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Pursuing Islam & Conserving Nature Equally

A blog by our Coach, Taahirah Sait. In this blog Taahirah shares her personal journey and describes how for her, the paths of faith and conservation are deeply intertwined.


بِسۡمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

(Bismillahi rahmaani raheem)

In the name of Allah – the most kind, the most merciful;

“And there is no creature on [or within] the earth or bird that flies with its wings except [that they are] communities like you. We have not neglected in the Register a thing. Then unto their Lord they will be gathered” – Surah Al-An’am, Verse 38 (6:38)


Much like how one should pursue the pen and the sword equally as said in an Okinawan proverb, bunbu ryodo (文武両道), on studying hard in academics as well as their particular martial art that they have chosen, I have found that it is my obligation to pursue Islam and the protection and conservation of nature the same way.


I have always felt a deep connection to nature, so during high school I have completed the Young Biologist Course at the Two Oceans Aquarium, thereafter I studied Nature Conservation in university and worked for various conservation organisations such as SANParks, WESSA, WWF, and finally landed up at I AM WATER where I get to work in the ocean environment and appreciate the beauty of nature that was given to us whilst at the same time educating others on why conserving the environment is so important.


Nature conservation does not just include catching poachers or rehabilitating animals, but it also includes education. Education in Islam is very important. It was reported by Uthman ibn Affan (May Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him), said: “The best amongst you is the one who learns the Qur'an and teaches it.” Obtaining and sharing knowledge is seen as a means of reaching Imaan (faith) and because I have been working in the nature/ocean conservation space and sharing my knowledge with others I have definitely felt that it has increased my Imaan. 


I have the very fortunate and amazing opportunity to work with different age groups and teach them about all of Allah’s (All praises are for Him alone) amazing creations that he has bestowed upon us. In Surah Al-Kahf verse 7 (18:7) of the Qur’an it says: 


إِنَّا جَعَلْنَا مَا عَلَى ٱلْأَرْضِ زِينَةًۭ لَّهَا لِنَبْلُوَهُمْ أَيُّهُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًۭا

(Inna jaʿalna ma ʿala l-ardi zinatan laha linabluwahum ayyuhum ahsanu ʿamala)


We have indeed made whatever is on earth as an adornment for it, in order to test which of them is best in deeds.” Meaning that the way we treat these gifts and creations are a test and will be addressed on the Day of Judgement, so treat them well and look after them because you will surely receive good deeds.


The Qur’an shares various verses on the protection of nature and all aspects that comes with it. It is our religious duty, as Muslims, to protect and conserve His creations. 


I leave you with one short, yet powerful verse from Surah Ar-Rahman verse 10 (55:10) that I hope to inspire you to be kind to one another and to Allah’s (All praises are for Him alone) creations:


وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ وَضَعَهَا لِلۡأَنَامِ

(Wal arda wada’ahaa lilanaam)

“He laid out the earth for all beings.”

 

دَعْوَىٰهُمْ فِيهَا سُبْحَٰنَكَ ٱللَّهُمَّ وَتَحِيَّتُهُمْ فِيهَا سَلَٰمٌ ۚ وَءَاخِرُ دَعْوَىٰهُمْ أَنِ ٱلْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلْعَٰلَمِينَ

(Da'wahum fiha sub-ḥanakallahumma wa taḥiyyatuhum fiha salam, wa akhiru da'wahum anil-ḥamdu lillahi rabbil 'alamin)

“Their call therein will be, "Exalted are You, O Allah," and their greeting therein will be, "Peace." And the last of their call will be, "Praise to Allah, Lord of the worlds!"”



Photographs by Mishka Harris (@sorriso_photograph)


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