Preserving the Environment; from an Islamic Perspective [Part II]
Islam urges us to ponder and reflect on the universe:
Islam urges us to protect our environment through discovering its secrets and preserving its beauty. The movement of the universe is a natural and clear message that speaks out the greatness of the Creator but no one is able to read this message or realize it except the ones who have visions and minds and the ones who are able to ponder and reflect. That’s why the Muslims scholars were always the ones who had the most solid certainty in Allah and His oneness.
The sources of the Muslim’s knowledge are two-fold; the revelation and the universe. The Muslim can never reach full certainty and conviction until he takes from both sources and scrutinizes them. Both sources come from Allah and both sources address the human mind and senses. The revelation, however, is clearer in directing man and guiding him towards the right approach that can enable him to draw his own plan in dealing with the universe and with himself firsthand; in a way that helps him in benefiting and enjoying the subjugated universe.
Reflecting and pondering the universe is an individual duty in Islamic law, it’s even more than just a duty because it is a direct passage that leads the believer to his Lord. On the other hand reflecting is one of the individual’s rights in his Islamic society because it is the only way that leads to education and knowledge. All the means must be facilitated for him in order to enable him to perform this duty. Once the Muslim individuals and their community realize this duty their sciences will prosper and their knowledge will ameliorate; this was actually how the Islamic civilization managed to be a model and comprehensive human civilization one day.
1) The Muslim is commanded by the Qur’anic text to reflect and ponder:
• Allah says, “He created seven heavens one above the other in layers. You will not find any flaw in the creation of the Gracious One. Then look once again: can you see any flaw? Then look again and again. Your gaze will come back to you confused and exhausted. We have adorned the lowest heaven with lamps, and We have made them for driving away devils. For them We have prepared the punishment of the blazing Fire.” (TMQ, 67:3-5).
• Allah says, “Who gave everything its perfect form. He originated the creation of man from clay,” (TMQ, 32:7).
• Allah says, “We shall show them Our signs in the universe and within themselves, until it becomes clear to them that this is the Truth. Is it not enough that your Lord is the witness of all things?” (TMQ, 41:53).
• Allah says, “In the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of night and day; in the ships that sail the ocean bearing cargoes beneficial to man; in the water which Allah sends down from the sky and with which He revives the earth after its death, scattering over it all kinds of animals; in the courses of the winds, and in the clouds pressed into service between earth and sky, there are indeed signs for people who use their reason.” (TMQ, 2:164).
We notice the ending of the last verse “there are indeed signs for people who use their reason” which tells us that this is a clear command for mankind to ponder and reflect on the universe so that they can reach (with this action) full belief and realization of Allah and His laws. Only the people who are willing to use their reason can reach this status, only the people whose minds are able to control their desires and whims, and only the people who are guided to the “truth” upon which this whole existence was based.
This latter verse tells us about three things in existence; place (the heavens and earth), time (the alternation of night and day), and water.
2) The Islamic acts of worship hinge on pondering, contemplating and revering the creativity which is encased in the universe. We have prayers for the solar eclipse, the lunar eclipse and for recalling the rain. The Prophet (SAWS) said, “The sun and the moon do not eclipse because of someone’s death. So whenever you see these eclipses pray and invoke Allah till the eclipse is over.” (Al-Bukhary).
3) Pondering and reflecting will always be followed by realization and this is when the human being will realize his Creator and His Oneness. We have many verses in the Qur’an talking about the higher will of Allah in His universe and that He never leaves anything to chances or nature to control it however they please:
• Allah says, “Who is it that made the earth a stable place to live in? Who made rivers flow through it? Who set mountains upon it and placed a barrier between the two seas? Is there another deity besides God? Indeed, most of them have no knowledge.”(TMQ, 27:61).
• Allah says, “It is He who released the two bodies of flowing water, one sweet and fresh and the other salty and bitter, and set up an insurmountable barrier between them.” (TMQ, 25:53).
• Allah says, “He has set the two oceans in motion, converging together. Between them is a barrier, which they do not overrun.” (TMQ, 55:19-20). The source of the two bodies of water is the heavens since they’re both from water but still one is salty and one is fresh and still they are distributed over the earth evenly so that none of them would overpower the other. Both are important for life and so if one of them overpowered the other this would be a great destruction of life.
4) The verses even command us to ponder our food:
• Allah says, “…They said, “Your Lord is most knowing of how long you remained. So send one of you with this silver coin of yours to the city and let him look to which is the best of food and bring you provision from it and let him be cautious. And let no one be aware of you.”(TMQ, 18:19). This verse is urging us to inspect about the best food. It urges the manufacturer to excel in his work and the farmer to excel in his plantations. If the Muslim’s job will be to search for the best quality and if he will be trained on savoring and choosing that which matches his taste, if he will not just settle for anything but will only insist on the best; all of this will mean that the ones preserving the environment and protecting it will only accept the best in quality.
• Allah says, “Let man reflect on the food he eats. We let the rain pour down in torrents and then We cleaved the earth asunder. We make the grain grow out of it, and grape vines and vegetables, and olive trees and date palms and burgeoning enclosed gardens and fruits and fodder as provision for you and for your cattle to enjoy.”(TMQ, 80:24-32). The first verse is about subjugation and utilization, the second is related to consciousness and inference. The first one urges us to hard work and excellence whereas the second one urges us to believe in the Creator of the universe; the owner of all the blessings encased in the universe and the one who subjugatedit to be an easy means of sustenance for man.
5) The verses urge man to ponder the creation of animals and how they were subjugated for the benefit of man. Allah says, “There is also a lesson for you in cattle. From the contents of their bellies, from between the dung and blood, We give you pure milk to drink, pleasant for those who drink it.” (TMQ, 16:66). Man can never realize the ability of the Creator except by pondering His creations. This verse gives us just a hint of how Allah is able to extract goodness from the exact opposite of it. Allah places our hands on the signs and meanings that can enable us to perform our duty on earth. This duty can never be achieved except if we are able to extract the benefits and rights from the very womb of corruption and evil.
