Earth Day: Why It Matters – EverydayApril 22, 2021 2023-08-23 23:18
Earth Day: Why It Matters – Everyday
Today is Earth Day, “an annual event on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection” (Wikipedia). Why should it matter for us as Muslims? Why should it matter especially for us as Muslims? Read on to find out!
Today is Earth Day! Learn about the history and significance of Earth Day here.
The word used in the Quran for “earth” is أَرْض [arD]. It is used over 450 times in the Quran, to refer to the planet we live on – the Earth – but also to: land, ground, soil, city, country, domain, the surface of the Earth, the floor, something that is flat, a tremor, anything that is low.
Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى created the Earth as a place for us to settle in and enjoy for the short duration of time that we live on it:
اللَّهُ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ قَرَارًا وَالسَّمَاءَ بِنَاءً وَصَوَّرَكُمْ فَأَحْسَنَ صُوَرَكُمْ وَرَزَقَكُم مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُمْ ۖ فَتَبَارَكَ اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ
“It is Allah who made for you the earth a place of settlement and the sky a ceiling and formed you and perfected your forms and provided you with good things. That is Allah, your Lord; then blessed is Allah, Lord of the worlds.” (40:64)
Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى also filled the Earth with so many things that are beneficial to us, without us even asking for them subhanAllah: water, trees, mountains, rivers, lakes, oceans, fruits, vegetables, fertile lands…
وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَخْرَجْنَا بِهِ نَبَاتَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ فَأَخْرَجْنَا مِنْهُ خَضِرًا نُّخْرِجُ مِنْهُ حَبًّا مُّتَرَاكِبًا وَمِنَ النَّخْلِ مِن طَلْعِهَا قِنْوَانٌ دَانِيَةٌ وَجَنَّاتٍ مِّنْ أَعْنَابٍ وَالزَّيْتُونَ وَالرُّمَّانَ مُشْتَبِهًا وَغَيْرَ مُتَشَابِهٍ ۗ انظُرُوا إِلَىٰ ثَمَرِهِ إِذَا أَثْمَرَ وَيَنْعِهِ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكُمْ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ
“And it is He who sends down rain from the sky, and We produce thereby the growth of all things. We produce from it greenery from which We produce grains arranged in layers. And from the palm trees – of its emerging fruit are clusters hanging low. And [We produce] gardens of grapevines and olives and pomegranates, similar yet varied. Look at [each of] its fruit when it yields and [at] its ripening. Indeed in that are signs for a people who believe.” (6:99)
But these gifts, these signs of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, come with responsibilities that we will eventually have to answer to: consciously destroying the signs and gifts of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, or doing so out of ignorance, will cause great trouble to the human being in this life but also in the next.
وَلَا تُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ بَعْدَ إِصْلَاحِهَا وَادْعُوهُ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا ۚ إِنَّ رَحْمَتَ اللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ مِّنَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
“And cause not corruption upon the earth after it has been set in order. And invoke Him in fear and aspiration. Indeed, the mercy of Allah is near to the doers of good.” (7:56)
In Maariful Quran, Mufti Muhammad Shafi explained that this “setting in order” refers to both the inward and outward, the physical and spiritual. Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى has made the Earth the ideal body for us to live on, grow crops, trees, fruits, dig up wells, lay strong foundations to build houses, etc. Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى also brought all the other elements (wind, water, light, chill, heat…) and gave the human being intelligence and abilities and Guidance through the Prophets and Messengers, peace be upon them all, and the Books, and thus He created the perfect conditions for us to not just survive but thrive – physically and spiritually!
So the command we have to follow is to not disrupt this beautiful order that Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى has set for us, and those incredible gifts He سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى has bestowed upon us, and remember that physical and spiritual order are always linked.
الرَّحْمَٰنُ عَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ خَلَقَ الْإِنسَانَ عَلَّمَهُ الْبَيَانَ الشَّمْسُ وَالْقَمَرُ بِحُسْبَانٍ وَالنَّجْمُ وَالشَّجَرُ يَسْجُدَانِ وَالسَّمَاءَ رَفَعَهَا وَوَضَعَ الْمِيزَانَ أَلَّا تَطْغَوْا فِي الْمِيزَانِ وَأَقِيمُوا الْوَزْنَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلَا تُخْسِرُوا الْمِيزَانَ وَالْأَرْضَ وَضَعَهَا لِلْأَنَامِ فِيهَا فَاكِهَةٌ وَالنَّخْلُ ذَاتُ الْأَكْمَامِ وَالْحَبُّ ذُو الْعَصْفِ وَالرَّيْحَانُ فَبِأَيِّ آلَاءِ رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