What is the Environment?
The term ‘environment’ has been widely used and has various meanings and interpretations. The word environment originally is take from the French word “Environia” which means the surround. The environment also means of nature.
In other words, environment is the natural world, as a whole or in a particular geographical area, especially as affected by human activity. The environment can also be meant for all things around us including living things or non-living. For example, natural forces, human beings, animal, plants and other living things such as water, climate temperature and pressure which provide growth and development as well as damage to the earth itself.
According to P. Gisbert “Environment is anything immediately surrounding an object and exerting a direct influence on it.”. According to E. J. Ross “Environment is an external force which influences us.” The environment can be referred to anything that surrounds by an object and anything that give impact to it.
It also refers to things surrounded and may made changes due to factors such as natural, artificial, social, biological and psychological. According to Islam, ‘environmentalism’ is based on the teachings of monotheism or unity of understanding that combines human, nature and Allah. Islam has made morality as the core of the relationship between human, nature and Allah.
Based on this theory, it is proven that any problems or environmental pollution arise from the imperfections of human morality against himself, nature and Allah. The concept of human being as a Caliph indicates that this environment is the right of Allah and His creation that man must carry out the trust.
In addition, this nature is an implied sign or symbol of Allah’s greatness and powers.The Islamic View of the EnvironmentIn Islam, God is the real owner of the universe. The sky and the sun, the moon and the stars are decorating the sky, also the flowers, trees, and various other plants and assort kinds of animals are the creation of Allah SWT. He is the one who causes the rivers to flow on the earth, upholding the sky without pillars or support and making the night and the day.
In the creation of the earth and the universe as described in the Quran, there are signs of the Power of Allah that we can see and observe. Besides, Allah also states in several other verses that clearly describe the process of creation of the earth and the universe.Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding. (QS. Ali Imran: 190)
Another verse in Quran refers to creation of earth,Surely your Lord is God, who created the heavens and the earth in six days — then sat Himself upon the Throne, covering the day with the night it pursues urgently — and the sun, and the moon, and the stars subservient, by His command. Verily, His are the creation and the command.
Blessed be God, the Lord of all Being. (QS. Al A’raaf: 54)As we know, the earth is created for humankind, it can be used for any purpose as long as it does not give a bad effect on the environment and ecological balance. Islam is a religion that strictly prohibits its Ummah to excessive in search of worldly things.
Allah has created everything in this world with its own measurement. There is nothing to be underestimated and nothing is over him, everything is enough and perfect, as Allah states in the Quran, which means,who has created all things well. And He originated the creation of man out of clay (QS. As Sajda: 77)Muslims believe that Allah created the heaven and the earth in the best possible way. He made the mountains, the rivers and the sea so that humans could find their livelihood.
Water is a very important element in Islam. Furthermore, water is also one of the blessings of the world given by Allah to his creatures. It is an evident and proven with a repeat of the Arabic word for water (Ma’) 63 times in the entire Quran. The total number of words in the Quran is 6,666 fractures if divided by 63 fractions it almost reaches 1% of the whole Quran verse.
This proves that almost 1% (0.945%) of Quran content is about water. It can be seen that 60 percent of the human body is water and most of the amount of water is found in human cells. Besides, nearly 71 percent of the earth is filled with water. Not only in the sea, water also exists in the air (water vapor), rivers, lakes, ice caps, glaciers, soils and aquifers.
Moreover, water is very important in human life because it is used almost in every aspect of human life. Not only for drinking, water is also used in various forms of daily activities such as washing, bathing, worship and so on.Apart from being used for domestic uses, water is also very important in economic activities such as industry, manufacturing and transportation.
In fact, water also helps generate electricity in the dam. But water can also have adverse effects on humans such as floods, mud floods and water pollution in the rivers and acid rain. However, such catastrophic events will only happen when humans themselves fail to manage the water and the environment well.
When humans do not care for cleanliness, letting the garbage scattered unmanaged, cutting down trees, ponding the merciless land, releasing pollutants into the water, developing areas without smart and eco-friendly planning, then that’s when water brings disaster to human life.
It is undeniable that animals and plants are important in life as it is a source of life that brings great benefits to human life. This is because, without any other species on the earth humans can not survive in life. There a says “If you believe in tomorrow, you plant trees today.” Trees are often related with nature and wildlife as it helps to preserve life on the planet through the oxygen cycle. The plants are considered like the lungs of the earth.
However, as smokers who damaging their lungs, pollutions that occur like open burning and uncontrolled deforestation have damaged these trees.Protecting trees and nature is a beautiful Islamic concept. But sometimes they had been ignored. Allah states in different verses in the Quran laid it related to the protection of the environment and also tells us about the blessings that he has given us.
The forest is one of the valuable assets that is given to us as it provides great ecosystem services by put in biodiversity, fill up underground aquifers, preventing soil erosion, reducing the effects of lightning floods, reducing climate change and global warming.
