Tackling Impending Disasters Through Islamic Wisdom

Human history is full of past disasters pointing to the impending disasters including the ones very much present in our midst. That are Covid-19, climate change, pollution, hunger, diseases and much more, because of our own deeds and misdeeds. This is a fact and not science fiction.

By going through the pages of history, it can easily be traced and proved that the earlier civilizations are also responsible for devastating the environment in areas where they were enjoying luxurious lives. The archeological records and collected data show and confirm the damage done and the ruins left behind by earlier civilizations.

The Global Threat of Environmental Pollution

Environmental pollution is very widespread today in water, air and land threatening not only human civilization but also animal life. The dark side of the scientific evaluation points to an impending disaster and suggests that it might destroy our global existence. This is a very serious matter needing immediate attention compelling us to tackle the catastrophe for the sake of all life on our planet, the earth.

Humanity needs to think pragmatically and motivate people and masses not only from an angel of science and technology, but more importantly, also from the moral and ethical point of view. This re-thinking will help us examine our world at large and focus on the survival of the human race and other species. Many countries want to seriously combat the growing menace of pollution at different levels, recognizing the fact that they are deep and grave threats to life on this planet.

From Agriculture to Industry

In the early days of civilization agricultural production was the biggest industry. But the situation took a gigantic leap forward with industrial revolution when electricity, the radio, powered ships, automobiles, trains, aircraft and factories prompted labor concentration around them leaving agriculture behind. Small industries in the early days of civilization were not widespread, but got involved in changing the situation by taking a gigantic leap forward with industrial revolution.

Industrial production and energy gave visible material growth but also gave all sorts of pollutants that are severely degrading the environment. Industrialized nations made a gigantic mistake by not realizing the impact sooner on the environment. And in some cases for even hiding them or denying them once they became known.

Industrial Revolution's Environmental Toll

The uncontrolled use of energy by big industries from fossil fuels like coal, oil, gas and later nuclear energy severely damaged the environment and spread various types of pollutions around the world and are continuing to do so. The non-renewable resources, the chemical elements like sulfur, carbon and nitrogen oxides are released as a result of coal burning, and carbon monoxide from automobiles exhaust.

The worldwide travel and transportation of goods and services are also responsible for pollution transfer because the damage in one part of the world no longer remain confined to one place but would also contaminate the entire global ecosystem. In the field of agriculture use of un-protective technical processes of using chemicals and genetic alteration methods are resulting in degradation of natural ecosystem and allowing global increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The new methods encourage use of the combination of chemicals and fertilizers in such a way that it makes it unsafe for consumption of some mass-produced agricultural products.

The Hidden Threat

The available data on water reveals that dirty water and refuge cause 80% of the world’s diseases. Hundreds of chemicals - some estimates put the figure at more than 50,000 chemicals - are manufactured and are on commercial sale. Most of these chemicals are rarely found together in nature, including pesticides DDT, fire retardants PCB & PBB, asbestos, CFC, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and Halon.

The compounds, CFC and halon have been in increased use as refrigerants, aerosol propellants, foam, solvent and fire retardants. This has resulted in a rapid rise in concentrations and ending in polluting water and the atmosphere. The gases, like smog, acid rain, ozone depletion and the greenhouse effect, released by burning fossil fuels (charcoal, oil and gases), the resources of industry and energy production can harm both things and living beings by disturbing the natural balance and slowly poisoning the environment beyond repair.

The minerals like mercury, zinc, lead and cadmium are now being extensively being used in manufacturing for producing hundreds of items. Mercury is mainly used in manufacturing pesticides and paper and can harm fish, milk and human food. Zinc and cadmium used at random and without proper care can harm kidneys, lungs and cause brain damage.

Greed, Corruption, and Injustice

The real causes of the devastating disaster which have infiltrated society locally and globally are the greed, corruption and injustice. Yet, we are an interesting species, capable of inventing things, have beautiful dreams and horrible nightmares, engage in exploring the universe and finding lost, cut off and alone in this universe.

The void and emptiness moved us in a direction where we are looking for another species like ourselves in the galaxies and worlds beyond. In all this searching, the only thing we have discovered that makes this emptiness bearable is each other.

We feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only we are not. Allah Mighty God is with us. This fact makes us think about our existence on this planet and encourage us to work for the welfare and improvement of humanity, and to save this space ship, the earth. Let us work to save the earth and its environment. The scientific data validated the truth.

