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Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam, Pope Francis Issue Urgent Call to Combat Climate Change

Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayyeb, Pope Francis, and 40 faith leaders have come together to draw attention to the “grave threat” facing the world from climate change.

They made the appeal on Oct. 4 in a joint message signed in the Vatican’s Hall of Benediction, which was decorated with plants to mark the occasion.

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The appeal, addressed to governments participating in the upcoming 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland scheduled to be held from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12, calls for decisive international political action to combat climate change and “to safeguard, restore and heal our wounded humanity and the home entrusted to our stewardship.”

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“The world is called to achieve net zero carbon emissions as soon as possible, with wealthier countries taking the lead in reducing their own emissions and in financing emission reductions from poorer nations,” they said in the 2,000-word appeal signed by almost 40 faith leaders.

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Alongside other world faith leaders, El-Tayyeb and Pope Francis discussed the initiatives resulting from the Human Fraternity Document, which was released in 2019 with the aim of reinforcing the principle of coexistence.

Al-Azhar's Grand Imam, Pope Francis Issue Urgent Call to Combat Climate Change - About Islam

Islam & Climate Change

From an Islamic perspective, environmental activism is grounded in honoring the relationship between oneself, Allah, and Allah’s creation. 

Allah says in the Qur’an, It is He who has appointed you vicegerent on the Earth … (Qur’an, 6:165)

In July this year, El-Tayyeb voiced his support for countries facing flooding and heatwaves around the world, calling for an action on climate change.

In April, Pope Francis said the world was “at the edge” of an abyss in a summit held by US President Joe Biden to tackle climate change.

Historically, Muslim scholars coupled their study of nature to their understanding of Allah (God). The Qur’an articulates how eco-consciousness permeates every aspect of life and explains nature as a complete, complex, interconnected and interdependent system.

Verily, We have created everything in equal proportion and measure … (Qur’an, 54:49).