Nature http://english.irib.ir Tue, 17 Oct 2017 02:07:22 +0000 en-gb Respecting Nature, Respecting Life (16) http://english.irib.ir/component/k2/item/170938-respecting-nature,-respecting-life-16 http://english.irib.ir/component/k2/item/170938-respecting-nature,-respecting-life-16

Nowadays mankind has to change its behavior toward the environment. The relation between human and the environment is the relation of an owner and his property. Man ceaselessly and relentlessly exploits the environment and its natural resources.

He is unaware of the fact that his life is dependent on the nature and with the destruction of nature and its resources, including water, plants, soil, air and forests; human beings can't survive, either.

Islam has set different jurisprudential laws in order to protect nature and to control human’s greed. These deterrent laws alongside with informative and ethical teachings of religious leaders have played a major role in changing the thought and behavior towards environment.

In the previous episodes we explained some of the Islamic laws and ethical teachings about environment and discussed matters such as avoiding extravagance, revival of wasteland and protection of animals and plants. Now we will talk about the most basic Islamic rule concerning environment known as “la-zarara.” According to all scholars this law should definitely be executed. This is an Islamic law that forbids humans to harm environment. Indeed it is adopted from the holy prophet’s saying that: “Inflicting harm on others or one's self is forbidden in Islam.”

Many of the environmental issues are related to this law. Factories that pollute the air or their sewage spills into rivers harm others and are all included in this jurisprudential law. Under this law no one has the right to harm himself or others. Since environment belongs to all human beings its destruction is considered as harming others and is forbidden and unlawful in Islam. The Islamic government is duty bound to resist against harm and prosecute trespassing. Therefore, any harm to environment by countries, groups and individuals is an action against all human beings and is strictly condemned in Islam.

Imam Khomeini (God bless his soul) believes that the holy Prophet's statement on prohibition of inflicting harm on others is a governmental decree; therefore every Islamic ruler, based on this law, can set preventive laws to hinder abuse of public property and natural resources. There is a comprehensive law in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Constitution that strictly forbids abuse of natural resources and public property.

Maurice F. Strong, former UN under-secretary general, said at the UN Conference on Environment and Development: "What distinguishes man from other parts of nature is his spiritual and ethical aspect. I believe our civilization will not survive till the end of the next century unless our economic, political, security life goes in congruity with the most sublime moral and spiritual values and serves them. "

In the Islamic view any action and move done with divine intention is considered as an act of worship. So any effort made by Muslims to protect the environment, no matter how small it seems, is an act of worship and leads to sublimity and perfection provided that it is done with divine intention.

Nature as the great gift of God is respectable and needs to be protected. Mankind as God’s best creature is duty bound to safeguard God’s blessings. If humans stop destruction of the nature, other creatures will live peacefully together and the present sick ecosystem will be balanced once more. The holy Quran reminds man that all creatures are under his control and, in this way, God puts human beings in test to see if they choose the right path or the path of oppression and aggression. In ayah 7 of Surah Kahf we read: “Surely we have made whatever is on the earth an embellishment for it so that we may try them (as to) which of them is best in works.”

Thus one of human’s important test in this world is the way he behaves toward environment and any action that destroys the balance of ecosystem will incur divine wrath and punishment.

 The clear teachings of Islam, step by step, invite people to come out of the abyss of their egotistic inclinations and wanton desires and become more cognizant of the essence of creation and loftier notions. According to such a worldview, human beings do not oppress any creature even a tiny ant and all deeds revolve round a single axis, namely, the divine will justice and mercy.

Let's hope that everyone will live on the basis of divine teachings. Our surrounding nature is waiting for the persons who save it and the polluted water, sky, forests and mountains once more become clean and beautiful.

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Nature Mon, 09 Dec 2013 06:13:35 +0000
Respecting Nature, Respecting Life (15) http://english.irib.ir/component/k2/item/170013-respecting-nature,-respecting-life-15 http://english.irib.ir/component/k2/item/170013-respecting-nature,-respecting-life-15 Respecting Nature, Respecting Life (15)

Many vital factors are working together on planet earth so that mankind enjoys the benefits of a good life. Lack of any of them may cause very serious problems for living; for example if the plants didn’t exist, clear air, water and etc. would be in danger.

God Almighty has created worldly blessings to provide welfare for humans. According to the holy Qur'an man can use various blessings that God has bestowed upon him but it is forbidden to waste or destroy them.

Ayah 31 of Surah A'araf says:

"O children of Adam! Look to your adornment at every place of worship, and eat and drink, but be not prodigal. Allah does not like the prodigal.”

Islam’s various teachings about maintaining and protecting the environment shows that this divine religion, in addition to spiritual and divine look at the environment, has a material look towards it. According to the divine worldview all creatures including plants, birds, mountains, oceans and so on are worshiping God and the believers use the blessings of this world to attain prosperity in the hereafter.

From another angle, all creatures have been created for human beings to meet spiritual and material needs of human beings. This helps man grow both materially and spiritually. So if man doesn’t pay attention to the divine aspect of creation and only thinks about meeting his own material needs he will become greedy and will endanger the nature.

