3. Analysis

3.1. Environmental Ethics

Ethics is a discipline that deals with the finding of approval and disapproval. Ethics, as a study, has attracted a lot of attention in the academic field, especially in philosophy. The judgments made in ethics include distinguishing the following: a right and wrong deed, bad or good actions, desirable or undesirable qualities, desirability and good judgment of deeds, and the states of dealings, nature, ends, and items.53

Environmental ethics deals with ways in which human behavior affects the natural environment surrounding the humans. In normal life, human beings interact with the environment as they undertake their day-to-day activities. Environmental ethics can also be defined as various ways of maintaining a good relationship between the environment and the human beings.54 In this sense, forest ethics also deal with ways in which human behavior affects natural forest surrounding the human beings.55 This is an appropriate definition that suits this study. One of the ways of maintaining a good relationship between the environment and human beings is by making people understand that it is their religious duty to protect and take good care of the environment. There should be rules and regulations that govern the interaction between the natural environment and such rules can be found in religious scripture.56

3.2. Examples of Forest Management

Ethics Forests are an important portion of life for people who live in and around them. Forests provide many of our material needs, and they are useful for many various reasons, not the least of which is enjoyment. Given that forests provide so many services, they have “a number of passive and active use values: economic, ecological, social, symbolic, spiritual, and scientific values.”57

For more than 25 years, there have been a number of concerns relating to forests, forest management, and forestry that have emerged and attracted much attention all over the world. The development of these concerns indicates recently that forestry should not only be economically, ecologically, environmentally, and socially reasonable, but it should also be ethically acceptable.58

Ethical apprehensions are affected by people’s beliefs concerning nature, the value of nature to human life, and the role of human beings in our use of the environment. People’s recognition of the different goals and approaches in forest management is interrelated with the related values that individuals embrace.59

3.2.1. Brazil

The Brazilian government introduced laws through the Brazilian Institute for the Environmental and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA). The rules and laws implemented were to help prevent illegal cutting of trees by the citizens. Failure to adhere to such rules could lead to severe punishment of the law breakers.60

The immense changes in the Brazilian policies played a very crucial role in reducing the level of deforestation in the country. This is one of the most efficient ways of conserving the environment. This is according to the research conducted by CPI/PUC-Rio, which presented the issue of policy change impact on environmental conservation as empirical evidence.61

The Real-Time System for Detection of Deforestation (DETER) is a satellite-based technology that helped in the identification of deforestation actions in Brazil. This monitoring technique played a key role in ensuring that the environment was conserved and protected from harmful human actions. The IBAMA, with the assistance of DETER was able to easily locate deforestation activities taking place in Brazil. Punishment to the people cutting trees illegally was done in a more effective way than before DETER was introduced.62

Studies show that the introduction of DETER played a crucial role in environmental conservation in various ways. It allowed for the easy locating of areas where deforestation activities were taking place. With easy location, monitoring and target ability was greatly improved and, hence, the government officials could efficiently control deforestation without having to put more effort into discovery.63 In 2004, the Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Legal Amazon (PPCDAm) was passed.

The main goal of this plan was to control and put off deforestation actions in the country.

One of its strategies was the adoption of DETER. The enlarged ability of the IBAMA was to aim its rule enforcement assets in the Amazon areas via DETER to attain amazing outcomes.

Between 2007 and 2011, there was 75% less deforestation compared to the time when there where there is no fines imposed lawbreakers.64

New policies being put into place really played a great role in preventing deforestation in Brazil. The various strategies used in controlling deforestation included: frequent land checking, strict control of prohibited logging, and construction of conservation spots. In order for any individual to cut trees in the Amazon, he or she should have to have a license. Licensing is one of the best ways to control deforestation because it allows for the cutting of trees only in specified areas.65

Brazil has seen agricultural development reduce the rate of poverty and hunger in their country. Indigenous peoples in Brazil are greatly benefiting because they have power (20%) over some reasonable parts of the Amazon. The government has offered enough support to these people through various ways, such as issuing them with official titles. The government has also protected them from unlawful intrusion by farmers, ranchers, and miners who are not indigenous.

