Seven Ways You Can Save the Planet


Seven Ways You Can Save the Planet

Shehnaz Toorawa

Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said, “The world is green and beautiful and God has appointed you as His stewards over it. He sees how you acquit yourselves…” (Muslim).

Allah tells us in numerous verses of the Quran, that He has
created everything on Earth—animals, rain, plants, oceans, stars, the
sun, the moon—for the benefit of humans. With these favours comes the
role of Khalifah, or guardianship. The Quran tells us,

He it is Who has placed you as viceroys of the earth and has exalted
some of you in rank above others, that He may try you by (the test of) that
which He has given you
” (6:165).

Today the planet is in a mess. Deforestation, desertification,
water pollution, air pollution, soil erosion, extinction of species and the
dwindling of resources indicate that humans are not fulfilling their role of
Khalifah adequately.

What can we do to fulfill our responsibility to protect the Earth? Here are seven small, but effective steps each of us can take to begin the process:

1. Buy less, consume less, waste less.

On average, an individual in a developed nation consumes twice
as much grain, twice as much fish, three times as much meat, nine times as much paper, and eleven times as much gasoline as an individual in a developing nation.(1)

Yet, shopping malls, TV commercials, flyers, billboards, and
the fashion industry continually tell us we don’t have enough and we need
to buy more. The 12 percent of the world’s population that lives in North
America and Western Europe accounts for 60 percent of the world’s private
consumption spending.(2)

The Quran correctly describes our materialistic society in the verse,

The mutual rivalry for piling up (the good things of this world) diverts you (from the more serious things) until you visit the graves” (102:1-2).

While North Americans squander wealth and waste it in luxuries, 825 million people in the world are undernourished (3), 2.4 billion live without basic sanitation, and one billion lack adequate shelter.(4) Destruction of forests, desertification of grasslands, water pollution, depletion of fossil fuels, and the collapse of fisheries around the world warn us that the world’s resources are limited—certainly not enough to support the lifestyle habits of an average North American.

In the Quran, God warns us not to take more than our share of the world’s resources:
“…Do not squander (your wealth) wastefully. Surely the squanderers
are the fellows of the Devils
” (17:26).

In a world of limited resources, we have an obligation to resist consumer culture and squelch the urge to buy, consume, and eventually waste.

The words of the Prophet (pbuh) are a beautiful example of how to live:
Be in the world as if you were a stranger or a traveller along a path” (Bukhari).
The best livelihood is the bare minimum” (Ahmad).

The Quran reminds us that we will be accountable for every item we own and resource we use:
Then (on the day of judgement) you will certainly be questioned about
all the favours you enjoyed
” (102:8).

Next time you’re in line at the cash register, ask yourself if you really need what you’re buying or if you can live without it.

2. Reduce your shower time to five minutes.

The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Excess in the use of water is forbidden, even if you have the resources of a whole river” (Tirmidhi).

Ever noticed how long you spend in the shower? A five-minute shower consumes 100 litres of water. (5)
That may not sound like much, but consider that less than one half of one percent of all water on Earth is fresh water for human use. The rest is sea water or frozen in polar ice caps.(6) Every person on Earth has a share in this water, yet 20% of the world’s population already lacks access to an adequate supply of clean drinking water.(7)
While the average Canadian uses 335 litres of water per day, the average sub-Saharan African survives on 10-20 litres per day.(8) 

The Prophet (pbuh) would perform ghusl, a complete bath, with one Sa’
of water—that’s just 1.6 litres. In a world where water scarcity
and pollution are increasing, every drop counts.

3. Buy locally grown food, without the packaging

Where does the food you eat come from? The local farm or a land far away? In the United States, the average food item travels 2,500–4,000 kilometers.(9) The farther food travels before it reaches your plate, the less money the rural farmer retains.

Multinational corporations that haul, package, and process the food collect a larger portion of the profit.

The farther food travels, the more energy it consumes for pesticides, preservatives, ripening, packaging, processing, transportation and sales. Eating local food results in a healthier diet, more equitable profit distribution,
less energy consumption and less environmental pollution.