Divine religions deem human as God’s servant and respect the universe since it's God's creation. A true believer seeks spiritual growth by looking at every leaf, flower and so on; for example when he looks at a beautiful spring or river he ponders on the divine power and thanks God for such a beautiful creation. When he looks at water running beneath his feet he contemplates over the passage of life and that one should make the best use of his life and not waste his time. He looks at the nature and by thinking deeply he remembers its creator. Then he asks himself: "Which power except God the Almighty could create such a beautiful nature?" Thinking about such matters will increase his cognition of God the Merciful. But a self-indulgent person definitely will not have the same look towards the environment. These differences of worldview play a decisive role in our treatment of nature. The egoistic and self-indulgent persons who live without any belief in religion and spiritual matters have destroyed the environment. For example in the United States of America, under the pretext of increasing industrial products, the largest degradation of the environment has occurred. Self- indulgent humans today are destroying the environment that has nurtured them.

As per the Islamic view, exploiting the nature is allowed merely for fulfilling worldly needs and getting ready for the hereafter. As the holy prophet (SAWA) says:

"Account the earthly life’s market as gain that this market can provide the market of the hereafter.”

On the other hand, the holy Prophet emphasizes that human beings should try and work hard to provide worldly needs. This means that Islam neither forgets the transient life of this world nor does it ignore the hereafter; while the unfair and malevolent people say that Islam orders to leave the life of this world. What is highlighted in Islam is that the main goal of life is using this world for providing the eternal blessing and prosperity of the hereafter.

By paying attention to Islamic teachings and the words of the Prophet and his infallible successors (the Imams) we realize that Islam is very much heedful of natural recourses. The holy Qur'an is a good evidence to prove the importance Islam attaches on environment. Taking oath by natural phenomena in Qur'an, putting the names of some animals on a few surahs of the holy Qur'an all prove the degree of importance and respect that Islam attaches to nature and creatures.

Islam has guided mankind to solve environmental problems via general laws and regulations.

 

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Nature Sun, 01 Dec 2013 05:21:15 +0000
Respecting Nature, Respecting Life (14) http://english.irib.ir/component/k2/item/169329-respecting-nature,-respecting-life-14 http://english.irib.ir/component/k2/item/169329-respecting-nature,-respecting-life-14

Environment protection is mentioned in all divine religions and has a special position in Islam. In Islam all humans are responsible for protecting environment including animals and other creatures. This religious responsibility makes all Muslims respect animals' rights due to their religious beliefs.

 Dr. Gustav Le Bon, French historian, socialist and physician says:

"The land of Islam was a paradise for animals. Dogs, cats, birds and all other animals were universally cared for. Birds flew freely inside mosques, and even built their nests in the vicinity of the mosques. Wild birds flew over farms without ever being disturbed and never would a child attack a bird’s nest. These behaviors show the Muslims' kindness and urbanity that should be learnt by westerners.”

In the informative teachings of Islam, animals are highly respected and have special rights. According to these teachings we have no right to leave an animal thirsty or hungry, to stigmatize them with hot rods or force animals to work beyond their strength. If we don’t observe these rights we will be punished at the Day of Judgment.

In the book “Javaher al- Kalam” which is one of the most prestigious jurisprudential books, many of the provisions relating to animals are listed. One of the fascinating laws written in this book is giving subsistence to animals (In Islam father must pay for his wife and children's subsistence.) The animal’s subsistence includes food, drinking, housing, medicine and anything essential for its survival.

Under this provision, if an animal can provide its food in the pastures and public places, his owner can take it to graze in those places, and if the animal can’t provide its food from public places, it is obligatory for its owner to provide food for the animal.

In Islam even the subsistence of bees and is obligatory for the owner which shows Islam's sensitivity and scrutiny in the rights of all creatures. For example according to the Islamic laws, If one has water and wants to make Wudhu (ablution) and pray with it while an animal is thirsty he must give the water of the animal and make Tayammum (perform ablution with sand ) to pray.

Imam Ali (A.S) says:

"One day we were in the presence of the Prophet. He wanted to make ablution in his house, at this time a cat came to his house to take refuge. Prophet (SAWA) noticed that the cat is thirsty, so he put the water he was making ablution with in front of the cat. After the cat drank water, he made Wudhu with the rest of the water."

The holy prophet and his holy progeny always respected animals and treated them kindly. The holy prophet (SAWA) says: "No one will enter heaven unless he has mercy in his heart.” He also said: "God loves affection and kindness.”

Paying attention to animals' rights is so important in Islamic laws that if an owner doesn’t have the condition to keep the animal he has to sell it; and if its meat can be used, he should slaughter it and use its meat.

Imam Ali (A.S) negates aggressive behavior with animals and says: "Do not slap the animal and don’t curse them, for; God curses those who curse animals.”

