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What Does Islam Teach Us About Environmental Pollution?

26 November, 2021
Q Dear scholars, as-salamu `alaykum. Some people ask about the Shari`ah point of view regarding environmental pollution or damaging the environment and not preserving it. Jazakum Allah khayran.

Answer

Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


In this fatwa:

1- A Muslim should realize how important it is to protect the environment, and that spoiling it, for whatever reason, is prohibited.

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2- To avoid environmental pollution, Islam prohibits urinating or defecating or throwing garbage, carcasses, industrial wastes, or suchlike things in water, for doing so causes much harm to man, animals, and the environment.

3- The Prophet stated that removing rubbish and the like from streets is something which deserves divine reward.


In responding to your question about environmental pollution, Dr. Nasr Farid Wasil, the former Mufti of Egypt, states:

Islam calls for every good and prohibits every evil. In other words, Islam commands its followers to adhere to standards of righteous behavior and good manners. Among such good behaviors is protecting the environment, which results in benefits for individuals and society.

Needless to say, all divine religions have called for protecting the environment and have prohibited polluting and damaging it. When one contemplates the Quranic verses of Surat An-Nahl which begin with the verse that reads, “And the cattle has He created, whence you have warm clothing and uses, and whereof you eat” and end with the verse “And it is He Who has constrained the sea to be of service that you eat fresh meat from thence, and bring forth from thence, ornaments which you wear. And you see the ships ploughing it that you (mankind) may seek of His bounty, and that happily you may give thanks.” (An-Nahl 16:5-14), one will realize that Allah has subjected the universe to man. Thus, man must keep the universe as pure and magnificent as Allah has created it.

Moreover, since Islam is the last religion of all previous heavenly messages, it urges people, all people, to protect the environment and calls them not to pollute or spoil it. For example, Islam prohibits urinating or defecating or throwing garbage, carcasses, industrial wastes, or suchlike things in water, for doing so causes much harm to man, animals, and the environment.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) founded a very important legal rule when he said, “No harm shall be inflicted or reciprocated in Islam.” (Ahmad)

In addition, the Prophet stated that removing rubbish and the like from streets is something which deserves divine reward. In this concern, the Prophet said, “If you refuse but to sit in roads, then pay the road its right.” They said, “What is the right of the road, Allah’s Messenger?” He said, “Lowering your gaze, returning greetings, and removing harmful things from the road.” (Muslim)

To conclude, a Muslim should be keen on complying with the teachings of our true religion, Islam. A Muslim should further realize how important it is to protect the environment, and that spoiling it, for whatever reason, is prohibited.

In other words, every Muslim should protect the environment in which he lives and keep it free from the causes of illness, which harm individuals and communities.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.