The logging rules and regulations have been strongly enforced. Examples of such laws include:

closing of illegal sawmills, seizure of illegal timber, and punishing of individuals who act against the law. Even the top corrupt officials who engaged themselves in illegal logging were jailed.

This confirms that the government is committed in its decision to stop deforestation.66

There is a current climate-change mitigation mechanism used to handle issues of environmental crisis in Brazil. The mechanism in question is the “Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries” (REDD). Forests act as homes for indigenous people, who “often find themselves in a marginalized position.” Laws and rules have been put into place to ensure that the indigenous people’s rights are provided for. The global and state laws emphasize having good relationships between these people and the natural environment. The relationship can be taken in a stewardship worldview where the indigenous people should be given their moral rights. This framework is only applicable to global environmental rulings. The reason for this shift is the new moral approach toward environmental law guidelines. This approach can be noticed in some trends in global and state laws.67

Most analysts see it as a useful way to solve various challenges facing the environment.

Stewardship has played a crucial role in reconciling conflicts between environmental policies and the rights of the indigenous people. Stewardship is considered to be the best tool for bringing into line the international human rights laws and international environmental laws in relation to the rights of the indigenous people.68

REDD tries to unite the environmental policies with indigenous people’s rights. The two may harmonize or may fail to unite in the long run. In addition, REDD provides for an opportunity for the environmental policies and the indigenous people’s rights to be protected as a result of allowing a stewardship ethical worldview to take place.69

Even though Brazil has had very strong laws for forest protection since 2006, recently the legislation is losing strength. “Instead of strengthening forest protection in light of their critical role in climate change protection, the Brazilian forests came under even graver danger with a 2012 revision of the 1965 Forest Code, which greatly reduced protections in place for over 70 years.” Despite presidential vetoes of the most egregious provisions in the 2012 revisions, the nearly wholesale dismantling of the forest and ecosystem protections still stand as current Brazilian law.”70 It now looks like they are in the process of strengthening the laws again.71

In summation, the main reasons to control deforestation in Brazil are to combat illegal cutting of trees as a natural resource, to protect the region as a forest area, and to protect the rights of indigenous people who live there. Additionally, Brazil is trying to control forest destruction in response to climate change.

3.2.2. Nepal and New Zealand

Nepal is focusing on controlling deforestation for a different reason: Nepal’s issues seem to revolve around the question of who should be responsible for the land. Nepal has some part of its forests being managed by local communities via Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs). It has been shown that the management of the forests by local communities yields better results because the rate of illegal tree cutting is lower than in the forests managed by the government.

The question of who owns the land in the government’s hands is still unanswered in Nepal. The communities are provided with some of basic needs and resources. In such a country, local governance needs to be reinforced so as to perk up the likelihood of fair forest stewardship. The table below explains how Nepal can improve their forest conservation process.72 Clarifying land tenure and strengthening local governance will the improve chances of equitable forest stewardship (See table 1).73

Table 1. Management, Harvesting, Sale, and Land Tenure Rights Under Forest Governance Regimes in Nepal

Management regime

Approximate area

Forest management

Harvesting of forest products

Sale of forest products

Land tenure

Community forestry

1,219,272 hectares (25% of the forest area)

CFUGs

CFUGs

CFUGs w/government permission

Governmen

In relation to rights, stewardship can be viewed as the principled imperative of such rights. Examples of the rights of the indigenous people include giving support to them in relation to environmental matters and the climate-change perspectives. Indigenous people’s stewardship role can be seen in their daily behaviors, welfare, customary environmental understanding, and cultural distinctiveness as an element of their identity. Arguing for indigenous people’s rights and, at the same time, giving a substitute way for the security of some human rights can be seen as an overarching notion. This can be explained using an example of a land tenure system and the inappropriateness among land rights and possession of local people and the standard communal law approach to various possessions.74

Maoris, the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand, trust that the people belong to the land and not the vice-versa. According to them, possession of land should not be through the legal system. There are proposals for the introduction of a stewardship claim as compensation for damages that were caused to indigenous societies due to effects of climate change.75 Often times, indigenous peoples have a stewardship approach toward the environment, and their attitude to land is as “guardians.”76 This view of people belonging to the land shows the real value of the environment for the environment’s sake.

