Islam, Muhammad and sustainability

This article is also available in: Italiano

The concept of “green” and “sustainability” may appear new to us, but, if we look at it with a different perspective, we will realize that they have always been part of Islamic history. Some verses, hadiths and our thematic considerations.

Islam and sustainability

With an ever-growing emergency linked to the environment, many are rediscovering a “green” past, revealing unexpected conjunctions. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), in particular, was perhaps one of the most interesting figures from this point of view and “forerunner” of many sustainable practices. To tell the truth, he must dictate that the Koran is already strenuously opposed to excesses, be they of a practical or metaphysical nature.

Adobe, the mud bricks

“O Children of Adam, dress before each prayer. Eat and drink, but without excess, for Allah does not love those who exceed.” Surah Al A’Raf vv. 31

Not only avoiding waste, but also “corrupting” the earth as little as possible is a specific duty of every believer and this also has to do with its function in the cosmos, starting with Adam. In fact, he is considered the vicar of Allah on earth, a role that was offered to him as the only one to accept the responsibility of faith.


Precisely due to his mortal nature, the human being cannot, even if he ardently wishes, to be considered the “master of the Earth”. The condition in which we have been placed prevents it, showing us instead how much everything is subject to continuous transformation. It is no coincidence that Muhammad pushes man to eliminate obstacles from the path, not to exceed and to make the landscape in front of us more and more beautiful. All these actions will be counted once he is dead, weighing on the balance of good and giving some extra credit for Heaven. There are actions, however, that also reward after-effects and among this there is undoubtedly planting a tree.

quran food
Olive tree, conciliator of the Mediterranean

“When a Muslim plants a seed that grows to the point where humans, birds and animals can benefit from it by feeding on it, this is considered a charitable action.” (Bukhari)

The value given to vegetation is incredible, so much so that even during wars it is extremely forbidden to destroy nature, considered exactly on the same level as the innocent. It even seems that the Prophet established several areas where the forests were to be free to grow and that he made a great effort to have a sustainable type of agriculture. This is because, as it is said in several hadiths, we are nothing more than travelers during a stopover, our goal can only be to leave things better than how we found them. Islam is probably the one that most identifies with the “religion of action” and even here the dictates are extremely practical.


It must be said that animal welfare also plays a role of primary importance in this faith, so much so that it is at the very key of many practices. Starting from the slaughter, up to the sharing of meat during the eid, the Quran already offers many ideas in this direction. Kindness and good behavior, then, must touch a good Muslim in every aspect of his life including, of course, in his relationship with animals. In fact, there are several hadiths that circulate on the subject and all end with a precept, the basis for understanding the concept that Islam has of “relationship”:


“The perfect believers are those who have good manners” (At-Tirmidhi)

The believer must behave well with everyone, precisely because, to be such, he must have understood that he is part of something much greater than himself. We return to the conception of man as a traveler, guest, in a certain sense, of the paradise that he himself created.

The week dedicated to the environment continues, tomorrow extra podcast on “Erdoğan and the development of cannabis“.

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