4. Take the transit or walk more often

Cars not only guzzle the world’s dwindling supply of fossil
fuels, but the burning of those fuels contributes to urban smog, acid rain,
and other air quality problems. Cars produce large volumes of carbon dioxide
and other greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. The average car
produces about 2.4 kilograms of CO2 for every litre of gasoline‚ or three
to four times its own weight in CO2 every year. (10)

This means more air pollution, more extreme weather and storms, more water contamination and more diseases.

Public transit, cycling or walking are simple ways to reduce energy consumption, improve air quality and lead a healthier lifestyle. If you
normally drive to work, take the transit once a week for a refreshing change.

5. Install energy-saving bulbs and appliances in your home

North Americans consume 30% of the world’s energy—an amount similar to that consumed collectively by all developing countries, holding
more than 80% of the world’s population. While we may flick the light
switch without a second thought, 2 billion people in the world lack access to
electricity or other modern energy supplies.(11)

While it may be impossible for North Americans to forego the luxuries of electricity, heat, stoves, dishwashers and microwaves, we can reduce
our energy consumption through efficiency. Europeans have done it—although
they lead a similar lifestyle, people in the United States and Canada consume
2.4 times as much energy at home as those in Western Europe. (12)

Home appliances are the world’s fastest-growing energy consumers after
automobiles, accounting for 30 percent of industrial countries’ electricity
consumption.(13) The good news is that energy-efficient lighting and appliances have become common in the North American market. Making your home energy efficient is an easy and effective way to reduce energy consumption without sacrificing convenience.

6. Eat more vegetables

Vegetables capture energy for growth directly from a renewable source—the sun, while meat production in industrial countries requires a high input of non-renewable fossil fuel energy. When farmers raise animals on pasture, they require little grain, consume little energy and their manure becomes valuable agricultural fertilizer.

Today, in most industrial nations, rather than being pasture-fed, corporations raise animals in factory farms that consume huge quantities of grain, water, hormones, and electricity and produce tonnes of toxic wastes. Producing one calorie of beef or poultry requires 11–17 calories of feed.(14) Producing 8 ounces of beef requires 25,000 litres of water.(15)

This means that a diet high in grain-fed meat requires two to four times more
land than a vegetarian diet. Health is another consideration—the crowded
conditions of factory farms along with an absence of waste recycling make livestock easy targets for disease.

The Prophet (pbuh) allowed us to eat meat and, like all other foods, meat is one of Allah’s favours that He permits us to enjoy.

However, we need to apply the principle of moderation, a key aspect of the Prophet’s (pbuh) lifestyle, in our diet. Eating more vegetables, without abandoning meat, can make a significant difference in the amount of natural resources each of us consumes.

Next time you bite into that steak, think of the energy that went into producing it.

7. Recycle and compost

Canadians generate approximately 1.7 kg of waste per person per day.(16) When we use recycled materials along with recycling and composting our household waste, we significantly reduce our energy consumption and waste production.

Producing aluminium from recycled material, for example, requires 95 percent less energy than manufacturing it from raw materials.(17) Keep in mind that having a recycling box or a compost bin doesn’t justify consuming more and wasting more.

Reducing consumption is still the best way to reduce our impact on the environment.

Where do you Stand? Calculate Your Ecological Footprint

The ecological footprint is a tool that assesses the environmental
impact of an individual, a region or an activity. Your ecological footprint
indicates the amount of biologically productive land area required to support
your lifestyle based on the amount of resources you use and the amount of wastes you produce.

Calculations show that the planet has available 1.9 hectares of
biologically productive land per person to supply resources and absorb wastes—yet the average person on Earth already uses 2.3 hectares worth.

These “ecological footprints” range from 9.7 hectares claimed by the average American to 0.47 hectares used by the average Mozambican.(18)

Calculate your ecological footprint and discover your impact on the planet at
http://www.redefiningprogress.org/.
The results may shock you!

History of Islam during the Lifetime of the Prophet and the Rightly Guided Caliphs (1of 2)


In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful

Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)- A Brief Description

He was by far the most remarkable man that ever set foot on this earth. He preached a religion, founded a state, built a nation, laid down a moral code, initiated numerous social and political reforms, established a powerful and dynamic society to practice and represent his teachings and completely revolutionized the worlds of human thought and behavior for all times to come.

