Did the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) say anything about saving our planet and its environment? Did he promote any ideas or practices relevant to the world’s growing concern about the future of the earth and its resources?
Today, with the increasing awareness of the dangers facing our planet and the great interest in green ideas, a reflection on the guidance of the Prophet in this area proves helpful and relevant.
What is distinctive about the Prophet’s approach to environmental issues is the connection he establishes between green practices and the Hereafter reward, which represents for Muslims an incentive greater than any worldly gain or reward and, as a result, prompts a greater care for the earth and more effort to conserve its resources.
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Below is a collection of the Prophet’s hadiths that, although said 14 centuries ago, are so relevant today. The green ideas are not novel, they are as old and well established as the religion of Islam is.
Plant a tree even if it is your last deed:
1. Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
“If the Hour (the day of Resurrection) is about to be established and one of you was holding a palm shoot, let him take advantage of even one second before the Hour is established to plant it.” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)
Planting trees is a renewable source of hasanat:
2. Anas also reported that the Prophet said,
“If a Muslim plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift (sadaqah) for him.” (Bukhari)
Conserve resources even when used for rituals:
3. Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Al-`Aas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet passed one day by Sa`d ibn Abi Waqas (May Allah be pleased with him) while he was performing wudu’ (ritual cleaning of body parts in preparation for prayer).
The prophet asked Sa`d, “Why is this wastage?”
Sa`d replied “Is there wastage in wudu also?”
The Prophet said, “Yes, even if you are at a flowing river.” (Ahmad and authenticated Ahmad Shakir)
Keeping the environment clean is important:
4. Mu`adh (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet warned,
“Beware of the three acts that cause you to be cursed: relieving yourselves in shaded places (that people utilize), in a walkway or in a watering place.” (Ranked sound, hasan, by Al-Albani)
5. Abu Zarr Al-Ghafari (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Removing harmful things from the road is an act of charity (sadaqah).” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)
No for over-consumption! Recycle and fix before buying new items:
6. Abdullah ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet said, “The believer is not he who eats his fill while his neighbor is hungry.” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)
7. Asked about what the Prophet used to do in his house, the Prophet’s wife, `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), said that he used to repair his shoes, sow his clothes and used to do all such household works done by an average person. (Authenticated by Al-Albani)
8. The Prophet said, “Whoever kills a sparrow or anything bigger than that without a just cause, Allah will hold him accountable on the Day of Judgment.“
The listeners asked, “O Messenger of Allah, what is a just cause?”
He replied, “That he will kill it to eat, not simply to chop off its head and then throw it away.” (An–Nasa’i)
Animals should be cared for:
9. Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet said,
“A man felt very thirsty while he was on the way, there he came across a well. He went down the well, quenched his thirst and came out.
Meanwhile he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. He said to himself, “This dog is suffering from thirst as I did.”
So, he went down the well again, filled his shoe with water, held it with his mouth and watered the dog. Allah appreciated him for that deed and forgave him.”
The Companions said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Is there a reward for us in serving the animals?” He replied: “There is a reward for serving any living being.” (Bukhari)
10. Abdullah ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet said, “A woman entered the (Hell) Fire because of a cat which she had tied, neither giving it food nor setting it free to eat from the vermin of the earth.” (Bukhari)