3.2.3. USA and other English-speaking countries

The view above-people belonging to the land shows the real value of the environment for the environment’s sake-also can be seen in the USA and

other speaking-English countries where they protect the forest because it is a part of the environment. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a non-profit, non-governmental program that establishes standards to promote the responsible management of forests globally. Many people believe that the only way to preserve forests is by banning the use of its products, but the daily consumption of forest products cannot be ignored.77 For example, on average, Americans use close to six trees worth of paper each year. The FSC, therefore, being the standard measure in certification of forests, is trying to control the market to consider policies that represent a preference for FSC-certified products. Consumers and governments look for these certified products, as well, and the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program provides incentives to encourage the use of FSC-certified materials.78

Forests are protected according to strict ecological and social norms under FSC certification, and forest fiber is tracked the distance to the shopper through the certification system with products having the FSC “check-tree” logo.79 (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. FSC Logo.80

Additionally, since the FSC is the gold standard in forest certification, it is the only program that is supported by groups such as the World Wildlife Federation (WWF), the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the National Wildlife Federation.

Wide areas nowadays, especially in the US and Canada, have become certified under the FSC’s system.

During the same period of time the FSC was being established, many non-governmental organizations were also being established. For instance, by the end of the 20th century, different organizations of conservation recognized the stewardship concept as a way to preserve the environment. To illustrate:

At the beginning of the 1990s, non-profit “stewardship” organizations aimed to protect different areas and species across North America and most English-speaking areas. The organizations protect rivers, gardens, coastlines, and species located locally, nationally, and regionally in these areas.

In addition, other stewardship programs were implemented around the Englishspeaking world:

United States Forest Stewardship Program (1990)

United Kingdom’s Countryside Stewardship Scheme (1991)

Canadian Province of Ontario’s Stewardship Program (1995)

Canadian Habitat Stewardship Programme (2000)

Australia’s Environmental Stewardship Programme (2007)81

Consequently, there has been an increase in the use of the terms “environmental stewardship” and “forest stewardship.” The term “stewardship” is increasingly replacing the term “management” when it comes to environmental conservation (Table 2).82

Table 2. Examples of the Wide Use of the Term Stewardship in Land Use and Conservation Literature83

Term

Use

Stewardship

In various aspects of land management and conservation

Land Stewardship

Especially in the USA and Canada in relation to both agricultural land

and forests

3.2.4. Countries with significant Muslim influence

3.2.4.1. The Philippines

Ten percent of the inhabitants of Mindanao, which is the second-biggest southern-most main island in the Philippines are Muslims.84 The Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim

Mindanao (ARMM) was the first law dealing with management of forests in the Philippines.

This law has been in place since October 2007.85 ARMM is composed of all the Philippines’

dominant Muslim provinces, that is to say, Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Shariff Kabunsuan, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and the Islamic City of Marawi.86 ARMM has played a crucial role in reducing deforestation in the Philippines. ARMM is highly treasured as the correlative element of the Philippines terrain. This Act was formulated and implemented through the assistance of various groups, such as the Muslim ethics and law leaders, social scientists, government units, and leaders of the society.87

For instance, Republic Act No.9054, or RA No.9054, is an act to augment and support the Organic Act for ARMM, adjusting for the purpose Republic Act No.6734, named “An Act Providing for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao” as adjusted.88 This law, when released and enforced, forbid the cutting down of trees in many areas of the country.89

The proclamations issued by the National Government declaring old growth or natural forests and all water sheds within the autonomous region as forest reserves are reiterated in RA 9054. The forest reserves shall not be subjected to logging operations of any kind or nature. (Art. X, Sec. 5).90

Many activities toward forests were either stopped or changed when RA 9054 was approved. To illustrate, the National Government or the Regional Government that had granted forest concessions, timber licenses, contracts, or agreements of any kind or nature, over forest reserves in the autonomous region were “cancelled, nullified and voided and shall not be renewed until 30 years after the date of approval of RA 9054. (Art. X, Sec. 5)”91

