Mother Earth is Ailing (April 25, 2014)

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Mother Earth is ailing. Mother Earth has cancer. Mother Earth needs help.

It is Allah (SWT) “who makes most excellent everything that He creates. And He began the creation of man out of clay” (al-sajdah, 32:7); “It was He who brought you into being from the earth and made you inhabit it” (Hud, 11:61).The complex creation of the universe and the time it took to perfect planet earth is the greatest gift one can ever imagine to receive. The following is a detailed account of the marvel creation.

“He created the heavens and earth for a true purpose, and He is far above whatever they join with Him! He created man from a drop of fluid, and yet man openly challenges Him. And livestock––He created them for you. You derive warmth and other benefits from them: you get food from them; you find beauty in them when you bring them home to rest and when you drive them out to pasture. They carry your loads to lands you yourselves could not reach without great hardship––truly your Lord is kind and merciful–– Horses, mules, and donkeys for you to ride and use for show, and other things you know nothing about. God points out the right path, for some paths lead the wrong way: if He wished, He could guide you all. It is He who sends down water for you from the sky, from which comes a drink for you, and the shrubs that you feed to your animals. With it He grows for you grain, olives, palms, vines, and all kinds of other crops. There truly is a sign in this for those who reflect. By His command He has made the night and day, the sun, moon, and stars all of benefit to you. There truly are signs in this for those who use their reason. He has made of benefit to you the many-colored things He has multiplied on the earth. There truly are signs in this for those who take it to heart. It is He who made the sea of benefit to you: you eat fresh fish from it and bring out jewelry to wear; you see the ships cutting through its waves so that you may go in search of His bounty and give thanks. He has made mountains stand firm on the earth, to prevent it shaking under you, and rivers and paths so that you may find your way, and landmarks and stars to guide people. Can He who creates be compared to one who cannot create? Why do you not take heed? If you tried to count Allah’s blessings, you could never compute them. He is truly most forgiving and most merciful” (al-Nahl, 16:3-18).

The great faculties Allah (SWT) bestowed upon us enable us to think, reason and invent. Throughout history man invented many things and we take pride in our inventions and creations. Can our inventions, however, be compared to Allah’s creation? The answer is simply a qualified no. Allah’s creation is perfect while ours is far from perfect. In many instances one finds that our inventions contribute to the destruction of the perfect world Allah (SWT) created for us.

To demonstrate the deficiency of our inventions and the harm we cause to our planet, let us examine transportation. Although the traditional ways of transportation took longer to move between two points, the creation of such means such as camels, donkeys, horses, and mules, are far more effective and beneficial to the health of the environment compared to the recent mode of transportation man invented that move us at a very fast pace. These traditional modes of transportation serve multiple benefits aside from merely transport from one place to another.

Cows, for example, were created to serve multiple functions. Aside from tillage, everything in a cow is useful for people and the environment; its milk, skin, meat, and even its manure. Manure is organic matter used as organic fertilizer in agriculture. It is a great source of enrichment for the earth out of which our provision, organic food, is produced. On the other hand, the fumes that are generated by vehicles are harmful to humans and the environment. In fact, transportation is the largest single source of air pollution in the United States.

Therefore, can the one who creates be equal or even compared to the one who cannot? Allah creates and we create too, “So blessed be Allah, the best of creators” (al-Mu’minoon, 23:14).

Man has caused much harm to our planet and as a result we are literally destroying Allah’s perfect creation. “We established you on earth and provided you with a means of livelihood, yet you are seldom grateful” (al-‘Araf, 7:10). Our attitude toward our Creator should be that of gratefulness and appreciation. Our planet is Allah’s most precious gift and we must never be neglectful of this great bounty. The reality is that we are truly unappreciative and ungrateful.

Instead of protecting and safeguarding our planet, we are destroying the great things Allah (SWT) created for us all in the name of profits and materialism. Who cares about what people eat? Injecting hormones in animals help them grow faster and bigger, and the faster they grow the faster they make it to the market place and the more profits corporations make. It is a stated fact that growth hormones fed to beef cattle damage human health. Almost all beef cattle in the United States are given hormone implants to promote faster growth.
The alternative, organic farming, can actually turn back global warming. If the US converted all of our farmland to organic, it would sequester 25% of our greenhouse gas emissions! If the world’s 3.5 billion tillable acres were transitioned to organic agriculture, organic farms could sequester 40% of yearly carbon emissions.1

Our planet is dying. Rain forests are the largest land based contributors of oxygen in the world. Many acres of rainforest are cut down every year, mainly for agriculture. What happened to the unused and cleared land for farming that is found in abundance on earth? Why do farmers have to cut down trees when there is already abundant land for farming? The answer is simple; the cleared and unused lands have lost the nutrients to produce rich and healthy produce. To solve the problem they cut down the rainforest. The soil is extremely rich in the rainforest. They grow organic food, waste precious land and sell the yield at double and at times triple the price of ordinary manufactured produce cultivated from unfertile lands. When was the last time you truly enjoyed a watermelon, a cantaloupe or a peach?

