Protecting the Environment Protects Life
The main axes of the subject:
1- Environmental life sources
2- Do not corrupt that which Allah has reformed for you
3- Some rules to protect the environment
We will explain the level of Islam’s interest in the environment, which is the reason for mankind consistency in its entirety. We will also explain a number of the rules that are required to protect our environment.
Exporting the subject:
Imam Abi Abdillah (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “Plant and embed, I swear in Allah, nothing of the peoples’ work is sweater or better than this issue.”1
Environmental life sources:
The environment, based on the definitions of life science dictionaries, is “the framework within which man exercises his life with the most different activities. It is the land on which we live, the air that we breathe, and the water that is the source of every living thing. In addition, there are other life sources surrounding us such as other living beings or solids.”2
The environment represents for mankind all sources of life such as food, water, air, residence, transportation, and communication as well as other sources of natural beauties with the possibilities of simulating them through sound and live image or solid image as well as colorings plus other similar methods.
Two sane persons will never argue about the necessity of protecting environment since it includes these elements, the reason for the continuation of life, with a duty to agree on a number of rules and regulations as well as the necessity to abide by their implementation and work on propagating the culture that will guarantee the peoples’ awareness towards its significance plus their tendency towards protecting and preserving the environment.
The environment is Allah’s property in its entirety:
The verses of the holy Quran stated that the heavens and earth that Allah created in fact belong to his exaltedness. The exalted says: “A revelation from He who created the earth and highest heavens * The Most Merciful [who is] above the Throne established * To Him belongs what is in the heavens and what is on the earth and what is between them and what is under the soil.”3
Once we’ve admitted that the heavens and earth and what are between them and what is under the soil purely belonging to Allah, we will reach another fact. Allah (the Exalted) subjected them to man in order to provide him with the elements of life and its balance and equilibrium provided that man acts in accordance with Allah’s instructions. For example, the environment has been generous in the past and enabled people to live in generosity and will continue to do so as long as man treats it according to Allah’s instructions such as equilibrium and care while avoid corruption.
The exalted says: “And it is He who subjected the sea for you to eat from it tender meat and to extract from it ornaments which you wear. And you see the ships plowing through it, and [He subjected it] that you may seek of His bounty; and perhaps you will be grateful * And He has cast into the earth firmly set mountains, lest it shift with you, and [made] rivers and roads, that you may be guided.”4
The exalted also said: “It is He who sends down rain from the sky; from it is drink and from it is foliage in which you pasture [animals].”5
His exalted said in another verse: “And He has subjected for you the night and day and the sun and moon, and the stars are subjected by His command. Indeed in that are signs for a people who reason.”6
The verses, which pointed to the subjugation of everything in the heavens and earth to man and for his own benefits to find a good living, are not being mentioned here as a point of elaboration.
Do not corrupt that which Allah has reformed for you:
After the verses showed that creation is under the subjugation of mankind, Allah (the Exalted) explained that this issue is termed by two conditions:
1- Man must praise his exaltedness by obeying him and by abiding by his doctrine.
2- We must protect the environment and never cause corruption. We must reform it for our own benefits in a way that will not breach the rights of others such as our present and future generations. This can be achieved by exploiting all the elements of the environment.
The exalted said through Moses tongue: “…and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption.”7
His exaltedness also said: “And of the people is he whose speech pleases you in worldly life, and he calls Allah to witness as to what is in his heart, yet he is the fiercest of opponents * And when he goes away, he strives throughout the land to cause corruption therein and destroy crops and animals. And Allah does not like corruption.”8
Sahib al Mizan quoted from al Sayouti’s book “Al Dorr al Manthour,” which was quoted from al Saddi, that the verse that was revealed in the case of a man named al Akhnas Bin Shureik al Thaqafi, who came to the prophet (a.s.) in Medina and said: I came wanting to convert to Islam and Allah knows that I am sincere. The prophet (a.s.) favored this issue from him, hence Allah’s saying: “… and he calls Allah to witness as to what is in his heart…” And when he left the prophet, he passed by the crops and animals of Muslim people, setting the crops on fire and killing the animals, hence his saying: “And when he goes away, he strives throughout the land to cause corruption therein and destroy crops and animals.”9
The author said in his book al Mizan, “…To cause corruption therein and destroy crops and animals,” reveals to us that the apparent issue from these words points to his saying ‘to cause corruption in it,’ cause corruption by destroying the crops and animals.” Since mankind’s consistency regarding life and survival could only be achieved through nutrition and animal breeding, this is why both were the direct basics that were necessary and indispensable in all cases. Breeding on one hand is apparent. Nutrition on the other hand obliges man to seek source from both animals and plants whereas animals (cattle) seek source from only plants. Therefore, the plants were the main origin and could be preserved by plowing and cultivation. Hence, the word corruption touched on the crops and animals. In other words, he causes corruption on the land by annihilating man and exterminating his kind by destroying crops and animals.”10
Some rules to protect the environment:
Do not block the road:
As we said earlier, everything within the environment is linked to man’s life including the road that the people use for passing. Therefore, the road must not be breached by narrowing or closing it to the travelers and cars or by placing barriers in their way. In addition, blocking and shutting the road to travelers is forbidden.
Allah’s messenger (s.a.a.w.) was quoted as saying: “Three things, damned is he who commits them; … and he who blocks the open road.”11
In addition, the following words were quoted from Imam Zein al Abideen (a.s.) in his explanation of the sins that speed up death, “Severing family ties and blocking the road to Muslims.”12
On the other hand, removing harmful objects from the road is an act that draws Allah’s satisfaction. The prophet (s.a.a.w.) was quoted as saying: “He, who removes from the road of Muslims that, which hurts them, will be rewarded by Allah the prize for reading four hundred verses, each letter will equal ten good deeds.”13
1- Wasa’el al Shia, Vol. 13, P. 192, H. 1.
2- Dr. Mamdouh Hamid al Atiyah, in his book (They are killing the environment), P. 17.
3- Holy Quran: Surat Taha (Ta-Ha), Verses 4-6.
4- Holy Quran: Surat An-Nahl (the Bees), Verses 14-15.
5- Holy Quran: Surat An-Nahl (the Bees), Verses 10.
6- Holy Quran: Surat An-Nahl (the Bees), Verses 12.
7- Holy Quran: Surat al Baqarah (the Cow), Verses 60.
8- Holy Quran: Surat al Baqarah (the Cow), Verses 204-205.
9- Surat al Baqarah (the Cow), verse 205, as explained Sayyid Muhammad Hussein al Tabtabaei in his book Tafsir al Mizan, Vol. 2, P. 82.
10- Al Mizan, Vol. 4, P. 79-80.
11- Wasa’el al Shia, by Sheikh Muhammad Bin al Hassan al Horr al A’mili, Vol. 25, chapter 25, privacy rules, H. 4.
12- Wasa’el al Shia, chapter 25, privacy rules, H. 5.
13- Sheikh Muhammad Baqir al Majlisi, in his book Bihar al Anwar, Vol. 72, P. 49.