RA 9054 encourages reforestation. This occurs by requiring the setting aside of funds to be devoted to reforestation projects and other environmental activities. According to the law, ten percent of the shares of the internal revenue taxes of the Regional Government, the provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays of the autonomous region as well as all allocations for the development of the region by the National Government shall be devoted to reforestation projects and other environmental activities to enhance the protection and development of the region’s environment. (Art. X, Sec. 5)”92

The major policies highlighted in this Act include trust and stewardship as keys for forest preservation. This Act is based on particular Islamic principles and approaches of communitybased management. This Act gives priority to the community when it comes to administration and the use of forest property. Importantly, the Act’s principal strategies are community forest management and community-based forest management.93

3.2.4.2. Indonesia

Perhaps a similar act could be implemented in Indonesia, where the high rate of tropical forest loss is regrettable, especially in Sumatra.94 It has been shown that Indonesia has the highest number of Muslim believers in the world, approximately 88% of the population. Islamic religion, in the context of Sumatra, has the ability to incorporate customary ways of environmental management practices, which are being managed by the local government  organizations called Nagari. The Nagari contain many natural resources, such as forests, farm land, and lakes. Furthermore, the Islamic religion explains in detail the relationship that exists between God, nature, and human beings. Stewardship has been stressed by the doctrine of Khalifa whereby Muslims are encouraged to conserve natural resources.95 This religion acknowledges that everything was created by God.96

Unfortunately, the people of Sumatra appear unfamiliar with many management principles within Islam and they are not followed all through Sumatra at the local or state level.

Therefore, the main focus of the Nagari project was to educate home teachers, religious leaders, and society members to effectively spread and apply Islamic knowledge and laws regarding environmental conservation. Lastly, the project was prepared in a way as to perform the proper monitoring and proceedings needed to assess how well the project’s objectives were being achieved at the local level.97

3.3. Environmental Stewardship Philosophies

The term stewardship is originated from sty-ward, the one that keeps an eye on animal fields, as well it has a relation to the word “warden” (in nature conservation). Other terms, such as custodian, trustee, and guardian,

have the same definition as steward, are they are also used at times in relation to land used.98

A survey conducted recently about the preservation of, and literature about, land use applies a new explanation of stewardship. The new explanation is adjusted by relying on natural resources management. It defines stewardship as:

The responsible use (including conservation) of natural resources in a way that takes [a] full and balanced account of the interests of society, future generations, and other species, as well as private needs, and accepts significant answerability to society. A religious interpretation would require the phrase “and ultimately to God” to be added.99

The stewardship word has a culture in philosophy, especially in ethics, where it is mainly applied to represent answerable consumption of resources. Additionally, it’s been designed as a meaning of articulating “environmental ethics” or “land ethics.”100 The main idea of stewardship is the caring of particular things “in trust” for another being: for God, a god, nature, society, or future generations.101

This principle of stewardship can be found in an eco-centric philosophy. Such philosophy focuses mainly on the role of human beings as the responsible party for the environment as stewards.102 According to the eco-centric view, nature dictates the way people should behave as guardians of the ecosystem. See Figure 3.

Figure 3. The Eco-Centric Model.

There exists another option for environmentalism. This option is the ability to reach further than the religion and political debates on eco-centrism and anthropocentrism. It is theocentric, and it is not anthropocentric or eco-centric environmentalism.103 Environmental ethics and stewardship mostly comes from theo-centrism, because in this view, humans are the guardians of the earth as entrusted by God,104 which raises the question about the morality of deforestation.105 To illustrate, O’Riordans (see Figure 4) illustrates the relationship between God, human beings, and nature. It requires that human beings should act according to a required code of conduct and morals. In addition, it explains why people should behave in those given ways.106

Figure 4. O’Riordan’s View to Show the Theo-Centric Model.

