Asalamu Alaikum!

The Environment

“When the earth is shaken with a (violent) shaking,
And the earth reveals what burdens her,
And man says: What has befallen her?
On that day she shall tell her story….” (Qur’an 99:1-4) Surah Az-Zalzalah

Yesterday I was outside my aunt’s apartment building when I saw this minivan open its back doors and throw garbage – a cup of half-full pudding and an empty water bottle. The driver (the mom) was too busy yapping her mouth off, leaving her undisciplined child alone to litter. The littering wasn’t the only thing that pissed me off, but it was a muslim family. I know that it’s one’s moral obligation to keep the earth clean, but as muslim we have to enforce those moral codes. We can’t tell our children that they have to keep their minds, bodies and tongues clean but fail to advise them to keep the earth clean.

I rarely hear of Islamic environmental groups or an Islamic PETA. I was having a conversation with a good friend the other day and she mentioned that muslims hate animals – dogs to be exact. She was telling me about the story of the prostitute who gave a stray dog some water and she was promised by Allah that she’ll enter paradise.

(Hadith – Bukhari 4:538, Narrated Abu Huraira

Allah’s Apostle (SAW) said, “A prostitute was forgiven by Allah, because, passing by a panting dog near a well and seeing that the dog was about to die of thirst, she took off her shoe, and tying it with her head-cover she drew out some water for it. So, Allah forgave her because of that.”)

My friend concluded by saying “what about all the non-muslims who care and love their dogs, are their sins forgiven?”

What if muslims were environmentalists and/or animal-lovers? I’m not suggesting that we should keep dogs as a pet, but we should adapt a friendly attitude towards animals. The same is said for the earth.

The aforementioned surah speaks about the day of judgement. The earth will be violently shook and we’ll ask what have we done in order for this violent shaking to occur? Then the earth will speak. Imagine what it would say? Imagine the atrocious acts that happen daily, the plundering of natural resources and our negligence?

Did you know that environmental degradation leads to a rise in farmer suicides? I’m not making this up! See, Raj Patel’s Stuffed & Starved. Furthermore, there are some parts in the world where farmers can’t produce crops on their land and suicide becomes their alternative. Now, imagine judgement day and what earth will say?

The ‘green’ movement can occur anywhere, importantly, it should start in this lady’s car. There has to be a change in the way we, all humans, view the environment – a dramatic mental shift. So, the next time you have the urge to litter and actually do – I pray a flock of birds shit on you.

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