5 Islamic practices that protect the environment
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Why Protect the Natural environment?

It is okay to wonder how and why Islam, a religion known to place a premium on life in the hereafter, cares about preserving life and protecting the earth.

In Islam, it is worthy to note that human beings are Allah’s vicegerents on earth and are therefore mandated to protect and maintain the environment.

This teaching, directly and indirectly, encourages harmonious living between human beings and nature.

As nations marked World Environment Day on June 5 and Ghanaians marked Green Ghana Day on June 9, we looked at some five Islamic teachings that promote environmental conservation.

1. Not urinating in stagnant water bodies

The Prophet prohibits urinating or defecating in stagnant water bodies such as lakes, ponds, or swimming pools.

Contamination of water bodies is akin to destroying aquatic life, spreading diseases, and destroying the livelihoods of dependents on the water body.

2. Prohibition to eat certain animals

The Prophet has prohibited the eating of fanged beasts of prey like lions, wolves, dogs, cats, bears, monkeys, and elephants.

He also prohibited the eating of birds with long talons and long beaks, including eagles, hawks, and crows.

Undoubtedly, majority of the world’s most extinct species of animals fall within these categories of animals that Islam protects.

3. Planting more trees and cutting less

We know how vital plants, including trees, are to improving air quality and providing food for humans.

It is also known to provide homes for animals, reduce the pace of ozone depletion, and inadvertently fight global warming.

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Allah’s Messenger (SAW) encouraged Muslims to plant more trees. In a hadith, he is reported to have said: “There is no Muslim who plants a tree or sows seeds, then a bird, a person, or an animal eats from it, but it is regarded as a charitable gift “‏ (Bukhari).

The Prophet was also reported to have said: “He who cuts a lote-tree [without justification], Allah will send him to Hellfire.” (Abu Dawud).

4. Burial without the coffin

Islam has a long tradition of burying its followers in shrouds without coffins. A coffin burial is detestable except under certain circumstances.

From the perspective of environmental conservation, Muslim burial is more environmentally friendly than coffin burial, which entails cutting down trees to make caskets.

Muslim burial is also better than cremation, which involves using trees as fuel for burning and causing air pollution.

5. Preference for using water to cleanse

Islam teaches Muslims to use water to cleanse after nature’s call. The use of tissue is, however, secondary, especially in instances when water is not readily available.

This teaching creates room for less reliance on tissue by the over a billion Muslim population worldwide.

Less usage of paper products would mean less need to cut down trees to make them.

Final thought

As Ghanaians plant more trees today, both Muslims and non-Muslims in Ghana must reflect on how kind they have been to the land, plants, and animals.

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