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Nurturing a Sustainable Future through Forest Conservation

In the light of Islamic teachings, Malawi’s environmental sustainability and the preservation of its forests hold immense significance for the country’s well-being. The Qur’an and the Hadith (teachings of Prophet Muhammad – Peace be upon Him) emphasize the importance of safeguarding the natural world, for Allah (God) Almighty has entrusted mankind as stewards of the Earth.

Natural forests are a divine blessing bestowed upon us by Allah Almighty, providing a sanctuary for a rich variety of plant and animal species while upholding the delicate ecological equilibrium. As mentioned in the Qur’an, “And He sends down rain from the sky and made grow therein [plants] of every noble kind.” (14:32)

It is incumbent upon us to safeguard these forests as it aligns with Allah’s divine plan, securing essential ecosystem services such as pollination, water purification, and fertile soil. These services are of utmost importance for Malawi, as agriculture forms the bedrock of its economy, ensuring food security, and promoting environmental well-being.

Islamic ethics and values are in harmony with the Malawi 2063 (MW2063) blueprint’s Enabler 7: Environmental Sustainability. Allah reminds us in the Qur’an, “O Children of Adam! Take your adornment at every prayer house, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.” (7:31) This guidance encourages responsible use of resources and sustainable practices.

To maintain the natural forests, Malawi’s government published regulations which coincidentally align with Islamic principles of stewardship. The 2017 Forestry Act grants authority to control forest activities, and the Environmental Management Act of 2017 promotes good stewardship and forbids harming nature and its resources.

However, challenges remain which threatens Malawi’s forests, contrary to the guidance of Allah Almighty in the Qur’an. Allah Almighty warns against transgression and immoderation, stating, “And cause not corruption upon the earth after its reformation. And invoke Him in fear and aspiration. Indeed, the mercy of Allah is near to the doers of good.” (7:31)

Islamic principles advocate for sustainable development that uplifts society and protects the environment. God Almighty says, “And when he goes away, he strives throughout the land to cause corruption therein and destroy crops and animals. And Allah does not like corruption.” (2:205)  Swift action is crucial to preserve the nation’s forests and prevent further depletion and degradation.

Preserving the environment and forests aligns with Islam’s vision of a sustainable and prosperous future. Allah reminds us, “Corruption has appeared throughout the land and 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].” (30:41) Embracing sustainable practices and effective policies is not only a developmental objective but also a spiritual responsibility.

In conclusion, the Islamic perspective on environmental stewardship emphasizes the profound significance of conserving natural forests, guided by the timeless teachings of Islam. As the Qur’an states, “And do not waste [resources] for indeed, He [Allah] does not like the wasteful.” (7:31) This divine injunction reflects the responsibility bestowed upon humanity to protect and preserve the environment as an act of devotion and gratitude to the Creator.