Islam and the Environment


I am planning on writing an essay soon about “Islam and the environment.” (I might try to get it published in an Islamic publication, like an online Islamic magazine. Or even in an environment-centered publication.) This (aforementioned) topic is worthy of discussion  due to the fact that–unbeknownst to many people, even Muslims–Islam teaches stewardship over the Earth, with a section of its religious teachings devoted to taking care of the Earth (e.g., through hima, or conservation of natural resources).

In my essay, I might also focus on the similarities and differences between Islam and aspects of Christianity–or possible aspects of it, I should say–in terms of the environment and climate change.

From what I understand; There are some Christians who interpret the Bible and the teachings of their churches in a manner contrary to current scientific thought, in regards to the environment. Specifically; they interpret their religious text, tradition, etc. in such a way as to reject the idea that human beings are destroying the planet, and that climate change is caused by human activity, and that humans need to reverse their actions in order to ‘save the planet,’ and etc.

To be honest, I don’t know very much about the Bible, or Christian tradition. (I was raised in a Sunni, orthodox Muslim environment, my whole life.) So, I don’t know if this view that is held by some Christians (in regards to climate change) is even valid, in the (very) scripture or tradition they claim to extract it from. (In other words; I don’t know if it is true that the Bible discourages such notions of ‘man-made damage to the environment—e.g., greenhouse gases being caused by human activity, rising sea levels, earthquakes, acid rain, and etc. being triggered by human misbehavior, etc.’).

But; if scholars of the Bible (and of Christianity, as a whole) could research the subject of the environment in Christian tradition—specifically; what Christianity really says about climate change, and humans’ damage to the environment (if it says anything, at all)—then I think a major breakthrough could occur.

What I have in mind, specifically is that; there may not be any sound basis in the Christian religion for rejecting (or being skeptical of) climate science, at all. Perhaps some Christians have misunderstood or misinterpreted their religious tradition, on this issue. *The fact that most/many Christian communities take in current climate science and incorporate it into their faith (e.g., with the idea of “Battling climate change is part of caring for the world that God gave us”)–i.e., the fact that most Christian communities welcome climate science may provide some evidence of this theory. (This theory that the Christian communities who struggle with climate science may simply be misreading their religious teachings–that they’re looking at climate science from a certain–perhaps traditional–manner. When in fact there’s probably no teaching in Christianity of how to interpret science. As a matter of fact, I bet Christianity says (or at least implies) that everyone should believe in scientific results/facts. Because it says that people should be caring and ethical-minded. What could be more caring and ethical-minded than battling climate change, for one example?)

I think that if one could manage to prove that rejection of climate change has no Biblical or Christian basis, then Christians (who reject climate science based on their religious beliefs) could join the fight against climate change. They could join the fight to protect planet Earth from further harm.


Here is an article that talks to some degree about how the majority of Evangelical Christians in the United States don’t believe in climate change (e.g; that the earth is warming).;

An excerpt from the article;

“Simply put, millions of Americans are evangelical Christians, and their belief in the science of global warming is well below the national average.”

Recent data from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication suggests that while 64 percent of Americans think global warming is real and caused by human beings, only 44 percent of evangelicals do. Evangelicals in general, explains Hayhoe, tend to be more politically conservative, and can be quite distrusting of scientists (believing, incorrectly, that they’re all a bunch of atheists). Plus, some evangelicals really do go in for that whole “the world is ending” thing—not an outlook likely to inspire much care for the environment.”

The Slate article mentions some reasons why these committed Christians don’t believe in such environmental science (in addition to the above tidbits);

-“One conservative Christian argument is that God just wouldn’t let human activities ruin the creation. Or, as Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma has put it, “God’s still up there, and the arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what he is doing in the climate, is to me, outrageous.”

-Another one: “The Bible does not approve of letting the world burn.’ Hayhoe agrees with the common liberal perception that the evangelical community contains a significant proportion of apocalyptic or end-times believers—and that this belief, literally that judgment is upon us, undermines their concern about preserving the planet.” (In other words; some Evangelical (and possibly other denominations) Christians believe that the natural disasters and detrimental shifts in the environment that are happening (e.g.; sea levels rising, and ice melting) are part of God’s end-of-times plans—that it is all divine will. That it is apocalyptic signs.

