Fazlun Khalid Shows How Environmentalism Is Intrinsic To Islam

By Meara Sharma
Religion Unplugged
February 20, 2021

A scholar and activist, Fazlun Khalid has for decades worked to both raise environmental consciousness among Muslims as well as demonstrate, more broadly, the inherently ecological nature of Islam, and the environmental worldview it espouses. In 1994, he founded the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences (IFEES), an organization that gathers and interprets Islamic texts that pertain to ecology and formulates educational and conservation projects based on such principles. He has overseen transformational initiatives in Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Madagascar, Indonesia and elsewhere, and has lectured on Islamic environmentalism at places like the United Nations, Davos and the Vatican, work that has earned him numerous accolades. Nova Science deemed him “the single most active Islamic environmentalist alive today.”

The ethos of Islam is that it integrates belief with a code of conduct which pays heed to the essence of the natural world,” he writes in his book, Signs On the Earth: Islam, Modernity, and the Climate Crisis, published in 2019. Embedded throughout the Quran, he explains, are notions of conservation, balance, and a sense of responsibility toward the ecosystems we inhabit, even though the modern, secular notion of “environmentalism” doesn’t explicitly appear. “[Islam] proves a holistic approach to existence,” he writes. “It does not differentiate between the sacred and the secular, and neither does it place a distinction between the world of humankind and the world of nature.”  

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