Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Green living, green Muslims

Six hundred trees and a two acre native garden were recently planted in Houston as part of the Keep Houston Beautiful and Great American Cleanup initiatives; initiatives designed to reverse and/or reduce harmful effects to the environment. Although the roots of the modern environmentalist movement can be traced back as far as nineteenth century Europe and North America, it is important to point out that the scriptures of the Abrahamic traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam promote many of the green living values that are espoused today.

Many Jewish laws concerning farming and thriving on the earth's surface support environmentally friendly values that promote care and sensitivity for resources. For example, in the book of Leviticus 25:3-4 it reads:

Six years thou shalt sow thy fields, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; but in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the Lord: thou shalt neither sow thy field nor prune thy vineyard.

And Jesus the Messiah, peace be upon him, a Hebrew and therefore an adherent to the laws of Moses, peace be upon him, imparted words of immense wisdom when he said that the meek shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5 reads:

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Islam also supports green living values and there are several scriptures in the Holy Quran that advise and admonish believers towards being grateful for the bounties that God bestows in the form of rain, clean rivers and the blessings of green, healthy trees and plant life. A few such scriptures are:

Quran 2:164: Behold! in the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of the night and the day; in the sailing of the ships through the ocean for the profit of mankind; in the rain which Allah Sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead; in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth; in the change of the winds, and the clouds which they Trail like their slaves between the sky and the earth;- (Here) indeed are Signs for a people that are wise.

Quran 20:52-53: He replied: "The knowledge of that is with my Lord, duly recorded: my Lord never errs, nor forgets,- "He Who has, made for you the earth like a carpet spread out; has enabled you to go about therein by roads (and channels); and has sent down water from the sky." With it have We produced diverse pairs of plants each separate from the others.

Quran 27:60: Or, Who has created the heavens and the earth, and Who sends you down rain from the sky? Yea, with it We cause to grow well-planted orchards full of beauty of delight: it is not in your power to cause the growth of the trees in them. (Can there be another) god besides Allah? Nay, they are a people who swerve from justice.

Islamic and Judaic traditions also go as far as to provide instruction during times of war and admonish believers not to destroy trees or to burn the land in war times. In the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him it is written in Malik's Muwatta book 23:3:10:

"I advise you ten things: Do not kill women or children or an aged, infirm person. Do not cut down fruit-bearing trees. Do not destroy an inhabited place. Do not slaughter sheep or camels except for food. Do not burn bees and do not scatter them. Do not steal from the booty, and do not be cowardly."

Judaic laws repeat a similar admonition in Deuteronomy 20:19-20 when it reads:

When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them:

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Life Reminders

Psalm 145:8-9 The Lord is Gracious and Merciful
The Lord is Gracious and Merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and His Compassion is over all that He has made.

Matthew 11:28 Gentleness and Humility
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Surah 33:21 Beautiful Pattern of Conduct
Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern of conduct for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.

Sahih Muslim, Book Unknown: Changing an Evil Action
“Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest of faith.”

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