-“One (other) reason there’s such a tension between the evangelical community and science is, well, science. Many evangelicals are young-Earth creationists, who believe that the Earth is 6,000 or so years old.

Hayhoe isn’t one of those. She studied astrophysics and quasars that are quite ancient; and as she notes, believing the Earth and universe to be young creates a pretty problematic understanding of God: “Either you have to believe that God created everything looking as if it were billions of years old, or you have to believe it is billions of years old.” In the former case, God would, in effect, seem to be trying to trick us.”


I really like this Slate article. I actually read the whole article; and my favorite part of it was the focus on how Hayhoe (an Evangelical Christian climate scientist) finds no real tension between climate science, and Christian beliefs/Christianity.

-“If anyone has a chance of reaching this vast and important audience (Evangelicals who don’t believe in climate change), Hayhoe does. “I feel like the conservative community, the evangelical community, and many other Christian communities, I feel like we have been lied to,” explains Hayhoe on the latest episode of the Inquiring Minds podcast. “We have been given information about climate change that is not true. We have been told that it is incompatible with our values, whereas in fact it’s entirely compatible with conservative and with Christian values.”

-“Hayhoe thinks the answer to Senator Inhofe’s objection (that God would not let humans destroy/damage the environment) is simple: From a Christian perspective, we have free will to make decisions and must live with their consequences. This is, after all, a classic Christian solution to the theological problem of evil. “Are bad things happening? Yes, all the time,” says Hayhoe. “Someone gets drunk, they get behind the wheel of a car, they kill an innocent bystander, possibly even a child or a mother.

Climate change is, to Hayhoe, just another wrong, another problem, brought on by flawed humans exercising their wills in a way that is less than fully advisable. “That’s really what climate change is,” she says. “It’s a casualty of the decisions that we have made.”


I think with people like Ms. Hayhoe, who can speak from both a Christian viewpoint and a scientific viewpoint, the rejection (or dubiousness) of climate and environment science by some Christians can disappear. As aforementioned; if dispelling the idea that climate change is contrary to Christian belief can be achieved on a wide scale, then what could (then) stop the entire Christian community from becoming avid environmentalists? People who join the fight to combat climate change, and protect the environment and planet? Nothing, if you ask me. I think once it is clear that Christianity does not even remotely hint that climate change is unreal/it is not caused by human beings, then every Christian in every denomination would become avid environment activists, or advocates.


Here is another article (this time by The Guardian) that conveys that there is resistance to the idea of climate change on the part of some Evangelicals. (the article is titled “Global Warming; a battle for evangelical Christian hearts and minds”) :

Here are some excerpts/parts of the article that I think are especially interesting (this article also mentions Dr. Hayhoe…like the Slate article, above):

The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation is a conservative evangelical Christian public policy group that promotes a free-market approach to protecting the environment. The organization recently published a list of ten reasons it opposes policies to reduce carbon pollution and slow global warming, purportedly to protect the poor. As the first point on the list illustrates, the group essentially believes that the Earth’s climate will be able to correct any damage done by humans.

1. As the product of infinitely wise design, omnipotent creation, and faithful sustaining (Genesis 1:1–31; 8:21–22), Earth is robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting.

“The Cornwall Alliance has tried to use scientific arguments to support its religious beliefs about the resiliency of the global climate, claiming,

3. While human addition of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), to the atmosphere may slightly raise atmospheric temperatures, observational studies indicate that the climate system responds more in ways that suppress than in ways that amplify CO2’s effect on temperature, implying a relatively small and benign rather than large and dangerous warming effect.

“Many evangelical Christians recognize this moral angle of human-caused climate change, and also view the issue as one of stewardship of the Earth. For example, climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe is an evangelical Christian herself, and often speaks to like-minded groups. She recently did an interview with Bill Moyersthat’s well worth watching. Hayhoe told me,

The foundation of the Christian faith is about loving others as Christ loved us, and it is clear from the work that I do myself as well as I see from other colleagues that those with the least resources to adapt to a changing climate will be most affected by our actions.

