Islamic Perspectives

The Qur’an cares about animals and environment

By Yusuf Al-Qaradawi

It is quite striking to the fair researchers how the Qur’an and Sunnah cared about the environment. For example, the Qur’an says:
“Do they not look at the camels, how they are created?” (Qur’an, 88:17)

Here the Qur’an mentions camels rather than other animals. The reason behind that is to attract the attention to this remarkable animal and calling people to contemplate about its structure, properties and benefits, as it is the closest of the grazing livestock to the Bedouins who are addressed directly by the Qur’an.

The Qur’an speaks repeatedly of grazing livestock (camels, sheep, cattle) rather than other animals that might exist in other areas. The reason is that it wants to attract the attention of the addressed people to the animals present in the surrounding environment in order to make use of them; be grateful to the Bounties of Allah, to eat its meat and drink its milk.

“...Pure milk, palatable to drinkers.” (Qur’an, 16:66)

Also, to enjoy their sight when you are leading them in the morning and bringing them back in the evening.

 “And wherein is beauty for you, when you bring them home in the evening and as you lead them forth to pasture in the morning.” (Qur’an, 16:6)

The same is mentioned in the Qur’an about the bees; their homes, various kinds, nutritive and medical values in a Surah called “The Bees”.

Likewise, the Qur’an talks about the date palm, grapes, crops of diverse flavour, the olive and the pomegranate similar and different. Here the Qur’an stresses on two important aspects:

  1. Enjoying its beauty: “Look at their fruits thereof when they bear fruit and upon its ripening.” (Qur’an, 6:99)
  2. Making use of its substance, but paying the due Zakah prescribed by Allah.

“Eat of their fruit when they bring fruit, but pay the due thereof (its Zakat according to Allah’s Order) on the day of its harvest. But be not extravagant.” (Qur’an, 6:141)

It was repeatedly mentioned in the Qur’an: Forbidding spoiling the earth after Allah has created it suitable and well-prepared for the successive human generations. It announced that Allah does not like spoiling or those who spoil in life, this includes spoiling environment, polluting it or being aggressive with it.

Also, it is forbidden to abuse it in any way that would make it deviate from the purpose of Allah created it for. This would be like showing ingratitude to Allah, that would cause retribution from Allah, and becomes like a warning to those who perpetrated this, that severe penalty will almost come upon them as what happened before to the Aad and the Thamud and those who came after them.

“Who did transgress beyond bounds in the land (in the disobedience of Allah) and made therein much mischief. So your Lord poured on them different kinds of severe torment. Surely your Lord is Ever-Watchful.” (Qur’an, 89:11-14)

This is like the punishment that came upon the Saba who did not show gratitude for the bounties that Allah gave them; the fertile land, the fresh pure water, the sweet-smelling gardens, and they showed ingratitude, neglected the land and wasted their source of bounty. Allah said:

“Indeed there was for Saba (Sheba) sign in their dwelling place. Two gardens on the right hand and on the left (and it was said to them): Eat of the Provision of your Lord and be grateful to Him, a fair land and an Oft-forgiving Lord. But they turned away (from the obedience of Allah), so We sent against them Sail Al-Arim (flood released from the dam) and we converted the two gardens into gardens producing bitter bad fruit and tamarisks and some few lote-trees. Like this We requited them because they were ungrateful disbelievers and never do We requite in such a way except those who are ungrateful disbelievers.” (34:15-17)  (Islamic Concept of Education & Economy as Seen in the Sunnah)