The Environment in Islam
By: Muhammad Baqir Qarashi
Islam has been intensely concerned with the environment since it is an effective element in the educational and social composition. Good environments support the nation with the best and the most proficient individuals who progress in great steps in the fields of virtue and reformation. In like fashion, evil environments bring about the vile licentious individuals who distribute their mental defects among people.
Islam has identified the whole devices and powers of reforming and evolving the environment for achieving justice, right, and equality, and eradicating the elements of lag, retardation, injustice, wronging, and stinginess. It has been also purposed for achieving security and settlement, and eliminating the seditious and disorderly affairs. The Islamic environment has produced those great, excellent, intelligent, and virtuous reformers who were the best of mankind, all over history, in believing in God, inciting to the right, and exerting efforts for the sake of justice.
It is noticeably important to discern that Islam has actually been concerned with the private environments. It has recognized the most significant aspect of raising the individuals’ reactions in acquiring customs and moralities. This aspect is friendship, which is the most powerful educational element that transfers the individuals’ traits and tendencies. Sociologists have affirmed the point by saying, “The social life is the life of influence and perception. Every individual influences and perceives from the surroundings.” This meaning is also asserted through proverbs and literary sayings that prove the individuals’ being influenced by their friends.
Islam has emphasized on associating the virtuous, godly, noble, honorable, and straight individuals, through whom good manners and noble traits are acquired. Imam al-Hassan (a) says in his everlasting words of advice:
“When you need to associate with men, you should choose those whose friendship graces you and guards in troubles. You should choose those who assist you in exigencies, and believe your discourse, and back you in charges, and participate in virtues. It is they who cover up your flaws, and regard your favors, and give when you need, and chatter in silence, and console in misfortunes, and save from troubles, and do not misguide or disappoint in calamities, and prefer in litigation”
By those golden words, the Imam has assigned the Islamic duties of friendship that obligate mutual supervision, amiability, and cooperation among friends.
Friendship lead to the acquisition of customs and the interaction with the friends’ ethics, tendencies, and trends. Therefore, Islam has warned against befriending the morally and mentally defected individuals.
Imam Ali (a), the great educator, instructs his son Imam Al-Hassan:
“O son! Beware of associating with the idiot. They harm when they intend to benefit. Beware of associating with the misers. They deprive you of the very things that you need. Beware of associating with the licentious. They vend you with valueless. Beware of associating with the liars. They look like a mirage that shows the remote as close and the close as remote.”
Many damages that cause the loss of the behavioral balance result in associating with such individuals. The reference books of hadith are full of many prophetic and imamic sayings regarding the qualities and influences of friends. The Prophet (s) says, “Man pursues his friend’s religion.”
The youth that accept their religion and doctrine are advised to be careful of the individuals that are defected morally and behaviorally, since such ones lead to sinning and depravity. The youth should also avoid those who bear weak principals, such as existentialism and the like, that call for disintegration and the prevalence of the jungle law.
Unfortunately, the Islamic society has been affected by many of those deviants who do not possess any Islamic or national conscience, and ignore any upright social purport. Hence, they worked poisonously for dishonoring this nation’s social and spiritual divines and values. The faithful youth should be careful of such individuals and should never associate with them so that they would not be misguided.
The Environment in the Present Ages
Modern social surroundings have attained a great scale of merging and similarity because of the new means of communication that approximated the nations and peoples by mutual transference of habits and traditions. This has naturally created the unprecedented extensive reciprocity of ideas. Most people then participated in the same tendencies, traditions, and habits.
The social environments all over this world have painfully had to encounter fears, horrors, and insecurity because of the greed of the politicians who rule the great powers. They have competed with each other on invading, occupying, and subjecting the weak peoples. They have also struggled for distributing their principals. This brought the destroying wars that broke out in some countries and caused the disorder of the social environments and the individuals’ fear and horror.
Modern man is living nervously after the loss of the future expectations. Man anticipates ambiguous future and evils of the great powers that tend misguidedly to wars and destroying by using their entire economic, military, and diplomatic devices for aggressions and massacre. Nothing but the news of termination and massacre are reported every news agency all over this world. The great powers have exploited their people’s wealth in the fields of developing their armament. They have coerced the scientists on inventing in this field exclusively. Hence, the development of such weapons has been highly formidable and fascinating. Satellites and electronic devices have been put in the service of exploring the others’ strategic situations and means of defense and power. The most horrible invention in this regard has been the nuclear weapons that had the ability of destroying any country in few hours. Thus, fear and horror have predominated on the inhabitants of this planet.
These are definitely exhausting and arduous crises and difficulties that people have had to face. Everybody ignores the time in which those gods of evil click on the buttons of these terminating weapons to demolish this life thoroughly and handle the keys of this planet to the Creator. All these dangers have indisputably been the outcome of the lack of conscious education in the interiors of the politicians and leaders of this world. Had they enjoyed a single particle of human conscious, they would have saved this world from such a gigantic hazard and exerted their efforts in the fields of man’s luxury, indulgence, and settlement.