Sacred Custodians of the Earth? Women, Spirituality, and the Environment

By Alaine Low; Soraya Tremayne | Go to book overview

9
Text and Practice: Women and
Nature in Islam

Tahera Aftab

And Allah has produced
You from the earth
Growing (gradually)
And in the End
He will return you
Into the (earth),
And raise you forth
(Again at the Resurrection)
And Allah has made
The earth for you
As a carpet (spread out)
That ye may go about
Therein, in spacious roads.

(S.71:17–20)

In the relationship between women, earth and environment in Muslim societies there are two dimensions to consider: ideological and ethical frameworks from the perspective of the Quran and the Hadith; and the ways in which institutions and persons in authority have acted antithetically to processes of justice (adl), and equity (ihsan), thereby de-linking women from their natural roles. An approach is proposed in which women’s role as ‘custodians of the earth’ can be restructured, resulting in community development initiatives. Thus, the chapter seeks to provide a broad-based spectrum of human beings’ relationship with earth, nature and the cosmos, a relationship which is not limited to one single group or a community but a relationship which moves far beyond all frontiers. The core argument is built around women’s

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