One day Imam Sadeq (A.S) told one of his followers named Mofazzal:

"O Mofazzal, beware that there are many mysteries created in animals: animals bury their dead and very few carcasses are seen in the desert; since if animals' carcasses were left in the desert the air would be polluted and stink and people would suffer from different diseases. "

This lesson is also discussed in ayah 31 of Surah Al- Maeda about the sons of Adam (PBUH) when Cain killed his brother Abel and was in a quandary what to do with his body.

"Then Allah sent a crow digging up the earth so that he might show him how he should cover the dead body of his brother. He said: woe me! Do I lack the strength that I should be like this crow and cover the dead body of my brother? So he became of those who regret.

Animals are considered as the beauty of the nature and ecological balance depends on them. In Islam hunting and fishing is allowed if it is to provide one’s family or his needs. In Islam hunting for leisure and fun is unlawful and known as an improper act.

The Messenger of Allah (SAWA) prohibited and condemned the killing and mutilation of animals without a reason. The Prophet of Islam paid attention to the rights of chicks and in his speeches recommended Muslims to be careful not violate weak creatures' rights.

He also said: "Do not attack a bird’s nest and in their resting time don’t disturb their rest.”

But modern so-called civilized man in different parts of the world has frightened the innocent people with most deadly tools. Unfortunately during recent century torture and killing of human beings by some tyrants has become something natural. So how should we expect these people to respect the rights of animals, birds and chicks?!

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Nature Mon, 25 Nov 2013 06:11:51 +0000
Respecting Nature, Respecting Life (13) http://english.irib.ir/component/k2/item/168619-respecting-nature,-respecting-life-13 http://english.irib.ir/component/k2/item/168619-respecting-nature,-respecting-life-13

In ancient cultures, animals were categorized in different classes based on their sacredness and value and each of them was linked with a mythical symbol. For example, birds were always considered as respectful creatures.

In these cultures, swift-winged birds of prey had a higher ritual and symbolic value.  For instance, from the viewpoint of "mythical semiotics" falcon was regarded more prominent and better than other birds; and the Iranians, Greeks and Romans believed that Falcon's nature was from fire. In ancient Iran, kindness towards useful animals was considered as the main duty of the Iranians. The Zoroastrians' book (Avesta), also recommends kindness to animals.

Centuries ago, Islam has paid especial attention to animal’s rights in the holy Quran and other religious texts. For instance, in ayahs 71-73 of surah Yasin we read:

"Have they not seen how we have created for them of our handiwork the cattle, so that they are their owners and have subdued them unto them, so that some of them they have for riding, some for food? And they have other profits from them, and they get milk to drink. Will they not then be grateful?

But the issues of animals' rights have been the focus of modern man in the recent decades. Universal Declaration of Animal Rights was formally proclaimed on October 15, 1978 at the UNESCO headquarters and after the review and revision of the General Conference of UNESCO in 1990 and in the same year it was published. The ten-point statement expresses the rights of animals on human beings and how to behave with them and how to keep them.

Imam Ali (A.S) has discussed animals' rights very significantly. This can be seen in various parts of Nahjul Balagha. In a letter to the collectors of Zakat, the Imam gives directions about observing animal’s rights. Imam notices that if you want to enter the herd, then do not enter like the one who goes there to subdue the cattle and dominate over them; so that they won’t be scared. He also reminds the agent that while demanding Zakat from the cattle owners they shouldn't separate animals and their young ones. Imam Ali (A.S) says:

"Do not separate a she-camel from its calf, do not milk it so much so that nothing is left for the young one, do not to ride them cruelly and do not overburden them with heavy loads.”

In this letter, Imam Ali (Peace be upon him) even pays attention to the animal’s food and orders to feed them and let them rest. In the 25th letter of Nahjul Balagha we read:

"The collector of Zakat should always provide them (the cattle) enough rest at ponds. They should not be driven out of green areas toward dry lands. The cattle should be given adequate time to drink and rest.

The important point in Imam Ali's letter is the just and kind treatment with animals. He also mentions that “He should ride them in turns so that those who have been already ridden may have an easy journey. He should not drive them fast and should avoid harshness.”

Imam Ali also pays attention to sick, old and wounded animals and forbids collecting them as Zakat and says:

"This requires long journey and it will harm the sick animal."

He also stresses that this should be entrusted only to a person who is honest and trustworthy and who can guard the property of the Muslims sympathetically till it reaches their ruler and caliph so that it may be distributed equitably among the Muslims. He says:

"You should not entrust these goods and animals to anyone who is not honest. Entrust them to one who is trustworthy and who is of a kind and sympathetic disposition so that he may not treat the animals cruelly and may not starve them or tire them out during the journey.”

Observing animal rights and showing justice towards them is very clear in Islam. The lessons taught by Imam Ali (AS) have stated the Islamic perspective on dealing with animals. Animal abuse, scaring animals, overloading them, separating the mother from its young and other points are forbidden in Islam all of which indicate that human being does not have absolute dominance over animals and has to behave fairly with them. Imam Ali (A.S) even mentions an accurate point about slaughtering sheep and camel which shows he has paid attention to animal’s feelings. He says:

"Do not slaughter a sheep in front of another sheep and a camel in front of another camel while they are watching.”

This saying expressly notices that animals just like human beings have emotions and man has to respect them.