Even though the stewardship principal is approximately encouraged by religious concerns, this fact might enhance the way that the managers of earthly resources see the stewardship principal. The term stewardship is in worldwide used, indicating that either the religious concept is not known well or that it is not an obstruction.107

Stewardship is a connection of beliefs and worth relating to nature that derives a sustainable relation with the ecosystem. This term is possibly used worldwide as a way of respecting the values and responsibilities toward the environment. Interestingly, this sustainable relation to the environment is perfectly cited in different areas and may be preferred as the current common situation.108

3.4. Environmental Ethical Philosophies (moving beyond anthropocentrism toward ecocentrism and theo-centrism)

There is a widespread opinion concerning anthropocentrism in today’s world. Most people think that anthropocentrism is playing a key part in causing environmental destruction such as deforestation. The anthropocentric view gives various reasons as to why people cut down trees: to get money, to build homes, and ignoring the innate value of trees. By doing this, the environment is destroyed and other global challenges will eventually emerge.109

The anthropocentric view has been considered as the main cause of ecological challenges. People are acting in ways that compromise ecological conservation.110 Many philosophies related to environmental conservation rise to help conserve the environment rather than allowing the anthropocentric view to take control. Such philosophies focus more on the role of human beings to take care of the environment as stewards, which comes under the heading of “eco-centrism.”111

Many of the ethical approaches use the word eco-centrism as the heading in many cases.

A society’s change of attitude in the direction of the eco-centric philosophies is not in any way opposed by researchers or a call to think according to the eco-centric view, which is based on feelings.112 Forest administrators should take the responsibility of educating people on their role as environmental stewards.113 By doing so, people’s perception will change positively, and they will start appreciating the need to take part in

environmental conservation. They will also change their attitude toward the perception of forest managers, in general, as they learn to appreciate them.114 Forest managers have a great responsibility of educating people on issues of stewardship so as to create awareness about what people are expected to do. In this way, the environment will be conserved.115

Stewardship is often connected to theo-centrism,116 which is a godly approach to the world. It also develops from the type of religious faith where only God is the earth’s creator and sustainer, including Christianity, Islam, and Judaism.117 This is an environmentalism that is theocentric not an anthropocentric or eco-centric.118 Through its recognition for the completeness of the creations of God, theo-centrism leads to fresh inquiries about the morals related to persistent issues like the destruction of forestland.119 (See Table 3.)

Stewardship focuses on the care and concern of all the inhabitants of an environment without favoring human beings. Human beings are considered stewards and, hence, they should take good care of the environment. Stewardship, therefore, gives human beings special roles to perform, compared to other inhabitants in the environment. Human beings have the ability to take care of nature and also the ability to destruct it, because they are over the control of other things in nature. This does not in any way make them superior than other inhabitants of nature.

Stewardship should not make people think that they can exercise authority over everything in nature. They should interact positively with the nature so as to ensure a good relationship among the inhabitants of the environment.120

It has been mentioned previously that the term stewardship has been widely used recently. This popular use assumes that, even though the stewardship terminology is an ethic derived from religious context, it approves that religion might not be a barrier or an issue of application of this ethic.121 This study aims to not argue philosophy; rather, it aims to find a universal societal attitude toward stewardship in both Muslim and non-Muslim regions, in order to manage and combat the issue of deforestation.

A new call has been approached worldwide by The United Nations Millennium Declaration, which introduces a new ethic of preservation and stewardship. It states, “We resolve therefore to adopt in all our environmental actions a new ethic of conservation and stewardship.”

This call is duplicated in the Secretary General’s Millennium Report.122

Table 3. Comparing Centers of Value in Relation to Their Utility in Environmental Conservation and Example of Ethic Implication

The value center

Harmony in relation between humans and nature

Responsibility toward nature

Conduct Guarantee

Comprehensiveness

Example of ethic implication

Anthropocentric

Humans and nature are two different existences

Comes from the liability toward humans.

In as much as human interests are not to be at risk.

Close to humans.

Deforestation and environmental crisis

Eco-centric

Humans are related to the ecosystem.

Humans are solely in charge fully toward the ecosystem.

In as much as the ecosystem’s balance is not to be at risk.