The National Association of Evangelicals has likewise acknowledged the reality of human-caused global warming and concluded,

Therefore, even when scientific uncertainties are taken into account, the precautionary principle (e.g., Overture 60, Agenda for Synod 2012, p. 594) compels us to take private and public actions to address climate change.

Evangelical Christians tend to be divided between these two camps. Although they tend to view global warming as a threat, evangelicals are also more likely to doubt scientific concepts that they view as contradictory to their faith. Many like Hayhoe have been working to show them that addressing climate change, taking care of the Earth, and protecting the poor are all consistent with the evangelical faith.

Contrary arguments by groups like the Cornwall Alliance are based on misunderstandings of climate science, free market economics, and the evangelical faith. It remains to be seen who will win over the hearts and minds of the evangelical Christian community, but the poor (who often suffer the effects of climate change) will be better off if Katharine Hayhoe’s perspective wins out.”


Also; this article (also by The Guardian, titled “Just what is it with evangelical Christians and global warming?”) states:

“Just what is it with evangelical Christians and global warming? I doubt we’re ever going to get a satisfying answer to this long-running question, but it is being raised yet again by the publication yesterday of a survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

The poll canvassed views on climate change among the “major religious traditions” in the US. Surprise, surprise, it shows that “white evangelical Protestants” were the group with the lowest level – 34% of those surveyed – of acceptance that there is solid evidence that global warming is real and that it is attributable to humans. This compares with 47% of the total US population (still startlingly low), and 58% of those surveyed who “had faith” but who were unaffiliated to any particular religious tradition.”



Now, for Islam. Islam takes a totally different approach to dealing with the environment and the issue of climate change (than that taken by some Evangelicals/people of other denominations, who may or may not be influenced by their religion on the subject of climate change/the env.). Islam teaches that humans certainly have the potential to damage the Earth, and that they certainly shouldn’t do so. Islam teaches its followers to care for the Earth, for plant life, for animal life—for our own (humans’) sake, if nothing else:

“The existence of many hadiths that encourage the greening and afforesting of the environment clearly reflects the Prophet’s concern thereof — “If a Muslim plants a tree or grow grains and a bird, a person or an animal eats from it, will be counted as an act of charity, on his part.” (Bukhara, “al-Khars ve’l-Muzara”, Muslim, “Musakaat”, H. No: 12). “If any of you has a date sapling on Doomsday, he should (still) plant it -if possible.” (Bukhara, Edebu’l-mufred, (thk., Halid Abdurrahman), p. 138, Daru’l-Ma’rife, Beirut, 1966). The aim here is to make people understand the importance of planting trees. “Whoever plants a tree is rewarded by Allah as much as the produce grown in that tree.” (Ahmad b.Hanbal, Musnad, V, 415.) “Whoever plants a tree and diligently looks after it until it matures and bears fruit is rewarded,” (Ahmad b.Hanbal, Musnad, IV, 61, 374) “Whoever plants a tree and it matures, Allah plants a tree in paradise for that person.” (Ahmad b.Hanbal, Musnad, IV, 61).


“…We should be merciful not only to humans but also to other living creatures; The Prophet has prohibited practices against animals such as hitting them, practicing shooting by targeting them, inciting them to fight, hunting for fun, and using a slingshot to hunt them. It is mentioned in hadiths that the humans will be accounted for their bad treatment of animals. By saying, “Allah will question those who kill a sparrow unfairly on the day of judgment.” (Muslim, “Sayd” H.No:57) The Prophet asked people not to torture animals. He forbade cauterizing and cursing animals, ruining bird nests, and removing chicks from their nest. He also wanted people to keep domestic animals and their sheds clean and to treat their cubs with compassion. Considering even a cat as a family member, he stated that every good deed concerning an animal would be rewarded. Treating animals in a humane manner and abandoning traditions that harm them is an irrefutable precondition of being civilized. As the greatest environmentalist, Prophet Muhammad had affirmative practices in relation to the environment throughout his life. At the root of the hadiths which are related to the environment lie sensitivity for nature and a consciousness to protect it.”

