Weeks prior to the lockdowns and closures that came with the COVID-19 pandemic, UN Secretary General António Guterres said 2020 would be a “pivotal year for how we address climate change.”
Revamped emission goals were expected from 196 countries, but with international meetings postponed due to the pandemic, the stark reality is that 2020 is one of the hottest years recorded.
Widespread action based on a deep connection between people and the Earth may be the space of hope. In researching what motivates Muslim women to connect with the Earth and lead environmental activism, I’ve discovered courage and deep conviction to be driving forces.
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Young Muslim women are transcending boundaries to create spaces of activism. Their efforts are acts of worship that integrate social and political realities.
Islam and Eco-consciousness
Historically, Muslim scholars coupled their study of nature to their understanding of Allah (God). The Qur’an articulates how eco-consciousness permeates every aspect of life and explains nature as a complete, complex, interconnected and interdependent system. It highlights the importance of recognizing and preserving the mizan, or balance.
Verily, We have created everything in equal proportion and measure … (Qur’an, 54:49).
The natural world manifests many of Allah’s attributes, including beauty, patience and mercy. Reflecting and connecting with the Earth fosters deeper understanding of Allah and the truth. Honouring and protecting the Earth becomes an act of worship.
We did not create the heavens and the Earth, and what lies between them except with Truth … (Qur’an, 15:85).
Several Qur’anic chapters such as the “Bee,” “Fig” and “Sun” make the conversation between nature and scripture explicit. The Qur’an explains the Earth as a sacred responsibility entrusted by Allah on humans.
It is He who has appointed you vicegerent on the Earth … (Qur’an, 6:165)
Every being exists within an interactive community, glorifying Allah. Destruction or loss of any entity is tragic and cruel, but also an offence against Allah’s creation.
All living beings roaming the Earth and winged birds soaring in the sky are communities like yourselves … (Qur’an, 6:38).
From sustainability, to species loss, Islam holds teachings relevant to environmentalism.
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