My Lord! Increase me in knowledge

Archive for March 2011

Volunteering at Sandwich Run & Socks for the Homeless

I recently volunteered with a group (Project 417) i found at meetup.com which distributes lunch bags and socks to the homeless. It was an amaazing experience! I have volunteered before in a similar event of distributing stuff to homeless people hosted by muslim welfare center which was great, but i wanted to get involved with non muslims too so i can show them that muslims care for everyone, and are open minded, not confined to our own community, portray a better image of islam and clear misconceptions (if any). Giving charities & Social work is not just a religious duty, but i feel a moral and social obligation as well, and a way to thank God for all the blessings we have that are taken for granted.

We walked in the streets of downtown toronto passing by homeless shelters and places where street people are seen. We handed sanwhiches and socks which we brought. The smile on peoples faces left our hearts with a feeling of happiness and satisfaction. I have spent alot of time shopping, buying and consuming but never did i find that satisfaction that i do in giving. It was strange to see 5 star hotels, high end restaurants, limousines, brand name clothing stores and homeless people on the same streets. I found this experience spiritually uplifting. At the end, we went to a tim hortons(for those not familiar, tim hortons is a coffee shop franchise in canada), had discussions on various topics & got to know everyone better. It was an amazing experience and i would recommend it to any one living in toronto. At the end of the day, i had made a difference in peoples lives as well as my own life!

The Islamic legislation set a general rule for all people on this earth, which is not to cause any damage to this universe. The Prophet (PBUH) says: “’la darar wala dirar’ or ‘Let there be no harm or reciprocating harm.[1]

Then, Islamic legislation followed this with other things that pollute and damage the environment. The Prophet (PBUH) says in this: “Avoid the three actions that bring people’s curses: defecating in water sources, on roads, and in the shade.[2]

The Prophet (PBUH) also urged for cleaning roads. Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Beware! Avoid sitting on the roads.” They (the people) said, “O Allah’s Apostle! We can’t help sitting (on the roads) as these are (our places) where we have talks.” The Prophet said, “If you refuse but to sit, then pay the road its right.” They said, “What is the right of the road, O Allah’s Apostle?” He said, “Lowering your gaze, refraining from harming others, returning greeting, and enjoining what is good, and forbidding what is evil.[3]The last advice mentioned in this hadith is an umbrella for all the things that include harming the people who use roads and streets.

What is more than this is that the Prophet (PBUH) linked reward to keeping the environment clean. He says: “The deeds of my people, good and bad, were presented before me, and I found the removal of something objectionable from the road among their good deeds, and the sputum mucus left unburied in the mosque among their evil deeds.[4]

These wonderful teachings call for a decent life vacant of any pollutant to keep man’s hygiene and psychological health intact.

In a more expressive way to urge for keeping the environment and its beauty, the Prophet (PBUH) says when asked by one of his companions: “What if a man likes his clothes to look good and his shoes to look good, is this pride?” He said, “Allah is beautiful and loves beauty. Pride means denying the truth and looking down on people.[6] There is no doubt that beauty is to keep the environment as clean and beautiful as Allah has created.

Also in his recommendation of using perfumes and giving them as presents, we find evidence that he called for a clean environment. The Prophet (PBUH) says in this regard: “he who is presented with a flower should not reject it, for it is light to carry and pleasant in odour![7]

Regarding Islam’s glory in enacting laws that keep the environment clean, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says: “Whenever Muslims plant a tree, they will earn the reward of charity because of the food that comes from it; and likewise what is stolen from it, what the wild beasts eat out of it, what the birds eat out of it, and what people take from it is charity for them.[8] In another narration: “It is charity for them till the Doomsday”.

Islam’s fabulousness is manifested in the fact that the reward for planting, which is environment-friendly, will continue as long as this plant is benefitted even if it moved to the possession of others or the one who planted it died.

The Islamic legislation has also mentioned the benefits of reclaiming a mawat (uncultivated) land. The Prophet (PBUH) says: “Whoever revives a dead land has right to it” meaning reward and “If beasts and birds feed from it, he who revived it will have it as a sadaqah[9].

And because water is one of the most important resources in environment, being economical in using water and keeping it pure are two important issues in Islam. The Prophet (PBUH) advises Muslims to be economical when using water even if this water is abundant. Abdullah Ibn Umar narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) passed near Saad Ibn Abi Waqqas[10] when he was performing his ablution and said: “What is this waste? And the latter replied: Can there be wastage even in performing ablutions? He said: yes, even if you are (doing them) at a running river[11].

He also called for not polluting water or urinating in stagnant water.[12] This is the perspective of Islam and the Islamic civilization of the environment. It is a view that believes that the different aspects of the environment react, integrate and cooperate with each other according to God’s rules in the universe, which was created by Allah in the best shape. So, Every Muslim should keep this beauty.


Written by Dr. Ragheb Elsergany

Taken from http://en.islamstory.com/environment-rights-islam-civilization.html

P.S

Try to get involved in tree planting or environmental organization in your area. If you can’t find one, the least we can do is donate for such activities. Here is a muslim organization i found that has tree plantation projects :
http://www.muslimhands.org/en/za/our_work/environment_and_agriculture/tree_plantation/
There are several organizations you can find if you google.

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[1] Ahmad from Ibn Abbas (2719), Shu’aib al-Arnauti said: good. Al-Hakim (2345) and said: correct in terms of Isnad on Muslim’s conditions but they did not narrate it
[2] – See : Al-Azim Abadi: Aoun Al-Ma’bud 1/31
[3] Al-Bukhari from Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri: Al-Mazalim book, chapter about backyards of houses and sitting in them and sitting on roads (2333), Muslim: Al-Libas and Al-Zina book, chapter about ordering not to sit in streets and give way to others (2121)
[4] Muslim from Abu Zar: Book about mosques and places of worship, chapter about ordering not to spit in mosques and others (553), Ahmad (21589), Ibn Majah (3683)
[5] Al-Termizi from Sa’ad Ibn Abi Waqqas: Al-Adab book, chapter about what is said about cleanliness (2799), Abu Yali (790), Al-Albani said: correct , see: Mishkat Al-Masabih (4455)
[6] Muslim from Abdullah Ibn Ma’sud: Al-Iman book, chapter ordering not to feel pride (91), Ahmad (3789), Ibn Hiban (5466)
[7] Muslim from Abu Hurira: Al-Alfaz men al-Adab book and others, chapter about using Musk … (2253), Al-Termizi (2791)
[8] Muslim from Jabir Ibn Abdullah: Musaqah book, chapter about virtue of planting and growing (1552), Ahmad (27401)
[9] Al-Nissa’I from Jabir Ibn Abdullah: Reviving the dead land book, chapter about urging to revive mawat land (5756), Ibn Hiban (5205), Ahmad (14310), And Shu’aib al-Arnaut said: Hadith Sahih
[10] Sa’ad Ibn Abi Waqqas Ibn Wahib Al-Zuhari: One of the ten proven to enter paradise and the last of whom who died, look: Ibn Al-Athir: Usd al-Ghabah 2/433, Ibn Hajar al-Askalani: Al-Isabah 3/73 (3196)
[11] Ibn Majah: Taharah and its sunnan book, chapter about shortening prayers and hatred to transgress it (425), Ahmad (7065), improved by Al-Albani said good. see: Al-Silsilah al-Sahiha (3292) [12] Muslim from Jabir Ibn Abdullah: Taharah book, chapter about ordering not to urinate in stagnant water (281), Abu Dawoud (69), Al-Termizi (68)

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