Honor and Protect the Earth — Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas

“Assuredly the creation of the heavens and earth is greater than the creation of humankind. Yet most people understand not.”  (Qur’an 17:37)

“The earth is like your mother; honor her and protect her.“   ~Hadith

Although Allah makes it clear in the Qur’an that humankind is a very high station in His creation, and that we were created to be his “viceregents on Earth,” (Qur’an 6:165), He also makes it clear in many other verses that all the creatures and natural features of the earth were created with the purpose of honoring and glorifying their Creator. 

Are you not aware that it is God Whose limitless glory all creatures in the heavens and on earth praise, even the birds as they outspread their wings?  (24:41)  And we are told that, “the servants of the Most Compassionate are those who walk humbly upon the earth.”  (Qur’an 25:63)

Humankind tends to have an exaggerated opinion of itself, and it is this sin of pride which is not acceptable in God’s sight.  Over and over we are warned not to consider ourselves self-sufficient.  Not only do we need the Grace of God to sustain and nourish us, but we also need the heavens and the earth and all the features therein which He has provided us: the mountains which stand firm, the pastures for our animals, the lush vegetation that grows in abundance, the fruits and vegetables that abound, the abundant, clean water, the sun which provides the glorious light of day…all of these and many, many more aspects of nature are mentioned again and again in the Qur’an as signs of God’s Mercy and Grace to Humankind.  Our “dominion” over them is meant to be as a protection, not an exploitation of these gifts from Allah.

If we could but see the logical progression of life on earth as it was “brought forth gradually,” (Qur’an 71:17) we would understand that each aspect of creation was made deliberately, with value and purpose.  Humankind was given both discretion and free will, which allows us to use our intelligence and creativity in honoring and glorifying God’s creation, not corrupting and destroying it. Why cannot we understand this?  It is our greed and arrogance which gets in the way.  We are never satisfied with what we are given, but tend to want more and more.  Instead of being grateful and honoring the gifts we have been given, we strive to find more and more ways to exploit the natural resources, habitats and inhabitants of the earth.  This will eventually lead to our un-doing if we do not wake up soon and change our ways.

One Reply to “Honor and Protect the Earth — Commentary by Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas”

  1. Gilda Warden says: Reply

    Beautiful, Sally Jo. You describe the notion of contentment, to have enough. Thank you

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