Close to the ecosystem’s units.

Brazil, Nepal, New Zealand, USA, and Englishspeaking countries

Theocentric

Humans are related to all God’s creations.

Humans are in charge toward God and His creation.

In as much as God’s creations are not to be at risk.

Endless.

Philippines (ARMM) and Indonesia (Nagari)

3.5. The Islamic Ethic of Stewardship

3.5.1. Muslim Stewardship

Ethical authority may be derived from various religions.123 Religions have been considered to be effective in solving problems related to environmental destruction. There is a need to further examine the extent to which various religions have tackled the problem of environmental destruction. Religions are trying to solve this issue through the formulation of ethics and a code of conduct related to environment.124

Ethics with regard to the environment and stewardship is often associated with theocentrism.

It is believed that humans must be the world’s guardians as God prefers it to be done.

Humankind must, therefore, be considerate to all objects with life, including humans. It maintains that humans exist here for a short time, and they are supposed to be taking care of the world for the generations in the future. Regarding Islam, this principle’s equivalent knowledge is

represented by the vicegrerency concept. According to the Islamic view of the world, the human is regarded as Allah’s vicegerent (khalifa/caliph).125 The Holy Qur’an illustrates this in the following terms, “Just think when your Lord said to the angels: “Lo! I am about to place a vicegerent on earth.” (Al-Baqarah 2:30)126

According to the teachings of Islam ethics based on the khalifah (stewardship) ethic, people have a role to play in preserving the natural environment’s resources. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the people to ensure natural resource sustainability by only using the resources when necessary.127 Consequently, the order, harmony, and balance in nature should be maintained.128 The Islamic religion acknowledges order and calls for conservation and discourages damage to the environment. Furthermore, the Islamic religion explains in details the relationship that exists between God, nature, and human beings. Consequently, stewardship has been stressed by the teaching of Khalifa, so Muslims are encouraged to safeguard natural resources.129

According to the global view of the Islamic religion, it is argued that the religion cannot allow human beings to destroy the environment or ruin the ecological stability and the order of systems of environment. People are, therefore, entrusted by God to act as His supporters in taking care of nature. Human beings should not break this trust because they will be considered  undependable deputies.130 In accordance to Amanah (trustworthiness and custodianship), there are some specific principles of the earth and for the creation of the universe. We strongly need to recognize our responsibility and our Creator, and we should try to make the appropriate decisions so that we can make this land a perfect place to live in.131 The order, harmony, and balance in nature should be maintained since God created it that way.132 And whenever it is not maintained, environmental destruction, like deforestation, can be recognized.

3.5.2. Resources management decisions and Islamic ethics

Often times, the decisions of resources management are affected mostly by environment services being abused for business sectors; subsequently, the non-business profits are regularly lost or debased. These non-business profits are frequently high and, in some cases, more significant than the business ones.133 As trustees and custodians, there is a need to recognize our responsibility toward the environment to make appropriate decisions so that the land will be well preserved.134

God says in the Quran, “...And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: Verily, I am going to place (mankind) generations after generations on Earth.” (Al-Baqarah:30)

The aggregate economic worth connected with sustainably managing the environment is frequently higher than the value connected with the changes of the environment through cultivating, clear-cut logging, or other serious utilization.135 A person who believes there needs to be average in all factors of his lifestyle, such as the way he uses the characteristics. Indeed, the whole globe is depending on purchase and stability.136 Exceeding boundaries in using characteristics or organic sources is considered deluxe, which is regarded as a significantly bad act in the Muslim religion.137 So the

massive loss of forests is due to the extraction of trees without sufficient efforts of reforestation to replace the one that has been cut.138 Middleness in Islam has come with the meanings of perfection, fine quality, and goodness of the things.139

The Quran says, “...But waste not by excess, for God loves not the wasters...” (Al-A’raf: 31).

