Orland Park Prayer Center

The Prayer Center of Orland Park

Islam paid great attention to the environment and was the first to establish rules and legislation that guarantee its safety, stability, and beauty, and preserve its various resources. This is consistent with this valuable religion’s view of the universe, which is created by Allah (ﷻ), and is one of the effects of His power and greatness, which requires us to appreciate and respect it.

The Arabic word for the term Environment is (البيئة). It means: “the natural biological, geographical and social surrounding that any living entity resides in including human being.”[1]

Allah (ﷻ) said: {And thus did We establish Joseph in the land, to settle in it wherever he so willed} 12:56.  And Allah (ﷻ) said: {Thus We revealed to Moses and his brother: settle your people in Egypt} 10:87. In both of these verses Allah (ﷻ) used the term (بوأ) which means: “to return to matter”[2] and here returning to a place of residence that is suitable to reside and live.

Both land and sea are areas of the environment that should be preserved and protected. Allah (ﷻ) spoke of how humans with their acts of evil can cause mischief in such areas. Allah (ﷻ) said: {Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness]} 30:41.

And for that, we can say, preserving the environment is preserving our presence; we need to think about the environment as an entity that echoes our concept of existence, that is to worship God. Allah (ﷻ) said: {The seven heavens and the earth and all that are in them give due exaltation to Him [God]. For there is not a [single] thing but that it exalts Him with [all] praise. But you [human beings] fathom not their exaltation} 17:44. In another verse, Allah (ﷻ) spoke of how mountains join prophet Daoud in acts of praise to God. Allah (ﷻ) said: {And very truly, [before you, O Prophet,] We gave David, [a mere shepherd], great favor from Us, [decreeing]: O mountains! echo with him [my praises]. And O birds! Sing praise with him, as well} 34:10.

Investing in the environment is something that the prophet (ﷺ) had directed us to do. He (ﷺ) said: “When a Muslim plants a tree, whatever is eaten from it is charity from him and whatever is stolen is charity and whatever is subtracted from it is charity.”[3]

If we originate from water, then preserving water and making it available and accessible for all humans is an ethical concept, which means preserving ourselves. Allah (ﷻ) said: {We have made every living thing [therein] from water} 21:30.

Protecting species, which is part of preserving the environment, was introduced to us from the concept of creating things in pairs for all that exists. Allah (ﷻ) said: {Thus He is the One who stretched out the land [suiting it to habitation]: and who made therein anchoring mountains [to balance the earth as it spins] and [opened] rivers [to water it] and [placed therein something] of every kind of fruit. He made all being therein as mates, in pairs} 13:3.

And then, from the time of the great flood with Noah, Allah (ﷻ) spoke of carrying pairs on the ship to protect species. Allah (ﷻ) said: {So it was until when Our command [of doom] came to pass, and the [very] hearth [itself] erupted [like a fount, as a sign and a portent]- We said [to Noah}: Carry in [the Ark] mates of every [living] pair, and your family} 11:40.

Even, at the time when the prophet (ﷺ) migrated to Medinah, he ordered Sahabah to kill the dogs for the rabies disease that was spreading and causing harm, then he ordered them to stop after disease was cleared unless they find any still carrying it. The reasoning he (ﷺ) made was: “If it wasn’t that dogs were a community of the (general) communities, I would have ordered its killing.”[4]

Preserving the environment is also demonstrated in the concept of protecting forests and green areas. The planting of trees and plants to keep our earth healthy and return back to us in air quality was summarized in this Hadith of the prophet (ﷺ) where he said: “If the Final Hour comes while you have a shoot of a plant in your hands and it is possible to plant it before the Hour comes, you should plant it.”[5]

Making land accessible for people to plant and harvest and cultivate was also a concept that is part of the environmental preservation for the generations to come. The second Caliph, Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, (RAA),  refused Bilal’s reminder of distributing the conquered land of Iraq to the army, but yet he distributed on its people to farm it and give some of its produce back to the zakat, interpreting the general benefit themes from the verse: {As to all those [believers] who come after them, they [shall] say: Our Lord! Forgive us! And our brethren who proceeded us in faith. And let not into our hearts any malice toward those who believe. Our Lord! Indeed, You are all-kind, mercy-giving} 59:10.

Islam prohibited wastefulness and extravagance as part of preserving the environment. The Prophet (ﷺ) said when asked: Is there extravagance in ablution? He said: “Yes, (do not be wasteful) even if you were by a running river.” And Ibn Abbas said: “Eat what you want and dress what you want as long you miss two things: wastefulness and extravagance.”

Earth is the place where humans are meant to learn about their Lord, find purpose and appreciate that it was subjugated for our existence. This is a reminder to protect our environment and live in harmony with nature to seek Allah’s pleasure.

By Imam Kifah Mustapha

[1] (Al-A’qd Al-Fareed) by Ibn Abd Rabbo Al-Andalusi

[2] Maqayees Al-Lughah by Ibn Fares

[3] Muslim

[4] Abu Daoud

[5] Bukhari in the book of Al-Adab Al-Mufrad


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