This profit-based system must change
February 01, 2020 by Extinction Rebellion
I am a mother of three and a practising Muslim woman, originally from Yemen, a country torn by war. I’ve lived in Britain for 20 years.
I have been environmentally aware for years. My first education on environmental issues came from the Quran when I came across verses that alerted me to environmental problems to come. At the time I didn’t fully understand it. One verse read: ‘The corruption has appeared throughout the land and the sea by [reason of ] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of ] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness] ’. Quran 30/41
Corruption, to me, meant cheating between people or by governments (land), but the word (sea) didn’t fit this idea. I asked myself what corruption in the sea would look like.
The answer came when I saw the images of an oil tanker spill in 1989: the images of thick dark oil floating on the sea, birds and fish covered in it. From that, I came to understand that human corruption caused the corruption (pollution) on land and sea.
The Quran’s use of the word ‘earned’ rather than ‘does’ is revealing- it makes me think of earning for profit, lowering safety standards, insurance payouts to oil companies and donations to politicians who then create laws or loopholes in laws that allow this to happen.
The second verse that spoke to me was about money lending and business, which the Quran forbids, ‘O you who have believed, fear Allah and give up what remains of [due to you] interest, if you should be believers. And if you do not, then informed of a war [against you] from Allah and His Messenger. But if you repent, you may have your principal – [thus] you do no wrong, nor are you wronged’. Quran 2/278-279
Global warming, the environment’s defensive war against our actions, is a result of the profit-based system that we are living in, the consequences of our own collective activities.
We are the guardians of the earth, therefore we all have a duty of care, Muslim and non-Muslim, to together prevent the ecological catastrophe that we are watching unfold now.