Nowadays, we hear every day that our earth is becoming more and more polluted and that a day will come that our life on this planet will be no longer possible. This is undoubtedly the result of our negligence toward the blessing that God had granted us, the blessing of nature and a clean environment: “It is He who created for you all that is in the earth…” (2:29). We are responsible for whatever is going on in our surroundings and at the same time dependent upon it to be able to live.
It is important to note that at the time of the emergence of Islam, people did not face such complex environmental issues and thus this matter has not been dealt with in depth in Islam. Nevertheless, Islam has emphasized the significance of preserving the environment and provided us with guidelines that help us find solutions for such complexities through the narrations and actions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) as well as the twelve infallible leaders (AS). This article is an attempt to summarize these matters for you briefly.
The answer is quite simple, and it reveals the direct correlation between human beings and their surroundings. Preserving the environment equals our own physical and mental wellbeing. Our immediate surrounding is where we are always in touch with, and its quality will inevitably affect our mind and soul. Moreover, we are the ones who make use of the environment to fulfill our needs, and the way we use it will ultimately determine our condition of life.
On the other hand, Allah has made this world in perfect equilibrium and human’s excessive exploitation of natural resources will result in damaging this balance: “And We spread out the earth and cast in it firm mountains, and We grew in it every kind of balanced thing” (15:19). When the balance is disturbed, the result will be the many environmental crises that we are faced with nowadays. These include pollution, global warming, natural resource depletion, waste disposal, climate change, loss of biodiversity, deforestation, ocean acidification, ozone layer depletion, acid rain, water pollution, etc. .
The problems mentioned above are the result of our irresponsibility toward the blessing of the environment, and this is we that should compensate for it. What follows are some Islamic guidelines for us to observe in our treatment of the environment:
When you make excessive use of natural resources such as water or what is produced by water such as electricity, the paper that is made through cutting trees, fossil fuels, etc., you put the environment in danger and threaten its durability. Quran also emphasizes the necessity to be moderate in using God’s blessings in this world: “… Eat and drink, but do not waste; indeed, He does not like the wasteful” (7:31).
Moreover, our environment is not restricted to our use only but is a public possession from which every human being has the right to benefit. Therefore, we should be careful not to violate other people’s rights in having a share in the environment through our extravagant exploitation of its resources.
There is a general rule in Islam that bids Muslims not to “cause harm or return harm” , meaning that they should act in a way that neither brings inconvenience for others nor undermines their situation. Through wastefulness we bring injustice to both ourselves and other human beings; we consume their share in the environment and damage God’s blessing that was given to us to sustain our livelihood. So, respect yourself as well as your fellow human beings through respecting your surroundings.
Think about the environment as your home and keep it clean as you like your home to be neat and tidy. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) says in a narration that: “Allah is pure and likes purity and cleanliness… therefore, keep where you live in clean” . As it was mentioned above, pollution is one of the most pervasive environmental issues in today’s world; this includes air pollution, water pollution, as well as the excessive amount of waste produced on a daily basis.
Those who have faith in Allah and consider His satisfaction in every instance of their lives must be much more cautious regarding their own or their environment’s cleanliness since as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) puts: “Cleanliness roots in one’s faith” .
Air, water, and soil are the three elements that are the source of life on the earth, which has been mentioned in the Quran as well as narrations [i]&[ii]. It is all the matter of your choice. Keep the air you breathe in clean by choosing to take a walk or public transportation instead of using your car. Preserve the water fresh and pure by avoiding throwing waste in the water, urinating in it, and producing waste water excessively; Imam Ali (AS) emphasizes that water has some inhabitants, so we should not harm them through polluting it .
Even at the time of war, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) forbade his soldiers to pollute or poison their adversary’s city . So, let the soil from which your food is provided remain unpolluted by not throwing waste, especially those that do not dissolve in the environment such as plastic waste, etc.
Plant a tree or bring awareness to people about the environment and the natural crisis that is threatening the earth and its inhabitants. There are many narrations from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) that highlight the necessity of planting trees. For instance, he says: “If a Muslim plants a tree and a bird, human or another creature eats its fruit, it will be considered as an act of charity from him [by Allah]” .
Also, Imam Sadiq (AS) considers planting trees and agriculture as the occupations which bring lawful (Halal) earning for the person performing them . When your surrounding is green, your life will become lively and energetic [iii], and you will become more efficient in your performance.
