Sunday, March 22, 2009

Imam Musa on the Environment & Obama as the "Snake-Oil Man"

For several years now, Imam Musa has shown concern about the rise of environmental problems and the part we should play as Muslims with regard to this very serious matter (see below, from the August 2001 issue of the As-Sabiqun newsletter). The environmentalist cause has continued to be a recurring theme in the Imam's khutbahs as well. For some of his most recent thoughts, click below:

Imam Musa - Televised Revolution (November 21, 2008)

(Bonus: You will find out what "Obama as the 'Snake-Oil Man'" means).



“If anyone travels on a road in search of knowledge, Allah will cause him to travel on one of the roads of Paradise. The angels will lower their wings in their great pleasure with one who seeks knowledge, the inhabitants of the heavens and the Earth and (even) the fish in the deep waters will ask forgiveness for the learned man.” (Abu Dawud)

“Verily, Allah (swt), His angels, and the dwellers of the heavens and the earth, and even the ant in its hole and the fish send blessings upon a preacher of good to the people.” (Tirmidhi)

So exalted is the righteous learned person that he will even cause the fish to rejoice. In applying these ahadith to the context of modern times, we believe that this is because such a person would enjoin goodness toward Allah’s (swt) creation and pursue a clean water policy.

In today’s world, we hear much about the pollution of the air, the land, and the water. Most environmentalists believe that the solution lies in using man’s technology to clean up lakes, streams, rivers, toxic landfills, and other sources of pollution; however, we believe a bit differently. In order to be most effective in cleaning our environment, we must go to the root of the problem.

We as Muslims believe that the earth is a living organism. When Allah (swt) created it, He placed it within a solar system where it lives and breathes. Unknown to many, He also gave it the ability to clean and purify itself. For example, water flowing in an ocean will clean itself as it flows. Stagnant water, even if polluted, will be changed from a liquid to a type of mist, known as water vapor. This mist rises into the atmosphere, where it condenses into droplets, forms clouds, and returns to the earth either as rain, snow, or hail. When it returns to the earth, it returns distilled and purified by Allah’s (swt) natural process. Before man’s excessive greed and carelessness on earth, this process worked with excellence. Now, with the increase of human pollution and global warming, the balance and purpose originally put in place by our Creator has been lost.

“Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: ‘I will create a vicegerent (khalifah) on earth.’ They said: ‘Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?—whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?’ He said: ‘I know what ye know not.’” (al Baqarah, 2:30)

Unlike the rest of creation, Allah (swt) has created man with the power of will. If man strives to bring his will in harmony with the will of his Creator, he achieves the highest status in creation, for others, including angels, have no choice in the matter and bow to Allah’s (swt) will due to their very nature. On the other hand, if man chooses to disobey Allah (swt) and pay no heed to His instructions, he could descend to the lowest possible depths.

As a khalifah, man could live in harmony with Allah’s (swt) will, preserving nature and cooperating with the natural processes set up by Allah (swt), or he could disregard all of this and cause great problems for the inhabitants of the air, land, and sea.

We can see from this that at the root of all of today’s environmental problems is man himself. Since man is the problem, if we wish to clean up the air, then we must first clean up man. If we want to purify the water, we must purify the mind and heart of the human being. Pollution has reached such an extreme that animals of the land and the fish of the sea cry out for a solution.

The real purpose of knowledge is that it becomes a source of guidance for action, an avenue for problem-solving. If it is used properly, the whole universe will send blessings on the people of knowledge because of their preaching and doing of good. On the other hand, those who acquire knowledge to be seen of men, or to run off a few Arabic phrases, or to gain popularity or wealth, may very well be headed for the Hellfire. Allah (swt) knows best.

Let us acquire knowledge only as a tool or weapon to fight against the Shaitan, aid humankind in doing good, and smooth the path toward Paradise.

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