Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) and the environment

Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) and the environment

The Messenger (peace be upon him) laid down a general rule for all people who live on the face of this earth, which is not to pollute the environment. The Messenger (peace be upon him) said,

«Fear Allah with regards to the three matters that provoke curses: defecating in watering places, in the middle of the street or in the shade» [related by Abu Dawood].

The Messenger’s concern about the cleanliness of the environment

The clearest proof of this is the Messenger’s prohibition of harming the environment, hurting people or causing illnesses. For example, the Messenger (peace be upon him) said,

«‘Fear Allah with regards to two matters that provoke curses.’ The Companions asked him, ‘What are the two matters that provoke curses, Oh Messenger?’ The Messenger (peace be upon him) replied, ‘Defecating in the middle of the street or in places where the people take shade [from the sun]’» [related by Muslim].

Similarly, the Messenger (peace be upon him) made a connection between Allah’s reward and looking after the environment by removing harm from the people’s path. The Messenger (peace be upon him) said,

«The deeds of my nation were shown to me, both the good and the bad deeds. I found that among their good deeds was removing harm from the people’s path, and I found that from their evil deeds was spitting in the mosque and not covering it [with earth]» [related by Muslim].

The Messenger (peace be upon him) also said,

«‘Fear Allah with regards to two matters that provoke curses.’ The Companions asked, ‘What are the two matters that provoke curses, Oh Messenger?’ The Messenger (peace be upon him) replied, ‘Defecating in the middle of the street or in places where the people take shade’» [related by Muslim].

The Messenger (peace be upon him) mentioned that removing harm from the people’s path is an act of faith. What is the connection between faith and removing harm?

The Messenger (peace be upon him) was concerned about the quality of water, and prohibited polluting it

The Messenger (peace be upon him) prohibited people from urinating or defecating in water. This was the worst type of pollution at his time. The Messenger (peace be upon him) said,

«Fear Allah with regards to three matters that provoke curses: defecating in waterways, in the middle of the street, and where people take shade» [related by Abu Dawood].

The Messenger (peace be upon him) also said,

«No one of you should urinate in still water which is not flowing, and then bathe in it» [related by Al-Bukhari].

Similarly, the Messenger (peace be upon him) encouraged us to look after water and to keep it clean. We see that the Messenger (peace be upon him) prohibited wasting water. A Bedouin who went to the Messenger (peace be upon him) to ask about ablution told us,

«I saw him [the Messenger] washing each limb [of ablution] three times, and then he said, ‘This is ablution, so anyone who uses more [water] than this does evil, oversteps the limits and has committed an oppression’» [related by Ahmed].

The Messenger (peace be upon him) ordered his followers to take care of water places and keep them clean, and to not waste water. Explain this point mentioning what you have learnt from the Messenger’s biography.

The Messenger (peace be upon him) was concerned about agriculture and being careful not to ruin crops

Concerning agriculture, we find that the Messenger (peace be upon him) was very concerned about planting seeds and looking after the crops. The Messenger (peace be upon him) said,

«There is no Muslim who sows seeds or looks after crops, and birds, people or cattle eat from them, but it will be accounted as a charity from him» [related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

We also find that he strongly warned against cutting down trees for no reason. The Messenger (peace be upon him) said,

«Whoever cuts down a tree, Allah will put his head in the hell-fire»

[This refers to whoever cuts down a tree in an open space which travellers and cattle use to take shade under, cutting it down for no reason or as a form of oppression, without any right to cut it down].

[related by Abu Dawood and Al-Bayhaqi].

The Messenger (peace be upon him) also said,

«If the Resurrection Day comes and any of you have a palm sapling in your hand and you are able to plant it before the Resurrection Day actually occurs, then plant it» [related by Ahmed].

The Messenger (peace be upon him) encouraged his followers to sow seeds and look after crops, even if the Hour started to happen. What does this indicate?

Agiculture is very important for any people, and the Messenger (peace be upon him) encouraged his followers to be concerned about sowing seeds and looking after crops. Explain this point referring to the Messenger’s biography.

The Messenger (peace be upon him) being concerned about livestock and looking after the animals

The Messenger (peace be upon him) went to visit a man. The man wanted to be hospitable to the Messenger (peace be upon him) by slaughtering a sheep for him. The Messenger (peace be upon him) said to him,

«Beware of [slaughtering] milch sheep» [related by Muslim].

This is a prohibition of slaughtering a sheep which produces milk, as this would result in the people not benefitting from it and its milk. The Messenger (peace be upon him) also said,

«Do not make the ill [cattle] pass by the [the cattle who are] well» [related by Al-Bukhari].

This is an order to be careful not to mix ill cattle with cattle which are well.

Furthermore, we notice that the Messenger (peace be upon him) encouraged his Companions to gain benefit from livestock, even after they die. When the Messenger (peace be upon him) saw a dead sheep, he ordered the owner to use its skin. The Messenger (peace be upon him) said,

«Why do you not take its skin [and tan it] in order to use its leather?> The owner replied that it was dead. The Messenger (peace be upon him) then said, [related by Muslim].

Moreover, the Messenger (peace be upon him) said,

«If dogs were not a community like other communities, I would have you kill them. Therefore, kill the jet-black dogs» [related by Abu Dawood, Ibn Majah and An-Nisa’i].

Maintaining an environmental balance

When one particular species is killed en-masse, it results in an environmental imbalance; this is because it results in an imbalance in the environment. Concerning this, the Messenger (peace be upon him) said, disagreeing with such acts,

«One of the Prophets was bitten by an ant. He then passed an act’s nest and so burnt it. As a result, Allah revealed to him that because an ant bit you, you burnt one community from the communities that praise the perfection of the Lord?!!» [related by Al-Bukhari].

Allah created everything on the earth for man. What do you think is the wisdom of Him then ordering man to be good with this environment?

How can you follow the Messenger’s example?

1.Regularly clean your flat, your building and your street. Beware of throwing dirt into the street; the Messenger (peace be upon him) prohibited us from doing that.

2.If you see anything that hinders people’s movement in the street, remove it, as such an act is a part of faith.

3.Take care of water, keeping it clean and not wasting it, thereby following the Messenger’s example.

4.Beware of harming anything that has a soul: bird or animal. The Messenger (peace be upon him) prohibited us from harming them.

5.Send prayers upon the Messenger (peace be upon him), and plant, sow, design and draw up new inventions, cultivate and develop the earth, and be merciful to people and animals, following the Messenger’s example.