Time and time again in the Quran, God mentions the natural world; He describes its beauty and majesty, but sadly, we don’t pay enough attention to lessons He is trying to teach us in describing the things around us.
‘And We have sent down blessed rain from the sky and made grow thereby gardens and grain from the harvest.’ [50:9]
‘And Allah has sent down rain from the sky and given life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who listen.’ [16:65]
‘And there is no creature on [or within] the earth or bird that flies with its wings except (that they are) communities like you. We have not neglected in the Register a thing. Then unto their Lord they will be gathered.’ [6:38]
These verses teach us about the magnitude of God, and his ability to provide for us in ways we can’t even begin to imagine. But these verses also teach us that we, as Muslims, have an important duty to look after, nurture, and sustain the Earth we live on. Think about your home; you spend hours, days, years cleaning it, maintaining, it refurbishing it, and yet, we don’t have this same zeal when it comes to looking after our planet, to leave it in the best condition for our future generation. Is this Earth not our home, and therefore our responsibility? Every day, animals and insects are becoming endangered at an alarming rate. So here are some ways we can look after our environment and the animals within it:
1. The first step is reflection
When was the last time you sat and reflected about the world around you? Asking yourself this question is where change begins. If we truly looked at the world around us then we would realise how much beauty is in nature, and it would make us constantly motivated to take practical actions to save our planet. We are so blinded by billboards and buildings that we forget the natural beauty around us.
2. Look after the birds in your garden
Bird food containing a variety of different nuts are readily available in stores and online. Spread the food in your garden and this will attract an array of different birds. You can also make or buy a bird bath; it just needs to be a shallow bowl so birds can have a rinse, which is needed in the summer and winter.
3. Stop cutting trees and plant more
Say no to artificial grass and plant some much-needed greenery to keep our ecosystem alive. By planting potatoes, carrots and other vegetables, you’ll also be saving money! Planting more flowers will encourage more bees to visit your garden too, and will also make it look all the more appealing.
4. Insects aren’t scary; they’re so important to our ecosystem!
You can make insect homes by piling up blocks of wood and bricks that will help nurture and sustain more insects. You can also make a compost heap with your leftover vegetable and fruits.
5. Cleaning up your streets, local parks and beaches
Find a friend or group of people to help you clean up around where you live, because if we all collectively mobilize, then we can see massive changes in our environment. This is a great way parents can teach their children and schools can teach their students about looking after the environment. All you need are some gloves, bin bags and a load of enthusiasm- it’s easier than you think!
6. Recycle more!
Anything that can be recycled should go in your recycle bin. It would come as a surprise to you when you realise how much of the trash you throw away comes mainly from packaging which can be easily recycled – it saves up more space in your trash cans too!
7. Stop wasting water
One easy and effective way to prevent water waste is to not leaving the tap running when you’re brushing your teeth or washing up the dishes. Maybe shower with a bucket too?
Ultimately, it’s essential that we internalise what it really means to be a steward and ambassador of this Earth. Don’t be ignorant to what’s happening around you and make a change, however small it may be. It may not seem like much but if everyone did the little that they could, we would leave the world in a much better state than it is currently in and it would help make the world a better place for future generations.
‘And it is He (God) who has made you successors (khala’ifa) upon the earth and has raised some of you above others in degrees [of rank] that He may try you through what He has given you. Indeed, your Lord is swift in penalty; but indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful.’ [6:165]
by Nazia Sultana