Whose Environmental Crisis?
We have willingly turned ourselves over to the care of unseen people. So the Creator in the Unseen has willed to turn us from His meticulous care to their ruthlessly methodical exploitation and carelessness. The modern world has told us the greatest fairy tale in history, that we no longer have to worry about the Judgment of the Creator in the world for our trespasses because "rational" men have recently learned to take away His Life and the wise men of ‘natural' science now control the world and shall find an answer to every problem, including death.
But alas for the words of men. How often they are empty, like their hearts, and how easily they are deceived. So corruption prevails in the land and the sea. Nor even have the spheres of the heavens been saved from all the evil that the hands of humanity have earned. This, God has allowed, so that He may cause them to taste something of that which they have done. Yet even so, this test for man is no mere punitive measure from God. Rather, it is so that they may return to their proper posture of vicegerency in penitence to Him (30:41).
For the results of man's wholesale assault on creation (especially our oppression of our own selves) remain grievous violations against the Creator. And though our ways must change, His Way does not. Erupting mountains, quaking lands, melting glaciers, burning woods, tidal destructions, breached skies, and breaking levees -- these catastrophes of creation are happening everywhere and with increasing rapidity because such is the Judgment of God. And even as our unnatural human behavior is no longer local but global -- and, true to the understanding of the ages before our modern one -- so to the ensuing creational disaster remains commensurate with the environs of our corruption. Steadily, they are engulfing the whole earth.
Whose Crisis Is It?
The mainstream media presents the dimensions of our impending environmental disasters as a "natural" outcome of a system of human life now so "advanced" as to be hopelessly intricate, complex, and overwhelming. This is no accident. This message is meant to make us throw up our arms and ask: How can a common person like me work outside the system?
Yet this question is itself telling of a deeper problem. We exist in such a state of disconnection -- with creation, with one another, with the sacred, with God -- that we falsely see the system as separate from ourselves; in fact, that we see ourselves as existing either outside of it or able to enter and exit it at will; that we come to see the system is an inevitable Leviathan of history; that we submit to the notion that power properly belongs to the system almost metaphysically; and that we personally are spiritually separated and emotionally divested of the system so that there is nothing we can or ought to do to change it. On the contrary, even we Muslims are now increasingly telling one another that we can bend the system, through clever political activism, to our interests, if we are "smart" like others have been.
This is more than nonsense. It is delusional. The truth is, we Muslims, we human beings, are now profoundly steeped in our disconnections, nearly totally dislocated from the sacred, disoriented about our mission in the world, disengaged from the orphan and widow of war, detached from the wretched poor, and derelict in our divinely appointed vicegerency over soil, sea, and air, and the life and forms they support. The Qur'anic verses and Prophetic statements detailing man's responsibilities -- not as cheap splintered activism but as rich integrating belief -- as God's earthly deputy are too numerous to utter here. But it is even now being evermore widely perceived by those who have the courage of their knowledge.