6) The verses urge us to ponder the wind and how it is a tool in constructing life. Allah says, “We let loose fertilizing winds, and bring water from the sky for you to drink; and you could not have stored it up for yourselves.” (TMQ, 15:22). This verse tells us about the role of the wind in initiating growth and life by the command of Allah who sent it to pollinate the plants and increase them. It is not the wind, in itself, that performs this role by the command of Allah who sends it and orders it to perform this role. The proof to this is that sometimes the wind comes to destroy and devastate whereas it comes many other times to bring goodness and pollinate the plants. So the wind is subjugated and commanded! Whatever goodness or destruction it comes with is definitely not from its own will. Allah says, “It is Allah who sends forth the winds so that they raise up the clouds. We drive them to a dead land, and by them bring the earth to life after its death. Such is the Resurrection.” (TMQ, 35:9). So the wind is just the first phase in the life cycle to the earth and as we can see from the latter verse, it is only Allah who sends the wind to move the clouds and initiate the life cycle of the earth.
7) The verses also urge us to contemplate the universe with the initiative of preserving its pristine beauty. Allah says, “…You see the earth, dead and barren, but no sooner do We send down rain upon it than it begins to stir and swell, and produce every kind of luxuriant vegetation: that is because Allah is the truth…” (TMQ, 22:5-6). So there is a relation between beauty and the truth! The truth enlists man to preserve the origin and the beauty of existence. Allah says, “…And We sent down water from the skies, and thus We made every kind of excellent plant grow there:” (TMQ, 31:10). Allah also says, “… and sends down water for you from the sky, by which We make luxuriant gardens grow-you could never make such trees grow in them-is it another deity besides Allah? No indeed, but they are a people who equate others with Him …. and who will make you inheritors of the earth?….” (TMQ, 27:60-62). This latter versemakes a connection between vicegerency on earth and between beauty! Allah made us the vicegerents in order to enjoy all this beauty and develop its existence and to protect it. The clarity of this concept in the Islamic perspective is capable of making the Muslim creative in every industry or task. Allah says, “He created the heavens and the earth for a true purpose. He is exalted above anything they associate with Him. He created man out of a [mere] drop of sperm: yet he shows himself to be openly contentious! He has created cattle for you: from them you derive food and clothing and numerous other benefits; how pleasant they look when you bring them home in the evenings and when you take them out to pasture in the mornings. They carry your loads to places which you could otherwise not reach without great hardship-surely, your Lord is compassionate and merciful- He has created horses, mules and donkeys, so that you may ride them, and also so that they may be put on show, and He creates other things beyond your knowledge.” (TMQ, 16:3-8). The verses start by talking about the truth upon which the creation of the heavens and earth was based. Then they tackle the creation of man ever since he was a sperm drop. Then the verses follow in discussing the necessities and improvements (i.e. the direct benefits, the beauty and the adornments… etc.) The fifth verse speaks about the warmth, about eating and about the benefits of the cattle. The sixth verse speaks about the pleasantness we feel inside us just by looking at the camels and cattle. The seventh verse speaks about the benefits of the cattle in carrying our heavy loads to great distances which we can never achieve on our own except if we go through great hardships. The eighth verse speaks about the fun we feel in riding the horses, mules and donkeys for pleasure and for adornment. Man must then benefit from the necessary subjugation to be able to acquire his material, moral, physical, psychological and mental health. To do so he must preserve the environment in both its dimensions; beauty and benefits. He must work on improving and excelling whatever achieves these benefits for him. Allah also says, “Did you not see how Allah sent down water from the sky with which We bring forth fruit of diverse colors. In the mountains there are streaks of various shades of white and red, and jet-black rocks; in like manner, men, beasts, and cattle have their diverse hues too. Only those of His servants, who possess knowledge, fear Allah. Allah is almighty and most forgiving.”(TMQ, 35:27-28). This tells us the very essence of Allah in His creation hinges on diversity and color consistency in order to create a wow-effect and an endless visual pleasure. Allah says, “The two seas are not alike. The one is sweet, thirst-quenching, and pleasant to drink from, while the other is salty and bitter. Yet from each you eat fresh fish and extract ornaments to wear…” (TMQ, 35:12). So Allah subjugated to us the fresh and salty water along with the lean meat. We see in this latter verse how the water is described as sweet and salty, how the meat is described as lean. Which tells us that Allah did not just subjugate the causes of life to us; He also made them beautiful and pleasant. He even created for us ornaments and jewels in the bottoms of the oceans like pearls so we could enjoy wearing them for beautification.
Islam urges us to reconstruct the earth:
1) Allah says, “…It was He who brought you into being from the earth and settled you upon it…’“ (TMQ, 11:61). That’s to say we are ordered to reconstruct the earth by reforming it and providing the necessities that are needed for living. The whole universe with all its manifestations and advantages is subjugated to man so as to serve him; hence man is requested to reconstruct it and protect it. Reconstructing the universe is a feature that achieves the servitude of man to Allah because unearthing the secrets of the universe allows us to take a peek at Allah’s wisdom. In order to be able to achieve his task of reconstructing the earth man needs to ponder deeply about the partial and holistic relations that combine the elements of the universe and control them. In other words, the wholesomeness of man’s approach in reconstructing the earth is connected to his holistic vision for the first cause beyond the creation of this universe and the nature of the relation the connects man to this cause, as well as the relation the connects him to the rest of the creatures in existence. We can understand the reconstruction of earth as exerting the effort to establish a virtuous and just society that can achieve for man the dignity that Allah destined for him, achieve the freedom which is the cause of his accountability and establish a society that acts peacefully towards nature and man with a prevailing spirit of amity and mercy.
2) Reconstruction must include all the three sides of life; matter, spirit and mind with full balance and alignment such that no one of them prevails over the other. This was exactly what the Prophet (SAWS) did when he migrated to Madinah and built the mosque which was the first form of construction. This constructive act included all the three sides of life; the building, the meeting point, the sanctuary, the conference hall, the worship spot, the lessons hall, the educational hall, the allegiance headquarters, the military headquarters, the planning headquarters and the place where the dawa to Allah is practiced. Allah says, “It is He who has produced gardens, both trellised and un-trellised, and date palms and field crops, all varying in taste, and the olive and the pomegranate, both similar and dissimilar. Eat their fruits when they bear fruit and give away what is due of them on the day of their harvest. Do not waste anything. He does not love the wasteful!”(TMQ, 6:141). This verse combines addressing the mind with pondering and contemplating the ability and wisdom of Allah in all the beauty and variety He provided. This image pleases the minds and achieves knowledge and education at the same time. It also addresses the senses in showing the enjoyment of food, along with addressing the spirit and inviting it to purge itself through charity and giving; all of which achieves spiritual and inner peace for man. The verse ends by requesting man not to be wasteful; that’s to say regulating his relations and amounts.
