“And sent down, from the rain clouds, pouring water. That We may bring forth thereby grain and vegetation. And gardens of entwined growth (78:14-16).”

Indeed, in the Qur’an Allah (SWT) uses the creation of the heavens and earth, and whatever is contained in them, as signs to remind us of His Might and Power.

The earth as we know it was created by Allah (SWT),

It is He who created the heavens and earth in six days and then established Himself above the Throne. He knows what penetrates the earth and what emerges from it and what descends from the heaven and what ascends therein; and He is with you wherever you are. And Allah, of what you do, is Seeing (57:4).

This verse in Surah Hadid not only demonstrates the Power and Majesty of Allah (SWT) but also illustrates the importance of taking care of the earth. As climate change discussion heats up around the world it is important for Muslims to realize their role and how they can contribute. Whether or not you believe in climate change, there is no doubt that this earth has a right over us. This earth is a blessing from Allah which we will be held accountable for. As Muslims, we must realize that how we treat the earth (and allow it to be treated) may be a source of regret for us on the Day of Judgement. Indeed, Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an,

And it is He (God) who has made you successors (khala’ifa) upon the earth and has raised some of you above others in degrees [of rank] that He may try you through what He has given you. Indeed, your Lord is swift in penalty; but indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful [Surah Al-An’am – 6;165].

Regarding man, Allah (SWT) also says,

And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: “Verily, I am going to place (mankind) generations after generations on earth.” They said: “Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, – while we glorify You with praises and thanks (Exalted be You above all that they associate with You as partners) and sanctify You.” He (Allah) said: “I know that which you do not know(2:30).

From this verse we can come to know that there will be people on this earth who will corrupt it, and it is our responsibility as Muslims to protect the earth and its inhabitants.

In this way, it is important that as Muslims we make recycling an essential part of our lives. There are 5 principles in the Zero Waste Movement:

  • Refuse
  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle
  • Rot

Refuse

When someone hands you a pamphlet or flyer that you are not interested in, rather than take it and throw it away, you simply refuse it. Politely say you are not interested. The concept behind this is that once businesses realize that there is no demand for paper products, they will reduce their paper promotions. One step further would be to explain to the business why you are refusing their product, and/or connect with them through social media to suggest that they consider alternative methods of advertising.

 Reduce

Refers to the decrease of our usage of products. The Qur’an is clear in warning us against excessive consumption of material possessions and food, “O Children of Adam, take your adornment at every place of prayer, eat and drink, but be not excessive – Indeed Allah likes not those who commit excess” [Surah Al-A`raf – 7;31]. The more we consume, the greedier we become. The more we buy, the more garbage we produce (i.e., throwing away the packaging, throwing away old items, etc.). Therefore, it is essential that we limit our overall consumption to reduce the amount of garbage being produced.

Reuse

Rather than buying brand new items, we should reuse the items we can. For instance, instead of buying a brand-new table, we can find an older table and retouch it and make it anew! This not only saves our money but also saves the environment by reducing what is produced and discarded.

Recycle

This refers to the disposing of waste properly. Recycling certain materials allows for certain materials to be converted into new materials, and reduces the amount of waste being placed into land fills.

Rot

Refers to the concept of composting food items such as vegetable peelings, egg shells and leftovers. These items can be converted into nutritious compost for your garden to feed the mini ecosystem.

I hope these principles inspire us to take action towards protecting our beautiful earth. As I mentioned before, the earth is a blessing from Allah (SWT) and it has a right over us. It is therefore, our duty as Muslims to protect and care for our earth so that we are not held accountable for its destruction on the Day of Judgement by Allah.

I pray that Allah (SWT) makes zero waste a priority for all of us and that He makes it easy. Ameen.

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