Global warming is the long-term rise in the average temperature of the earth’s climate system, affecting the world from north to south and east to west. This warming is demonstrated by an unprecedented rate and scale of change in the scientific measurements of the various effects of this warming, including devastating floods, forest fires, melting polar ice caps, and an unprecedented rise in sea level.  In human terms, the results are often widespread famine and climate refugees. [1] In the face of such a warning, a ‘green’ way of thinking is needed.

‘Green’ characterizes a political-economic-social orientation which recognizes that the earth’s resources are intended by its Creator to benefit all mankind in the fulfillment of their needs. Those resources are not to be squandered for the short term gain of a few elites, robbing or short-changing future generations of its pristine bounties.  This rampant injustice affects billions of human beings. Unfortunately, what we find in our global world today is corruption and pollution and depletion. There is a growing concern that man is racing to his own extinction if he does not, collectively, find a way to reverse the foolish course of his a-moral political, economic, and social ideologies, advocated by his sophisticated but permissive institutions.

Tell-Tale Numbers

A few numbers will indicate for us the severity of the all-encompassing problems we face in trying to overcome a corrupt and misguided global ideology. Islam is the true Green ideology.  Through being in tune with Islam, we overcome corruption of all sorts by returning to the natural order of  the world and by bringing balance  and prosperity to humanity.

As per the Guardian’s 2019 newspaper article, “This year’s heat waves hit France in June and July, with a new record temperature of 46 degrees Celsius (118.4° Fahrenheit) recorded in the south on 28 June 2019…” that has killed 1,500 French as per data released by the health minister in September 2019. [2] The situation has been similar in neighboring European countries such as the U.K., Greece, Hungary, Ireland, etc.

On June 11, 2019, Delhi recorded the all time highest temperature in the month of June touching 48 degree Celsius (114.8° F); many cities in Rajasthan like Churu and Jaisalmer touched 50 plus degree Celsius (122° F) during the month of June that year. [3]  In 2016, the temperature in Mitribah, Kuwait, surged a blistering 54 Celsius (129.2° F) and in Basra, Iraq, the mercury soared to 53.9 degree Celsius (129.02° F). These incredible measurements in Iraq and Kuwait last summer represent the two hottest temperatures ever recorded in the Eastern Hemisphere.

In January this year (2020), when some parts of USA faced a stint of extreme cold, Donald Trump sarcastically tweeted, “… Wind-chill temperature are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded… what the hell is going on with global warming? Please come back fast, we need you!” This is in line with what he has previously said as well: “Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax… created by the Chinese to make US manufacturing non-competitive” [4].

Global warming means the long-term rise in mean temperature of the earth’s climate system. The record from 1880 to 2018 of the change in global mean surface temperature testifies to this trend of rise in temperature by at least 0.9 degree Celsius (= 1.62° F) —mainly attributed to greenhouse gas emissions and to the industrial economy. In 2013, a United Nations body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its Fifth Assessment Report [5] concluded,

“It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” Climate model projections summarized in the report indicated that during the 21st century, the global surface temperature is likely to rise a further 0.3 to 1.7 °C in a moderate scenario, or as much as 2.6 to 4.8 °C in an extreme scenario, depending on the rate of future greenhouse gas emissions and on climate feedback effects. (paragraph 2)

This is a likely projected increase in warming of the earth’s surface anywhere from 0.54° F up to 8.64° F!

The impacts of global warming are many: the melting of polar caps, the rise in sea level, extreme weather (heat waves and freezing cold waves), more desertification, more damaging storms, and regional change in rain systems, such as a monsoon causing both a drought and a flood simultaneously in neighbouring geographical areas [6]. All these events are making headlines intermittently across the world, as well as in India. The drought and flood is making news almost every year in India itself; the freezing cold wave which made Donald Trump miss recognizing global warming is also a sign of global warming and climate change. The melting of the polar ice caps and depletion of the Aral Sea water level down to 40% of its capacity can be seen by the eye —unaided by scientific equipment or calculation— and have been recorded over decades.

The Hand of Crony Capitalism

The main reason for these symptoms of global warming may be attributed to greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen emissions, etc), or deforestation; but the real underlying reason that fuels this extravagant corruption is the grip of Capitalist ideology. This is also the very reason why these Crony Capitalists [7] are trying their best to portray global warming as a ‘hoax’, ‘fake news’ or an ‘urban conspiracy theory’ with the result  that their industrial production remains uninterrupted.