-I found these (authentic) Hadiths of Islam from this site:

Also; states that:

“The idea of the Prophet Mohammed (SAW) as a pioneer of environmentalism will initially strike many as strange: indeed, the term “environment” and related concepts like “ecology”, “environmental awareness” and “sustainability”, are modern-day inventions, terms that were formulated in the face of the growing concerns about the contemporary state of the natural world around us.

And yet a closer reading of the hadith, the body of work that recounts significant events in the Prophet’s life, reveals that he was a staunch advocate of environmental protection. One could say he was an “environmentalist avant la lettre”, a pioneer in the domain of conservation, sustainable development and resource management, and one who constantly sought to maintain a harmonious balance between man and nature. From all accounts of his life and deeds, we read that the Prophet (SAW) had a profound…….connection to the four elements, earth, water, fire and air.

He (SAW) was a strong proponent of the sustainable use and cultivation of land and water, proper treatment of animals, plants and birds, and the equal rights of users. In this context the modernity of the Prophet’s (SAW) view of the environment and the concepts he introduced to his followers is particularly striking; certain passages of the hadith could easily be mistaken for discussions about contemporary environmental issues.

Sustainable Use of Land

“The earth has been created for me as a mosque and as a means of purification.” [Al-Bukhari I:331] With these words the Prophet emphasizes the sacred nature of earth or soil, not only as a pure entity but also as a purifying agent. This reverence towards soil is also demonstrated in the ritual of tayammum, or “dry wudu” which permits the use of dust in the performance of ritual purification before prayer when water is not available. The Prophet (SAW) saw earth as subservient to man, but recognised that it should not be overexploited or abused, and that it had rights, like the trees and wildlife living on it. In order to protect land, forests and wildlife, the Prophet created inviolable zones known as hima and haram, in which resources were to be left untouched. Both are still in use today: haram areas are often drawn up around wells and water sources to protect the groundwater table from over-pumping. Hima applies particularly to wildlife and forestry and usually designates an area of land where grazing and woodcutting are restricted, or where certain animal species are protected.

The Prophet (SAW) not only encouraged the sustainable use of fertile lands, he also told his followers of the benefits of making unused land productive: planting a tree, sowing a seed and irrigating dry land were all regarded as charitable deeds. “Whoever brings dead land to life, that is, cultivates wasteland, for him is a reward therein.”

Conservation of Water

In the harsh desert environment where the Prophet (SAW) lived, water was synonymous to life. Water was a gift from God, the source of all life on earth as is testified in the Qur’an: “We made from water every living thing” [Qur’an 21:30]. The Qur’an constantly reminds believers that they are but the guardians of God’s creation on earth and that they should never take this creation for granted:

“Consider the water which you drink. Was it you that brought it down from the rain cloud or We? If We had pleased, We could make it bitter” [Qur’an 56:68-70].

Saving water and safeguarding its purity were two important issues for the Prophet (SAW). We have seen that his concern about the sustainable use of water led to the creation of haram zones in the vicinity of water sources. But even when water was abundant, he advocated thriftiness: thus he recommended that believers perform wudu no more than three times, even if they were near to a flowing spring or river.

The Treatment of Animals

“If anyone wrongfully kills even a sparrow, let alone anything greater, he will face God’s interrogation” [Mishkat al Masabih].

These words reflect the great reverence, respect and love that the Prophet (SAW) always showed towards animals. He believed that as part of God’s creation, animals should be treated with dignity, and the hadith contains a large collection of traditions, admonitions and stories about his relationship to animals. It shows that he had particular consideration for horses and camels: to him they were valiant companions during journey and battle, and he found great solace and wisdom in their presence.”


