Sustainable Development: An Ethical Imperative

Any disruption by means of over-exploitation, abuse, or misuse of resources is in opposition to the God's design
Sustainable Development: An Ethical Imperative
There are very clear directions in Islam, banning wastefulness. Imagine how we not only waste our resources, but damage it all in a permanent way. The dangerous effects our ways to deal with our resources are now evident. Twitter/ @Majid

“Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible”. Shiv Khera

Here is a teaching about sustainable attitude; that wastage of food is prohibited: “Kulu washrabu wala tusrifu i.e., you may eat and drink but do not cross the limits”. According to this teaching in Islam, eating and drinking of permissible food is fine, but wastefulness is discouraged. Qur’an instructs us to eat and drink, but waste not by excess, for God loves not the wasters (Qur’an, 7:31) so that we stay away from lavishness in our day-to-day eating habits. It constantly points out that economizing what one has, without being excessive.

There are very clear directions in Islam, banning wastefulness. Imagine how we not only waste our resources, but damage it all in a permanent way. The dangerous effects our ways to deal with our resources are now evident. Furthermore, for the greater part it is not possible to regenerate the resources we have contaminated, devastated, or eradicated. It is in this regard that we may judge how significant was the point that the God’s Messenger (PBUH) stressed, when he said: There should be no wastage of water even while performing ablution/wuduw, even if you are by a flowing river. How significant it is for the conservation of the ecological balance. If any one does more or less than this, he has done wrong and transgressed or offended and thus did a wrong. It means Sunnah also emphasizes proper use of water.

It is obvious that extravagance and transgression is against Islamic ethics. One more thing that Islam envisages is the usage of the valuable resource is an equal right of all living things and human beings; everyone is to use it without monopoly, or misuse. We are required to protect the environment for the fellow creation also. Any disruption by means of over-exploitation, abuse, or misuse of resources is in opposition to the God's design.

Likewise, the Messenger (PBUH) connected ample significant to planting trees, as well as to preserving present ones (Musnad, vi, 91, 111, 163, 188, 216). There are also narrations that link together with planting trees and safeguarding them: “Whoever plants trees, God will give him reward to the extent of their fruit.” (Musnad, v, 415). If a Muslim plants a tree, that part of its yield eaten by men will be as charity for him. Any fruit sold from the tree will also be as charity for him. That which the birds eat will also be as almsgiving for him. Any of its products which people may eat, thus diminishing it, will be as charity for Muslims who planted it (Bukhari, Tajrid al-Sahih, vii, 122; Muslim).

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) declared that he who destroys a tree without justification, Allah (SWT) will send him to hell fire. It means Islam also prohibits unnecessary cutting or destruction of plants. It encourages people to safeguard and increase the struggling plantation for the great reward associated with that. It is also reported that the First Caliph of Islam Abu Bakr (R.A) ordered the troops that “no fruit bearing tree shall be pulled down, no crops blazed, no occupation destroyed. In other words,"do not demolish trees and do not kill animals."

Accordingly, we are required to safeguard creation and avoid misuse or over use. In short, environmental deterioration should be seen as an outcome of forgetting ethics. That is why it is mandatory to protect all the natural resources from misuse or overuse so as to keep the dynamic balance; what best can explain sustainable development. This brief discussion makes it clear that protection of this valuable element from any action that impairs the biological or other functions, is an unethical act.

Let us change our ways and attitude towards environment for better future.

Khan Aadil Gulzar is Research Scholar, Environmental Science, presently working at CBT,

University of Kashmir, Srinagar.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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