The holy Quran also encourages humans to pay attention to the animal’s creation and be responsible for them. In ayah 21 of surah Mu'minun (The believers) we read:

"In the cattle there is verily a lesson for you. From within their bodies we produce milk for you to drink; there are, in them, numerous benefits for you; and of their meat you eat.”

 

 

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Nature Mon, 18 Nov 2013 07:00:34 +0000
Respecting Nature, Respecting Life (12) http://english.irib.ir/component/k2/item/167969-respecting-nature,-respecting-life-12 http://english.irib.ir/component/k2/item/167969-respecting-nature,-respecting-life-12

The first and most valuable substance on the earth is soil. Soil, is the source of all blessings, plants, vegetation, mines, and it stores all waters and springs. Without healthy soil, life would not be possible since 95% of human food is provided from the earth.

 

The crust of the earth’s surface is called soil. According to some experts, the soil covers as deep as 16 km of the earth surface. This divine gift is a kind of purifier and includes elements such as oxygen, silicon, iron, calcium, sodium and magnesium. It is the soil that gives meaning to the life cycle and life without soil cannot be imagined. The holy Quran in its thought-provoking verses repeatedly refers to the importance of life cycle and invites mankind to pay attention to the signs of life on earth. For example in ayah 65 of surah Nahl we read:  

"Allah sends down water from the sky with which he revives the earth after its death. Surely, in this there is a sign for people who listen”

Also in ayah 99 of Surah Al- Anaam Qur'an notices the growth of plants and its importance in life cycle :

"It is he who sends down rain from the skies: with it we produce vegetation of all kinds: from some we produce green (crops), out of which we produce grain, heaped up (at harvest); out of the date-palm and its sheaths ,(come) clusters of dates hanging low and near: and (then there are) gardens of grapes, and olives, and pomegranates, each similar (in kind) yet different (in variety): when they begin to bear fruit, feast your eyes with the fruit and the ripeness thereof. Behold! In these things there are signs for people who believe.”

In Islam one of man’s important duties is maintaining and expanding the environment. This divine religion asks man to develop the environment through farming and planting trees. On the other hand, man is duty-bound to take care of all the creatures in the nature as well.

All the elements of the nature belong to all human beings and creatures of God and no one has the right to pollute or destroy them. In the current era, pollution and soil erosion has led to environmental concerns. Erosion, soil pollution and degradation stem from factors such as the increase of urbanization and waste materials, absorption of certain chemicals by the soil, mining, livestock grazing, and use of pesticides and overuse of chemical fertilizers.

Soil degradation has generally led to a decrease of production and in order to avoid it agricultural land should be used in a way that damages and destruction are minimized. It is important to note that too much time is required for formation of agricultural soil, while the same soil is destroyed and vanished in a very short time. World Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that each year more than 75 billion tons of soil from the surface of the earth is destroyed. Reduction of production usually springs from the degradation of land under cultivation and decreasing of soil fertility.

One way of soil preservation is paying close attention to protection of mountains. Mountains have an important role for the earth and are safe havens for humans. Mountains save water and gradually send it to the thirsty soil; thus bring vitality, life, prosperity, and freshness at the feet of mountains. In fact mountains are the manifestation of dignity, strength and grandeur, generosity and magnanimity. They are the source of goodness and blessings.

Presently, with the rapid increase of the human population, unfortunately many mountains have been turned into farmlands and orchards. Although production of crops is vital for humans, using mountains to plant such products has many disadvantages for humans.

One of the important features of mountains is that they prevent dangerous earthquakes and preserve the soil. The holy Qur'an in ayah 31 of surah Anbia calls the mountains harbors that keep the earth form shaking. We read in this ayah that:

"And we have set on the earth mountains standing firm, lest it should shake with them, and we have made therein broad highways (between mountains) for them to pass through: that they may receive guidance.”

This verse means that if the God Almighty had not created the mountains, the earth would have shaken permanently; hence man wouldn't live a comfortable life. These days science has helped man understand that the subterranean gases cause earth’s crust to shake and sometimes cause earthquakes. But the mountains keep the gas inside them and sometimes send them in the form of geysers or volcanoes.

Today, with advances in technology, we still see serious damage inflicted to soil, air and water. Many farmers, gardeners and owners of green spaces, by adding fertilizers, terracing steep terrain, degradation of mountains, deforestation, adding sand to hard lands and overuse of pastures, have hardened and eroded the soil. Others, via reforming and fixing of marshlands, have made big changes in physical, chemical and vital properties of soil; consciously or unconsciously causing serious risk for the life of many creatures.

Soil degradation is a continuous natural process but it has been exacerbated by man. It can be said that unawareness of the importance of environmental elements in the current era is one of the most important factors of environmental degradation especially soil degradation. That's why in more than 750 of verses in the holy Quran the appearance of nature has been mentioned and its beauties have been reminded; so that human beings notice the importance of the environment and benefit from this blessing and use it in the right way.