This sentiment was very clearly reiterated by the current American president when he said, “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive,” a clear case of diverting the issue to a non-issue. What is fortunate is that the melting polar ice caps, the depleting area of the Aral Sea have been photographed by space satellites and are permanently stored for all to see!  Why then are global leaders denying the existence of global warming —unless this denial is related to short-term gain? The irony however is how you can expect to treat a disease when you don’t even recognize it as a ‘disease.’

Capitalism is an ideology that has been running the global world order since the early 18th century and while every good is attributed to it, all the bad of this world must also be attributed to this ideology as well. Crony Capitalism has taken the world hostage to the extent of creating the present existential crisis. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) —which  has some 90 climate scientists from 40 countries— concludes that if humans don’t take immediate, collective action to limit the rise in global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7° F) by 2040, the consequences will effectively be baked into the natural systems of the planet. With so much heat-trapping carbon in the atmosphere, there will be, in effect, no turning back. In other words “we have just 20 years to limit devastating global warming” [8]

The idea of this capitalist economic ideology is based on SELF PROFIT BEING THE HIGHEST SACRED OBJECTIVE, while concepts such as care, altruism, humanity, etc. are moral issues which capitalism opines to be useless and redundant concepts. The explosion in the increase of greenhouse gas resulting from an irresponsible ideology, in the absence of morality and care for others, makes for a fatal petrol mix that powers the maximization of profit at any cost. No wonder millions of people are dying because of industrial pollution, many species are facing extinction due to contamination in flora and fauna, the ecology of sea creatures and forests are disturbed. Many forests are facing an alarming rise in intermittent fires globally, such as the Amazon rain forest [9]; extreme drought followed by extreme flooding is killing and displacing millions every year [10]. Yet ending the production of greenhouse gases, ending deforestation, ending extravagant consumption—none of these is yet under serious consideration by leading nations because measures such as limiting carbon credit can slip them lower on their GDP scale.

Thus, industrial waste is not being treated —as proper treatment would cost money; so industrial waste continues to drain —largely untreated [11]— into rivers across the world. Plastic waste [12] is well known to be non bio-degradable, but yet it remains to be the backbone of the packaging industry, with the plastic packaging of soft drinks and of water, causing multiple species of the sea to become extinct [13]. Deforestation for the sake of the paper industry [14] , for real estate, and for optional human activities are used without check to decrease the forest cover by a significant percentage.

The Quranic Diagnosis

This phenomenon of selling the shared resources of the earth for the temporary benefit of a few has already been foreseen and mentioned in the Quran where Allah (swt) says:

 ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُمْ بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ

“Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness].”  [Surah Rûm, 30: 41]

What is happening to our world is described verbatim in this noble ayah. The corruption due to profit maximization has been done by human hands on land and sea, and thus we are currently TASTING the consequences in the form of floods, droughts, storms, pollution, just to name a few widespread consequences. The message in this ayah also mentions a straightforward SOLUTION to global warming and climate change, as well as to environmental pollution, which is to RETURN to righteousness (i.e. following the requirements of Islam).

Islam does not believe in profit maximization by optimization of production by a few capitalists for them to become richer than some countries, but rather Islam focuses on distribution of resources to make sure that every individual gets his basic needs met: food, shelter and clothing, thus keeping the gap between rich and poor at a reasonable level. Islam therefore does not focus on GDP —as GDP has never been an indicator of the comprehensive prosperity of any nation; but rather it represents the earning of the top 1% of the population who keep getting richer  due to crony capitalistic policies while the poor keep getting poorer. This can easily be understood by some data recently released by Oxfam. Oxfam said that eight individuals in the world are having more wealth than the collective wealth of the poorest half of the entire world, i.e. 3.6 billion people. [15]

Islam as the GREEN Treatment

Islam differentiates between ‘need’ and ‘desire’ and maintains that the world resources are enough to satisfy the needs of the whole of humanity, but it is not sufficient to fulfil the desire of even a single human. This situation is mentioned in a noble hadith:

Reported by Anas bin Malik that the Prophet (ﷺ) said,

“If a son of Adam gets a valley full of gold, he would then seek to struggle for another valley of gold; nothing can satisfy his appetite except the soil of his grave. Allah turns with mercy to him who turns to Him in repentance.” (Bukhari & Muslim)

Accordingly, Islam focuses on a reasonable distribution of resources among people and focuses on production only to the extent of meeting the needs of people; thus, the concept of profit maximization at any cost is done away with. Islam maintains that the place for fulfilment of one’s desire is paradise and not earth. It is the earthly life which is the testing ground, test bed or examination hall for humans.