It proved beyond any shadow of doubt that the appetite for profiteering and exploiting the resources based on greed, corruption and injustice are real causes of globally misusing the new technology, exploiting human beings and resources. Ahmed Zaki Yamani, Saudi Arabian politician, Former Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, beautifully said about human progress, “The stone age did not end because human beings ran out of stones, it ended because they found better ways to do things.”

Sustainability for the Survival of Humanity

These various forms of exploitation must be controlled to save humanity. The longevity of non-renewable resources, based on scientific estimates, is very short at the current rate of consumption. There is an urgent need to develop more non-polluting hydroelectric, solar and wind power. Scientists, health authorities and environmentalists should speed up the efforts to formulate plans to use resources as needed, reuse and recycle them without damaging the environment. The world is producing enough food and goods. plans are needed to store, pack, transport and distribute food and goods to the areas around the world where needed most.

The over consumption of food and subsequent production of waste could also be considered in this planning to reduce hunger, ecological and economic damage to humanity. The energy that was dependent on coal, wind, gas, and oil and wood has been taken over by hydroelectric, nuclear and solar energies. At this point in time, we, the human beings have become more interested in artificial intelligence, robotics, automation, micro-electronics, computers, information technology, bio-technology and space travels.

Through Islamic Perspective

Talking about space travel, the very first verse of the Le Saint Coran, the Holy Quran, recited by each and every Muslim during five times daily prayer launches him into the outer space. A Muslim recites, “Praise be to God, the Lord of the Universe.” There should not be any plausible doubt that the nature created by God is based on certain established rules and on an order.

A discipline or order not only of the earth but of the whole universe. Allah Mighty God has created this universe, and there is none like HIM. This is the cardinal truth. The intricate order and balance of the creation is an indication of the infinite knowledge Allah Mighty God, the Creator, and His power over His vast creation. We the inhabitants of the earth, animate and inanimate are only minutest particles of the vast universe.

Our responsibility for the improvement of mankind should start with the protection of environment because the destruction of environment is the destruction of this earth. Allah Mighty God has given us commands in the Quran and has compelled us to think and reflect (taffakkur) and has given us the free will to do things, to save ourselves and this earth. We must encourage health authorities and environmentalists who make demands to the various government authorities for the reduction and elimination of elements that are damaging environment.

Ripples of Change

Water is the most precious commodity human beings have. One of the main causes of water scarcity is climate change, rising temperatures, increased evaporation of water, which means that less water is stored in lakes, rivers and groundwater collected in empty spaces underground beyond the surface. Groundwater is the source of water used for public supplies and agriculture. We must reduce water usage by not wasting water while washing dishes, showering, or brushing teeth.

Allah Mighty God told us in the Quran that he has made from water every living thing. In other Ayats Allah tells us that he wants us to eat and drink and do not indulge in wasting food and water because He does not like wasters. We should take the responsibility to save water, help in finding ways and means to divert the rain water into groundwater reservoir beneath the
surface. Later wells can be dug to draw water for use.

Concerning wastage and destruction, Prophet Muhammad instructed Muslims to avoid cutting down trees and killing animals except for food. He wanted them to plant trees or sow fields, when humans, animals and birds eat, then it is considered as a sadaqah. We should plant trees. They will not only help humans, animals and birds, but also prevent land erosion. Also, thwart character and decency erosion; uphold human dignity, fight against greed, corruption and injustice.

Beauty Beyond Toxins

Potentially harmful chemicals are being used in cosmetic products such as hair products, bodywash and nail polish. The manufacturers are selling cosmetic products containing ingredients commonly used in shampoo, conditioners, hairspray and other hygiene products. The other products are lotions and fragrances such as perfumes and laundry powder. Please take a note that personal care products and cosmetics should be non-toxic for everyone.

As Muslims we have a choice; sacrifice health and use too much make-up, apply perfume and fragrance. To look good inside and out communicate with others with a smile, use common sense, follow family and Islamic values, talk positive, the choice is yours. Prophet Muhammad said even a smile is a charity.

Allah Mighty God says in the Quran that he loves those who do good, those who are equitable and those who put their trust in HIM. Also, He gave us this earth as a trust. To earn Allah’s love, we must work for the welfare and improvement of our society, mankind and the environment on this space ship, the earth.

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