“HIS NAME IS MUHAMMAD” ,May Peace of God Be Upon Him

He was born in Arabia in the year 570 C.E., started his mission of preaching the religion of Truth, Islam (submission to One God ) at the age of forty and departed from this world at the age of sixty-three.

During this short period of 23 years of his prophet hood, he changed the complete Arabian Peninsula from paganism and idolatry to worship of One God, from tribal quarrels and wars to national solidarity and cohesion, from drunkenness and debauchery to sobriety and piety, from lawlessness and anarchy to disciplined living, from utter bankruptcy to the highest standards of moral excellence.

Human history has never known such a complete transformation of a people or a place before or since – and all these unbelievable wonders in JUST OVER TWO DECADES.

Human history has never known such a complete transformation of a people or a place before or since – and IMAGINE all these unbelievable wonders in JUST OVER TWO DECADES.

Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was a religious teacher, a social reformer, a moral guide, an administrative colossus, a faithful friend, a wonderful companion, a devoted husband, a loving father – all in one.

No other man in history ever excelled or equaled him in any of these different aspects of life – but it was only for the selfless personality of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) to achieve such incredible perfection.

Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was nothing more or less than a human being but he was a man with a noble mission, which was to unite humanity on the worship of ONE and ONLY ONE GOD and to teach them the way to honest and upright living based on the commands of God.

He always described himself as, ‘A Servant and Messenger of God’ and so indeed every action of his proclaimed to be.

No other man in history ever excelled or equaled him in any of these different aspects of life – but it was only for the selfless personality of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)

Caliph: An Introduction

Meaning of the Word ‘Caliph’

The word ‘Caliph’ is the English form of the Arabic word ‘Khalifa,’ which is short for Khalifatu Rasulil-lah. The latter expression means Successor to the Messenger of God, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him). The title ‘Khalifatu Rasulil-lah’ was first used for Abu Bakr, who was elected head of the Muslim community after the death of the Prophet.

The Significance of the Caliphate

The mission of Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him), like that of the earlier messengers of God, was to call people to the worship of and submission to the One True God. In practice, submission to God means to obey His injunctions as given in the Holy Qur’an and as exemplified by Sunnah (the practice of the Prophet). As successor to the Prophet, the Caliph was the head of the Muslim community and his primary responsibility was to continue in the path of the Prophet.

Since religion was perfected and the door of Divine revelation was closed at the death of the Prophet, the Caliph was to make all laws in accordance with the Qur’an and the Sunnah. He was a ruler over Muslims but not their sovereign since sovereignty belongs to God alone. He was to be obeyed as long as he obeyed God.

He was responsible for creating and maintaining conditions under which it would be easy for Muslims to live according to Islamic principles, and to see that justice was done to all. Abu Bakr, at the time he accepted the Caliphate, stated his position thus:

“The weak among you shall be strong with me until their rights have been vindicated; and the strong among you shall he weak with me until, if the Lord wills, I have taken what is due from them… Obey me as long as I obey God and His Messenger. When I disobey Him and His Prophet, then obey me not.”

 The Rightly-Guided Caliphs (Al-Khulafa-ur-Rashidun)

Those Caliphs who truly followed in the Prophet’s foot steps are called ‘The Rightly-Guided Caliphs’ (Al-Khulafa-ur Rashidun in Arabic). They are the first four Caliphs: Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, Uthmân and Ali. All four were among the earliest and closest Companions of the Prophet (peace be on him).

They lived simple and righteous lives and strove hard for the religion of God. Their justice was impartial, their treatment of others was kind and merciful, and they were one with the people – the first among equals. After these four, the later Caliphs assumed the manners of kings and emperors and the true spirit of equality of ruler and ruled diminished to a considerable extent in the political life of Muslims.

It should be clearly understood that the mission of Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him), and hence that of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs, was not political, social or economic reform, although such reforms were a logical consequence of the success of this mission, nor the unity of a nation and the establishment of an empire, although the nation did unite and vast areas came under one administration, nor the spread of a civilization or culture, although many civilizations and cultures developed, but only to deliver the true message of God to all the peoples of the world and to invite them to submit to Him, while being the foremost among those who submitted.

