The Creation Story In The Quran Religion Essay
The creation story in the Bible states that God created the Earth in 7 days. On the first day, He created day and night, on the second He separated the sky and the water and on the third He created the land and the seas. On the fourth day God created the stars and the moon, on the fifth He created all the creatures of the sea and the birds. On the sixth day, God created all the livestock and the fruitful plants (Genesis 1). In addition the Bible states, God created man, in his own image. Finally, God rested on the seventh day and declared it a holy day. He then placed man in the Garden of Eden in order to take care of it, he also created woman (Eve) from the man whom he called Adam. He provided them with all the trees and food they desired but at the same time told them not to eat from the tree in the middle of the garden which was called the tree of "Knowledge of Good and Evil" (Genesis 2). The serpent deceived Eve into eating from the tree and she also shared it with Adam. This was against God's word and in His fury He banished Adam and Eve from Eden. God told them that they and their children would now suffer because of their sin of eating from the tree (Genesis 3).
There are many similarities and differences found between the creation story of the Quran and the Bible. The main similarities would be the creation of the Earth and how God created everything that is such as the land, the seas and the sky. In addition there are a great number of similarities involving the creation of man; in both the Bible and Quran, it is stated that God created man from some sort of dirt or clay from the ground and gave him life. Moreover, God places man into a Garden in both accounts where He forbids Adam to eat from one specific tree. Lastly, man is deceived into eating from the forbidden tree and is banished in both religious literatures to Earth. The main story of creation may be the same in both the Quran and the Bible however there are a few minor differences in each account. For example, when God creates man in the Quran, He presents His creation to the angels and asks them prostrate towards man where as there is no mention of this in the Bible. In both scriptures, there is a deceiver who leads Adam and Eve to eat from the forbidden tree, but in each account there is a slight difference; in the Bible the deceiver is a serpent whereas in the Quran it is Satan. In the Bible, it specifically states that God created man in his own image and that Eve was created from one of Adam's ribs, while in the Quran there is no mention of any of this. In addition, the Bible states that God created the Earth in six days and rested on the seventh; whereas in the Quran there is no mention of the seventh day. These are only a handful of the similarities and differences between the creation story of the Bible and the Quran thus showing that both accounts may have similar origin and there are many parallels between Islam and Christianity.
In the essay by Seyyed Hossein Nasr called Islam and the Environmental Crisis, there are many claims to what has caused the environmental crisis in the world and how to resolve them. Nasr states that the teachings of Islam and its doctrine in the Quran have put an emphasis on the importance of the preservation and the respect for nature. He continues to explain that in the Quran it says, "but to God belong all things in the heavens and on earth: And He it is who encompasseth all things (6:126)". This means that all things in the natural world, from plants to animals to rocks, are all divine. Nasr explains that man has been placed on Earth as a "vice-gerent" or assistant of God in order to take care of the world. Nasr expresses in his paper, "the same way that God sustains and cares for the world, human kind as His vice-gerent must nurture and care for the ambience in which they play the central role" (Nasr 92). The essay continues by stating that humans have no rights over nature since they did not create it, while God who has created everything has all the rights. In my opinion, the views held by Nasr are accurate, because I believe it is the responsibility of mankind to take care of the place where they reside. Just as one takes precious care of their home, one must also take the same care of nature. There should be no different in the way one treats their home environment compared to that of the natural environment.
However, Nasr then goes on and explicitly blames the Western world for its ideologies and negligence towards nature. The author believes that the West "sees nature as an enemy, and who continues to plunder and destroy the natural environment always in the rights of man" (Nasr 95). This idea by Nasr may not be completely correct since it is difficult to say whether or not the origin of the science and technology takes place due this ideology. Nasr continues by stating that the Western world is "who destroys vast forests in the name of immediate economic welfare without thinking for a moment of the consequences for such an action for future human generations and for the other creatures of this world" (Nasr 95). This is accurate because there has been a lot of deforestation in the world for the sole purpose of immediate economic gains. However, Nasr goes on to say that it is the same Western people who, "in seeing earthly life as being absolute, try to prolong is at all costs, creating medicine which has produced both wonders and horrors including the destruction of the ecological balance through human overpopulation" (Nasr 95). This is misleading since the discovery of medicine has been and always will be known as a great accomplishment for mankind. The reality that medicine saves lives cannot be looked at as something that is destructive or horrible, and the fact that Nasr blames Western science and technology for creating medicine for the ecological crisis is over exaggerated.
Nasr concludes by saying the resolution to the current ecological crisis is the implementation of the ideologies and teachings of Islam into Western society. This in any context would be difficult, let alone trying to accomplish this at a worldwide scale. In addition, this is not something that can be done over night. This is more of an evolutionary process since changing the way society thinks takes decades. Nasr states, "No amount of clever engineering based on the current secular science of the natural order will be able to avert the catastrophe created by the applications of this science" (Nasr 102). Meaning, he believes that the science practiced today cannot help introduce any sort of technologies that can help with the ecological crisis. In my opinion this is inaccurate because realistically, the only thing we can do in our societies is to come up with innovative technologies that help to minimize the ecological crisis and help to undo the damages of the past. It is unrealistic to say that humans have to change spiritually in order to fix the environmental crisis.
The article by Ali Mohamed Al-Damkhi called, Environmental ethics in Islam: principles, violations, and future perspective gives an interesting new look at the resolution to the environmental crisis. Al-Damkhi explains the duties that Islam places on Muslims as caretakers of the Earth. Similar to the article by Nasr, Al-Damkhi states that the Earth is a sacred place where humans are to worship God and not to abuse the natural environment as it is sacred and divine. He states that according to Islam, "humankind's rights over nature are rights of sustainable use, of usufruct, bases on moderation, balance, and conservation; with a similar and equal right for future generations. Nature's rights over humankind include the rights to protection from misuse, degradation and destruction" (Al-Damkhi 19). In my opinion, this is an excellent idea because humans and nature have rights over each other in order to prevent any environmental crisis. This is similar to the ideas proposed by Nasr on the Islamic interactions with the environment according to both the Quran and teachings.
However where Al-Damkhi differs from Nasr is who he blames for the ecological crisis and how he proposes the world should resolve it. Nasr blamed the environmental crisis on the Western world and their science and technology, whereas Al-Damkhi puts the blame on the Islamic world. He proposes, "the environmental track record of the Muslim countries to be so poor not because of lack of money or appropriate technology, but due to a clear gap between the theory of Islamic environment and planning, and the practices that exist in the Muslim world" (Al-Damkhi 26). He follows by providing a series of examples that have occurred in recent history; such as the catastrophe of the Kuwait's oil wells and the destruction of the southern marshes in Iraq. I believe this is more accurate than putting the blame solely on the West since one cannot put the blame of the worldwide ecological crisis on a few set of people or countries. The resolutions that Al-Damkhi proposes are realistic and attainable compared to those of Nasr. He proposes that Muslims and Christians a like need to change their views on environmental ethics in order to have an impact on the environment. He gives an excellent analogy, "We are, as Muslims and Christians, in the same leaking boat, and the sea is rising and stormy" (Al-Damkhi 28). In my opinion this argument is correct since one religion cannot be more environmentally superior than another, it is an issue that requires the collaboration of all religions. Al-Damkhi believes that international cooperation is a necessity in determining a resolution and organizations such as the UN play a key role in initiating international actions. Unlike Nasr, Al-Damkhi believes the science and technology that exists in the world, if used properly and with the right guidance, can have a great impact on the environmental crisis. In conclusion, Damkhi's ideas on the resolving the environmental crisis are sound and should be taken into essential consideration.
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