The Friday Message - Issue No: 313 - Dahwul Ardh: What is your role?

earthIssue No: 313
10th August 2018
27th Dhulqada 1439 A.H.

Salamun alaykum,

Creation of our home: the earth:

The 25th Dhulqa'dah commemorating Dahwul Ardh –spread of the earth- was observed this year on Wednesday 8th August,2018. 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 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.

Is Dahwul Ardh applicable in the present era?

The response to this question becomes clear only when one is able to establish why is one on Earth?

What will be your response?

When the question: "why are you on Earth?" is posed to a group of people drawn from different backgrounds, obviously the anticipated responses would be greatly varied in all aspects. Some of the expected responses would range from: 'to have fun, enjoy life, still searching for an answer, a re-incarnation, ask my parents, to even 'I don't know!'....And so, on goes the list of responses.

The Noble Qur'an provides us with the response that a purpose for creation of man on Earth is to be a khalifa –steward- of Almighty Allah on this earth.
"Behold, your Lord said to the angels: "I am going to place a vicegerent on earth." (Sura Al-Baqara 2:30). The verse underscores the purpose for creation of man; to be a steward of God on this earth.

Stewardship: a great responsibility: it's not 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. This responsibility is not part time. It is such that it is not limited to a certain age or time. It is one that is full time; it is a life time responsibility.

Challenges to our home, the earth:

Internationally the issues of pollution, climate change, green-house effect, depletion of ozone layer and conservation of the environment has been and is still a focus for discussion and action. In response to widespread environmental degradation the United Nations, on February 26, 1971, officially proclaimed the March Equinox (which is often March 20th) as Earth Day.
The occasion Dahwul-Ardh has been celebrated by Muslims for more than 1400 years now for men to reflect on their role on the earth. Man as Khalifa/ Trustee /Steward on this earth has an obligation to protect and conserve the environment.

What is your role?

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. The teachings from the Quran and Ahadith of Ahlul Bayt a.s. encourage us (using a modern term) to 'be green'.

Opportunity for reflection:

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?

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.

Is not being a responsible steward an act of ibadah?
Will you make a firm decision and resolve in utilizing this earth as a means for a good and eternally secure Hereafter?

Wa ma tawfiqi illa billah.
With salaams and duas,

Fazle Abbas Datoo
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Resident Alim
Wessex Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat

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