3) Reconstructing the earth, as visualized by Islam, is a two-fold process; first it is about the wholesomeness of the approach and second it is about excelling the process of building and reconstruction and giving it our best endeavor. Both sides must be implemented in order for the reconstruction process to be successful:
a. Allah says, “How many a town We destroyed which was given to wrongdoing, so that its roofs fell down, and how many a well is deserted and how many a lofty castle is in ruins.” (TMQ, 22:45). Al-Tabary says commenting on this verse, “Its people were perished, it became empty and deserted, it collapsed and fell down over its very people and roofs. Same with the wells that went dry when the people perished. The wells were buried in sand and no more people were able to drink from it. Even the castles were toppled and emptied from their inhabitants. All of this torment was a punishment for the wrong doing of the people; they perished and their ruins stayed as proof to the fact that they existed once.”
b. Allah says, “We destroyed these communities when they went on doing wrong, and We appointed a time for their destruction.”(TMQ, 18:59). Ibn Khaldun mentioned in his Prolegomena a whole chapter about injustice and how it can ruin civilizations. This chapter was titled, “Injustice is a warning for the toppling of construction”. He says, “We must all realize that this is the wisdom from forbidding injustice. Injustice gives way to corruption and the latter gives way to destruction of all constructions. This is also a clear warning that the human species will be perished. So this is the general wisdom of the jurist in all the five objectives of Islamic law; preserving faith, souls, minds, progeny and wealth.“ From what we see, if the financial and construction advancement is associated with backward values and wrong moral ethics this will lead to the corruption of the environment and the destruction of civilizations. The corruption of the method will inevitably lead man to collide with the universe and hence will lead to his suffering and bewilderment. The universe has its methods and laws and it is also connected to its Creator in glorification and prostration. If man acts chaotically and sporadically without any system or law and if he severs his relations with the Creator and the source of revelation he will be doomed with ignorance because of the rift that cut him from his sources of knowledge; the universe and the Creator. He will be on a collision course with all the creatures around him and his life (as well as theirs) will be corrupted.
c. Allah says, “Why, then, were there not among the generations before you upright men who would speak out against the [spread of] corruption on earth-except for the few whom We saved? But the wrongdoers pursued their worldly pleasures and thus became guilty. Your Lord would never unjustly destroy communities while their people were trying to reform.”(TMQ, 11:116-117). These verses explain to us an intricate and precise approach of how Allah intends for man to end injustice and how He commands him to push it away with truth. “And thus became guilty” is the cause for exterminating nations that have flourished on injustice and following desires and whims.
d. Allah says, “Then if you turn away, you are likely to spread corruption on the earth and sever your ties of kinship.”(TMQ, 47:22). If you turn away from the Divine method the result of your action will lead to corruption and severing ties of kinship. It will lead to corruption on earth and severing connections with human beings. This also confirms the structural unit we spoke about earlier.
e. Allah says, “When he turns away, he sets out to spread corruption in the land, destroying crops and cattle. Allah does not love corruption.” (TMQ, 2:205). So turning away from the path of truth will definitely lead to environmental corruption both on the level of human beings and the universe. The structural unit in the Qur’an, in addition to the structural unit in creating the universe, is the biggest proof to the oneness of the Creator who created and commanded.
4) Allah pairs faith (the method) with good deeds (building). He also pairs the right to earn benefit with toil and excellence:
a. Allah says, “Messengers, eat what is wholesome and do good deeds: I am well aware of what you do." (TMQ, 23:51).
b. Allah says, “Solomon smiled broadly at its words and said, 'Lord, inspire me to be thankful for the blessings You have granted me and my parents, and to do good deeds that please You; and include me, by Your grace, among Your righteous servants!'" (TMQ, 27:19). Prophet Solomon, when he found that nature responded to him and was subjugated fully to him, he discovered that he could talk to insects and birds. So he supplicated to Allah for guiding him to the right method and asked Him to help him persevere on his good deeds (building) in the way that pleases Allah.
c. Allah says, “We did not create heaven and earth and all that is between them in vain. That is the opinion of those who deny the truth. Woe untothose who deny the truth, when they are cast into the Fire- shall We treat those who believe and do good works the same as those who spread corruption in the land; shall We treat the pious the same as the wicked?" (TMQ, 38:27-28). Those who believe and do good deeds have followed the right path and have built and constructed. They are the ones who believe that Allah (SWT) created the heavens and earth on truth and justice not for fun or without any purpose. As for the corruptors, they have disbelieved in the right path and they did not do any good deeds; they thought the worse of their Creator when they were led astray by thinking that He created all this for no purpose.
Islam urges us to forbid corruption and corruptors:
The cosmic order has its destined laws and rules which are so accurate and precise. If any of these laws are side-stepped even by an atom the whole universe will collapse. Allah says, “The sun cannot overtake the moon, nor can the night outpace the day: each floats in [its own] orbit." (TMQ, 36:40). Allah created the universe hinging on relations of compatibility between its parts. We see this relation between the ebb and flow, attraction and repulsion between the stars and planets in their orbits and between the atoms and molecules. Should the forces of attraction overcome the forces of repulsion (or the other way round) the whole universe will fall apart.
Same thing with the human souls in their relation with each other (or with animals and inanimate objects); forces of attraction and repulsion bind all these relations in many ways such as love and hate, or war and peace. The human being must be balanced in his relations so as not to disrupt his life with any imbalances:
1. Allah says, “Those who break Allah’s covenant after they have pledged to keep it, and sever whatever Allah has ordered to be joined, and spread corruption in the land-it is they who are the losers." (TMQ, 2:27). They break Allah’s covenant by corrupting His methods, and they sever whatever Allah has ordered by the imbalance they cause in the equilibrium He created between the components of existence. They sever that which must not be severed and so they put all human relations on a collision course with Allah and the universe. This whole formula will definitely end in defeat and misery in this life and hereafter.
2. The original state that Allah created for man and the universe is based on reformation and regularity. Corruption only shows its head in the life of man and the universe when the innate nature of man is corrupted. Allah says, “Corruption has appeared on land and sea because of the evil which men's hands have done: and so He will make them taste the fruit of some of their doings, so that they may turn back from evil." (TMQ, 30:41). So that they turn back to what they left; the very essence of goodness!
