWT satisfies our needs.
Here are some tips for connecting with nature:
- Visit a local nature reserve or park and enjoy the beauty and splendour that Allah SWT has placed there.
- Spend time outside, feel the sun on your face or the sand between your toes, and praise Allah for the blessing of having free access to nature!
- Go outside and gaze into the night sky – be amazed by the beauty of the stars and how Allah SWT keeps all the planets in perfect orbit.
- When it’s raining, don’t be so quick to run for cover! Feel the blessed rain on your face, and thank Allah for the rain that replenishes the land and feeds all the creation! Nabi Muhammad (peace be upon him) would open his clothes to feel the rain on his skin.
- Spend some time gardening – connecting with the soil and appreciating that the growth of the plants is so miraculous, that they need perfect amounts of water, sunlight and air to grow! Allah hu Akbar!
- Walk bare feet on the natural ground – touching the soil, grass and plants with bare hands or feet are known to re-energise and ground the body, with numerous physical and mental benefits.
- Take some time to read or learn about something new in the environment every day. Do you know the names of the plants in your garden or the types of birds you see on a daily basis?
- Most importantly, be grateful for the beautiful nature that Allah SWT has surrounded us with. For Allah SWT says: And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: “If you give thanks (are grateful), I will give you more (of My Blessings); but if you are thankless, verily, My punishment is indeed severe.” (Ibrahim 14:7).
Author: Rashieda Davids