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Nature Mon, 11 Nov 2013 06:54:07 +0000
Respecting Nature, Respecting Life (11) http://english.irib.ir/component/k2/item/167124-respecting-nature,-respecting-life-11 http://english.irib.ir/component/k2/item/167124-respecting-nature,-respecting-life-11 Respecting Nature, Respecting Life (11)

Watching the beautiful scene of flowers, trees, gardens and forests gives a pleasant sense of peace and calmness and keeps sadness away. In this regard in ayah 5 of surah Hajj God says:

 

And you see the earth dry, barren and lifeless, but when we pour down rain on it then it begins to quiver and swell, putting forth every fine variety (of herbage).”

We can also find various examples of mentioning the positive impact of plants and trees in expanding beauty and happiness in the words of the infallible Imams. Imam Ali (PBUH) in a beautiful statement in sermon 90 of Nahj-ul-Balagha says:

When the cloud prostrated itself on the ground and delivered all the water it carried on itself Allah grew vegetation on the plain earth and herbage on dry mountains. As a result, the earth felt pleased at being decorated with its gardens and wondered at her dress of soft vegetation and the ornaments of its blossoms. Allah has opened up highways in its expanse and has established minarets (of guidance) for those who tread on its highways.”

From the Quran and Imam Ali’s sermon we conclude that plants and trees make the earth green and lush. Therefore, looking at the green and sceneries and landscapes brings about tranquility and serenity for the viewer.

The modern industrial world is facing forest degradation, destruction of green spaces and wilting of flowers and plants. The unbridled development of industry has imposed concrete and iron buildings and structures upon man’s life which has led to distance among families and depression among individuals. The destruction of forests and verdure leads to the loss of the only beams of hope in human beings; i.e. resorting to the intact nature for attaining calm and peace and escaping from the bulk of problems heaped up on his mind and soul.    

 Now countless people are distraught and depressed as a result of the unwanted industrialized world which is gradually turning into a humanitarian tragedy since scientists believe that the industrial damage is more fatal than natural disasters. Accordingly, revival of the nature and restoring freshness to the environment is an important factor for creating a spirit of joy and hope in human beings.

In Islamic teachings planting of different plants and flowers and expanding green space has a very special position. So the grand Prophet (SAWA) and his infallible successors (PBUT) have encouraged Muslims to sow seeds of plants and properly safeguard flowers and trees, and prohibited them from destroying green space. The Prophet (Blessings and greetings of God upon him and his progeny) said: “Breaking a twig of a tree is tantamount to breaking an angel’s wing.”
Actually Islam’s serious attention to each and every aspect of human life and the world phenomena is another clear indication of this heavenly religion’s strong structure and comprehensiveness. The holy Quran calls the plants a sign of creation and God’s power, wisdom and beauty. This divine book reminds that if man looks at the nature with insight and pure mind, it will lead him to believe in God.

Based on various narrations looking at green scenes strengthens the eyesight. Imam Musa Kazem (AS), the seventh infallible syccessor of the holy Prophet states:

"Looking at green and verdurous plants brings eyesight and adds to its brightness.”

Another Hadith says that looking at fascinating scenes of trees and flowers removes depression and eliminates some of the mental ailments. Imam Ali (A.S) says:

“Smell narcissus flower at least once a year since there is a state in human’s body that will only be removed by smelling this flower.”

Imam Sadiq (A.S) also says: “Looking at colorful flowers, beautiful blossoms and green plants and trees gives such a good feeling and enjoyment that is not comparable with any other joy.”

Islamic teachings request Muslims to decorate their tables with vegetables. This is perhaps because of the comfort and relaxation green color gives while eating food.

Islamic jurisprudential laws have also paid due attention to the conservation of natural resources. These laws deter humans from destroying the nature and violating the rights of other fellow humans. As per a jurisprudential law plants and flowers are considered as ‘Anfal’ (spoils of war). In fact the earth and all its blessings such as water, soil, forests and fields are obvious examples of Anfal. The Constitution of the Islamic republic of Iran has emphasized on protection of Anfal and public wealth such as forests, meadows and natural thickets. According to principles 45 and 50 of constitution, environmental preservation is considered as Islamic government’s duty. Therefore any activity leading to the destruction of forests and meadows, pollution of water resources and damaging the environment is prohibited and will face penalties.

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Nature Sun, 03 Nov 2013 05:29:38 +0000
Respecting Nature, Respecting Life (10) http://english.irib.ir/component/k2/item/166520-respecting-nature,-respecting-life-10 http://english.irib.ir/component/k2/item/166520-respecting-nature,-respecting-life-10

In Islam farming is the holiest job, farmer is the noblest individual and his income is the best income. What makes agriculture and farming valuable is that in addition to developing the environment and restoration of the barren land, farmers provide the main food stuff for people.

So, agriculture and animal husbandry have been among the most valuable and noblest jobs in all religions and nations since long time ago. Many of the divine messengers were farmers and encouraged people to engage in farming. In Islamic traditions also farming has been encouraged.