3. Allah says, “…A clear Sign has indeed come to you from your Lord. So give full measure and full weight, and do not deliver short. Do not corrupt the land after it has been set in order. This is for your own good, if you are true believers." (TMQ, 7:85). Prophet Shuayb (Jethro) ordered his people to fulfill the rights of others and not to come short in delivering those rights. He ordered them to give measure and weight in full so as to regulate the relations between the people. It is a call for justice and fairness and it leads to the reformation of man and earth alike.
4. Allah commanded Korah in the Qur’an saying, “But seek the Home of the Hereafter by means of that which Allah has bestowed on you; do not forget to take your portion [of the Hereafter] in this world.' Be good to others as Allah has been good to you and do not strive for evil in the land, for Allah does not love the evil-doers.'" (TMQ, 28:77).
5. Allah says, “Who could be more wicked than someone who prevents Allah’s name from being mentioned in His places of worship, and seeks to bring about their ruin…." (TMQ, 2:114). There is nothing more wicked or evil than preventing the reformation that takes place inside the worship places of Allah; by worshiping Him, mentioning Him and educating people about Him. There is nothing more wicked than seeking to bring about the ruin of these places either physically by destroying them or morally by disrupting their reformation role, or by marginalizing their role in the society till they become incapable of refining the souls and radiating knowledge. This is considered the biggest assault on the freedom of man and the freedom of belief. We can expand the “houses of Allah” to include the whole earth in the sense that Allah made the whole face of the earth pure and fit for praying according to the narration of the Prophet (SAWS) the verse would mean that there is nothing more wicked than corrupting the earth by assaulting the method and the thought through corrupting the environment and the human civilizational structure.
6. Allah says, “Do not spread corruption on the earth after it has been set in order-pray to Him with fear and hope, Allah’s mercy is close to those who do good." (TMQ, 7:56).
7. Allah says, “Do not obey the bidding of those who are given to excesses, those who spread corruption in the land instead of putting things right.'" (TMQ, 26:151-152).
8. The Prophet (SAWS) forbade his companions from corrupting the earth even while they were preparing to rendezvous with the enemy. He said, “Do not betray, do not deceive, do not maim and do not kill a newly born.” (Muslim) In another narration he also added, “Do not burn a church and do not cut a palm.” (Musanaf Abdul-Razek) This same request was repeated by Abu Bakr to the army of Osama Ibn Zeid. He said, “I beseech you to do ten things; Do not kill a woman, a child, or an old man. Do not cut down a blossoming tree, do not destroy a building, and do not kill a sheep or camel, except for the purpose of eating it. Do not submerge or cut down a palm tree. Do not be excessive, and do not be cowardly.” (Mutaa Malik, Book of Jihad). So the Muslim has a mission of peace with everything, not a mission of war against nature or man and he is certainly not a corruptor or a destroyer.
The relation between love and corruption:
There is an inverse relation between love and corruption in the verses of the Qur’an. Allah says, “…and We have sown among them enmity and hatred till the Day of Resurrection. Whenever they kindle the fire of war, Allah puts it out. They spread evil in the land, but Allah does not love the evil-doers." (TMQ, 5:64). Enmity and hatred lead to war and aggression; which is the very essence of corrupting the earth.
The adjective (evil-doers) tells us that love and peace are the original state of creation and that hate and enmity are the very essence of corruption. In this latter verse Allah tells us that He does not love the evil-doers, and in another verse (2:205) He tell us that He does not love corruption or evil. Islamic law ordains protecting man from himself without killing himself. Allah says, “Spend for Allah’s cause: do not cast yourselves into destruction by your own hands. Do good, Allah loves the doers of good." (TMQ, 2:195). So Allah loves the good-doers and does not love the evil-doers. He loves the just people and does not love the aggressors.
Islam forbids us from wastefulness:
Wastefulness squanders the resources of life, that’s why Allahforbids and says,
1. “…Each tribe knew its drinking-place. [We said], 'Eat and drink what Allah has provided and do not act wrongfully in the land, spreading corruption.'" (TMQ, 2:60). Allah gave every tribe of the Israelites its share of water from the stones and He informed them about it so that no tribe would override the other. Allah did so because He knew the differences between then and how envious they were. He did not want any tribe to be wasteful in its share or to be greedy in wanting to control the share of the other. He finished this off by commanding them not to do any corruption because corruption will be the result of wastefulness and aggression. Wastefulness consumes the environmental resources and it threatens the very existence of man in the present or the future. Many other verses forbid us from being wasteful and commanding us to be moderate.
2. Allay says, “Give to your relatives their due, and also to the needy and the wayfarer. Yet do not spend extravagantly; spendthrifts are the brothers of Satan, and Satan is ever ungrateful to his Lord-" (TMQ, 17:26-27).
3. Allay says, “Be neither miserly, nor so open-handed that you suffer reproach and become destitute." (TMQ, 17:29).
4. Allay says, “They are those who are neither extravagant nor niggardly, but keep a balance between the two;" (TMQ, 25:67).
5. Allay says, “O Children of Adam, dress yourself properly whenever you are at worship: and eat and drink but do not be wasteful: Allah does not like wasteful people." (TMQ, 7:31). So wastefulness is an aggression on the rights of others in life and their right in obtaining the necessary livelihood like eating and drinking.
Islam urges us to share the benefit of everything Allah subjugated for us:
Subjugation, from the Islamic perspective, enlists us to share the benefits with each other and to provide what is important for our continuity in life:
1. Allah says, “It is He who created everything on the earth for you…" (TMQ, 2:29). This verse has more significance about the general benefit for all mankind. “You” here is about every human being and it confirms the fact that benefit is for all and the fact that all human beings have the right to enjoy the necessities of life according to Islamic law. So the Muslims cooperate with his brothers in performing the duties of preserving and protecting the environment. They must also share the benefit with each other. But the Muslim has a duty bigger than anyone else because Islamic law decrees the duty of protecting the environment as being intrinsic to the task of populating and reconstructing the earth.