 

The Creation of an Environmental Conscience (part 2 of 4): Man – God’s Steward on the Earth


By AbdurRahman Mahdi

And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.” They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” Allah said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know. (Quran 2:30)

Our In habitat - Earth

Mankind, through the father, Adam, was sent to earth as its khalifah – a term which simultaneously means: successor, steward, trustee, viceroy, and guardian. That is, man was made responsible for utilizing the earth’s resources with due consideration; resources which God has subjected to his every need.

Man was made responsible for utilizing the earth’s resources with due consideration

“God is He Who has created the heavens and the earth and sends down (rain) water from the sky, and thereby brought forth fruits as provision for you; and He has made the ships to be of service to you, that they may sail through the sea by His Command; as (likewise) He has made rivers to be of service to you. And He has made the sun and the moon, both constantly pursuing their courses, to be of service to you; and He has made the night and the day, to be of service to you.” (Quran 14:32-33)

Fruits of all kind for provision

Ships to serve Mankind by God's command

“See you not (O humanity!) that God has subjected for you whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth, and has completed and perfected His Graces upon you, (both) apparent and hidden? Yet of mankind is he who disputes about God without knowledge nor guidance nor an illuminating Book!” (Quran 31:20)

Thus, the earth has been created with a definite cause and affect: to facilitate humans in fulfilling the purpose with which they were themselves created: to worship and serve their Creator.

“And I (God) created not the jinn (spirit-like creatures) and humans except they should worship Me (alone).” (Quran 51:56)

Although the creation of the heavens and the earth is actually greater than the creation of humanity in the Sight of God [see Quran 40:57], humans bear a responsibility that the heavens and earth do not. In fact, God did offer to entrust to the heavens and the earth moral responsibility. However, they understood the weightiness of what was being asked and so respectfully declined. Adam, however, accepted to bear moral responsibility on behalf of humanity. Alas! unlike their father, many of Adam’s descendants were and are unfaithful, incompetent and unwilling to remain true to their obligations.

The creation of the heavens and the earth is actually greater than the creation of humanity in the Sight of God

“Truly, We did offer the trust and moral responsibility to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, but they declined to bear it and were afraid of (failing to discharge) it. But man bore it. Verily, he was unjust (to himself) and ignorant (of the results).” (Quran 33:72)

When man does faithfully discharge his trust by obeying and worshiping God in accordance with his primordial nature, he attains God’s Pleasure and reward; when he does not, he is in need of His Forgiveness. Incidentally, the only reason a person does succumb to false and oppressive desires is because that person is allowing himself to be misled from his nature; straying away from the straight path and onto the crooked road taken by the enemy of God and man alike: Satan.

The straight path is the path prescribed by God

“He (Satan) said: ‘See! This one (man, Adam) whom You have honored above me, if You give me respite till the Day of Resurrection, I will surely seize and mislead his offspring – all but a few!” (Quran 17:62)

“And he (Satan) said: ‘I will take an appointed portion of your slaves; I will surely mislead them, and surely, I will arouse in them false desires; and I will surely order them to slit the ears of cattle, and surely, I will order them to change the nature created by God.’ And whoever takes Satan as a protector instead of God has surely suffered a manifest loss. He (Satan) makes promises to them and arouses in them false desires; and Satan’s promises are nothing but deceptions.” (Quran 4:118-120)

So, after learning a most important reality about the natural environment and our place in it, which is that, other than mankind (and the jinn), all the creation, animate and inanimate, is inherently obedient to God and in harmony with itself, we also learn how man can reclaim his innocent natural state: by serving and obeying God. And from the great many and praiseworthy acts of obedience is our behaving responsibly with the world around us. A world that, for the purpose of this discourse, can be divided into two principle realms or resources: the subjects of the animal kingdom and their natural habitats.