It is impossible to do justice to the full scope and significance of Prophet Mohammed (SAW)’s environmental philosophy in this short article. His holistic view of nature and his understanding of man’s place within the natural world pioneered environmental awareness within the Muslim community. Sadly, the harmony that the Prophet (SAW) advocated between man and his environment has today all too often been lost. As we face the effects of pollution and overexploitation, desertification and water scarcity in some parts of the world and floods and violent storms elsewhere, it is perhaps time for the world community as a whole, Muslims, Christians and Jews, Hindus and Buddhists, atheists and agnostics, to take a leaf out of the Prophet’s (SAW) book and address the current environmental crisis seriously and wisely.”



Another way to demonstrate the fact that Islam believes in climate science (i.e., that the Earth is warming, that sea levels are rising, that earthquakes are happening, etc. all due to human activity) is that; Islam encourages scientific advancement, in society. The clash between science and religion that was prevalent in Western history (e.g., during the European Dark Ages) was not there, between Islam and science. So much so that the Golden Age of Islam produced advancements in the scientific method, the invention of algebra and algorithms, and biological, geographical, anatomical, and evolutionary discoveries, among many other major accomplishments. . And some academics and historians believe that without the Islamic Golden Age, with its inventions and discoveries and scientific (and mathematical, and philosophical, and literary, etc.) achievements, there wouldn’t have been any Renaissance in Europe, years later. In other words, the European Renaissance really owed the Islamic Golden Age a big one.

Anyways; Islam encourages scientific discovery, experimentation, advancements, etc. It tells its followers to have such knowledge—to seek this knowledge, even. That of course includes environmental facts, knowledge about the health of the planet we all live in (called Earth), and environmental science, in general. So; there’s really no room in Islam for such things as climate change denial, or skepticism. If the scientific community comes to a conclusion about such a matter as the health of the Earth, Muslims must believe in it. To believe otherwise is almost a rejection of one of the tenants of the religion, itself (i.e., to have knowledge/to make the earth a better place, and etc.).

I would just like to conclude with stating that there are many verses in the Noble Qur’an which deal with science. With environmental science in particular, I think. For example, there is the verse in Surat al-Rahman (which refers to an oceanic phenomenon); “And He has made two water sources meet—but between them is a barrier that neither can cross.” This verse means (and has meant for hundreds of years) that there is a barrier between two water bodies—an invisible barrier that prevents them from mixing. So, the salt water doesn’t mix with the fresh water, and vice versa.

This fact was only discovered by secular science recently, I think. Imagine a book stating this fact 1,400 years back. The Qur’an really is miraculous. (To Muslims, at least.)

“The Invisible Barrier:

The Koran states that there are two seas that meet but do not intermingle because of a barrier between them (Koran 55:19-20). It is a necessity that seas intermingle through straits between them. the Koran however is aware of a very unusual phenomenon, which scientists discovered only recently. The Mediterranean and Atlantic oceans differ in their chemical and biological constitution. The French scientist Jacques Yves Cousteau conducted various underseas investigations at the Strait of Gibralter and explaining these phenomenon concluded:
“Unexpected fresh water springs issue from the southern and northern coasts of Gibralter. These mammoth springs gush toward each other at angles 45 degrees forming a reciprocal dam. Due to this fact, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Oceans cannot intermingle (as quoted by Nurbaki).”
– The Unifying Theory of Everything: Koran and Nature’s Testimony, by Muhammed A. Asadi. page 12.
“The Strait of Gibraltar links the Atlantic Ocean directly to the Mediterranean Sea. This direct linkage creates certain unique flow and wave patterns. These unique patterns are created due to the interaction of various regional and global evaporative forces, tidal forces, and wind forces.
Through the strait, water generally flows more or less continually in both an eastward and a westward direction. A smaller amount of deeper saltier and therefore denser waters continually work their way westwards (the Mediterranean outflow), while a larger amount of surface waters with lower salinity and density continually work their way eastwards (the Mediterranean inflow). These general flow tendencies may be occasionally interrupted for brief periods to accommodate temporary tidal flow requirements, depending on various lunar and solar alignments. Still, on the whole and over time, the balance of the water flow is eastwards, due to an evaporation rate within the Mediterranean basin higher than the combined inflow of all the rivers that empty into it.[citation needed] The shallow Camarinal Sill of the Strait of Gibraltar, which forms the shallowest point within the strait, acts to limit mixing between the cold, less saline Atlantic water and the warm Mediterranean waters. The Camarinal Sill is located at the far western end of the strait.
The Mediterranean waters are so much saltier than the Atlantic waters that they sink below the constantly incoming water and form a highly saline (thermohaline, both warm and salty) layer of bottom water. This layer of bottom-water constantly works its way out into the Atlantic as the Mediterranean outflow. On the Atlantic side of the strait, a density boundary separates the Mediterranean outflow waters from the rest at about 100 m (330 ft) depth. These waters flow out and down the continental slope, losing salinity, until they begin to mix and equilibrate more rapidly, much further out at a depth of about 1,000 m (3,300 ft). The Mediterranean outflow water layer can be traced for thousands of kilometres west of the strait, before completely losing its identity.

