Islam teaches that God created all things in perfect balance and measurement. There is a purpose behind all living and non-living things, and each species has an important role to play in the balance. God gave human beings certain knowledge, which allows us to use the natural world to meet our needs, but we are not given free license to exploit it. Muslims believe that all living things, including human beings, are subservient to God Alone. Thus, we are not masters who rule over the earth, but servants of God with a responsibility to maintain the balance which He has created.
The Quran says:
"It is He who has appointed you viceroys in the earth … that He may try you in what He has given you." (Surah 6:165)
"O children of Adam! ... eat and drink: but waste not by excess, for Allah loves not the wasters." (Surah 7:31)
"It is He who produces gardens with trellises and without, and dates and tilth with produce of all kinds, and olives and pomegranates similar [in kind] and different [in variety]. Eat of their fruit in their season, but render the dues that are proper on the day that the harvest is gathered. And waste not by excess: for Allah loves not the wasters." (Surah 6:141)Muslims have formed various organizations worldwide, dedicated to taking action in the community to protect the environment. Here are a few:
- The Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences - Founded in the 1980s in the United Kingdom, it is an internationally-recognized body articulating the Islamic position on environmental protection. They publish the ECO Islam newsletter, which can be downloaded from their website.
- Author Ibrahim Abdul-Matin has written a book about what Islam teaches about protecting the planet.
- DC Green Muslims - Founded in 2007 by Muslims in Washington, DC who gathered for an organic, vegetarian iftar (dinner to break the daily fast of Ramadan). They are a network of Muslims in Washington DC and surrounding areas who work to "help our communities understand and implement sustainable and eco-conscious ways of living while relating it to our faith and a holistic world-view."
- AMEN - The African Muslim Environment Network was formed in 2006, to share information about successful environment-friendly development iniatives by mosques and Islamic organizations throughout Africa. The network includes Muslims and Muslim organizations in Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
- Muslim Green Team - A project by the Muslim American Society
- Muslim Environment Watch - This blog tracks news and information on environmental issues in the Muslim world
- Ilmu Giri Pesantran - This boarding school in Indonesia is taking the lead in educating farmers about sustainable practices.
- ADAMS - The "All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center" (ADAMS) serves more than 5,000 families in Sterling, Virginia in the suburbs of Washington, DC. ADAMS made a goal of reducing its carbon footprint, created special parking spaces to encourage carpooling, and installed energy-efficient and solar-powered lights.
- The Muslim World League - Contributed a declaration to "Faith in Conservation," a collection of statements on faith and the environment published by the World Bank in 2003. The declaration was written by Hyder Ihsan Mahasneh: a biologist, an Islamic scholar, and the first African head of the Kenya National Parks Service.