‘And the heaven He raised and imposed the balance. That you not transgress within it. And establish weight in justice and do not make deficient the balance.’ (Surah Rehman, Verse 7-9)
When on the topic of climate change and related global issues, I am no Bill Gates who has two billion dollars to contribute, along with constructive solutions. With neither the budget to do so nor the ability to achieve it, should I just sit ideally, leaving Allah (swt) to deal with this issue. After all, Allah (swt) is ‘Al Aziz’ (The All-powerful) and completely free of any need from us. But then, that is the case with everything related to this life. If Allah (swt) had to effortlessly manage everything, what was the point of creating us and making us vicegerent of this planet.
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‘Call to mind, when your Lord announced to the angels: I am about to place a vicegerent in the earth.’ (Surah Baqarah, Verse 30)
Keeping that in mind, I understand that I might not be able to change situations globally but can contribute on a small-scale. And so, I came up with some realistic ideas of how to use resources and pitch in towards controlling climate change.
- Preventing wastefulness: Time and again, food, water and other resources are wasted, knowingly and unknowingly. These resources are easily available for some of us and hence taken for granted. But they are precious and shouldn’t be wasted even if available in a large amount. I had to develop a habit of making sure that all fruits and vegetables which are purchased, are consumed on time. Even a little neglect towards their storage and consumption can cause quick rotting and waste of a valuable resource. Another form of waste is purchasing products we don’t require and leaving them lying around the house.
‘O children of Adam,….eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.’ (Surah Al A’raf, Verse 31)
- Participate in clean-up drives & planting trees: You can have your own garden or you can support campaigns that encourage environment friendly activities. If there aren’t any campaigns where you live, there is always an option to donate to organisations which cater towards it. Even if you contribute a part of your ‘zakat’ towards it, the goal is achieved.
Narrated by Anas bin Malik (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: “There is none amongst the Muslims who plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, but is regarded as a charitable gift for him.” (Bukhari).
- Avoide littering: This is the simplest way to help the environment. It took me some time to get used to it. I had to develop a habit of carrying a waste bag with me while traveling, rather than converting the earth into a dump yard. Allah (swt) created this earth and beautified it for us and without doubt it is our duty to keep it that way.
“It is Allah Who has made for you the earth as a resting place, and the sky as a canopy, and has given you shape and made your shapes beautiful and has provided for you sustenance.” (Surah Ghaafir, Verse 64)
- Support Other Life forms: As humans, we have compassion towards each other, but we need to further extend it towards those animals and birds which live around us. I have always hated the concept of caging birds and animals. If Allah (swt) has given them wings to fly and forests to live, who are we to cage them. Instead, it’s better to create a corner in some part of the house where they can be guests, for as long as they like. For example, my husband got a wooden box for birds visiting our balcony. Initially, they would visit it in the morning and leave by evening. But now they have nested there permanently. My children grew up watching these birds nesting, feeding hatchlings and getting excited when food and water was served.
“And there is no animal that walks upon the Earth nor a bird that flies with its two wings but they are like yourselves; We have not neglected anything in the book, and then to their Lord shall they be gathered.” (Surah Al-An’am, Verse 38)
- Encourage family and friends to chip in: Wherever possible opt for an eco-friendly lifestyle. Using bicycles, harvesting rainwater, preserving water bodies, using natural products, and installing solar panels. Every small approach towards helping this world stay health and clean will definitely be rewarded.
“Do you not see that Allah (swt) has made what is in the heaven and Earth subservient to you and made complete to you His favours outwardly and inwardly?” (Surat Luqman, Verse 20)