National Grand Mufti of Australia

The Treasures of Allah’s Blessings

وإلهكم إله واحد لا إله إلا هو الرحمن الرحيم
And your Ilah is One Ilah: nothing is worthy of worship except He, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

إن في خلق السماوات والأرض واختلاف الليل والنهار والفلك التي تجري في البحر بما ينفع الناس وما أنزل الله من السماء من ماء فأحيا به الأرض بعد موتها وبث فيها من كل دابة وتصريف الرياح والسحاب المسخر بين السماء والأرض لآيات لقوم يعقلون
Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, and the ships which sail through the sea with that which is of use to mankind, and the water which Allah sends down from the sky and makes the earth alive therewith after its death, and the moving creatures of all kinds that He has scattered therein, and in the veering of winds and clouds which are held between the sky and the earth, are indeed signs for people of understanding.

In the first Ayah, reference is made to Allah’s Name al-Rahman, the Most Gracious. This Name indicates the Grace and Mercy that He has given to all the creations in this world, regardless of whether they obey Him or not.

Allah Himself then describes the different forms that this Grace and Mercy take in this life. The harmonious and balanced alternation of night and day, the convenience of sea vessels being able to sail through the oceans for the benefit of mankind, the abundant rains which pour down from the sky, giving life to the earth, the different animals on the earth and under the seas that serve different purposes to mankind and to the system of nature itself, in the moving of the winds and clouds… all of these are signs of the all-embracing Grace and Mercy of Allah, which mankind must understand, investigate, utilise, and most importantly, be grateful for.

These signs are witnesses to the greatness of Allah and to the boundless extent of His Mercy.

Dear brothers, let us consider this Ayah in detail. We do not have to look far to witness the Mercy and Grace of Allah.

The creation of the heavens and the earth
We can only begin to fully appreciate this when we understand that this includes literally everything that Allah has created in the universe, right down to their component atoms and even beyond that. The earth, sand, rocks and minerals, plant and animal life, water, air, gases… and even those things in the far reaches of the universe that we have no comprehension of at all. The sciences of chemistry, physics, medicine, space, geology… all of these are methods by which we can understand in greater depth the wonders of the creation of the heavens and the earth. These sciences are only useful to mankind if they move one closer to firm certainty of belief in Allah and, consequently, a more complete submission to the Will of Allah. This is in fact an act of gratefulness to Allah for the gifts and treasures that He has granted to mankind, and it is this act of gratefulness which qualifies one to be truly worthy of Allah’s Favours.

The alternation of night and day
There are innumerable blessings and benefits in the fact that the night and day alternate. Human beings need both activity and rest at regular intervals. Allah says:

وجعلنا الليل لباسا وجعلنا النهار معاشا
And We made the night as a covering (for you to sleep), and We made the day as a means of earning livelihood.

Also, many of the workings of nature greatly depend on this alternation of night and day. Certain animals sleep during the day and only come out at night. Everything has its important role to play in Allah’s creation.

The ships which sail through the sea with that which is of use to mankind.
If we consider the meaning of these words, we will understand the reality behind the composition and dynamics of the seas that allow boats and ships to sail easily therein. The vital importance of sea travel in terms of trade and exploration cannot be overlooked. And the convenience of being able to travel rapidly and safely on the unpredictable and sometimes dangerous ocean is another great blessing from Allah.

The water which Allah sends down from the sky and makes the earth alive therewith after its death.
The rain that falls from the sky is one of the greatest gifts of Allah. A close examination of the way in which Allah has caused the rain cycles to occur will reveal a remarkably intricate system. The heat from the sun causes water from the oceans to evaporate and form clouds hanging high up in the sky. The winds then carry these clouds towards the dry land, and when the time is right, the clouds form rain and it falls onto the earth, causing plants to grow, as well as giving water to mankind and animals alike.

The moving creatures of all kinds that He has scattered therein.
Every animal plays a decreed role in Allah’s creation. Some of them are also of benefit to mankind. There are those animals which are slaughtered for the purpose of eating such as sheep and cattle, there are others which produce food or drink, such as cows, bees and chickens, there are those which people ride upon such as horses or camels, and there are those which are used to work and pull heavy loads, such as oxen.

The veering of winds and clouds which are held between the sky and the earth.
The winds and clouds also play a very important part in Allah’s creation. As we have seen, it is partly due to the workings of the winds and clouds that rain is formed. Also, the winds enable ships to sail through the sea. And it is due to the wind that plants can spread their seeds and reproduce.

Undoubtedly, we can understand from a close analysis of the meaning of this Ayah the great blessings and favours that Allah has bestowed upon mankind. Allah is not in need of any one of them. It is humanity who stands in need of the Mercy of Allah. Humanity is under the obligation to appreciate and show gratitude to Allah for these gifts, and the way to show this gratitude is to recognise the existence of Allah, and then submit to His Will by doing all that He has commanded and abstaining from all that He has forbidden.