Imam Sadiq (PBUH) says: "Farmers are treasures of mankind. They plant a clean seed that God brings it out of the ground and on the Day of Resurrection it has the highest value by God Almighty. "

Islam has set various laws and regulations for more development of agriculture. One of the most important deals is sharing the crops either on the farm or garden. The landowner is permitted to exchange his land with a share of its product. Therefore, the seeds will be supplied by the landowner and the farmer takes care of the farm and irrigation. Sharing the crops of garden is an agreement between the owner of the garden or trees and the person who takes care of the trees. At the end, the fruits are divided between them as per the agreed proportion.

But the most practical Islamic approach in the development of agriculture and environment can be seen in the revival of the dead and barren lands. According to the Islamic teachings if a person revives a wasteland that is owned by no one and turns it into a farm, grove or orchard, he is considered as its owner.

Therefore since the very beginning of establishing the Islamic government by the holy Prophet (SAWA), a special emphasis was put on utilization of natural resources and mines as well as to reviving of barren lands. The infallible successors of the Prophet, too, used to underline the importance and significance of reviving land and sowing the seeds of plants that are useful and nutritious for mankind.

The holy prophet (SAWA) paid much attention to digging wells and from the early days of his migration to Medina, he encouraged Muslims to engage in agriculture, gardening and digging waterways. Muslims tried their best; as a result many deserted lands were used repeatedly bearing crops and fruits.

 After Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) Imam Ali (A.S.) used to dig many wells and revitalized many lands and dedicated many aqueducts, farms and palm groves to the poor and needy of Medina. Perhaps, one of his most important goals was that the poor could have their own land revived and yielding.

In Imam Ali's government, agriculture had the top priority and he had ordered his governors to be always in contact with farmers. In his command to Malek Ashtar, the governor of Egypt we read:

"More importance should be attached to the fertility of land than to the collection of taxes because actual taxable capacity of people rests upon the fertility of the land. The ruler who does not pay attention to the prosperity of his subjects and fertility of land but concentrates only on the collection of revenues, lays waste the land, ruins the state and brings destruction to creatures of God. His rule cannot last for long.

So, due to the Islamic program every land should be reformed and all people should benefit from the widespread blessings so that there should be no poor left in the society.

Nowadays, despite all advances in industry and technology, the importance of agriculture has not decreased and it forms the most productive part of the human life. Today agricultural self-sufficiency not only guarantees economic independence but helps bolster political independence, as well.

The regions with low rainfall have vast deserts and in most seasons of the year, the hot sun makes environmental conditions very difficult for men, animals and plants. In such areas, underground water is extracted via digging wells and aqueducts and it is the best way to achieve agricultural development and environmental reformation.

Moreover, in addition to digging of wells and aqueducts, framers have new methods for desalinating sea and ocean water to make it proper for usage in farming. So those countries with a warm and dry climate should not stop reviving of land and using methods to enhance farming conditions in a bid to save their nation from malnutrition. So these governments through digging wells and other modern facilities can benefit from the blessings of soil and with creating farmlands they can help provide their community with vital food stuff.

Imam Ali (A.S) says, "One who has land and water and lives in poverty, is far from God’s mercy."

 

 

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Nature Sun, 27 Oct 2013 06:59:35 +0000
Respecting Nature, Respecting Life (9) http://english.irib.ir/component/k2/item/165938-respecting-nature,-respecting-life-9 http://english.irib.ir/component/k2/item/165938-respecting-nature,-respecting-life-9

Without a doubt; forests, meadows, and orchards are some of the greatest blessings of God that in addition to producing clean and fresh air, provide a great portion of man’s food. Therefore many verses of the Holy Quran; such as ayahs 133 and 134 of Surah “Shua’ra”, have referred to the gardens full of trees and springs as great divine blessings for humans.

 

The Holy Quran has, on several occasions, mentioned plants as divine blessings. The fruits mentioned in the Holy Quran include dates, olives, grapes, pomegranates, and figs.

The Holy Quran has sworn to the natural factors such as Earth, mountains, seas and trees which indicates Islam, Holy Quran and believers highly respect natural resources.

In counting various divine blessings, God highlights some of them as the most important and basic ones such as plants and green gardens with various and abundant fruits. In many verses in the Holy Quran, one of man’s responsibilities is development of lands. In ayah 61 of Surah Hud we read:” …. He brought you into being from the earth, and made you dwell in it…”

Horticulture and creation of gardens and palm groves is one of the best examples of land development. Upon growing and protecting trees and bushes and optimal utilization of soil and water resources, the gardener helps the environment to show its beauty. Hence, Islam appreciates land development and believes that it is man’s responsibility.

Among all the nature’s beauties, trees maintain a special status. Tree is a unique symbol of beauty, and life; and one of the countless glorious and fruitful blessings of God. Tree- planting also is one of the good traditions that have been promoted in the sacred religion of Islam and by Prophet Mohammad’s Infallible Household (PBUT) as well as all divine religions.

The praiseworthy behavior of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) and his Infallible Household in development and maintenance of a healthy environment is a lesson for us. They planted trees by themselves and invited and encouraged their followers to do so. The Holy Prophet of Islam (SAWA) says:” If a Muslim plants a tree or engages in farming, thereby providing food for a human, a bird, or an animal, he will be rewarded for his charity.”