Therefore, as the forests have a very important significance, we should take special attention to the forest destruction and reforestation can take place simultaneously.Moreover, animals that give a big contributions to plants and humans. For example, they will move and migrate to help plant distribution. Besides, animals also contributed in terms of producing leather goods, stuff from wool, and also beigns food sources such as milk, meat and honey.
Islam strongly emphasizes the considerable attributes of maintaining the survival of fellow beings so as not to extinction the habitat in any animal or plant species. In order to safeguard the good of humans and all other creatures as well as to preserving the diversity of life on earth.The concept of behavior towards nature In Islam, Allah has set man as a stewardship on earth. A term which same meaning as successor, khalifah, trustee, viceroy, and guardian.
People not only affords the rights to use the nature resource but they also must follow the environmental ethics by using it without damaging the beauty of the environment. There are several concept that help people in behaving according to certain boundaries.• ShariahIn general, shariah is a living law in Islam that is based on Quran and Sunnah. Implementation of sharia in the concept of environmental care will have a huge impact.
This is because by implementing Islamic-based rules, environmental environments can be maintained and applied according to the rules that have been set and not just according to human desires.The environment is one of the gifts of Allah to his people in fulfilling human nature demands. In fact, the earth is simply empty land if it is not given a beautiful environment that becomes a home for humans and other beings.
In fulfilling the demands of living as human beings and the khalifah of Allah on this earth, mankind has been guided and taught by Islam. Islamic education is one of the ways in educating people on environmental protection. this is very different from western education where Islamic education covers physical and spiritual aspects but western education only emphasizes physical aspects. As time goes by, development is intensively implemented. but along with that, people must maintain the boundaries in the use of the environment in order to explore the area without redundancy.
Next is the Aqidah. Aqidah is an Arabic word which means a bond or knot. It is also means a strong belief and faith in God that will not be broken and cut off in any situations. The strong aqidah holds with the guidance of the Quran can make one act according to the recommendations of the Quran. for example, the Quran clearly describes the environment as a command not to do damage to the earth, the effects and consequences of human action, and so on.
The examples of Quran verses that mention environmental matters is the command to do no damage to the earth,When it is said to them, ‘Do not corruption in the land’, they say, ‘We are only ones that put things right.’ (QS. Al-Baqarah:11)If every human being in the world understands and adheres to each of the Quran explanation clearly as described, then this earth’s damage can be reduced apart from the earth’s age factor. But in reality there are not many who are able to obey the abide to the ordered because the weakness of the Aqidah has affected the environment.
Morality is the word jama ‘from the word (al-khuluqu) meaning habits, behavior, personality, custom, and even the religion itself. While from the perspective of the term it is the inherent nature of the self that can produce something easily and without thinking, researching or coercion. Morality is also a human behavior in relation to God, human relations and human relationships with the environment. The concept of environmental care in Islamic perspectives also emphasizes from the angle of morality.
This is because morality plays an important role that is born of a complete Aqidah and a detailed understanding of shariah. Through morality, the personality of a Muslim is build with praiseworthy qualities in action against the environment. There are four examples of the commendable nature of Islam that must be present in each individual who are able to affect the care of the environment are Qanaah, Mahabbah, and Ihsan.
Qanaah is the gratefulness of all the gifts of Allah for the necessity of life. In other words, it is an attitude that is not greedy and always grateful to the grace of God. for example, this type of people will not involved in excessive logging activities that damage the shape of the earth. Furthermore, the attitude of the Mahabbah is the attitude of loving people and other beings.
Loving humans and other creatures include love for the environment and to strive for the best of the environment. Through a high surrender attitude it will control the individual not to be harmful to the environment and to be on the lookout for something that involves environmental sensitivity.
Finally, Ihsan is a human attitude that is always careful in doing action because knowing God is always watching it. Through this attitude, it is able to train people to be more aware of the surroundings. As an example that can be attributed to the concept of environmental care of an Islamic perspective is someone who is in a state of anger able to control himself from damaging the plants around him as there is still a kindness in him.
The environment plays an important role in life of mankind and all who live in the environment. This is a sign of Allah’s glory and becomes a ways in understanding the reality of the existence of Allah. This natural welfare needs to be preserved as a sign of gratitude of Allah. The task of preservation and conservation of nature is the responsibility of every human being who lives in this universe, irrespective of the limits of religion.
It is undeniable that the more rapidly the world develops in line with the latest technology, the increasingly environmental problems. The global warming climate is one of the easy examples of how human failures are in preserving the environment. Indeed, Islam encourages the ummah to continuously advance themselves with the blessings of this world. It should be noted however, that it can not extend beyond the limits set by the Shari’a.
Islamic approaches to environmental issues are based on justice and equity. this is because exploration that destroys other habitats is prohibited in Islam. Environmental destructions not only affects life but also an unpredictable generation that is equal to the right to live and enjoy from the environment as the present generation lives and enjoys.