Penang mufti decries Muslims’ unconcern for environment

Penang mufti Wan Salim Mohd Noor says Islam obligates its followers to care for the environment.

GEORGE TOWN: The mufti of Penang has reminded Muslims that it is their religious duty to preserve the natural environment.

Speaking to FMT, Wan Salim Mohd Noor said there were Muslims in Malaysia who seemed to have forgotten that the Islamic concept of worship covers behaviour in all aspects of life and in one’s relationship with everything in creation.

He said he agreed with environmentalist Maketab Mohamed that Muslims in Malaysia tended to restrict their worship to specific acts of ritual such as the canonical daily prayers, fasting and making the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Maketab, a former president of the Malaysian Nature Society, recently told FMT he believed Malaysian Muslims, in their zeal for such rituals, had failed to see the importance Islam places on their obligation to care for the environment.

Wan Salim said a Muslim would be transgressing against the principle of enjoining good and forbidding evil if he or she were to do something that would hurt the natural environment.

He pointed out that many verses of the Quran forbid believers from damaging nature and he cited three of them: Al-Baqarah: 60, Al-A’raf: 74 and Al-Syu’ara: 77.

Wan Salim Mohd Noor.

“Since humans are the only agents that spoil the environment through pollution or irresponsible development, humans must be taught to be more aware of protecting the environment,” he said.

He called for the enactment of better laws and strict enforcement to deter pollution of water, air and other ecosystems.

Besides that, he said, every Muslim must realise that the quality of one’s faith could be judged by one’s response to the destruction of nature. He urged those holding power to prevent such destruction and those without power to speak up against it or in some manner show their disapproval.