Tress have various benefits such as visual beauty, refreshment of air, absorption of rain, prevention of erosion of soil, soil protection and sustainability, and prevention of floods. Trees also bring about ample economic benefits. The use of trees’ fruits, leaves and wood in different industries and categories all show the importance of this divine blessing and the plantation of trees.

Actually, tree-planting benefits everyone, including the gardener and all other people. Therefore in the sacred religion of Islam, tree planation and preservation of trees are highly spiritually rewarded. In Islamic Hadiths, plantation and protection of fruit trees and supply of their fruits to people is the best way to earn an income.

Undoubtedly, no other religion and school of thought has attached importance to the environment and nature as much as the sacred religion of Islam; since Holy Quran in many of its verses has invited man to study and research different aspects of the nature, and many of the Holy Quran’s Surahs are named after parts of nature.

In Islamic tradition, deforestation and environmental pollution has been prohibited, such that Islam advises the Muslim combatants not to cut trees in case of victory against foes. The 6th Infallible Successor to Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), Imam Jafar Sadiq (PBUH) noted: “When the Holy Prophet of Islam sent some soldiers to Jihad, he advised them not to kill women, elders, and kids and to avoid cutting trees.”

Also in other narrations, cutting down palm trees are disapproved and even in the war against the infidels, the use of toxic substances and environmental pollutants have been prohibited. There is a hadith from Imam Sadiq (PBUH) that says:” the Holy Prophet prohibited spilling toxic substances in pagans’ lands.”

Wastefulness violates moderation in utilization of divine blessings. Undoubtedly, deforestation is one of the clear examples of wastefulness.

Sadly in the recent decades, man has taken steps in line with opportunism to dominate the nature without consideration of personal and global interests and religious teachings. Destruction of forests and trees, meadows, and rare plant species has reduced the beautiful divine blessings which is a wakeup call for the posterity.

In order to protect and maintain this joint global asset, everyone has to take a small step and prevent destruction of plant species on Earth.  Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) says: “God has created trees for humans. Therefore human beings have to plant trees, irrigate and protect them.”

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Nature Mon, 21 Oct 2013 06:20:39 +0000
Respecting Nature, Respecting Life (8) http://english.irib.ir/component/k2/item/165282-respecting-nature,-respecting-life-8 http://english.irib.ir/component/k2/item/165282-respecting-nature,-respecting-life-8

Air is the most vital source for all living creatures. Sadly one of the destructive harms afflicted upon the environment is air pollution which has several reasons from the fuel of cars and factories to toxic and greenhouse gases. While every house, car and factory emits fume, having a clean and pure air will be a dream.

Furthermore, hypoxia (lack of oxygen) caused by the reduction of plants in and around the cities is considered as one of the main reasons for shortness of breath or dyspnea. In Islam air is one of the great blessings of God and everyone is recommended to pay attention to it.

As the survival of human generation and societies is based on the society’s health, Islam has emphasized on purity and cleanliness and forbidden dirtiness and has provided the way towards cleanliness.

Just like a glass roof air has engulfed us. The layer forming the air is even stronger and harder than a steel dam. Some verses in the Quran also emphasize this matter. In Surah Anbiya verse 32 we read:

“And we have made the sky a roof withheld (from them).”

Sky in this ayah means atmosphere. The atmosphere of the earth is so thick that guards the earth against the twenty million comets that hit the earth at a speed of about 50 kilometers per second every day.

In addition, the atmosphere keeps the earth’s surface temperature at a level that makes living possible for all creatures.

The holy Quran, with beautiful and interesting descriptions, has drawn attention to a great blessing named "wind." In view of the holy of Qur'an, wind is a sign of God. Knowing this blessing will help us understand God’s grandeur and majesty. When wind blows, the clouds move from one point to another until they get together and drops of rain fall from them by God's command.

This causes the water vaporized from the seas and oceans to be transferred to the land masses. If this cycle didn't happen all the continents would become like arid and uninhabitable deserts. In ayah 46 of Surah Rum, God beautifully describes the winds saying,

"And of his signs is this: he sends herald winds to make you taste his mercy, and that the ships may sail at his command, and that ye may seek his favor, and that haply you may be thankful.”

A brief contemplation on the verses of the holy Qur'an and some of the hadith helps us notice the wind’s important and basic role in cleaning and coordinating the affairs of the environment. Pollination and inoculation, the softness and hardness of fruits and foods, hot and cold water and marine transportation, are matters which are all related to this natural phenomenon.

Imam Sadeq (A.S) says, "If wind doesn’t blow for three days, everything on the earth will decay. Wind is like the soul for the body; just as when the soul leaves the body, the body will corrupt, if there were no wind the nature would decay.”

The sixth Imam refers to some of the divine features of wind and says:

"Let me make you aware of wind’s secret so you will understand its secrets and benefits. Don’t you see what mishaps will occur if the wind stops blowing? These are the mishaps that kill human beings, weaken the patients, rotten the fruits and vegetables. If the wind stops blowing, the lives of human beings will be endangered through cholera and the agricultural products will be pest-stricken. All this indicates that the blowing of the wind is administered by God's providence for the betterment of creatures."