Islam also has a judicial system for checking the collective issues of a community, such as the environment, bodies of water, forests, pollution, flora and fauna; and anyone causing harm to its physical, moral or social structure shall be liable for strict punishment.

There are three types of judges in Islam (pp. 133, Article 68):

  1. The judge who settles disputes among people in transactions and [their] punishments.
  2. The muhtasib who settles the violations of the community’s rights.
  3. The judge of the Court for Unjust Acts (maHkamat ul-maDHalim), who settles disputes between people and officials of the State. [16]

The task for the second type of judge known as muhtasib is solely to take care of community issues such as environmental pollution, depleting water tables, ozone exposure, mobile radiation checks, electronic waste, the method of waste disposal in industries, soil fertility, the purity of water bodies , ecology loss prevention, forest preservation, street morality, etc.

Thus anyone found to be violating or flouting industrial standards set by the state for profit maximization, or polluting the environment beyond an acceptable range, or draining toxic waste into rivers, or pursuing deforestation, or other issues that contribute to global warming or climate change shall be liable to punishment without fail.

It is true that the present system does have tribunals and international agencies and bodies, but due to the pervasiveness of capitalism and its judiciary advocates, these are watchdogs in name only.  They serve capitalists more and people less.

The Beneficial-to-All Orientation of Islam

The political system in Islam is oriented to the service and welfare of people so as to earn the pleasure of Allah (swt), rather than to being clandestine partners of crony capitalists who make rules in favour of their crony businessmen and get electoral funds in return.

In conclusion, Islam is the all-encompassing green solution alleviating all our problems, including the environmental issues such as global warming and climate change. A judicious approach to industrial production, strong regulations for industrial waste, a focus on renewable sources of energy instead of polluting thermal power plants, along with a moral compass to take care of seas, rivers, mountains, animals, birds, and fellow beings, can usher us into a green era where global warming could become a thing of the past.


References:

[1] https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/infographic/2018/03/19/groundswell—preparing-for-internal-climate-migration

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/09/summer-heatwaves-in-france-killed-1500-says-health-minister

[3] https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/delhi-records-all-time-high-of-48-deg-c/articleshow/69728668.cms?from=mdr

[4] https://time.com/5515340/trump-climate-change-weather/

[5] Global_warming#CITEREFIPCC _AR5_WG1_ Summary_for_ Policymakers2013.  Paragraph 2

[6] https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/between-draught-and-floods-11-places-in-india-experiencing-totally-different-weather-371224.html

[7] https://www.hoover.org/research/rise-crony-capitalism

[8] https://www.nrdc.org/onearth/climate-scientists-world-we-have-only-20-years-theres-no-turning-back. Paragraph 2

[9] https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/08/22/amazon-fire-ngos-brazil-president-jair-bolsonaro-suggests-cause/2082066001/

[10]https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=drought+and+flooding+together&view=detail&mid=7EC805ECD8D182AC967A7EC805ECD8D182AC967A&FORM=VIRE

Floods after drought: India reels from extremes

[11] https://www.gangaaction.org/actions/issues/industrial-waste-management/

[12] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/06/90-of-plastic-polluting-our-oceans-comes-from-just-10-rivers/

[13] https://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/marine-species-extinction-and-plastic-pollution/

[14] https://rainforests.mongabay.com/0807a.htm

[15] https://www.oxfam.org/en/press-releases/just-8-men-own-same-wealth-half-world

[16] http://www.hizb-ut-tahrir.org/PDF/EN/en_books_pdf/system_of_islam.pdf.  pp. 133, Article 68

Dr. Abrar Ahmad

Dr. Abrar Ahmad

Dr. Abrar Ahmad is Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering, at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi—having taught there since 2013 and previously at other institutions in India beginning in 2003. Active in research (renewable energy and energy conservation), he has been a regular participant in national and international conferences since 2010, many of which he has organized; furthermore, he has published nearly a dozen papers in international professional journals. Dr. Abrar is presently doing research focused on the Impact of Religious Values in Promoting Energy Conservation. A full detail of his professional work is available at: https://bit.ly/3dy135c He has written extensively in the areas of ‘Islam and the Environment’ and ‘Islam as a Solution to Human Problems.’ He has also delivered lectures on such topics in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the U.K. (Cambridge University). Prof. Ahmad is available for lectures related to his interests and can be contacted at aahmad15@jmi.ac.in, or at whatsapp +91-9818493010.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.