If we want to achieve Allah’s full blessings not only in this world but in the Hereafter as well, then we must be of those people who have understanding, as Allah described them at the end of the above Ayah. The deep knowledge of these things is indeed beneficial for mankind in countless different ways.

The unity of purpose among the wide variety of creations is a wonderful sign of Allah’s Power, Wisdom and Mercy. The combination of nature’s beauty and utility to mankind is indeed unique and to profound to be a mere coincidence or accident of evolution. All the workings of nature such as the alternation of the night and day and the different seasons in their proper order, along with all the effects that occur on earth because of them are a most striking phenomena that we can see every day of our life.

Everything in the universe has been created for the human beings and jinns. Humans and jinns are the only creations of Allah which have been given the ability of free-will along with rationality. It is to mankind and the jinns alone that the Qur’an is addressed. They have been given the gift of a rational and free-thinking mind to test them as to which of them will be grateful for and make correct use of the bounties Allah.

Today, the issues of ecology and conservation have become a very big issue. Environmental groups are everywhere. All of this is because humanity in general has misused and abused the gifts of Allah, taking everything, they can without thinking about Who gave them these gifts and what their responsibilities are in utilising these gifts. We can see the result: holes in the ozone layer, global warming, the greenhouse effect, the extinction of some species of animals and plants, expanding desert areas in Africa, the El Nino effect, weather changes, Third World famine, floods, and earthquakes… all of these are reminders that the world is sagging under pressure.

At this stage, it is necessary to turn to Islam to find the answers to this current problem. The Qur’an and the Ahadith give us so many guidelines and directions, ranging from the literal to the figurative, that would be very hard to cover in a short space of time.

Allah says:

يا أيها الناس إنا خلقناكم من ذكر وأنثى وجعلناكم شعوبا وقبائل لتعارفوا إن أكرمكم عند الله أتقاكم إن الله عليم خبير
O mankind! Verily, We have created you from a male and female, and We have made you into peoples and tribes that you may know each other. Verily, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most pious of you. Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.

Through establishing the reality that all of humanity is but a single race, Islam has directed the different peoples of the world to desire peace and harmony with each other, and not enmity and division, by realising their common responsibilities towards their Creator, to themselves, to their families, to each other, and to all of Allah’s creations.

The Prophet (s.a.w.) said:
ارحموا من في الأرض يرحمكم من في السماء
Be merciful to those on earth, and He Who is in the heaven (Allah) will be merciful to you.

Everything has a right upon us – Allah has His right upon us, our families have their rights upon us, our bodies have their rights upon us, our brothers, our neighbours, even strangers have their rights upon us, and the whole of Allah’s creation have their respective rights upon us.

The most important quality needed to fulfil these responsibilities is that of Taqwa: fearing Allah and doing one’s duty to Him. This quality will ensure that we treat Allah’s creation in the correct manner, because abuse of the creation is tantamount to exploiting Allah’s favours.

Islam enjoins compassion and kindness to all things, including animals. If they are domestic animals, we treat them kindly. If we slaughter an animal for food, we do it humanely. It is Haram to hunt for the sole purpose of killing, and it is similarly Haram to cause wild animal’s unnecessary distress.

We have been commanded as well to protect the plant life. We are not allowed to cut down fruit-bearing trees without a very good reason. Planting a tree, which absorbs carbon dioxide and gives off oxygen, indeed has the benefit of a Sadaqah.

These points just mentioned barely touch the tip of the iceberg. The pinnacle of it all is the state of Ihram that the person performing Hajj of ‘Umrah enters. Anybody entering the Bayt-ul-Haram will realise at once that Allah has made it obligatory to respect the creations of Allah. It is Haram to harm any living thing in the environs of al-Masjid-ul-Haram, or to cut down any tree or hunt any animal there.

Our journey to the Ka‘bah is, after all, a journey performed in search of salvation. What is that salvation? The Paradise after death that Allah has described in detail in the Qur’an: with flowing rivers, fertility, greenery, growth, peace, security, harmony, and fulfilment. And we should try to our capacity to attain a similar state in this world.

Unfortunately, when it comes to conservation, the Muslims are strangely silent. We are not known for our environmental awareness. We are known more for building pie-in-the-sky ivory towers, and for emptying ashtrays onto pavements.

The root cause of the Muslims’ loss of touch with nature, and indeed with Islam itself, can be identified as poor education and blind following of the modern-day culture of Jahiliyyah. We have forsaken our heritage and our culture which are in conformity with the laws of nature, which are the Laws of Allah. We have forsaken them for a plastic, unreal society that totally ignores the harm that it is inflicting on the environment.