‘Stewards of Creation’ – Religion and the environment

There is an interesting story in the Islamic tradition about the prophet Muhammad and trees. Sahih al-Bukhari Volume 4, Book 56, Number 783:

Narrated by Ibn Umar:

The Prophet used to deliver his sermons while standing beside (or leaning on) a trunk of a Date Palm tree. When he had the pulpit made, he used it (the pulpit) instead (of the Date Palm tree). The trunk (of the tree) started crying/weeping (grieving out of love for the prophet) and the Prophet approached it, rubbing his hand over it (to sooth it and stop its crying/weeping).

It is a story sometimes used to explain how much the Prophet Muhammad loved trees and therefore nature; an idea which is by some Muslim activists extended to emphasize environmental stewardship as a particular role and responsibility bestowed upon humanity. One such group is the UK-based Green Muslims and in the Netherlands Groene Moslims (Green Muslims) both trying to work to raise awareness about environmental issues from an Islamic perspective.

In 2013 PBS aired a report on religion and the environment in which people from several religious traditions were asked about their views, including Sarah Jawaid from Green Muslims.



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