Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | Speaking Tree Blog | January 30, 2023
Pollution of any kind is against the scheme of God the Creator. It is man’s duty, therefore, to maintain the purity of nature. Failure to do so is, in religious terms, a sin and, in legal terms, a crime. Man is permitted to exploit natural resources for their benefits, but he must do so without destroying the natural order of things.
One verse worth quoting from the Quran on this subject is from the chapter Al-A‘raf (The Heights); another relevant verse is from the chapter Al-‘Ankabut (The Spider):
Do not corrupt the land after it has been set in order. This is for your own good, if you are true believers (7:85)
Corruption has appeared on land and sea because of the evil which men’s hands have done: and so He will make them taste the fruit of some of their doings, so that they may turn back from evil. (30:41)
The message of these two verses is that God Almighty has created things in their best order and man is allowed to enjoy these things for his own benefit. But he is not allowed to destroy the balance of nature. Man was born as a free creature, but man’s freedom ends where his mismanagement of nature begins.
In these verses, the Quran refers to land pollution and water pollution by name but, in their general application, all kinds of pollution are included, such as air pollution, noise pollution, etc.
Man is not the creator of this world. Man is only a beneficiary of God’s creation. Man ought to be aware of this fact, for transgressing his limits will prove to be disastrous for him. All kinds of pollution are man-made, (pollution is unknown in nature; nature never created any kind of pollution) but where man has the capacity to pollute nature, he does not have the power to create another world. So, becoming sinful before God and depriving himself of the only source of life, that is, nature, is a double loss for man. This state of affairs requires man to be very careful, to be very cautious, otherwise he will be compelled to pay a very heavy price for his negligence.
Man must, of course, utilize natural bounties but he must do so with great care, because he has no alternative to the present world. The greatest minus point of human beings is that they can enjoy this world but have no power to create a new world.
What is pollution? It is the making of things impure. Things are pure by their nature; it is man who, due to his bad management, makes things impure. Man must know his limitations. Any move to pollute nature is like a suicidal act.
The most crucial aspect of this issue is that, in terms of creation, man is completely helpless; he cannot of his own create a single particle. He cannot even create a single leaf of a tree, nor can he create a single drop of water. This being the situation, man must become fully aware of his shortcomings and try to live in this world as a responsible member of society.