Islamic Theology of Ecology

Examine the Islamic worldview on the environment, discussing how the sacred text covers custodianship and care for the earth and the rest of creation. We will compare and contrast Christian and Jewish scriptures on the issue. General Islamic ethics outlined within the Quran guide all Muslim behavior. The central values of Islam are monotheistic oneness (Unity), trusteeship, and accountability, or "tawhid, khilafah, and akhirah." These priorities inform Islam's approach to Environmental Ethics. It is narrated that "the prophet (saw) said whoever plants a tree and care for it until it matures he will be rewarded (hadeeth). It is also narrated that "if one has a seedling in his hand and resurrection is upon him, he should finish planting it if he can." This Hadeeth (saying of the prophet) not only highlights optimism in Islam but also the obligation of continuous care and stewardship for nature and the environment. Included will be a study of a fable called The Animals' Lawsuit Against Humanity. This story dates to 10th century Iraq, and was translated into Hebrew and rendered into Latin for a Christian king in the year 1316 by Rabbi Kalonymus of Provence, France. In the tale, animals come before the Spirit King to testify about their treatment by humankind. It serves as an excellent framework for discussing our environmental responsibilities.

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