2. Allah says, “… For a while, there is an abode for you and a provision on earth." (TMQ, 7:24). The word “earth” here means the whole earth not part of it. The word “abode” means a place to settle and enjoy the necessities of life like; food, drink, air and movement with all due respect and dignity for everyone. The word “provision” is about the aesthetics of life; comfort, pleasure and the entertainment of living on earth. The word “for a while” means that it is all temporary but that it will require the passage of time. This noble verse combines all the meanings of existence; man, time, place, the origins of life and beauty. It tells man that with his “settlement” on earth comes several tasks related to reconstructing the earth and the mission of vicegerency. All sons of Adam have the right to benefit from the resources of the earth in such a way that achieves settlement, pleasure and enjoyment of the subjugated universe. This enjoyment will last for as long as man is alive and in this all men are equal. So no man must monopolize the rights of others in life or existence and he must only take what is enough to let him live in dignity with things such as food, clothes, domiciles and all the other necessities and basics.
3. Allah say, “…He measured out its means of sustenance all in four Days; this is for those who ask for it." (TMQ, 41:10). The sentence “for those who ask for it” is all about equality between all human beings. Allah measured the sustenance and livelihoods for all people alike so no one will fall short of his sustenance and Allah will never give one and deny the other. Allah answers everyone because He did not destine for his sustenance to be monopolized by some and denied for some. His giving was never connected to the faith or belief of anyone because His giving is based on the fact that we are all human beings and Allah wanted us to seek His love out of choice not out of compulsion. Had he wished to compel us He would’ve been able to do it no doubt; but Henever wanted us to choose faith out of our need for food, drink or dress and that’s why Allah provides for the believer as well as the disbeliever.
4. Allah says, “And tell them that the water [of the well] is to be divided between them, and that each one should drink in turn.'" (TMQ, 54:28). Since water is the source of life and without it both men and animal would perish, we must then divide it between ourselves and never deprive anyone from it. This Islamic perspective is so distant from the meanings of aggression or monopoly that plague the material schools of thought which visualize man as an absolute owner who is not accountable to anything outside himself. The Islamic perspective stands on an exactly opposite position with all the values and meanings of love and peace.
5. Same thing comes in the Prophetic Sunnah where the Prophet (SAWS) says, “All mankind are the children of Allah and the most beloved to Allah are the ones who are beneficial to their children.” (Al-Bayhakei).
6. The Prophet (SAWS) decreed during his time to have the people share three things; water, forage and fire. These three things are the basic sources of livelihood and the basic sources of energy. Ibn Abbas narrated that the Prophet (SAWS) said, “The Muslims are partners in three things; water, forage and fire. It is forbidden to sell any of these.” Abu Saeed commented that water here means “running water”. (Ibn Majah). Abu Hurayra also narrated that the Prophet (SAWS) said, “Three should never be inhibited; water, forage and fire.” (Ibn Majah). Abu Hurayra also narrated that the Prophet (SAWS) said, “The benefit of water should never be inhibited with the purpose of inhibiting forage.” (Al-Bukhary). The two latter narrations explain the first one where the Prophet (SAWS) means to tell us that these three things should be shared between the people; not divided but shared. This means that all people should benefit from these three things as much as their needs and the rest should be left for the others or for the cycle of life to take its course. We must share many other things that Allah subjugated for us but the Prophet (SAWS) stressed these three things for their importance and in other narrations he added “the salt”. This was what the Prophet decreed being the ruler of the Muslims and the purpose beyond this was to stop monopolization of the basic needs of life. So the Muslim ruler can decreed some laws and regulations that prevent monopoly of any basic resources of life in order to better the life of man and protect the environment. Particularly the water since no living soul can bear the absence of water for long. That’s why the Prophet (SAWS) warned those who are responsible for water sources from preventing any living soul from drinking. He said, “Allah will not look upon three on Judgment Day; He will not purify them and He will torment them painfully; one of those is a man who had authority over a water source but he prevented the wayfarer from drinking.” (Al-Bukhary).
7. Islam also respects individual property as well as the collective property. It made the development and protection of the environment a circle that goes between these two properties. The instinctive need to own things and control them is respected and acknowledged by Islam but we must never override the rights of the community to benefit from the necessities of life like water, air and food. Property, whether individual or collective, must work on serving the very existence of man. So protecting the environment, in Islam, comes on two levels; protecting the individual since he is the vicegerent and the community (or the state) being responsible for protecting the individual property from any aggression, and punishing anyone who would dare override the rights of the community. The individual property, from the Islamic perspective, is the motive for protecting the environment out of our need to work and excel. This can be seen in how the Prophet (SAWS) used the individual property in developing and ameliorating the environment where he said, “Anyone who revives a barren land will own it…” (Abu Dawood) The barren land is the land that was never cultivated or populated with life. This narration is about respecting work and motivating the people to exert effort. This is how individual property can be used to motivate people into reconstructing and populating.
Islam orders us to preserve cleanliness on the personal and environmental levels:
Islam made purity (ablution) a condition for valid worship and same with purifying the place in which we perform our worship, our dress and covering our private parts. Purity is a condition for earning the love of Allah. Allah says, “…Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves."" (TMQ, 2:222). Allah also says, “…Within it are men who love to purify themselves; and Allah loves those who purify themselves." (TMQ, 9:108). These verses are about purifying the souls, spirits, minds and thoughts.
Islam urges us to watch our purity and cleanliness in many narrations that come along the following topics:
Urging us to clean our environment:
1. Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) was asked by Abu-Barza, “O Prophet of Allah, teach me something that I could benefit from.” The Prophet said, “Remove harm out of the people’s way.” (Muslim)
2. Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) said, “Avoid the two damnations!” When the people asked him what he meant he said, “Urinating or defecating in the path of the people or in the shade.” (Abu Dawood)
3. Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) also said, “Avoid three damnations; defecating in your food/drink sources, in the road or in the shade.” (Abu Dawood)
Urging us to cure our illnesses and seek the proper medicine: The Prophet (SAWS) said, “Seek cures for your illnesses! Allah has never created an illness except that He created the cure; except for one illness; death!” (Abu Dawood)
Urging us to resort to quarantines in case of plagues: Islam acknowledged quarantines at the time of the Prophet (SAWS) who said to his companions, “If you hear of it (meaning the plague) in any place then never enter that place. If it comes right where you are then never try to escape or leave your land.” (Al-Bukhary)
Urging us to clean our place! The Prophet (SAWS) used to sweep the floor of the mosque from the dust with his own hands, using a sweep!” (Ibn Abu Shayba) A woman used to care for the cleanliness of the mosque and then this woman died. The companions did not care much for her death and they did not tell the Prophet about her. But they were amazed to find the Prophet (SAWS) asking about her and missing her absence. When he learned of her death he was so sad and he berated them for belittling her role and not telling him about her death. He even visited her grave, stood on it and prayed for her. The way he dealt with the death of this woman made the companions realize how important she is and how important her role is. Abu Hurayra narrated, “A black woman (who used to clean the mosque) was missed by the Prophet and so he inquired about her and learned that she died. He said, ‘Why did not you tell me?’ It was like he was angered that they belittled her. He said, “Show me her grave.” He went there and prayed for her and said, “These graves are pitch-black forthe buried souls. Allah only lightens them up when I pray there.” (Muslim)
Urging us to wash our hands:
1. Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) said, “The blessing of eating is in performing ablution before it and after it.” (Abu Dawood) The ablution meant here is washing the hands and the mouth.