Environmental pollution is one of the most serious problems facing humanity and other life forms on our planet today. In a speech by renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, he explained his fears about global warming or an “accident” that might wipe out all life on Earth. In another appearance during CNN's Larry King Live, Hawking said he believes the planet is in danger of reaching a point in which the heating begins to intensify without additional help from human produced waste. “The atmosphere might get hotter and hotter until (the Earth) will be like Venus with boiling sulfuric acid” and uninhabitable, Hawking warned.2

The destruction of the Fukushimi nuclear power plant in 2011 resulted in massive radioactive contamination of more than 11,500 square miles of the Japanese mainland. However, all of the land within 12 miles of the destroyed nuclear power plant, encompassing an area of about 230 square miles, and an additional 80 square miles located northwest of the plant, were declared too radioactive for human habitation. All persons living in these areas were evacuated and the regions were declared to be permanent “exclusion” zones.3

The “Shock and Awe” of the mighty atomic power and nuclear weapons have caused nearly incomprehensible levels of massive destruction. The US, with the assistance of other governments, used depleted uranium in the Gulf and Iraq war. Such war crimes not only resulted in the destruction of lives and infrastructure, but the result of such atrocities will endure for centuries. A decade after the Iraq war, babies are born with cleft palates, elongated heads, one eye in the center of its face, overgrown limbs, short limbs, and malformed ears, noses and spines. One can only imagine the magnitude of the damage related to the use of such radioactive and toxic weapons on the environment and the human population.

We are killing our planet and its inhabitants. “And do not make mischief in the land after it had been set in order: that will be best for you, if you have Faith” (al-‘Araf, 7:85). According to the Qur’an and sunnah, preserving the environment is not only a moral duty, but a religious duty and a social responsibility. The Prophet (SAW) forbade cutting trees even at times of war. He gave clear instructions regarding the preservation of natural resources, land and environment.

The Prophet (SAW) in a hadith reported by Anas (RA) said, “If a Muslim plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift (sadaqah) for him” (Bukhari). In another saying, he (SAW) said, “If the Hour (the day of Resurrection) is about to be established and one of you was holding a palm shoot, let him take advantage of even one second before the Hour is established to plant it” (Musnad Ahmad). The emphasis is on the old Arabic adage “Plant, do not cut.”

What can we then do to help our ailing mother earth? Let’s pledge to do the very best we can to implement the following practical steps in an effort to heal our great mother, mother earth.

       1) Intention: As with anything Muslims do, action begins with intention. Plant your intention, “Going Green.”
       2) Change Your Light: If every household in the United State replaced one regular light bulb with one of the new compact               fluorescent bulbs, the pollution reduction would be equivalent to removing one million cars from the road.
       3) Turn off Computers at Night: By turning off your computer instead of leaving it in sleep mode, you can save 40 watt-hours        per day.
       4) Recycle Glass, Plastic, Cans, and Styrofoam: Recycled glass reduces related air pollution by 20 percent and related               water pollution by 50 percent. If it isn't recycled it can take a million years to decompose.
       5) Go Vegetarian Once a Week: One less meat-based meal a week helps the planet and your diet. For example: It requires            2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. You will also save some trees. For each hamburger that originated          from animals raised on rainforest land, approximately 55 square feet of forest have been destroyed.
       6) Use Both Sides of Paper: American businesses throw away 21 million tons of paper every year, equal to 175 pounds per           office worker. For a quick and easy way to half this, set your printer's default option to print double-sided (duplex printing).          And when you're finished with your documents, don't forget to take them to the recycling bin.
       7) Recycle Newspaper: There are 63 million newspapers printed each day in the U.S. Of these, 44 million, or about 69%, of           them will be thrown away. Recycling just the Sunday papers would save more than half a million trees every week.
       8) Rethink Bottled Water: Nearly 90% of plastic water bottles are not recycled, instead taking thousands of years to                   decompose. Buy a reusable container and fill it with tap water, a great choice for the environment, your wallet, and possibly your health. The EPA's standards for tap water are more stringent than the FDA's standards for bottled water.
       9) Turn off Lights: Always turn off incandescent bulbs when you leave a room. Fluorescent bulbs are more affected by the              number of times it is switched on and off, so turn them off when you leave a room for 15 minutes or more. You'll save energy       on the bulb itself, but also on cooling costs, as lights contribute heat to a room.
      10) Recycle Old Cell Phones: The average cell phone lasts around 18 months, which means 130 million phones will be retired           each year. If they go into landfills, the phones and their batteries introduce toxic substances into our environment. There         are plenty of reputable programs where you can recycle your phone, many of which benefit noble causes.
      11) Plant a Tree: It's good for the air, the land, can shade your house and save on cooling (plant on the west side of your              home), and they can also improve the value of your property. Make it meaningful for the whole family and plant a tree every            year for each member.
      12) Brush without Running Water: You'll conserve up to five gallons per day if you stop. Daily savings in the U.S. alone could           add up to 1.5 billion gallons.

The Prophet (SAW) was adamant on conserving water. He (SAW) passed one day by Sa`d ibn Abi Waqas (RA) while he was performing wudu. The Prophet asked Sa`d, “Why is this wastage?” Sa`d replied “Is there wastage in wudu also?” The Prophet said, “Yes, even if you are at a flowing river.”

You can learn more about what you can do to save our planet by visiting






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