Sustainable Development and Islamic Teachinngs

 Written by Maryam Bint Imran

Indeed Islam is the code of life in all aspects; social, economic, environmental, ethical, spiritual & political. Islam fosters a “sustainable” way of life- a contemporary term that has become rather more prominent in the past millennium or so. From famous luxury brands to fast food, all have incorporated a “sustainable approach” to their products. But when we look back at the seerah of the Prophet (PBUH), we will find many examples of how he practiced sustainability even back then, about 1400 years ago. 

According to one definition the term sustainability refers to, “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” 

Now we have multiple ways to practice this in our daily lives; starting from wasting less water, reducing & minimizing waste, shopping & buying things responsibly knowing their long-term impact, practicing eco-friendliness & last but not least spreading awareness about the social & environmental consequences of our daily small habits and intakes. 

Taking a glance at the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), he led by example. In his famous Hadith he implied the importance of a greener & more sustainable lifestyle through the act of saving water which is an essential element to life. He (SAW) said, “Do not waste water, even if you perform your ablution on the banks of an abundantly-flowing river.” (Sunan Ibn Majah) this shows the sheer significance, he (PBUH) considered environmental factors to have & the level of importance he gave to looking after our environment so that everyone may benefit from its resources in a way that does not compromise the future generations’ ability to meet their basic needs. 

Furthermore, Prophet (SAW) also emphasised on keeping the earth green through the act of plantation. Plantation is crucial to keep the ecosystem healthy, alive & balanced. Anas (RA) reported Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) as saying, “Never does a Muslim plant trees, or cultivate land, and birds or a man or a beast eat out of them but that is a charity on his behalf.” (Sahih Muslim) 

All these examples of the Prophet (PBUH) should be on our minds so that we may make conscious decisions & play our roles in keeping the environment sustainable & clean. Indeed it is our duty as humans & as Muslims to make sure that we do not cause any harm to what surrounds us & benefits us.

“There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and who, remembers Allah often.” ( Al Ahzab 33:2)


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