Khutbah Reflections: Graciousness in Environmental Preservation
The khutbah on 29th March 2013 was on a topic that we might have overlooked from an Islamic perspective. We hear or read so much about preservation of the environment, reducing wastage and cleanliness of our surroundings but these are things that were already taught to us by Rasulullah (S) more than 1400 years ago. These aren’t new concepts but they have become things of dire importance in our day and age given the increasing scarcity of resources, pollution and our endless pursuit progress.
Before we even start talking about the environment, I think there’s one thing we should all be clear of: the Earth and all the resources found within and without it are a bounty from Allah; gifts to be used for our benefit to make our lives in this world better. As Muslims, should we not be grateful for this aspect of Allah’s love and mercy?
The easiest example I can cite on being grateful of receiving gifts are children. When we give a child a new toy, observe the immense joy exhibited on his/her face and the meticulousness in ensuring that the toy is not lost and that no harm comes to it because he/she understands how precious the toy is. Well, at first anyway (we’d be nagging at him/her to not leave it lying around the house about 3 days later) but this is something that we can all learn from.
Most of the resources we have though sustainable (can be replenished naturally such as water, plant life and livestock) are finite, they’ll run out eventually if our rate of consumption is not curbed. Hence, they need to be managed carefully so that we would have enough. When the khatib began speaking about wastage, the first thing that came to my mind was water for wudhu’. I’m sure most of us would have seen notices around the wudhu’ area in masjids reminding us to not waste water.
Sure enough, that point was eventually covered but let me highlight one thing by asking: how much water are we really using for wudhu’? Do we turn on the tap full blast while washing ourselves? I’m sure we’ve been guilty of this at one point or another, myself included.
If we were to read about how Rasulullah (S) did his wudhu’, we’d learn that the amount of water he used wasn’t as extravagant as us. He’d use only around a water bottle’s worth of water (500-750ml) or 1 madd. The amount we use would probably be enough for a bath. Let’s take this as something to be aware of and strive to follow another sunnah of Rasulullah (S) in our wudhu’.
While we’re on the subject of water and wudhu’, let me relate that to cleanliness in the area we take our wudhu’. After reading this piece, go take wudhu’ and observe how much water you’ve splashed or dripped outside the tap/sink area. If it’s not a lot (by “not a lot” I mean you can wipe it dry with no more than 3 wipes of a cloth), then congratulations. You deserve a marha marha!
If the area looks like the aftermath of torrential rain then we have a problem. It’s most likely due to excessive amounts of water used and not being careful while washing. Lesser water used, less splashing/dripping. Makes sense? If you can avoid it, please refrain from washing the feet in the sink. No one wants to take a whiff of your “foot perfume” and the act is unsightly. Instead, bring a water bottle or a small plastic cup and wash your feet in a cubicle. I’ve been doing that and Alhamdulillah, splashing/dripping of water has been kept to a minimum.
Unfortunately, of the two scenarios, the latter occurs often and what’s worse is when wudhu’ is taken in public toilets. Imagine the person tasked with its cleanliness having just mopped the whole toilet and we come in, take our wudhu’, make a mess and just leave. How would that person feel? How would that person view us as Muslims?
Let’s make our wudhu’ the first step of practical application of conserving resources and cleanliness and then apply it to the way we consume food, electricity and other resources. For food, a sunnah of Rasulullah (S) was to eat when he was hungry and stop before he was full. Do we really need to go for buffets that often? For electricity, I’m not asking we go “Earth Hour” every night but simply to switch off appliances that we’re not using. I could go on and on about this but I think I’ve made my point. If we take what we need and spare a thought for others then environmental preservation can be a reality.
May Allah forgive us for not appreciating His bounty more, our excessiveness in our affairs and for not representing the religion that He has perfected for us as best as we could. May He also grant us people who can remind and encourage us to be better Muslims and the strength and perseverance to pursue that cause.[divider]
Fadhuli is an aspiring writer and believes in putting in the time and effort into meaningful causes. He strives to improve himself as a person and as a Muslim.