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By His Eminence Dr. Ahmad Al-Tayeb
In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate
Praise be to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah, and upon his fellow Prophets and Messengers.
Your Excellency, dear brother and honorable friend, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence
May Allah’s Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon you!
Let me first send my greetings and appreciation to my dear brother, Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, for whom I wish a speedy and thorough recovery, health and wellbeing. I would also like to extend a note of appreciation and respect to my dear brother, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for his sincere efforts in promoting human fraternity, as especially manifested in the sisterly UAE’s exceptional commitment, under his leadership, to confront one of the most serious challenges facing humanity today, that is climate change and its aggravating detrimental effects. I believe that the important step and exceptional initiative taken by the Muslim Council of Elders (MCE) to invite figures of different religions to sign the “Call of Conscience: The Abu Dhabi Interfaith Statement for COP28” and to establish the first-ever Faih Pavilion at the COP28.
This step is meant to cooperate with the United Nations and the UAE towards making the voice of religious leaders heard in face of challenges, especially climate change. This is a precious opportunity to enhance the efforts of protecting our common environment from imminent destruction, which is looming larger year after year.
This threat is embodied in natural disasters, including an unprecedented rise in temperature, sweeping floods, devastating wildfires, and severe drought, and extinction of numerous living species, and the spread of epidemics and diseases. The UN Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, was right when he noted “The era of global warming has ended; the era of global boiling has arrived.”
Islam has a specific position on the environment and its elements, starting with the earth, through all the living species on land, to all sea and air species. This position is succinctly embodied in the Divine Command directed to every human being, believer and non-believer, to reform the earth and all that is on it, and in the prohibition and warning against causing corruption to it or to any of its elements. The Noble Quran abounds with verses that urge respect for the environment and its elements, drawing on two perspectives:
First is that the environment and natural elements constitute the clearest evidence that guides the mind to knowing Allah Almighty and believing in Him, which is indeed the best blessing ever for humanity.
The second perspective is that all kinds of beings share the believing man his servitude to Allah Almighty. Hence, in the Islamic logic, humans are responsible for the environment, just as they are responsible for themselves and for their fellow human beings. In Islam too, special legislations address this specific issue.
However, it can be briefly maintained that the earth, and whatever is on it, constitutes a trust in the hands of humans, and that humans shall stand accountable before Allah on the Day of Resurrection for repairing it and for protecting it from corruption. Allah Almighty has warned humans that if they make mischief on earth, they will suffer diseases, calamities and disasters in intensity proportionate to the inflicted corruption.
In this regard, the Almighty says, “Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by reason of what the hands of people have earned, so He may let them taste part of the consequences of what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness].” (The Quran, 30: 41)
I should not conclude my speech without issuing a heartfelt plea from an ordinary Muslim man, who mourns the suffering of the vulnerable, poor, and oppressed peoples. Mine is the outcry of a human being alarmed by the horror of the relentless terrorist killing machine, wielded by the merciless against the innocent citizens of the world, encompassing men, women, children, infants, and even the unborn. I am equally disturbed by the acts of violence, sabotage, and destruction observed in the occupied land of Palestine.
Therefore, I implore the world: It is time to halt these atrocious, criminal wars. I am convinced that if they persist in this manner – God forbid – we will be left with neither a viable environment nor a livable climate for our children or future generations
Thank you all!
May Allah’s Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon you!
The writer is the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Al-Sharif and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders
Source of original article: Environment – Africa Science News (africasciencenews.org).
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