We learn how Man can reclaim his innocent natural state: by serving and obeying God

“God is the One Who has subjected to you the sea, that ships may sail through it by His Command, and that you may seek of His Bounty and be thankful. And (just like) He has subjected to you all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth; it is all as a favor and kindness from Him. Verily, in it are signs for a people who think deeply.” (Quran 45:12-13)

Signs for a people who think deeply

The Story of a Mujahid who fought for the sake of Allah


Is not He (better than your gods) Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls Him, and Who removes the evil, and makes you inheritors of the earth, generations after generations. Is there any ilah (god) with Allah? Little is that you remember!
-Surah An-Naml (27:62)

Allah says here:

(Is not He Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls on Him,) meaning, Who is the only One to Whom the person in desperate need turns, and the only One Who can relieve those who are stricken by harm Imam Ahmad reported that a man of Balhajim said: “O Messenger of Allah, what are you calling for” He said: (I am calling people to Allah Alone, the One Who, if you call on Him when harm befalls you, will relieve you; and when you are lost in the wilderness, you call on Him and He brings you back: and when drought (famine) strikes, you call on Him and He makes your crops grow.) He said: “Advise me.” He said: (Do not slander anyone and do not think of any good deed as insignificant, even if it is only meeting your brother with a cheerful face or emptying your vessel into the vessel of one who is asking for water. Wear your lower garment at mid-calf length, or — if you insist — let it reach your ankles, and beware of lowering the garment below the ankles along the ground, for it is a form of showing-off, and Allah does not like showing-off.)

In his biography of Fatimah bint Al-Hasan Umm Ahmad Al-`Ajaliyyah, Al-Hafiz bin `Asakir reported that she said:

“One day the disbelievers defeated the Muslims in a battle. There was a good horse which belonged to a rich man who was also righteous. The horse just stood there, so its owner said, `What is the matter with you Woe to you! I was only preparing you for a day such as this.’ The horse said to him: `How can you expect me not to perform badly, when you delegated my feeding to the grooms, and they mistreated me and only fed me a little’ The man said, `I make you a promise before Allah that from this day on, only I will feed you from my own lap.’

So the horse began to run, and his owner was saved, and after that he only ever fed the horse from his own lap. This story became well known among the people, and they started to come to him to hear the story from his own lips. News of this reached the king of Byzantium, and he said: `A city where this man is, will be kept safe from harm.’

He wanted to bring the man to his own city, so he sent an apostate (a man who had left Islam) who was living in his city to go to him, and when he reached him, he pretended that his intentions towards Islam and its followers were good, so the Mujahid trusted him.

One day they went out walking along the shore, but the apostate made a pact with another person, a follower of the Byzantine king, to come and help him take the Mujahid prisoner. When they made their move, he lifted his gaze to the sky and said, `O Allah! He has deceived me by swearing in Your Name, so protect me in whatever way You will.’

Then two wild animals came out and seized them, and the Mujahid came back safe and sound. ” The Inheritance of the Earth

(and makes you inheritors of the earth,) means, each generation inherits from the generation that came before them, one after the other, as Allah says:

(if He wills, He can destroy you, and in your place make whom He wills as your successors, as He raised you from the seed of other people) (6:133),

(And it is He Who has made you generations coming after generations, replacing each other on the earth. And He has raised you in ranks, some above others) (6:165),

(And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: “Verily, I am going to place generations after generations on earth.”) (2:30) meaning, people who will come after one another, as we have already stated. Allah’s saying:
(and makes you inheritors of the earth,) means, nation after nation, generation after generation, people after people.

If He had willed, He could have created them all at one time, and not made some of them the offspring of others. If He had willed, He could have created them all together, as He created Adam from dust. If He had willed, He could have made some of them the offspring of others, but not caused any of them to die until they all died at one time; in this case the earth would have become constricted for them and it would be too difficult for them to live and earn a living, and they would have caused inconvenience and harm to one another.

But His wisdom and decree ruled that they should be created from one soul, then their numbers should be greatly increased, so He created them on the earth and made them generation after generation, nation after nation, until their time will come to an end and there will be no one left on earth, as Allah has decreed and as He has completely counted out their numbers. Then the Resurrection will come to pass, and each person will be rewarded or punished according to his deeds. Allah says: 

(Is not He Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls on Him, and Who removes the evil, and makes you inheritors of the earth, generations after generations Is there any god with Allah) meaning, is there anyone else able to do that, or a god with Allah worth worshipping — while you know that He is the only one who can do that, having no partners
(Little is that you remember!) meaning, how little they think about that which would guide them to the truth and show them the straight path.
[Tafsir ibn katheer]