One should not forget that over use of anything is bad, so if we over use environmental resources, we soon will be losing them. Nature has made a proper balance in everything around us, so we strongly need to save and care for these natural gifts, such as water, air, earth, and natural resources.140

The economic and public health costs related to the environment destructions can be serious.141 Evidence is mounting, although inconclusive, that our ecosystem is undergoing a great change and the possibility of this change is high, and the change would impact man’s well-being adversely. These changes are all now rapid and instant. They are accelerating so fast that they may soon become irreversible.142 Amongst the risks for individual community and the surroundings is luxury. The roots of such an act are avarice and carelessness. This personality is managed by spiritual lessons. In the sources of Muslim religion, two bad acts are recognized.

One is inefficient intake. Another bad act is said to be wasting. These two ideas are introduced into perform to modify individual behavior.143

Deforestation and decreasing forest coverage causes the loss of the earth’s natural habitat, species extinction, flooding, GHGs emissions, and loss of forest products.144 The carbon dioxide atmospheric concentration has increased by about 32% since 1750.145 Misuse of godly blessings or causing harm to them are signs of ungratefulness, which is severely forbidden in Islam, like deforestation that is absolutely condemned in Islam.146 The Muslim religion is contrary to trouble and crime of all types. Any act of trouble is criticized, whether it is in regard to humans or residing people or even non-living people.147

“Corruption doth appear on land and sea because of (the evil) which men’s hands have done, that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return.” (30:41)

“Do no mischief on the earth, after it hath been set in order.” (7:56)

Corruption is a significant driver to forest degradation. Different factors, together with corruption, have led to deforestation, such as lack of alternative livelihoods, and economy and poverty for economic interests’ reasons. Bribery of officials is an example of corruption that is widely spread and is a main obstacle in the realization of forest preservation through various measures.148

Alterations in the environment can enhance the risk of disease prevalence, like cholera, as well as the risk of its vectors like mosquitoes.149 According to a well-established concept in Islam, nobody can cause damage or reduction to others. And there is no place in the Muslim religion for inflicting any harm on one’s self or on others.150 The loss of particular ecosystem attributes (sacred species or sacred forests) can weaken the spiritual benefits people obtain from the ecosystems. Today’s environmental

crisis may have begun with the loss of “modern man’s” understanding of nature to be a sacred trust from God.151

So, we will be reusing the natural resources and will try to not waste the gifts of nature.

Not only this, but we can also play a positive role in preserving the forests. We should be familiar with the fact that deforestation can lead us to serious problems, so we should try to pay extra attention to our acts.152

3.5.3. Significance of trees in Islam

Islam covers much of what life entails. Biodiversity is highly regarded as of great importance according to their teachings. The Creator chose man as His vicegerent to take care of both plants and animals on earth. Man has been guided to dominate nature at all times including war time.153 In addition, the Qur’an has a set of plentiful illustrations that direct its followers to take care and maintain nature, encouraging them to make a substantial, positive stance by successfully instilling their daily routine with practices that include biodiversity.154 Moreover, the trees have been cited on different verses in the Holy Quran and also in the golden sayings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).155

Islamic-based environmental ethics, therefore, emboldens such behavior toward the environment in which the following accomplishments are encouraged:

1) Rebuffing any unreliable control over the universe because a human is both God’s steward (caliph) on earth and takes care of all the creations on earth (Qur’an, 2: 30).156

2) Refrains man from the poor usage of nature since he is being directed to evade damages from the living creatures (Qur’an, 2: 205). People should be accountable to nature because a human is God’s superlative and is responsible for the freedom of the creation. The assurance of the human to thrashing the universe reveals the human obligation toward the characteristic environment. Further, man is not only responsible for conserving God’s creation but also improving the condition of the natural environment. It is, therefore, the general responsibility of the human beings to care for the earth.157

In addition, the ideas of tawhid (unity) and khalifah (stewardship) have been put into practical commandments in the Islamic law, famously known as the Shari’ah law. Islamic law institutions, such as forbidden zones, leave intact the sections in which development is restricted to protect the natural resources. Reserves were purely articulated to take care of the wildlife and the forests, customs which are essential to the environmental legislation of Islam.158 According to the Islamic religion, people have a role to play in preserving the natural environment, according to God’s will.159