There is an inseparable relation between the environment and our soul. Islamic teachings offer a completely integrated view of the Universe where human souls and the environment are all part of one living, conscious whole. The Holy Quran exhorts us to live a balanced, moderate and sustainable life without causing any harm to the Earth. It says, “And do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption.” (2:60) and “And do not desire corruption in the land. Indeed, God does not like corruptors.” (28:77).
In the Quranic view, corruption on earth is not confined to only political crimes such as frauds, theft, rape, illegal banking or other prevalent malpractices. Deforestation, toxic waste, pesticides, and cutting trees are also part of grave corruption and hence brazen violation of true Islamic universal values.
To wage an eco-Jihad will be a noble effort, to please God and to ensure that we experience heavenly bliss in this world and the Hereafter. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) spent all his life in an eco-Jihad, saving humankind, caring for other creations, preserving the earth, planting trees and protecting the environment at large.
When Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was just 12, he travelled to Syria with his uncle and took shelter under a tree. Today, after more than 1400 years, the same tree is alive in the northern deserts of Jordan. This tree, which sheltered the Prophet (SAW), is the only living tree in hundreds of square miles of emptiness. It speaks volumes about the Prophet’s utmost care for the preservation of trees. He left behind a living inspiration for all humankind to go green, for his holy shrine is known as “the Green Tomb”. Greatly venerated by Muslims the world over, it is one of the most visited Islamic heritage sites. The Companions of the Prophet (SAW) were also keen on planting trees, protecting wildlife and other acts of environmental stewardship.
A famous quote of The Prophet (peace be upon him) powerfully highlights the importance of environmental conservation – “Whoever plants a tree and diligently looks after it until it matures and bears fruit is rewarded”. There are many Hadith emphasizing the need to go green, preserving natural resources, protecting wildlife, showing kindness towards animals and birds, planting trees and living moderately.
According to Prophet Muhammad (SAW), a tree was not only a resting place, but also an infinite mercy of God that one should take care of. Ultimately, planting a tree is a Sadaqah-e-Jariya or an ever-lasting charity in Islam. Whenever a human being or even an animal shelters under the shade of a tree or relishes a fruit that it produces, the planter earns infinite rewards, even after his death. For the poor and rich alike, planting a tree is the easiest and surest way to earn Sadaqah-e-Jariya.
So, let us all try to make our Earth clean and green by planting trees.