Beginning on Monday 27th August 2012, New Zealand Muslims will once again dedicate a week of pro-active engagement with all New Zealanders in series of activities to mark IAW 2012. Hon Judith Collins, Minister of Ethnic Affairs, Police and ACC will launch Islam Awareness Week this year on Monday at 10.30am at the Wellington Islamic Centre, 7-11 Queens Drive, Lyall Bay, Wellington.
Started over decade ago, IAW is now constant in the Calendar of New Zealand Muslims and meant to create space and platform for quality interaction and understanding between New Zealand Muslims and the wider society. It is always an opportunity to gain insight into the religious beliefs, values and practices of Muslims for improved harmony, cohesion and progress of Aotearoa.
The theme of this year's IAW is 'Islam and the Environment: Our Rights and Responsibilities'.
The deliberately chosen theme departs from popular perception of Islam as a religion of rituals only such as Ramadan, Hajj etc. It highlights the importance, any obligation that the religion places on environmental protection.
In driving home this point. IAW activities this year include lectures and symposia in Mosques (Masajid) and on campuses, beach-clean up and tree planting etc. in different cities and towns in New Zealand.
FIANZ is a partner in the Diversity Action Programme led by the Human Rights Commission and Islam Awareness Week represents a major event in its ongoing contribution to the Programme.
Islam and the Environment by Rayya Ali
"When the earth is shaken with a (violent) shaking, And the earth reveals what burdens her, And man says: What has befallen her? On that day she shall tell her story....."
Nature and environment have always played an important part in the lives of devout Muslims. Muslims have this understanding that the Almighty has not created this world and everything in it without a reason. Everything has a purpose. In fact we, as Muslims, have been commanded to find the wonderful signs of God around us so that we can increase in our awe of our Rabb - the Cherisher and Sustainer.
The environment that we live in does not only include of nature but also everything around us and everything that we make use of. Our basic necessities and needs are all part of the environment. Resources that are available for us to use are all part of the environment. The environment is the medium in which Man lives; the mother's womb is a man's first environment; home is an environment; school is an environment; the place where we live is an environment; the earth is an environment and the whole universe is an environment. From the Islamic world view and perspective, the relationship humankind has with nature and the environment should be like that of a just ruler with his subjects. Although the ruler has power over his subjects, his subjects are a trust over which he stands and guards. He is expected to act in a responsible way (as defined by the revelation) toward them. Misuse and abuse of his power would shift him from being a leader to being a tyrant. The end result of tyranny is nothing but a revolt against the tyrant. This is precisely what is happening between man the tyrant and nature the tyrannised. Tyranny is effective only in the short term. In Islam, Muslims believe that man has been given a responsibility by Allah (i.e., Arabic for God) on this earth and that man will be accountable to God for his actions and the trust placed in him. Prophet Muhammad said,
"Every one of you is a guardian and is responsible for his charges. The ruler who has authority over people is a guardian and is responsible for them"
(Sahih Bukhari 3.46.730).
Islam has urged humanity to be kind to nature and not to abuse the trust that has been placed on the shoulders of man. In fact, to be kind to animals is an integral part of Islam for Muslims. There are two primary sources defining Islam: The Qur'an (Muslim Holy Book) and the Hadith (the example, sayings, and actions of Prophet Muhammad). Both emphasise the accountability and responsibility of man toward the rest of creation.
We the humankind will be accountable for everything on the day of judgement. The food we waste, the water that goes to waste and the resources that we use in haste and all that is given to us by the blessings of God and his grace. Allah (SWT) has bestowed upon us his many blessings and we as the people are responsible for taking care of it.
We look forward to meeting you at the events around the country and getting to know you better.