The Green Islam Series is brought to you by University of Maryland, College Park alum Rabee Zuberi. He has a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on solar technology. This series will merge basic tenants of Islam with simple scientific principles to show how ordinary people can take steps to protect their environment.
The third and last principle of conservation is recycling. This is the most popular and widely known step
in the conservation process and is defined as converting waste into usable material. Recycling falls under
the “waste” part of the human consumption cycle.
Essentially, recycling involves complex processes that are implemented on a large scale to convert
ordinary waste material into reusable items. This is one of the major reasons that people are urged to
consider this as the last option. This is the most effective step to follow once the reducing and reusing
steps have been completed. The only duty that is left to an individual is to ensure that their waste
products end up at the appropriate recycling facility for proper processing. This can be achieved as
simply by placing suitable items in the recycling bin to physically transporting waste to the recycling
plant. Scientists are currently working hard to develop new and more efficient processes to recycle
materials that could not be recycled before. You can find a complete guide to recycling ANYTHING here.
It is also interesting to note that the biggest struggle with recycling is related to man-made products. On
the other hand, mother nature already has her recycling processes in constant operation all around us.
Water follows its cycle of evaporation and rainfall, similarly nitrogen follows a similar cycle transferring
from the air to soil then to our bodies through the food we eat and then back into the air, all vegetation,
animals, and even humans decompose and return back to the earth where they came from, etc.. God
relates this process in the Quran:
Thereof (the earth) we created you, and into it We shall return you, and from it we shall bring you out
once again. [20: 55]
So while recycling seems like a modern concept to the human race, it has been in operation since much
before our time. It is in the inherent system of nature to reuse its resources for future purposes. In light
of this concept we can see that it should not only be our duty to recycle our waste but to maintain the
balance in the natural recycling system as well. Destroying forests or exterminating animal populations
can cause a major problem in our environment. This will not only affect the animals or plant species
themselves but it ultimately affects the earth and all its inhabitants.
In conclusion, the main point of this series is to consider that conservation is much similar to the basic
concepts of Islam. Conservation is a state of mind and a life style rather than just simply recycling plastic
bottles and cans. It requires us to be actively thinking in our daily lives. We have to feel the connection
with our environment. It is one of the easiest forms of Ibaadah (worship) and the rewards are readily
apparent. In fact, the rewards are not only beneficial for us, but later generations to come also.
[The image above is attributed to epSos.de]