2. The Prophet (SAWS) ordered us to wash our hands once we get up in the morning. He said, “Whenever any of you wakes up so let him wash his hands thrice before he eats. He never knows where his hands were while he was sleeping.” (Muslim)
Urging us to clean our mouths and teeth! He said, “Whoever eats garlic or onion should keep away from our mosque or should remain in his house.” (Al-Bukhary) This means that if we don’t maintain the cleanliness of our teeth and breath we will be denied praying in Jamaa because bad breath harms the people praying next to us. The Prophet (SAWS) ordered us to keep cleaning our teeth and mouth and he was keen on using miswak till the moment he died. He used miswak to clean his mouth and this bark is taken from a tree that is compatible with human beings; it sanitizes and cleans the mouth, teeth and gums. It is also available everywhere and very affrodable. The Prophet (SAWS) said about it, “It purifies the mouth and pleases the Lord.” (Al-Bukhary). He also said, “Had I not feared to make things difficult for my nation I would have ordered them to use miswak before every prayer.” (Al-Bukhary).
Urging us to care for our hair:
1. He said, “Whoever has any hair then let him be good to it.” (Abu Dawood).
2. Abu Qatada Al-Ansary narrated that he asked the Prophet (SAWS), “I have a huge mane! Should I comb it?” The Prophet said, “Definitely and be good to it.” So Abu Qatada used to daub his mane twice every day after he heart that. (Malik).
3. The Prophet (SAWS) was in the mosque one day when a man with an unruly mane and beard entered. The Prophet (SAWS) made a gesture with his hand asking the man to go out and tidy his hair and beard. The man did so and came back so the Prophet asked the, “Isn’t this better than someone coming in with unruly hair as if he was a devil on the loose?” (Malik).
4. Jabir Ibn Abdullah said, “The Prophet (SAWS) came and saw a man with unruly hair so he asked, “Couldn’t he find something to comb his hair with?” He saw another man with soiled clothes so he asked, “Couldn’t he find some water to wash his clothes?” (Abu Dawood).
Urging us to care for our clothes:
1. Allah says, “And your garments do purify," (TMQ, 74:4).
2. The Prophet (SAWS) said, “No one with an atom of pride in him will enter paradise.” So a man asked him, “But we like to keep our clothes and shoes looking nice!” So the Prophet answered, “Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty. But pride is disdaining the truthand despising people.” (Muslim).
3. He also said, “You are approaching your brothers now so fix your garments and shine like stars. Allah does not like vulgarity or vulgar.” (Abu Dawood).
Islam and preserving water:
Water is the origin of life. Allah says, “…And that We have made every living thing out of water? Will they still not believe?" (TMQ, 21:30). Allah also says, “It is Allah who created the heavens and the earth and sent down rain from the sky and produced thereby some fruits as provision for you and subjected for you the ships to sail through the sea by His command and subjected for you the rivers." (TMQ, 14:32). And He says, “…and what Allah has sent down from the heavens of rain, giving life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and dispersing therein every [kind of] moving creature, and [His] directing of the winds and the clouds controlled between the heaven and the earth are signs for a people who use reason." (TMQ, 2:164).
1. The Prophet (SAWS) forbad us from polluting the water. He forbade the people from urinating in stagnant water (Muslim). Urinating in stagnant water will not just pollute it but it will turn it into a swamp that spreads diseases and illnesses.
2. The Prophet (SAWS) ordered us to protect our food from contamination. He said, “Turn off the lamps if you want to lie down. Close your doors, tie the mouths of your water skins, and cover the food and drinks.” (Al-Bukhary).
3. He forbad us from blowing in any food containers. (Abu Dawood) This is to protect the food from any contamination or microbes.
4. He used to drink water on three batches rather than gulping it all at once. He said, “This will quench your thirst and won’t harm you.” (Muslim) The Arabs before Islam used to gulp the water in one go and most of it would drip on their chests and all over their beards which looked so primitive and uncivilized. The Prophet (SAWS) wanted to change this mental picture and wanted the Muslim to be civilized and clean in eating and drinking.
5. He forbade us from being wasteful in using the water even when we perform our ablution. He ordered Saad (while he was performing ablution) saying, “What is all this wastefulness?” Saad asked him, “Is there any wastefulness in ablution?” The Prophet said, “Yes! Even if you were standing at the banks or a river!” (Ibn Majah).
Islam and preserving the plants:
1. The Prophet (SAWS) said, “If anyone cuts the lote-tree, Allah brings him headlong into Hell.” (Abu Dawood)
2. He also said, “No Muslim will plant a tree except that everything that eats from it will be considered a charity in his favor. Whatever is stolen from him will be a charity, whatever the beasts eat will be a charity, whatever the birds eat will be a charity, and anyone eating from it will be a charity.” (Muslim).
3. He also said, “Anyone planting a tree and waiting patiently for it till it bears fruits will get a charity with anything benefiting from this tree.” (Musnad Ahmad).
4. He also said, “If the last day comes and any of you has a palm shoot in his hand then let him plant it first.” (Musnad Ahamd).
Islam and protecting animals and being gentle to them:
1. The Prophet (SAWS) said, “Beware never to use the backs of your rides as pulpits! Allah subjugated them for you so they can carry you from one place to the other otherwise you would have suffered on your own without them. Allah also subjugated the earth for you so you can deliver your lectures while standing on it.” (Abu Dawood).
