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Facts about International Earth Day

Being stewards of the Earth, it is the responsibility of Muslims to care for the environment in a proactive manner. There is a definite purpose behind the creation of different species, be it plants or animals.

Muslims are encouraged to reflect on the relationship between living organisms and their environment and to maintain the ecological balance created by Allah.

Protection of the environment is essential to Islamic beliefs and mankind has the responsibility to ensure safe custody of the environment.

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) encouraged the planting of trees and the cultivation of agriculture which are considered as good acts.

This is illustrated in the following traditions: Narrated by Anas bin Malik (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said: “There is none amongst the Muslims who plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, but is regarded as a charitable gift for him.”‏ (Bukhari).

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April 22 is the Earth Day, a celebration of our amazing planet and chance to learn how we can best care for it. Here are some facts about the history of Earth Day and events marking the occasion this year.

44 years ago, one in ten Americans turned out for the first Earth Day, pushing the federal government to take on environmental problems.

* The first celebration of Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970, making 2014’s observance the 44th anniversary of Earth Day.

* The first Earth Day got a lot of attention when more than 20 million people participated and by the end of 1970, Congress authorized the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

* Although Earth Day originated in the United States, it went global in 1990 with 140 countries participating. In 2000, more than 180 countries participated.

* In 2009, the United Nations renamed Earth Day and now calls it International Mother Earth Day.

In a prophetic hadith Abdullah ibn Habashi reported that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “He who cuts a lote-tree [without justification], Allah will send him to Hellfire.” (Abu Dawud).

Keeping plants around your home, school or workplace is not only aesthetic and decorative in Islam; according to Hazrat Jabir (RA) reported that Prophet Muhammad [S.A.W] said: “No Muslim, who plants a shoot, except that whatever is eaten or stolen from it, or anyone obtains the least thing from it, is considered [like paying] almsgiving on his behalf until the Day of Judgement.” (Muslim).

This article is from Science’s archive and we’ve originally published it on an earlier date.