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Islam Christianity And the Environment pdf download

  • Book Title:
 Islam Christianity And The Environment
  • Book Author:
Wilfried Hofmann & Others
  • Total Pages
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0.7 Mb
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In September 2010, the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought in cooperation with the Eugen-Biser Foundation (Germany) held a symposium entitled ‘Islam, Christianity and the Environment’ at the Baptism Site in Jordan.

The symposium was another event in the series of dialogues driven by the global Muslim-Christian interfaith initiative, A Common Word (

It brought together a small group of Muslim and Christian scholars to discuss how each religion views the environment. This exchange helped both sides achieve a better understanding of each other’s perspective, and also led to a strengthening of the response from all faiths to the current environmental crisis.

 All participants ended the event by endorsing HE Archbishop of Sweden Anders Wejrud’s environmental initiative, [The Uppsala Manifesto], which calls for religious communities to rally toward a global climate strategy.

This booklet brings together four papers presented at the symposium.

The Islamic View on Consumption & Material Development in Light of Environmental Pollution

There is no doubt that Islam values the development of material culture and improvements in technologies that make life easier, healthier and more enjoyable for people. Islam does not romanticize poverty and hardship.

The Holy Qur’an, referring to the Ramadan fast says, ‘God wants ease for you, He does not want hardship for you.’ (2:185) The persistent Qur’anic reminder to give charity, to shelter the orphan, to feed the poor, all show the high value Islam places on relieving the suffering of others.

Further, there are many prophetic teachings about the spiritual reward one receives from removing a hardship from another person. For example, even to remove a fallen branch from a pathway, making it easier for others to walk that path, is an act of charity.

Throughout Islamic history, believers with great resources and those of limited means did what they could to ease the journey of the pilgrim and the traveler by maintaining roadways, and by providing water and shelter along the way.

It is not too much to say that to work to ease the hardship experienced by others is an ethical imperative in Islam; indeed, one of the five major maxims of Islamic ethics is “Hardship should be eased” (almashaqqah tajlib bi taysir).

The principle of easing hardship, however, is not permission for an individual to go to the extreme of unfettered indulgence. Consistent with the Qur’an’s emphasis on balance and moderation, there are a number of Qur’anic verses that, on the one hand, encourage the enjoyment of wholesome and beautiful things, while on the other hand, prohibit waste and excess:

“O you who believe! Do not make unlawful the wholesome things which God has made lawful for you, but commit no excess for God does not love those given to excess. Maidah(5:87)

Christian Conceptions of Creation, Environmental Ethics, and the Ecological Challenge Today – ISLAM CHRISTIANITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT

In the course of its history Christian theology has developed different conceptions of the belief in creation. One conception emphasizes creation as the beginning of salvation history. Another conception focuses on the distinction between nature and revelation and asserts the Theo-centrism of nature, combined with an Arisotelian conception of the final cause of each natural being.

Currently, this concept is being challenged within the debate over anthropocentrism and physiocentrism. The idea of the autonomy of nature and the natural world entrusted to human stewardship also promotes the autonomy of the responsibility for the environment.

The relationship to God is a strong motivation for this responsibility, but not a normative concept. Another approach of Christian theology is the deeper experience of creation, which Christian mystics comprehended as a “book of creation” (“liber creaturarum”), that can augment the Bible (“book of revelation”).

If creation is understood as a process of God giving himself, as the first act of divine grace, this process has its deepest roots in the hearts of human beings, who are responsible for the visible manifestation of this grace in their behavior toward the environment and toward other ethical challenges like justice and peace.

Christian environmental ethics is, on the one hand, engaged by strong theological motivations, but, on the other hand, the moral principles and their concrete applications are comprehensible to all human beings and are rationally justifiable.

Principles like sufficiency, sustainability, moderate growth, the regeneration of natural resources, respect for life, precaution, contingency, or the impermanence of technical means do not require a specifically Christian or religious foundation, but they can be reinforced by the religious motivations related to the belief in creation.

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