“The narrow Strait of Gibraltar is the gatekeeper for water exchange between the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. A top layer of warm, relatively fresh water from the Atlantic Ocean flows eastward into the Mediterranean Sea. In return, a lower, colder, saltier layer of water flows westward into the North Atlantic ocean. A density boundary separates the layers at about 100 m depth.Like traffic merging on a highway, the water flow is constricted in both directions because it must pass over a shallow submarine barrier, the Camarinal Sill. When large tidal flows enter the Strait, internal waves (waves at the density boundary layer) are set off at the Camarinal Sill as the high tide relaxes. The waves—sometimes with heights up to 100 m—travel eastward. Even though the waves occur at great depth and the height of the waves at the surface is almost nothing, they can be traced in the sunglint because they concentrate the biological films on the water surface, creating slight differences in roughness.”


The Quran on Seas and Rivers:

Modern Science has discovered that in the places where two different seas meet, there is a barrier between them.  This barrier divides the two seas so that each sea has its own temperature, salinity, and density.1  For example, Mediterranean sea water is warm, saline, and less dense, compared to Atlantic ocean water.  When Mediterranean sea water enters the Atlantic over the Gibraltar sill, it moves several hundred kilometers into the Atlantic at a depth of about 1000 meters with its own warm, saline, and less dense characteristics.  The Mediterranean water stabilizes at this depth2.

Although there are large waves, strong currents, and tides in these seas, they do not mix or transgress this barrier.

The Holy Quran mentioned that there is a barrier between two seas that meet and that they do not transgress.  God has said:

 He has set free the two seas meeting together.  There is a barrier between them.  They do not transgress.  (Quran, 55:19-20)

But when the Quran speaks about the divider between fresh and salt water, it mentions the existence of “a forbidding partition” with the barrier.  God has said in the Quran:

 He is the one who has set free the two kinds of water, one sweet and palatable, and the other salty and bitter.  And He has made between them a barrier and a forbidding partition.  (Quran, 25:53)

One may ask, why did the Quran mention the partition when speaking about the divider between fresh and salt water, but did not mention it when speaking about the divider between the two seas?

Modern science has discovered that in estuaries, where fresh (sweet) and salt water meet, the situation is somewhat different from what is found in places where two seas meet.  It has been discovered that what distinguishes fresh water from salt water in estuaries is a “pycnocline zone with a marked density discontinuity separating the two layers.”3  This partition (zone of separation) has a different salinity from the fresh water and from the salt water4 (see figure 14).

This information has been discovered only recently, using advanced equipment to measure temperature, salinity, density, oxygen dissolubility, etc.  The human eye cannot see the difference between the two seas that meet, rather the two seas appear to us as one homogeneous sea.  Likewise, the human eye cannot see the division of water in estuaries into the three kinds: fresh water, salt water, and the partition (zone of separation).”


The Qur’an (perhaps by its very inclusion of various scientific verses, like the oceanic phenomena mentioned above) encourages belief in scientific discovery (and that by default includes environmental sciences, such as climate science).

