The Friday Message - Issue No: 443 - Reflection for Dahwul Ardh

Salamun alaykum,

Challenges to our home, the earth:

The issues of pollution, green-house effect, depletion of ozone layer and destruction of the environment is having a severe impact on our home; the earth. The serious effects of climate change are evident through hurricanes, droughts, floods and other extreme climatic events. Its impact on our daily lives is becoming increasingly apparent.

In response huge resources have been poured by the United Nations, Governments and numerous organisations into research, advocacy and technological solutions. Despite these efforts the danger of destruction of the Earth looms larger every day.

In Man’s quest for solutions the climate crisis is often reduced to a set of scientific metrics such as carbon level and temperature increase. Whilst this view is correct, it is incomplete.

What then is our response?

There is need to need to view it from an additional perspective. One that captures the sacred connection between humankind, the creations and the Creator. In our modern, materialistic world this holistic understanding has been eclipsed.

Allah SWT has created the universe in all its diversity, richness and vitality: the stars, the sun and moon, the earth and all its communities of living beings. The Noble Quran refers to these creations as ‘Ayaat’ – signs- of Allah SWT. All these Ayaat reflects and manifests the wisdom, power, boundless glory and mercy of their Creator. All created beings by nature serve and glorify their Maker, all bowing to their Lord’s will.

Purpose of creation:

The Noble Qur’an in Sura Al-Baqara (2:30) declares that a purpose for creation of man on Earth is to be a khalifa –steward- of Allah SWT on this earth. This verse underscores the purpose for creation of man; to be a steward of God on this earth.
Therefore, our response, as stewards, is to work the greatest good we can for all the species; individuals and generations of all God’s creatures.

Stewardship: Is it part-time?

As stewards of this planet earth, man has been charged with an important assignment. This is to tend well this earth on which we live as our home. Highlighting our responsibility towards the Earth the Noble Prophet SAWW stated, “Safeguard the Earth because it is your mother…..”
Just as one is always obliged to respect one’s mother and protect her from any harm, so too is the duty of safeguarding the Earth. This responsibility is not part time. It is such that it is not limited to a certain age or time. Like for the mother, care for the Earth is one that is full time. Therefore, stewardship is a lifetime responsibility.

Creation of our home: spread of earth:

The 25th Dhulqa'dah commemorates Dahwul Ardh –spread of the earth. Alluding to the spread of the earth, the Noble Qur’an states,“…and after that He (Allah) spread out the earth.” (Sura An-Naazi-at. 79:30).
On this day Allah SWT spread out all the land on the earth from the point under the Ka’aba for the advantage of human beings. In another tradition it is reported that the first Rahmah- Divine Blessing-descended on this very day. It is also the day when Prophet Adam was sent to Earth. This day is also the birthday of two great Prophets, Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), and Prophet Isa bin Maryam (Jesus), peace be upon them.

What is your role?

When we recognise the Earth and all Divine creations as a sacred trust, then caring for it becomes an act of ibadah- servitude- not just a scientific or political necessity The teachings from the Quran and Ahlul Bayt a.s. encourage us (using a modern term) to ‘be green’.

As stewards of the earth Dahwul Ardh presents an opportunity to appreciate our ‘home’ -the earth. It highlights the essential role for a steward to practice conservation of our environment. This environment is for both the physical dimension (conservation water, energy, environment etc) and spiritual dimension by conserving taqwa.
By fulfilling this role of conservation, one does ibadah; an act of worship.

Opportunity for reflection:

Next week in observing Dahwul Ardh on Monday 3rd June, 2024, ponder over this God given blessing of the Earth; our home. What is the earth? Why was the earth created? Do we benefit from the earth for the purpose it was created? Are we making the earth a shelter of peace, or an arena of disunity, war and pollution? What is the remedy for these crises?
Just as in the way one takes good care of the home for which one looks forward to returning to after a hard day of work, how well does one take good care of the bigger home – our planet earth- in which our small dwelling that we call as home is situated?
How are you involved in safeguarding the Earth; your mother as referred by the Noble Prophet?
Will you continuously engage in ibadah- servitude to Almighty God- by being a responsible steward?
As you perform the recommended a’mals of Dahwul Ardh, will you make a firm decision and resolve in utilizing this earth as a means for a good and eternally secure Hereafter?
What changes will you bring to your living to act on this resolution for Dahwul Ardh?

Let Dahwul Ardh be a celebration of true faith and concern, and a celebration of thanking Ar Rahman, Al Khaaliq -the All-Merciful Creator- who created the world- our home for our own good.

Wa ma tawfiqi illa billah.

With salaams and duas,

Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo
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Resident Alim
Wessex Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat