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Gunung Leuseur National Park- Depleted by Illegal Logging- the cause of the Ramadhan Bukit Lawang floods in North Sumatra

Gunung Leuser National Park- Depleted by illegal logging- said to be the cause of the Ramadhan, Bukit Lawang floods in North Sumatra.


"Messenger of God ('s), once remarked that even if you knew that the world would end tomorrow, you should plant a tree."

Lost in the Political Landscape of a Violent World

Sumatran Tiger facing extiction

Dedication to the victims and their families of the Bukit Lawang Floods of Ramadhan,1424. 
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajiun

Residents of Bukit Lawang commence burial procedures.

Residents of Bukit Lawang commence burial procedures.

A Lady's husband has been identified as one of the deceased.

A Lady's husband has been identified as one of the deceased.

Indra's Australian Muslim wife and witness to the flood says:

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Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem
Published on 2 Shawal 1424

Environment- Islamic Perspective On Its Management and Preservation

By Prof. Akhtar Mahmood

Acknowledgements to Hj Khadija- an Australian Muslimah from Bukit Lawang who survived the floods in North Sumatra along with her husband M.Indra [ pictured below left] and their children. 

An Indonesian soldier looks on after the Bukit Lawang flood of Ramadhan 1424. Logs from the National Park picture in the background washed down by the flood which destroyed the township.

Over the years, our environment has been facing a severe threat. The rivers are polluted with undesirable chemicals and toxicants, underground water is being depleted and getting polluted. Forests are being lost at an alarming rate resulting in environmental degradation. A balance in oxygen and water in the environment is being lost, which is so important to sustain and preserve the human civilization on the planet earth.

For the past century and a half enormous advances have taken place in science and technology to the benefit of mankind. But, these developments have also posed great problems and health hazards, threatening the existence of human life on earth. 

Purpose of Human Creation

The question of the creation of human beings is relevant, to understand the role of religion in the environment. The Holy Qur'an states:

"Blessed be He, in whose hands is all sovereignty. 
He has power over all things. 
He created death and life, that He might put to test and find out, 
which of you acquitted himself best. 
He is Mighty, Forgiving one."
(Sura Al-Mulk 67:1-2).

Sura Al-Mulk 67:1-2

Man being a part of the whole system must also operate justly in the sphere over which he is given control and power, otherwise, he is working against the natural laws of the Universe, as well as his own nature. The result of which can be alarming calamities and destruction, we may face in the environment. 

Cleanliness in Islam

Nearest to the human body is its soul, followed by the environment in which a person lives. Thus, Islam addresses itself in considerable depth to the question of cleanliness and purity of both soul and body, since it is the essence of good appearance and health.

"Say not equal are things that, are bad and things that are good, 
even though the abundance of bad may dazzle you. 
So fear God, 
O you that understand so that you may prosper."

(Sura Al-Maidah 5:100)

Also at another place, Qur'an says:

"Happy shall be the man, who purifies himself, who remembers the name of his Lord and prays to Him."
(Sura Al-Ala 87: 14-15)

The Noble Prophet ('s) has said, "Cleanse yourself, for Islam is cleanliness. Cleanliness invites towards faith and faith leads its possessor to the Gardens (Heavens)."

Diet also plays an important role in human health. Thus, Islam has prohibited certain foods and allowed others:

"O people, eat of what is lawful and good on earth, and do not follow the foot-steps of the Evil one for he is your avowed enemy."
(Sura Al-Baqarah 2:168).

Thus, personal cleanliness and the environment in which a person lives are greatly emphasized in Islam.

Further, all those means, which can lead man to indecency and corruption of the environment are also discouraged in Islam. Thus, drinking and gambling are prohibited in Islam. 

As the holy Qur'an states:

"They ask you, (O Muhammad) about drinking and gambling, 
say there is a great harm in both, 
though, there is some benefit for the people, 
but harm of the sin is far greater than the benefit."

(Sura Al- Baqarah 2:219). 

Emphasis on Plantation and Agriculture

Forestry and agriculture form the backbone of human civilization. However, we find in recent times, a large scale deforestation has occurred all round the world. This has resulted in ecological imbalances in the natural resources of the environment.

