More on the Islamic Climate Declaration

August 20, 2015

6 minute report from Democracy Now.

Description:

A group of leading Islamic scholars have issued a declaration calling on the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims to do their part to eliminate dangerous greenhouse gas emissions and turn toward renewable energy sources. The declaration urges world leaders meeting in Paris later this year to commit to a 100 percent zero-emissions strategy and to invest in decentralized renewable energy in order to reduce poverty and the catastrophic impacts of climate change. The declaration comes on the heels of the publication of Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment earlier this year, which also calls for sweeping action on climate change. Like the encyclical, this declaration, endorsed by more than 60 leading Islamic scholars, links climate change to the economic system, stating: “We recognize the corruption that humans have caused on the Earth due to our relentless pursuit of economic growth and consumption.” We speak to Bangladeshi climate scientist Saleemul Huq, one of the contributors and signatories to the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change.

The Conversation:

However there is an environmental framework inherently embedded within the traditional principles of Islam, and it is possible to extend these principles to consider contemporary changes. Traditionally there are five major obligations for all Muslims: proclamation in the oneness of Allah, prayer, fasting, pilgrimage and alms-giving (charity towards the poor). Each can help the environment.

The concept of oneness may be extended to the unity of creation – the idea that there is one planet for all humanity to share. Thus Islam teaches an inter-connectedness between the environment and human beings.

Prayer is about seeking guidance from Allah. Similarly, the environment has a purpose and forms another kind of revelation, which may be seen as a source of guidance for humanity.

Fasting is performed for Allah but recently Muslim faith-activists have fasted for the planet. For example representatives from Wisdom in Nature, an ecological activist group in Britain, would fast so they could contemplate the human impact on the environment. Also, during pilgrimage Muslims must be considerate to animals and vegetation in designated areas.

Finally, the process of alms-giving indicates Muslims are thoughtful and effectively share resources. This means there is already an Islamic ethic for sustainability, particularly equity within and between generations.

The document includes input from scientists, as well as scriptural passages from the Qur’an that apply.

Below, selections from the Declaration document:

Corruption has appeared on land and sea

Because of what people’s own hands have wrought,

So that they may taste something of what they have done;

So that hopefully they will turn back.

Qur’an 30: 41

  • We recognize that we are but a miniscule part of the divine order, yet within that order, we are exceptionally powerful beings, and have the responsibility to establish good and avert evil in every way we can. We also recognize that –
  • We are but one of the multitude of living beings with whom we share the Earth;
  • We have no right to oppress the rest of creation or cause it harm;
  • Intelligence and conscience behoove us, as our faith commands, to treat all things with care and awe (taqwa) of their Creator, compassion (rahmah) and utmost good (ihsan).

There is no animal on the earth, or any bird that wings its flight, but is a community like you.

Qur’an 6: 38

  • We recognize that we are accountable for all our actions –

Then he who has done an atom’s weight of good, shall see it;

and he who has done an atom’s weight of evil, shall see it.

Qur’an 99:6-8

2.8 In view of these considerations we affirm that our responsibility as Muslims is to act according to the example of the Prophet Muhammad (God’s peace and blessings be upon him) who –

  • Declared and protected the rights of all living beings, outlawed the custom of burying infant girls alive, prohibited killing living beings for sport, guided his companions to conserve water even in washing for prayer, forbade the felling of trees in the desert, ordered a man who had taken some nestlings from their nest to return them to their mother, and when he came upon a man who had lit a fire on an anthill, commanded, “Put it out, put it out!”;
  • Established inviolable zones (harams) around Makkah and Al-Madinah, within which native plants may not be felled or cut and wild animals may not be hunted or disturbed;
  • Established protected areas (himas) for the conservation and sustainable use of rangelands, plant cover and wildlife.
  • Lived a frugal life, free of excess, waste, and ostentation;
  • Renewed and recycled his meagre possessions by repairing or giving them away;
  • Ate simple, healthy food, which only occasionally included meat;
  • Took delight in the created world; and
  • Was, in the words of the Qur’an, “a mercy to all beings.”

WE CALL

3.1 We call upon the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Meeting of the Parties (MOP) to the Kyoto Protocol taking place in Paris this December, 2015 to bring their discussions to an equitable and binding conclusion, bearing in mind –

  • The scientific consensus on climate change, which is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate systems;
  • The need to set clear targets and monitoring systems;
  • The dire consequences to planet earth if we do not do so;
  • The enormous responsibility the COP shoulders on behalf of the rest of humanity, including leading the rest of us to a new way of relating to God’s Earth.

3.2 We particularly call on the well-off nations and oil-producing states to –

  • Lead the way in phasing out their greenhouse gas emissions as early as possible and no later than the middle of the century;
  • Provide generous financial and technical support to the less well-off to achieve a phase-out of greenhouse gases as early as possible;
  • Recognize the moral obligation to reduce consumption so that the poor may benefit from what is left of the earth’s non-renewable resources;
  • Stay within the ‘2 degree’ limit, or, preferably, within the ‘1.5 degree’ limit, bearing in mind that two-thirds of the earth’s proven fossil fuel reserves remain in the ground;
  • Re-focus their concerns from unethical profit from the environment, to that of preserving it and elevating the condition of the world’s poor.
  • Invest in the creation of a green economy.

One Response to “More on the Islamic Climate Declaration”

  1. redskylite Says:

    Truly momentous times, first the head of the Catholic church, now Islam. Historic temperatures in July 2015. Next milestones of mankind are what is achieved in Paris and what happens in the U.S of A in the 2016 elections. Not sure what milestones mother nature has in store for us, but I am afraid of the monster we have unleashed. Afraid for our future generations and for all the wonderful species that have evolved with us and share our planet.

    “So answering the question, “How hot is it going get?” is quite simple. If we keep burning fossil fuels, temperature will eventually reach 147 degrees Fahrenheit with a heat index of 200 degrees (or more) Fahrenheit where many people now live.

    That’s it. Simple. Clear. Terrifying.”

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/08/19/1412479/-How-Hot-Is-It-Going-To-Get


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