By Salman Sultan
Do we really care for our Country?
No living creature can survive without breathing air (oxygen) at least on our planet. Such an essential thing has been provided by nature in abundance and we don’t even feel while breathing-in-and-out. Suffice is to say that this essential exercise of breathing air is effortless on our part. Water is the other essential requirement for survival of living beings but we can go without water for hours if not for days or months. During fasts we don’t drink, in some places, for even more than 17-18 hours. For quenching our thirsts we do have to make an effort either in the form of working out a hand-pump or pumping out water through a Tube-well by use of electrical/fuel energy. Now-a-days we spend money to purchase our own water bottled by foreign companies.
Holy Quran has many verses emphasizing the importance of environmental purity and preservation of natural resources:
“Eat and drink from the provision of Allah, and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption.” (Qur’an, 2:60)
“We made from water every living thing…” (Quran 21:30)
“Say: Have you considered, if your water were one morning to have seeped away, who then could bring you clear-flowing water?” (Quran 67:30)
What a powerful warning to mankind though we still have daily observation of continuous fall in ground-water level, silting and pollution of fresh water sources like rivers, lakes, springs etc.
“And tell them that the water shall be shared between them…” (Quran 54:28)
Instead of sharing judiciously, we are bent upon wasteful use of water through installation of submersible pumps after failure of jet pumps for lifting water due to depleting ground-water level. It seems we have taken for granted the ground water level although it is dangerously depleting on annual basis. God forbid, one day when we press the button to start our submersible/jet pumps, there may be nothing coming out except, perhaps, air.
“It is related that the Prophet passed by his companion Sa’d, who was washing for prayer, and said:
“What is this wastage, O Sa’ d?”
“Is there wastage even in washing for prayer?” asked Sa’ d;
and he said, “Yes, even if you are by a flowing river!” (Ibn Majah) (ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION IN ISLAM (PART 3 OF 7): THE CONSERVATION OF BASIC NATURAL ELEMENTS – WATER, By Dr. A. Bagader, Dr. A. El-Sabbagh, Dr. M. Al-Glayand, and Dr. M. Samarrai; http://www.islamreligion.com/articles/311/environmental-protection-in-islam-part-3/)
Our Prophet (pbuh) cared so much for conserving water that he admonished his companion for using more than required water even for ablution prior to prayers. Now-a-days we observe a lot of wastage during ablution. People just keep the water running through taps instead of frequently sliding the handle of tap in closed position during different acts of washing of hands, face, massage of head etc. Earlier people used to fill a tumbler with water drawn from hand-pump or a well near the mosque and satisfactorily perform the act of ablution prior to prayers. Now with easily available running water people are using sometimes more than a bucketful of water for ablution. We claim to love our beloved Prophet (pbuh) but even in the light of Hadith quoted above (Ibn Majah) we defy our Prophet’s clear instruction against wasting water. I have not noticed Imams/Khateebs (Orators) emphasizing on conservation of water in their Friday Sermon. To quote from a scholarly work “Water conservation is grounded in Islam. Islamic principles and ethics, in fact, have always advocated a good conduct towards the environment and respect for the natural resources.”(ISLAM, WATER CONSERVATION AND PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS, Francesca Gilli, BA Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Ca’ Foscari, Venice, Italy).
I again quote from ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION IN ISLAM (PART 4): God’s Green Earth By AbdurRahman Mahdi “The Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, once said:
“The world is green and beautiful, and God has appointed you his guardian over it.”(Saheeh Muslim)
Keeping the earth green, productive and of benefit to man and beast is a most noble concern according to Islam. We learn from the Prophet that:
“There is none amongst the believers who plants a tree, or sows a seed, and then a bird, or a person, or an animal eats from it, except that it is regarded as having given a charitable gift (for which he can expect God’s Pleasure and Reward).” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
The planting of vegetation is such a virtuous endeavour in the Sight of God that it is encouraged even if it be a person’s final act on Earth. The Prophet said:
“Even when the Day of Judgment comes (upon you), if anyone has a palm-shoot in hand, he should plant it.” (Ahmad)
People generally only talk about air pollution and worry about alarming levels of harmful particulate, particularly in Delhi which has the dubious distinction of one of world’s most populated city, but problem can be easily solved if we heed to the sayings of our beloved Prophet (pbuh). Muslims should have led the way in this respect by opting for water conservation and planting of trees.
In spite of repeated warnings to Delhites bursting of crackers didn’t abate and Delhi which almost always, particularly in winter, has a hazy atmosphere, was obnoxiously choking in last Diwali. Kids who refrained from such detrimental environmental activity and who tried to convince their friends deserve applaud for their consciousness towards our beloved country. They, in fact, are ‘True Indians’