Exploring the Significance of Islamic Environmental Ethics for Fostering Sustainable Environment
March 31st, 2018
By Dr. Salman Ahmed Shaikh
The last five human generations have pushed planetary boundaries through the unprecedented burning of fossil fuels, rapid deforestation, contamination of seas and which has caused arise in temperature, frequent heat waves, floods, melting of glaciers and enormous loss of marine and tropical forest species. In this paper, we discuss the implications of Islamic worldview and environmental ethics in creating more commitment and environment friendly sustainable co-existence with nature. We discuss that the theistic concepts of Tawheed, Khilafah and Akhirah govern the Islamic way of life. Belief in a single source of creation defies racial, ethnic or gender basis of biases. Simultaneously, the concept of Khilafah raises the stature of human beings as moral beings with an inbuilt and active conscience, which provides the ability to differentiate moral from immoral acts. It inculcates the responsibility of custodianship, trusteeship and stewardship in human beings with regards to the use and ownership of physical property and environmental resources. While the concept of Tawheed creates an equal basis for humans to use what is bestowed in nature, the concept of Khilafahinstils stewardship towards the responsible use of natural and environmental resources without pushing planetary boundaries and causing precious loss of biodiversity. However, when we assess OIC countries on upholding these ideals, we find a mixed picture. In total carbon emissions, OIC countries perform comparatively better. But, in a broader spectrum of environmental performance, OIC member countries perform less well.