How do the Sacred Texts and beliefs of Islam OR Christianity, inform a Religion that is relevant to contemporary adherents? In todays society, unlike many years ago religion is not seen as an important part of peoples lives. People are way to busy or so they think to be ‘wasting their time’ with religion, and church. But for those who do believe in a religion, especially those from the Islamic religion, they take part in a religion that was formed hundreds of years ago, still using and believing in the same scared texts and beliefs.
Islamic environmental ethics are drawn from the 3 underpinning principle beliefs, that are the 3 central concepts of Islam and the pillars of Islamic environmental ethics. Tawhid a belief brought upon many many years ago, is the belief of Unity. It believes in the Unity and oneness of all created by Allah and that unity is reflected in the created world, thus the Tawhid demands that the integrity of the created world be maintained by balance and harmony.
“The whole earth has been created a place of worship, pure and clean. – Hadith The Khalifa, belief in Stewardship, is the belief that Allah has made humans responsible for all creation and with this involves appropriate use of resources for human needs. “It is He that has made you custodians; inheritors of the earth. ” (Qur’an Surah 6:165) Akrah is the belief of accountability, Muslims believe that they will be judged on how they have acted, and ones treatment of gods created world.
The sources of ethical teachings, and the relationship between humans and the universe is outlined in the Qur’an, Hadith and Shari’a.
It is defined in Qur’an as based on meditation of the universe and what it contains, sustainable utilization and development for human benefit, care and nurture extended beyond humans to the benefit of created beings. The Hajj is an obligation which fulfils one of the five pillars of Islam required of a Muslim at least once in a lifetime for those financially and physically able “those who can make their way there”. It is a faithful submission to the will of Allah. And pilgrimage to the House is incumbent upon men for the sake of Allah” – Surah 3:96. Before embarking on this miraculous journey, pilgrims must redress all wrongs, organise funds for the journey and the family being left behind, and prepare themselves for good conduct during the Hajj. The Journey then goes for 5 full days, starting officially on the 8th day of Dhul-Hijjah. After completing the Hajj with all rites performed, pilgrims have earned the right to be called al-Hajj or al-Hajji.
The Hajj expresses the beliefs of Islam through commemorating important religious events. These include Abraham and his son Ishmael built the Ka’ba, and established the rituals of the Hajj to reflect his life, Muhammad’s last sermon on Arafat, Jamra symbolises Abraham throwing stones at Satan who tried to dissuade him from sacrificing Isaac, and Nahr reflects Allah replacing Isaac with a sacrificial lamb. The Hajj reinforces fundamental islamic concepts with the Five Pillars of Faith.
Shahada, the declaration of faith that there is no god but Allah and Muhammed is the messenger of Allah is expressed through the Hajj by Talbiya (a prayer that states the pilgrimage is only for the glory of Allah) and through Mount Arafat (the place of Muhammad’s last sermon, where all are closest to Allah) Salat, the 5 daily prayers is expressed through the Hajj as the Hajj is a period where pilgrims are directly communicating with Allah and Muslims are in actual proximity of the Ka’ba.
Zakat, Almsgiving is shown through the Hajj as the meat sacrificed or money given for nahr is distributed amongst family, friends and the poor, it also shows the obligation of the wealthy to the poor and Ihram, which means that money and status are not a factor for pilgrims and that all are equal. Sawm, fasting is expressed through the Hajj as it is a time of prayer, meditation and asking for forgiveness, as well as the Sa’y as it re-enacts Hajar’s search for food; empathy for hunger.
Al-Akhira is believed to be the world to come, Muslims believe in an afterlife where they will be held accountable for their lives (Akhra), they believe that by participating in the Hajj there is a greater prospect of reward in the afterlife. The Hajj is not only significant to the individual but also to the community. The Hajj is significant to the individual as the Hajj is an opportunity for Muslims to experience spiritual rebirth and develop a sense of consciousness in Allah.
It is also opportunity to reassess and confirm their Islamic beliefs. The Hajj provides opportunity for the pilgrim to improve their spirituality through worship, hardship and salat. It focuses the individual on jihad; sacrificing time, skills, money and struggling against external evils. Enables the pilgrim’s renewal through cleansing from sin. “whoever performs the Hajj… will come home like a newborn”.
The Hajj reinforces Allah’s mercy and compassion as it exceeds His anger by forgiving the sins of the sinful creation by declaring an absolute pardon for every pilgrim upon completion of the accepted rituals of Hajj. The individual strengthens their relationship with Allah and gains a greater understanding of Islamic history and has a better prospect of reward in the afterlife. The Hajj is significant to the community as the Hajj is a sign of unity, equality and a sense of pride in the global umma as they pray together and are equal in the ihram garments.
It brings together Muslims of all races to from a fellowship for such a significant practice in the Islamic faith, and the hajj acts as a universal reminder of the blessing of Allah on humanity of our diversity and the brotherhood to worship the one Allah. As the Hajj and Environmental ethics apply themselves with todays contemporary society, the beliefs and sacred texts are used to form ideas of how to look after the environment and why it is necessary to participate in the Hajj.