Finally, it all depends on you and how you want your future to be like. A green and lively environment is the result of our endeavors to preserve it and to give our posterity the opportunity to enjoy the blessing of God. The message of Islam in this matter is again that of moderation and responsibility which guides human beings to live in perfect equilibrium with the environment.
[i] (25:54), (23:12), (24:45), (30:24), (21:30)
[ii] Imam Sadeq (AS) said: “life in a land where is devoid of these three essential factors is highly difficult and challenging: clean air, fresh and plentiful water, as well as fertile ground” .
[iii] Imam Ali (AS) said: “looking at the green nature causes freshness, liveliness and vitality” .
- Shaikh al-Hur al-Aamili , Wasail Al-shia , vol. 18, p.32
- Muhammad ibn Hassan Sheibani, Al-Jame Al-Saghir, vol.1, p.267
- Muhammad Baqir Majlisi ,Bihar al-Anvar, vol.59, p. 291
- Ibn Shu'ba al-Harrani, Tuhaf al-Ughul, p.320
- Muhammad ibn Ali Al-Ehsaei, Avali al-Leali, vol.2, p. 187.
- Mirza Hussain Tabarsi , Mustadrak al-Wasail, vol. 13, p.26.
- Muhammad ibn Ya'qub al-Kulayni al-Razi , Usul al-Kafi, vol.5, p.260
- Shaykh as-Saduq,Uyun Akhbar ar-Reza (AS), vol.2, p. 40
Today, more than anything, people are concerned about what they eat and drink. And that is for a good reason; for you to live a fuller life, you need a healthy body alongside a healthy mind. And you can function better in the society as well. So a useful and practical food diet is the one which can guarantee both of these factors.
This is only one reason why Islam has forbidden drinking alcohol. Let’s regard this matter in depth.
There are many verses in the Quran that directly or indirectly prohibit Muslims from drinking alcohol and emphasize the disadvantages of this action, one of which is as follows:
“O you who have faith! Indeed wine, gambling, idols, and the divining arrows are abominations of Satan’s doing, so avoid them, so that you may be felicitous. Indeed Satan seeks to cast enmity and hatred among you through wine and gambling and to hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. Will you, then, relinquish?” (5:90-91)
The above verse reveals two destructive effects of drinking alcohol. They are threatening to the society as well as each individual.
Morally speaking, it is evident in many instances that drinking alcohol lowers the brain’s function and makes it unclear  & . Thus the person would lose his/her control over his/her actions and could exhibit any behavior out of the moral boundaries. A simple misunderstanding, then, may cause a serious clash between the members of the society, since they are not in their right mind and cannot reason well.
Moreover, many car accidents in the society are caused by the drivers who have been under the influence of alcohol. According to a study:
Consuming alcohol before driving greatly increases the risk of car accidents, highway injuries, and vehicular deaths. The higher the amount of consumed alcohol, the more likely to be involved in an accident. When alcohol is consumed, many of the skills that safe driving requires – such as judgment, concentration, comprehension, coordination, visual acuity, and reaction time – become impaired .
The one who consumes alcohol will be occupied with such jubilant feeling caused by alcohol that he/she will forget his/her duty toward Allah. One of the essential teachings of Islam is that a Muslim should be able to feel Allah in his/her heart in every breath and His presence in all his/her actions [i].
Through drinking alcohol, even in small quantities, your mind loses its sharpness and focus to fully attend to your necessary actions as a Muslim, e.g., daily prayer (Salat).
We are born to be free, to choose and to decide for ourselves. That is why we are endowed with the power of reason. The one who drinks alcohol voluntarily drops the guard of his/her reasoning down. He/she deprives him/herself of the ability to choose the right manners and have control over his/her life. With an unclear mind no one can practice his right to choose, thus is not free!
The holy Quran says: “They ask you concerning wine and gambling. Say, ‘There is a great sin in both of them and some profits for the people, but their sinfulness outweighs their profit.’…” (2:219).
Almost in all our decisions, we are careful to choose the way that is more profitable for ourselves, be it financially, physically or morally. According to the Quran and many scientific studies, drinking alcohol brings more negative effects than positive. Thus its loss is way more than its profit. So it would be more rational to avoid drinking alcohol than to bear its negative consequences.
On the other hand, a lot of research conducted by scientists from all over the world shows that alcohol consumption has many detrimental effects on human health ,  & .