2. Abdullah Ibn Jabir narrated, “One day, the Prophet entered a grove which belonged to one of the Ansar, and there he saw a camel. When the camel saw the Prophet, he moved toward him. Tears were flowing out of his eyes. The Prophet approached him, rubbed his head, and the camel calmed down. The Prophet asked, “Who is the owner of this camel?” A young man from the Ansar said, “He belongs to me, O messenger of Allah!” The Prophet said, “Don't you fear Allah, Who handed you the ownership of this beast? He complained to me that you do not feed him and you over work him.” (Abu Dawood)
3. Anas Ibn Malik narrated that a family from the Ansar had a camel which they used and then the camel suddenly refused to let them ride it. So they went to the Prophet (SAWS) complaining how the camel is refusing to work and how their plants are almost dying from thirst. So the Prophet asked them to take him to their garden and when he came there he saw the camel standing at one end so he went to it. The people warned the Prophet because the camel was very aggressive and they were afraid it might hurt the Prophet. But when the Prophet (SAWS) looked at the camel the camel approached him and fell down to its knees right in front of him. The Prophet (SAWS) placed his hand on the camel’s forehead and lowered it as down as possible and then slowly he pulled it back into work once more.” (Musnad Ahmad).
4. He said, “While you are travelling if you traverse a green land then linger there for a while till the camels and cattle take their fill. If you traverse a barren land then hurry out of it. Once you decide to camp then choose the sides of the roads.” (Abu Dawood)
5. The Prophet (SAWS) said, “A woman was tormented because of a cat. She confined it in a place till it died. The woman went to Hell because she neither fed the cat nor let it go out to find its own food.” (Al-Bukhary)
6. The Prophet (SAWS) said, “As a man was walking once he became so thirsty. He found a well of water and went down to get himself some water and drink it. As he came out of the well he saw a dog that was so thirsty it was eating the wet sand near the opening of the well. He said to himself, “This dog is just as thirsty as I was!” So he went down the well one more time and brought some water in his shoes which he caught by his mouth as he climbed up the well. Then he gave the water to the dog that drank it. Allah thanked the man and forgave all his sins.” The men asked the Prophet, “Prophet of Allah, will we be rewarded for the animals?” The Prophet said, “For any soul that has a wet liver.” (Al-Bukhary)
7. Lady Aisha narrated, “The Prophet’s family had a beast. Whenever the Prophet would go out the beast would play and run all around. Once it felt the Prophet coming in it would just lie down still the whole time the Prophet was in the house because it feared it might hurt him.” (Musnad Ahmad)
8. Ibn Abbas narrated, “The Prophet would forbid us from provoking the animals into wrestling with each other.” (Abu Dawood)
9. Jabir narrated that as the Prophet sat once he saw a donkey whose face was branded so he said, “Let me tell you that I will damn anyone who brands an animal on its face or even beat it on its face.” (Abu Dawood)
10. Jabir Ibn Abdullah narrated the Prophet (SAWS) would forbid them from killing the animals slowly. (Muslim)
11. He said, “Do not use anything that has a life in it as an object.” (Muslim)
12. He also said, “Beware the milk-cow.” (Muslim)
13. He said, “Allah decreed excellence on everything, so if you kill then do it charitably and if you slaughter then do it charitably. Sharpen your blade and rest your animal.” (Muslim) Imam Al-Nawawy said that this narration is a compendium of all the rules of Islam, and Allah knows best.
14. Ibn Abbas narrated that a man rested an animal which he wanted to slaughter while he was sharpening his blade. The Prophet said to him, “Isn’t it enough you’re slaughtering it, you want to kill it twice?? For God’s sake sharpen your blade away from the animal and before you rest it down like this!” (Al-Hakem)
Islam and mercy for the birds:
1. The Prophet (SAWS) said, “He who kills a bird for fun will find this bird approaching him on Judgment Day saying, ‘My Lord, this man killed me for fun and not for any benefit.’” (Musnad Ahmad)
2. One of Prophet Muhammad’s companions narrates, “We were on a journey and during the Prophet’s absence, we saw a bird with its two chicks; we took them. The mother bird was circling above us in the air, beating its wings in grief. When Prophet Muhammad returned he said, “Who has hurt the feelings of this bird by taking its chicks? Return them to her.” (Muslim)
3. Abdullah Ibn Masud narrated that someone took two chicks of a bird (hamra), which came in panic searching for its chicks. Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) then asked, “Who has distressed it by taking its chicks?” Then he asked them to return the chicks which they did. (Abu Dawood)
Islam and the ecological balance:
The Prophet (SAWS) urged us to watch the ecological balance by protecting all the species of animals from extinction so as to maintain this intricate balance:
1. The ecological balance protects all the quantities and measures which Allah destined in the universe. Allah made an intricate balance for everything and He based all the relations between the constituents of the universe on this calculated balance. Any interference from man would topple the balance and definitely lead to extinction:
a. Allah says, “We have spread out the earth, and set upon it firm mountains and caused everything to grow in due proportion." (TMQ, 15:19).
b. Allah says, “There is not a thing but its storehouses are with Us. But We only send down each thing in an appropriate measure:" (TMQ, 15:21).
c. Allah says, “Allah knows what every female bears. He knows of every change within the womb. For everything He has a proper measure;" (TMQ, 13:8).
d. Allah says, “He sends down water from the sky that fills riverbeds to overflowing, each according to its measure. The torrent carries along swelling foam, akin to what rises from smelted ore from which man makes ornaments and tools. Allah thus depicts truth and falsehood. The scum is cast away, but whatever is of use to man remains behind. Allah thus speaks in parables." (TMQ, 13:17). In this verse “that fills riverbeds to overflowing” tells how the amount of water is measured to the exact quantity needed to overflow the riverbeds. Any disruption in the amounts will corrupt the earth and perish mankind because too much water will drown the earth and life. Same thing if the riverbeds became too narrow to hold the water. In the same verse we also have this sentence, “Allah thus depicts truth and falsehood. The scum is cast away, but whatever is of use to man remains behind” which tells us about the war between truth and falsehood and thatuseful thing will always survive in the end to benefit people and populate the earth. As for falsehood it goes away like the scum from which no one benefits.
e. Allah says, “We have created everything in due measure;" (TMQ, 54:49).
f. Allah says, “The sun and the moon move according to a precise calculation; the stars and the trees bend in prostration. He raised the heavens and set up the measure, so that you should not transgress the measure. Always measure with justice and do not give short measure." (TMQ, 55:5-9).Precise calculation, balance and justice; these verses tell us about creation and how it was based on the balance. Allah is commanding us to preserve the balance and justice.