The Prophet ('s) has said: 

"When a Muslim plants a plant or cultivates a crop, no bird or human being eats from it without it being accounted as charity for him."

Messenger of God ('s), once remarked that even if you knew that the world would end tomorrow, you should plant a tree.

Management of Water Resources

There are numerous passages in the Qur' an, which mention the effect of rain water on the growth of vegetation. In (Sura Al-Nahl 16: 10-11) we read:

"God is one, who sends water down from the sky. 
For you there is a drink and out of it (grow) shrubs in which you let cattle graze freely. 
There with for you He makes sown fields, olive, palm trees, and all kinds of fruits grow."

Thus, the proper and judicious use of the water resources is of utmost importance to keep the viable environment for the benefit of humanity.

Depletion of Resources

Moderation is the most important characteristic of Islam. It is probably how Islam views human nature and the meaning of life. Man is created by God-Almighty and is commanded to be God's vicegerent on earth. Islam discourages luxurious and lavish living. It is a general observation that luxurious life styles lead to weakness among nations, and eventually to their downfall. The existence of luxury is also an expression of social injustice, as few can afford luxurious items at the expense of the deprived masses of people.

The Holy Qur'an says:

"When We intend to destroy a township, 
We permit its luxury-loving people to commit wickedness therein. 
Then the word is proved true against it and We then destroy it utterly."

(Sura Al-Isra 17:16). 

Prophet Muhammad ('s) was the perfect example of moderation. He advised his followers to spend within their means, neither to be too lavish as to make themselves destitute nor to hold back their wealth from those who had a claim on their resources.

Corruption, dissolution, nervous and mental disorders, intellectual perversions are eating away the body of present day civilization by destroying the nations and individuals, by exposing the people to evil and corrupt means of life. However, as long as the humankind follows the laws ordained by the Creator, all aspects of his life in the environment of the earth go the natural way.

But, if deviations occur from the prescribed path of the Creator (God-Almighty) all the social, environmental calamities that human beings face today ensue. It is in the fitness of things that human lifestyles be programmed according to the laws of the Creator to save humanity from environmental disasters.

Article courtesy of Dr Shuja- Islamic Arts

Indra's Australian Muslim wife and witness to the flood says:

"I cannot thank Allah enough for saving me and my family and giving me more time to worship thank and praise him. Allahu Akbar!! Alhamdulillah we are so lucky. Bukit Lawang is almost unrecognisable the flood happened so quickly just after most people finished salaat tarawih. It is almost unbelievable except that when Allah says kun faya kun- Be and it is! Well no-one cannot stop it. I really felt that my life on earth was over.

Bohorok River Guesthouse no longer exists and poor Safri Riza and Insan lost their father as well as other relatives who were visiting for buka puasa (iftar, fast breaking.) All our front rooms and the mosque disappeared in seconds, the remains of Back to Nature are gone and everything basically on that side of the river has gone. Not to mention all the people who returned to Allah inshAllah shahid. Dernen and Wati and Adet and Maryam gone, Mahmoods sister Edits brothers family. The grandfather from Amin Inn most of Indra inn, except Succi and her father and Iwan and his father and his daughter, Putra, and Pak Iyan lost his children Abdurshakur was found dead still hugging his grandson and there are still so many bodies stuck beneath the logs that are piled up down near the cave and Amana from the cave lost her eldest daughter who goes to school with Taqwa, Taqwa's school has gone actually 90 percent of BL has gone. Our house is still there just lots of mud inside the restaurant has gone but Alhamdulillah Bendy and the mother and some other cats survived, I just heard that one of the fruitarians from Arico died Mateus. It was like a nightmare, and even though I believe in Allah subhanallah wa taala so strongly I felt scared that I might have been returning to him because of my imperfect ibadah and amal. Ya Allah, Allahu akbar astagfirAllah, wa la hawla walaquwatta ilahbillahi aleeyalatheme. MarshAllah TabarakAllah La ilha illallah. Khadijah May Allah bless you all and guide us to the siratalmustaqim our life is short please don't waste time in this dunia as it can be gone in minutes. Love and peace to you all. Khadijah"

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Last Updated Sunday, 07 February 2010