In Islam, polluting the air is an obvious example of harming people and anything that harms someone in Islam is a sin. Air pollution is created in the open air with the remittance of one or more contaminants, including harmful gas emissions, radioactive and non-radioactive radiation. If air quality is changed in such a way that it is harmful to humans, animals or plants, it would be prohibited in Islam.

Islam recommends man to build the earth and avoid anything that destroys its blessings. In many ayahs of the holy Quran God has prohibited corruption on the earth as He says,

"And when it is said to them, do not make mischief in the land, after that [God] has reformed [and created everything based on wisdom and convenience].”

Therefore the air and the wind are the divine blessings and are worthy of praise and gratitude. Islam believes that keeping the air clean and protecting the air from different risks is a heavy responsibility for humans and neglecting this great divine blessing is ingratitude.

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Nature Mon, 14 Oct 2013 06:46:26 +0000
Respecting Nature, Respecting Life (7) http://english.irib.ir/component/k2/item/164680-respecting-nature,-respecting-life-7 http://english.irib.ir/component/k2/item/164680-respecting-nature,-respecting-life-7 Respecting Nature, Respecting Life (7)

Divine religions respect water since they believe it is the lifeblood. But among all of the religions, Islam has talked so much about this blessing. Thus water is very important for Muslims and they use it for cleaning, washing, ablution, ghusl (ritual washing of body) etc.

Imam Sadeq (PBUH) says: "When you decide to get pure and perform ablution, go towards water as you are going towards the mercy of God. Water and cleanness is the key to get close to God and talk to him… think about everything; purity, transparency and abundance of water and its easy digestion. As God has said use it as a means to purify and clean your body and observe the rituals as each has many benefits in it. So if you respect water and consume it, you will get more benefits from it."

The importance of water has been notified in the holy Qur'an. In many verses, God has advised man to think about water and to thank for this great blessing. The verses in the Quran mention that the Wise God has sent water to a certain extent and it represents the Divine wise management of production and distribution of water.

If we pay attention to water we will discover many fascinating things. The holy Qur'an, the Prophet and his immaculate progeny also have mentioned the importance of this divine blessing.

In ayah 22 of surah Hijr, Qur'an mentions this underground resource and says:

"We send down water from the cloud so we give it to you to drink of, nor is it you who store it up.

Researchers have understood that God has designed an underground system so that water of rain, snow and hail after passing through various layers and pores of the Earth is refined and then this pure and fresh water is stored in the hard layers of the ground.

Also the Qur'an has mentioned the water that flows on the ground, streams and rivers. In a beautiful verse this Holy Scripture talks of the clean water. Ayah 17 of surah Ra'ad says:

"God sends down water from the cloud, then watercourses flow (with water) according to their measure, and the torrent bears along the swelling foam…. And the foam is disappeared while that which is for the good of mankind remains on the earth …”

The researchers of environment also believe that the waters running on the surface of the earth become naturally and spontaneously clean and clear as a result of aerosol deposits, chemical interactions, natural factors and sunlight.

Sadly, modern man does not know the value of this blessing and doesn't respect water. He wastes all the nature’s efforts for refining, purifying and maintenance of water. Human beings pollute water but about fourteen centuries ago, among the people who did not have any idea of cleanliness and hygiene, Islam set the rules and regulations for dealing with water and banned polluting water.

The holy Prophet of Islam (SAWA) has named water as the best drink in the world and hereafter and ordered to keep it clean. He has also prohibited polluting of the water of wells and streams which people consume as fresh water. He also forbade spitting in wells that provide drinking water for people.

One of the valuable teachings of Islam is seen is Imam Ali’s speech when he said: "God has created water clean and will not be unclean until its color, taste and smell changes.”

In addition, there are many Hadith about protecting water and underground resources. There is a narration from Imam Sadeq (PBUH) that says: "Between the two wells there should be a distance; if the ground is hard, 500 cubits (about 250 meters), and if the ground is soft one thousand cubits (500 meters).”

Human is responsible for safeguarding of the nature and should not destroy the nature. He shouldn't exploit it in an unbridled manner since water is the elixir of life and the source of man’s living and a blessing from God. In Islam piety is not only guarding against evil temptations of Satan in personal matters, but proper use and keeping the balance of nature is also manifestation of piety. Damaging natural resources and animals is strictly forbidden in Islam and thus Islam has serious regulations and limitations for harming the environment.

Nowadays the indiscriminate use of water resources is increasing. Also the amount of contaminated material in water has increased so much so that it cannot be absorbed in seas or rivers. In other words, we can say that humans have disrupted the natural process of the environment easily and have disrespected and violated God's blessings.

Imam Sadeq (PBUH) has an interesting advice. He says: "Man should live in a way that does not pollute the environment since one day will come that due to the environmental pollution life will be difficult and perhaps impossible.”

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Nature Tue, 08 Oct 2013 05:11:08 +0000