LAHORE: A thick blanket of toxic black smog engulfed the entire metropolitan of Lahore around 9PM Wednesday night, forcing many residents to either literally gasp for breath or complain about sore throats and watery eyes. Television reports had revealed that in Lahore’s posh Zaman Park an Air Quality Index (AQI) of around 640 was recorded late Wednesday evening, comfortably crossing the threshold for ‘hazardous’ level of air quality, which is 300. Despite having an AQI of Level 6, life in Lahore was on the move.
Democracy is the cause of the increasing pollution because it is the ruling system of Capitalism, which gives prominence to freedom of ownership and economic activity over all other considerations, including the health of the people. Moreover, Democracy’s legislation is dominated by the large-scale capitalists who will manipulate laws to secure their interests, including the large-scale industry, which is responsible for huge rises in pollution. The environmental problem is not the only failure of the capitalist system, which has caused one crisis after the other. The global food crises and the financial and economic crises which we have witnessed the last few years are far from the last crises of Capitalism. These crises have left millions destitute, and at the same time made it possible for a few people to possess more than the human mind is able to imagine. The deficiency of Capitalism in presenting the correct solutions is also due to its view on the economic problem as being the scarcity of resources relative to the growing and endless consumption (theory of scarcity). This has made the focus of capitalism limited to the production at the expense of a fair distribution and the fulfilment of every individual human being’s basic need for housing, food and clothing.
Under man made capitalism, democratic system where legislation is in man’s hand pollution will continue to rise, as industrialists after spending millions and billions in politicians elections campaigns always get legislations of such kind that help maximizing the profits of the large scale industrialists with blatant disregard for the suffering, whilst simultaneously creating revenue for those who are running private medical care, as hundreds of thousands fall ill. That’s why one can witness with such high AQI of Level 6 and that no urgency has been witnessed form ministry of environment or for that matter from the whole government as a whole to rescue the millions of lives in political hub of Pakistan.
Islam does not view man’s relation to nature as one of conflict or contradiction. Allah has put the universe in man’s service and He assigned man to cultivate the land. Allah (swt) says: اللّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ وَأَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاء مَاء فَأَخْرَجَ بِهِ مِنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ رِزْقًا لَّكُمْ وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ الْفُلْكَ لِتَجْرِيَ فِي الْبَحْرِ بِأَمْرِهِ وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ الأَنْهَارَ * وَسَخَّر لَكُمُ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ دَآئِبَينَ وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ ”It is Allah Who have created the heavens and the earth and sends down rain from the skies and with it brings out fruits wherewith to feed you; it is He Who has made the ships subject to you that they may sail through the sea by His command; and the rivers (also) He made subject to you. And He made subject to you the sun and the moon, both diligently pursuing their courses: and the Night and the Day He (also) made subject to you.” [Ibrahim 14: 32-33]
Islam has clarified that in the universe and on the earth is a balance and a purposeful and exact measure for all kind of things. There are many Shariah texts in the Quran and Sunnah that are related to details concerned with the preservation of the environment. Islam deals with the details, so man is prevented in damaging and contaminating the environment. Islam did not leave the relationship between the Muslim and nature according to his own individual desires and interest without regard for nature or human lives. The following are some narrations from the Prophet ﷺ that suffice to show these details:
Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: «لَا يَبُولَنَّ أَحَدُكُمْ فِي الْمَاءِ الدَّائِمِ ثُمَّ يَغْتَسِلُ مِنْهُ» “None of you may urinate in stagnant water, and then use it for bathing” (Bukhari and Muslim).
Muadh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated from the Prophet ﷺ: «اتَّقُوا الْمَلَاعِنَ الثَّلَاثَ الْبَرَازَ فِي الْمَوَارِدِ وَالظِّلِّ وَقَارِعَةِ الطَّرِيقِ» “Avoid the three actions that bring people’s curses: defecating in water sources, on roads, and in the shade.” (Abu Dawud and ibn Majah)
When the Prophet ﷺ sent his companions to Jihad, he ﷺ used to advise them with the following words: «انْطَلِقُوا بِاسْمِ اللَّهِ … وَلَا تَعْقِرُنَّ شَجَرًا إِلَّا شَجَرًا يَمْنَعُكُمْ قِتَالًا أَوْ يَحْجُزُ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ» “Go forth in the name of Allah…. and do not cut down any tree, except the trees which prevent you from fighting or constitute a barrier between you and the Polytheists” (Bayhaqi). These texts give a unique picture of how Islam focuses on nature. Furthermore, they illustrate that Allah has created nature and put it in service for Man, and made Man its guardian to enjoy and not to ruin it.
Regarding the destruction of the community life in a particular area, such as pollution of public land, rivers, lakes, meadows and forests, Islam does not allow the subjugation of the lives of people to individuals. On the contrary, Islam places public property under state supervision which ensures the safeguarding of people and prohibits harming them. The state is also obliged to remove harm from the community, such as forbidding factories to dispose their harmful waste products into rivers and oceans. The solution is not found in prohibition of the production or in the reduction of the amount. Factory owners or the State who oversee the industry are responsible for removing the harm by treating the hazardous waste to the point of neutralized the hazard before disposing and recycle where possible regardless of how much will it cost to recycle or to neutralize.
The rulers have contributed in an obvious manner to the preservation of Muslim Ummah’s state of misery ever since they agreed to be tools in the hands of foreign states, and since they denied Islam and its laws and refrained from their implementation. Khilafah State (Caliphate) must therefore invest in the vital aspects of all areas. Khilafah State will take the necessary steps to becoming an industrialized country, and will ensure that the industry is subject to Islam’s laws so that man and environment are not caused damage.