Respect the earth (DW#410)

Sura Rum: Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea on account of what the hands of men have wrought (Quran 30:41)

Corruption (fasad, in Arabic) is often defined as: "A thing leaving a balanced state." In other words, corruption is when something becomes ruined, contaminated, polluted or out of balance. Its opposite is salah/islah is to rectify, correct, or set right. In other words, to bring a thing back to some sort of equilibrium and balance.

This verse reminds us that we need to be muslihun – people of islah, not mufsidun – people of fasad; of how we are to be people who set things aright, not sow mischief throughout the earth. We are called upon to be healers, not corrupters.

Here is the foundational principle of the Qur’an’s "earth ethics" or the ecological view in Islam: That we are stewards of this earth and that we need to respect the balance in Creation and not to disturb this balance through disregard and misuse.

The verse is more relevant today than perhaps at any other time in history – when man’s indifference to our host planet and the damage that it is doing is becoming increasingly evident every day in the form of climate change and natural disasters.

The Quran is reminding us that when we don’t respect the harmony and balance in nature, we will end of destroying our own little bubble of survival. That is why God says our catastrophes are self-inflicted; "corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea on account of what the hands of men have wrought".

The verse goes on to say: "…So… let them taste part of (the consequences what they have done) that perhaps they will return (to righteousness)." (Qur’an 30:41)

We are experiencing the consequences of our indifference and greed already. But Allah and His earth are very forgiving. How can we practice islah, setting right of what has been corrupted?

By practicing consciousness and moderation in use and avoiding waste and misuse 
By showing courtesy to other forms of life
By being enchanted, awed and respectful of Creation and nature

What a beautiful planet we have been granted! Would it not be lovely if our children and grandchildren could also enjoy it? 

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