So, again; a big difference, I think, between what Islam says and how some Christians interpret what Christianity says.

I for one don’t know (and am leaning towards refuting) that Christianity encourages climate change denial, or denial of other scientific/environmental facts. I don’t think Christianity suggests any such thing. I think it is some Christians’ faulty interpretation of their text and religious tradition that has led to climate change denial, and other missteps.

Hopefully, with (more) scientific evidence, biblical texts that negate that specific attitude towards climate change, or both, climate change denial on the part of some in the Christian communities can soon end.

We really do need everyone in the human population to help advocate for and help save the planet (after all). It is already becoming very late to do so.


Further Reading Material:

excerpts/parts that I found especially relevant/interesting:

“A ḥima (Arabic: حمى‎‎ ḥima) “inviolate zone” refers to an area set aside for the conservation of natural capital, typically fields, wildlife and forests – contrast ḥaram, which defines an area protected for more immediate human purposes.

A Muslim has a specific obligation to practice stewardship over nature, and each species of animals is said to be “its own nation”. “Human beings are God’s representatives on earth. This means that if they are not charged with maintaining the world, or rending to it, they must at least not destroy it”.[3]

The selection of ḥimas was thus a religious rather than community obligation, and was often undertaken by the ulema.

There are five types of ḥima:[4]

  1. areas where grazing of domestic animals is prohibited
  2. areas where grazing is restricted to certain seasons
  3. beekeeping reserves where grazing is restricted during flowering
  4. forest areas where cutting of trees is forbidden
  5. reserves managed for the welfare of a particular village, town or tribe (see also ḥaram, although that term usually refers more to water protection measures)

There are good examples of ḥima in the Middle East, some adopted by the Islamic prophet, Muhammad.[5]


– excerpts/parts that I found especially relevant/interesting:

“Perhaps due to resource scarcity in most Islamic nations, there was an emphasis on limited (and some claim also sustainable) use of natural capital, i.e. producing land. Traditions of haram (site) and hima, an Arabic term meaning “protected place”, and early urban planning were expressions of strong social obligations to stay within carrying capacity and to preserve the natural environment as an obligation of khalifa or “stewardship”.[26]

After Muslims established themselves in Madinah, Muhammad surveyed the natural resources in the region—the wadis (riverbeds); the rich, black volcanic soil; the high rangelands—and decreed that they be preserved and set aside as a hima.[27]

Hadiths on agriculture and environmental philosophy were compiled in the “Book of Agriculture” of the Sahih Bukhari, which included the following saying:[26]

There is none amongst the believers who plants a tree, or sows a seed, and then a bird, or a person, or an animal eats thereof, but it is regarded as having given a charitable gift [for which there is great recompense].[28]

Several such statements concerning the environment are also found in the Qur’an, such as the following:[26]

And there is no animal in the earth nor bird that flies with its two wings, but that they are communities like yourselves.[Quran 6:38]

The earliest known treatises dealing with environmentalism and environmental science, especially pollution, were Arabic medical treatises written by al-Kindi, Qusta ibn Luqa, al-Razi, Ibn Al-Jazzar, al-Tamimi, al-Masihi, Avicenna, Ali ibn Ridwan, Ibn Jumay, Isaac Israeli ben Solomon, Abd-el-latif, Ibn al-Quff, and Ibn al-Nafis. Their works covered a number of subjects related to pollution such as air pollution, water pollution, soil contamination, municipal solid waste mishandling, and environmental impact assessments of certain localities.[29] Cordoba, Al-Andalus also had the first waste containers and waste disposal facilities for litter collection.[30][31][32]

“In order to preserve the natural environment by not polluting, plant trees, support environmentally-friendly goods and products, Muslims must rectify themselves through simplicity, contentment, resisting endless desires, and then remembering God as well as following His commands”.[33]


excerpts/parts that I found especially relevant/interesting:

“It should be noted that not all evangelical Christians oppose global warming reforms. Groups like the Young Evangelicals for Climate Action take the stance that it is a Christian’s duty to protect the planet.”



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