2. The ecological balance preserves the lives of all the living species:
a. Allah says, “There is not an animal that moves about on the earth, nor a bird that flies on its two wings, but are nations like you. We have left out nothing in the Book-they shall all be gathered before their Lord." (TMQ, 6:38). So they are “nations like us”created by Allah, sharing this earth with us; and so we must respect them and care for their rights to live. This is all part of our duty as vicegerents of Allah on earth. That’s why Allah commanded Noah to carry in his Arc one pair from eachspecies to keep it from extinction.
b. Allah says, “…We said to Noah, 'Take into the Ark a pair from every species, and your own family-except those on whom the sentence has already been passed, and all the true believers.' But only a few believed along with him." (TMQ, 11:40). So protecting the various species of animals and birds is so important that Allah orders Noah to carry them on his Arc, next to importance comes his family and next to importance comes the rest of the believers. The Arc was shared by all of them for survival, just as the earth is. This tells us how important the ecological balance is and how we should all protect the existence of each other on earth. The Sunnah of the Prophet (SAWS) also tells us how to respect insects, animals and birds; how to protect these species since they are nations just like us.
c. The Prophet (SAWS) said, “An ant stung a prophet once and so he ordered his men to burn down the whole village of ants. So Allah revealed to him, “An ant stung you and you burnt down a whole nation of glorifying ants!” (Al-Bukhary).
d. The Prophet (SAWS) said, “Were dogs not a species of creature I should command that they all be killed. So only kill the purely black ones.” (Abu Dawood) Al-Nawawy said, “If the dog is rapacious then it must be killed if not then it can be spared whether it was a useful dog or not.” Imam Abul-Maali said, “This command is abrogated. It is true that the Prophet (SAWS) ordered the killing of dogs once then he forbade that and this is how it ended. He ordered the killing of the purely black dogs once since this type was obviously rapacious at his time. But this command was abrogated.” From the above we can see that the Prophet’s order to kill the black dogs and then to spare them was onlyabout the ecological order because the rapacious black dogs have spread so much in the Madinah that they started to threaten the security of mankind and the lives of other animals. So he ordered to kill them and then he abrogated the commandto preserve the ecological balance and hence the existence of the universe.
3. The ecological balance is based on establishing ecological protectorates:
a. The Prophet (SAWS) said, “Ibrahim made Allah's House a Sacred Area and a safe refuge. I have made what is between the two sides of Al-Madinah a Sacred Area. Therefore, its game should not be hunted, and its trees should not be cut. Neither should anyone carry any weapons or arms there.” (Musnad Ahmad).
b. This is the closest towards the definition of a protectorate as we know it in our modern days. The Islamic preserves where for the protection of plants, animals and man all alike; not just from death but also from feeling any fear. Islamic protectorates (as symbolized by the sanctified house) brought the concept of security and safety to anyone entering such a place.
Islam and environmental peace:
Environmental peace starts with respecting man and acting charitably towards him since he is part of the ecology. He must be protected and developed as part of the task Allah assigned to us. Any aggression against man or his dignity or his respect is an aggression against the whole ecology and a corruption of the earth.
Respecting humanity starts with:
First: Humility. This is about respecting the humanity of man and never transcending over him for one reason or the other. Even if he is misguided and loses his way to Allah and disbelieves in Him! Those who are guided and those who know the true path of faith and belief must respect his humanity and his right in sharing this earth and cooperating to preserve life and our common existence. The Prophet (SAWS) says, “Allah has revealed to me that we must be humble so that no one would oppress another or brag over him.” (Abu Dawood). Being humble is not in the sense of disdaining ourselves or undermining our dignity, honor or freedom. Being humble means respecting one another! Abu Saeed narrated that the Prophet said, “Do not disdain one another.” So they asked, “In what way do we disdain one another Prophet of Allah?” He said, “He sees Allah ordering him to do something and he doesn’t convey it to the others. On Judgment Day Allah will ask him why he didn’t convey His orders and his answer will be, ‘I was afraid of the people!’ So Allah will tell him, ‘It is Me you should’ve been afraid of.’” (Ibn Majah).
Second: Abstaining from harm. The Prophet (SAWS) forbidsus from harming our neighbors. He said, “No one will enter Paradise if his neighbor was not spared from his harm.” (Muslim) So this narration clearly urges us not to harm our neighbors in any way. Neighborhood includes the Muslim, the disbeliever, the free person, the slave, the rich, the poor, the near, the far, the foreign, the individual and the community. It includes your neighbor who lives close to you, your friend, your colleague and even the one sitting next to you in the mosque. As for the harm it includes all forms of physical or moral harm such as pollution or contamination of the environment in any way whether visual, audio, radioactive or airborne. It includes all forms of physical and mental abuse. Hence protecting the environment starts with the neighbor. The narration does not only urge us to abstain from harming our neighbor but we must also protect him against any harm by making him feel safe and peaceful just because of living next to a Muslim; a Muslim from whom no harm can ever come. Harm or abuse can come in many forms:
• Writing graffiti on the walls or hanging pictures or ads of the houses of stores without asking permission of the owners first. This is considered a violation of ownership. Same thing with the countries that produce nuclear power and dispose of their radioactive waste in such a way that harms their neighbors without permission or even compelling them by force.
• The Prophet (SAWS) forbid the people from eating garlic or onion and then coming right after it to pray in the mosque because bad smells are offensive to the worshipers.
• Al-Miqdad describes the gentleness of the Prophet (SAWS) and how he protected his friends and neighbors from any noise. He said, “…So we milked them and every person amongst us drank his share and we set aside the share of the Prophet (SAWS) and it was his habit to come during the night and greet the people present there in a manner that would not wake up one in sleep but make one who was awake hear it.” (Muslim)
• Whenever he would wake up at night to do his vigil prayers he would recite the Qur’an in such a way that would never wake up the sleeping but would still entertain the ones who are not sleeping.
• His companions used to knock on his door with their finger nails so as not to make any unnecessary noise.
Third: Love. The Prophet (SAWS) says, “None of you shall believe until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” (Al-Bukhary)
Hence, Islamic culture is an environmental culture. It respects man; it respects his taste and his feelings. The environmental culture is an intrinsic part of our religion culture even if we noexplicit texts mention it.