Brain and nervous system is the first part of the body that would be seriously harmed by drinking alcohol. According to research, “Heavy drinking can cause a form of nerve damage known as alcoholic neuropathy, which can produce a painful pins-and-needles feeling or numbness in the extremities as well as muscle weakness, incontinence, constipation, erectile dysfunction, and other problems” . Moreover, some scientists believe that one of the leading causes of depression is alcohol consumption.
According to a study:
1. “If you drink regularly, you increase your risk of developing pancreatitis.
2. Over the long term, drinking alcohol increases your risk of serious illnesses, such as mouth, throat and breast cancer
3. One of the most significant of these was the 2007 European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study which established a clear link between excessive alcohol intake and bowel cancer.
4. Drinking alcohol can contribute to the conditions that cause diabetes.
5. Our brains rely on a delicate balance of chemicals and processes. Alcohol is a depressant, which means it can disrupt that balance, affecting our thoughts, feelings, and actions – and sometimes our long-term mental health.
6. Drinking alcohol at any stage during pregnancy can cause harm to your baby and the more you drink, the greater the risk. This is why the UK Chief Medical Officers' (CMO) alcohol unit guideline advice to pregnant women is that the safest approach is to not drink alcohol at all during pregnancy.
7. Drinking alcohol can increase your risk of developing liver disease and cause irreparable damage to this significant part of your body. In fact, alcohol is a major cause of the 25% increase in deaths from liver disease in England over the last decade (from 9,231 in 2001 to 11,575 in 2009)”  & 
Finally, you may say that all these health effects of Alcohol are probable. Or a day will come that scientists will find a way to drop these adverse effects. If we have accepted to be Muslim, to surrender to the will of Allah, and believe that He desires the best for us in this world, then we would easily trust Allah’s commands.
So, trust Him in eliminating what He calls disadvantageous for you. And keep in mind that there is always a rationale behind whatever Allah commands; whether this logic has been revealed to us or not.
[i] Quran (33:41-42)
All of us as human beings desire a peaceful and easy death; some people consider euthanasia as a way to achieve this end. The word Euthanasia comes from Greek origin (eu: well, good- Thanatos: death) and is commonly known as the practice of intentionally ending a life to relieve pain and suffering. It is classified into three types: voluntary (with the consent of the patient), non-voluntary (the approval of the patient is unavailable) and involuntary (against the will of the patient). Voluntary euthanasia has been legalized in some countries such as Netherlands, Belgium and some states of America. It seems that proponents of euthanasia developed a strictly materialistic view of life and death; in other words, the existence of God and the value of human life are ignored. Moreover, the patient’s condition when consenting for euthanasia is not considered at all.
The first issue that can be argued against euthanasia is that being terminally ill does not seem to have a precise definition. There is no way to determine the life expectancy of a person even if he/she is diagnosed as terminally ill. There are cases in which the patient healed miraculously and without any explanation; the proponents of it seem to ignore the God’s will in the human’s life and death.
What's more, the consent that a patient who is suffering severely gives to end his/her life is not really of much validity. Obviously, due to the health condition of the patient, he/she is in a depressed mood and cannot think clearly. In some cases, such as an older adult who has lost his common sense, the consent given by him/her is apparently not valid. On the other hand, in non-voluntary in which a patient’s relative gives permission, the patient’s will is not included; it seems more like murdering rather than helping that patient.
Euthanasia activists ignore the value and importance of human life and the fact that the more you fight for life, the more precious your soul becomes. People who support this, often say that it is already considered permissible to take human’s life under some circumstances such as self-defense -e.g., in the case of wars- while, they miss this point that when one kills for self-defense, they are saving innocent lives either their own or someone else's. With euthanasia no one's life is being saved; life is only taken . Human beings have the instinct for survival and immortality; euthanasia is clearly against the nature of human being. Somehow, it overlooks the spiritual side of human beings. Besides, it is an absolute act of suicide which many religions including Islam do not approve of .
Finally, the decision to take someone’s life is not for anybody even that person to make; God has given life to us, and He will take it as He wishes . The proponents of Euthanasia have ignored moral issues and the spiritual side of human beings. Even in the hardest situations still, we can find hope if we have faith. By committing it, we lose the opportunity to see our unpredictable future; there may be a chance to embrace a beautiful life!