By Shaykh Muzzammil Ahmad | 5 July 2024

In this week’s khutbah, we addressed the important but much neglected issue of environmental stewardship through the East London Mosque’s newly launched ‘Faith in Environment’ campaign. This initiative aims to bring our Islamic principles to bear on our duty towards Allah’s creation. It’s not just about protecting nature; it’s about living our faith through actions that benefit all of Allah’s creation.

Allah tells us in the Qur’an:

And do not corrupt the earth after it has been set in order. This is better for you, if you are believers.

[Surah Al-A‘raf, 7:85]

This verse serves as a clear directive for us to maintain the balance and order that Allah has established on Earth. Our lives should be a practical manifestation of this verse in Surah Al-A‘raf.

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, our ultimate guide and example, was deeply conscious of environmental matters. He ﷺ said:

The world is beautiful and lush, and verily Allah, be He exalted, has made you His stewards in it, and He sees how you acquit yourselves.

[Sahih Muslim]

This hadith underscores our role as Khalifah (stewards) of the Earth, entrusted with its care and preservation.

Many of us might think that our responsibility ends with casting a vote or making a donation, but the reality is that our real work begins now. It starts with changing our lifestyle and making small but significant changes in how we interact with the world around us. We must keep our environment, our community, and our homes clean and tidy and avoid wasting the blessings that Allah has bestowed upon us.

The Qur’an instructs us:

And eat and drink, but waste not by excess, for Allah loves not those who waste.

[Surah Al-A'raf, 7:31]

While this verse directly refers to food and drink, its principle extends to all resources. Our religion encourages moderation in the use of water, electricity, and other resources, aligning our daily practices with this Qur’anic teaching.

We must also focus on reducing waste, particularly plastic, which has become a significant environmental concern. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Remove harmful things from the roads.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim) While this hadith directly refers to clearing paths for others, we can extend its meaning to our modern context of reducing pollution and keeping our environment clean.

As Muslims, we must take practical steps to reduce the amount of waste that is produced. We believe that these small actions, when done collectively and consistently, can significantly impact our environment.

Allah says in the Qur’an:

And there is no creature on [or within] the earth or bird that flies with its wings except [that they are] communities like you.

[Surah Al-An'am, 6:38]

This verse reminds us of the interconnectedness of all creation and our responsibility towards other creatures that share this planet with us.

As Muslims, we must be at the forefront of environmental stewardship. Our faith teaches us to be moderate in all aspects of life, including our consumption and use of natural resources. The Prophet ﷺ exemplified this in his own life, using water sparingly even when performing ablutions by a flowing river.

Our religion is a religion of optimism. We must seek to embody this spirit in our lives. Let us remember the words of the Prophet ﷺ: “If the Final Hour comes while one of you has a seedling in his hand if he can plant it before the Hour comes, then he should do it.” (Musnad Ahmad) This hadith beautifully encapsulates the spirit of environmental stewardship and the optimism we are urged to embody – to continue doing good for the environment, no matter how small the action might seem, until our very last moment.

We have to take responsibility for ourselves, whether it’s cleaning our homes, tidying our streets, guiding our youth, or showing our neighbours that we are a positive force in society. Our job starts right now. It begins with making the smallest changes in keeping the world around us, the environment around us, the community around us, and our homes clean and tidy, and not wasting the blessings Allah has given us. If we do so, insha'Allah, we will see the effects ripple out and positively impact everything around us.

May Allah guide us in our efforts to be better stewards of His creation, and may He accept our endeavours to protect and preserve the Earth for future generations.

Ameen.


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