Winds of up to 175mph. An estimated $100 billion in damage. 956 known fatalities with tens of thousands missing. On August 29 Hurricane Katrina struck the inevitably doomed city of New Orleans. One of the most destructive cyclones ever to hit the United States of America, it flooded over most of the city plunging a large part of it below sea level. The reason for its inevitability was that the city itself was poorly prepared for hurricanes as it existed on a delta marsh, below the level of surrounding water bodies. As for the overall impact on the country itself, it leaves over a million people displaced- a humanitarian crisis unseen in the U.S. since the Great Depression.
Although Katrina began as a relatively small hurricane that glanced off south Florida, it was supercharged with extraordinary intensity by the relatively blistering sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico. The consequences are as heartbreaking as they are terrifying.
The reason for these warm temperatures has been bombarded to everyone by conservationists the world over. Maybe because we have been warned so much about global warming, that is the reason we keep ignoring the message being portrayed. I personally am less likely to listen to a message if I’m being reminded about excessively. It has been a reality for this world for much longer than we think but the potential scale of it has only been displayed by shocking scenes recently which could be witnessed in New Orleans and in and around the area of Indonesia where the tragic tsunami was witnessed.
The comparatively mild effects of global warming are also evident in Britain, with heat waves triggering the hottest summers seen for decades. Global warming is a result of the increase in greenhouse gases. These gases are called greenhouses gases because they do not allow the heat reflected off the earth’s surface to go back through the earth’s atmosphere. This is achieved by creating a coating within the atmosphere thus the heat stays within the atmosphere and causes the earth to warm up. This is the same effect a greenhouse has, essentially keeping heat within it to provide the required warmth for crops.
Greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide being the main gas, are given off as a result of the use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. The abusive over-use of these non-renewable fuels is causing global warming. However one reason why many are still unaware of the horror is because the coal and oil industries have spent millions to keep many potentially profit-threatening organisations from informing the public. When in fact the end result has been that a country with an “oil baron extraordinaire” reputation are having to spend an enormous amount of taxpayers’ money repairing the damage of Katrina, and this loss is probably more than the money made from the distribution and selling of oil for fuel purposes. Thus the earth is slowly being destroyed (through the ebbing away of available natural resources) just for profit.
The corrupters of the earth, being those who deny Allah, practice injustice or go against the universal law, are referred to by Quranic verses also:
“There is the type of man whose speech about this world’s life may dazzle thee, and he calls The God (Allah) to witness about what is in his heart: yet is he the most contentious of enemies? When he turns his back, his aim everywhere is to spread mischief through the earth and destroy crops and cattle. But Allah loves not mischief” (Al-Baqarah: verses 204 and 205)
An incidence occurred prior to these verses being revealed. A man named Al-Akhnas Ibn Shuriq came to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to embrace Islam, but as he turned to leave, he happened to pass by a pasture and grazing animals. He set it alight and killed the cattle. The verses were sent down as a sign of Divine disapproval. This incident recurs over history on a wider scale involving millions of people throughout the earth. The natural wealth deposited by Allah for the benefit of mankind has been spoiled. Selfishness and aggression has overcome mankind, as they have become corrupters of earth, the surrounding atmosphere and neighbouring outer space. Allah the Almighty says:
“Mischief has appeared on the land and sea, because of (the need) that the hands of man have earned, that (Allah) may give them a taste of some of their deeds: in order that they may turn back (from evil).” (Ar-Rum: verse 41)
Mischief on the land and sea is inflicted by man’s unwary interference with the natural laws and environmental systems that are ultimately against his own interests. Environment pollution, which is tantamount to the disruption of natural balance, is the main form of corruption on earth. As Allah created man on earth, he decreed that man should preserve this habitat. He gave man the right to invest in it and benefit from it. He enjoined upon man not to cause mischief anywhere. He addresses whoever may think of disturbing the natural balance, the earthly equilibrium, or inflicting injustice.
“Seek not mischief in the land, for Allah loves not those who do mischief.” (Al-Qasas: verse 77)
Islam and its Ummah is moderate, where its people do not consider nature and cosmic objects as deities, but at the same time do not tamper with or spoil them. The relationship between the Muslim and the universe is one of harmonious benefit and use. When Allah takes an oath by some creatures, he draws attention to the fact that man should recognise their value and take care of them.
“By the sun and his splendour. By the moon as it follows him. By the day as it shows up (the sun’s) glory. By the night as it conceals it. By the firmament and its structure. By the earth and its expanse.”(Ash-Shams: verses 1-6)
“By the night as it conceals (the light). By the day as it appears in glory. By the creation of male and female. “(Al-Lail: verses 1-3)
With such an adjuration and call for revering other creatures and aspects of His creation, Allah urges man to jettison bashfulness towards them because such an attitude does not yield progress or civilization. Removing the beauty of these creatures and failing to draw the benefit from them causes man to neither gain in morals nor lead him to progress our civilization.
Culled for use from The Sunni Muslim Youth