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Al-Mizan launched with high hopes, anticipation and acclaim

The long awaited Al-Mizan: A Covenant for the Earth was published last week amid high hopes and anticipation that this will have as big an impact on the global Muslim community as Laudato Si' has among Catholics.


The launch of Al-Mizan in Nairobi, Kenya.
The launch of Al-Mizan in Nairobi, Kenya.

Written by a team of eminent Islamic scholars, Al-Mizan 'represents the collective voice of the Islamic community on environmental issues'. It calls on Muslims to embrace 'sustainability in their daily lives and work together to protect our common home' – and includes a call to revive the waqf (a charitable endowment) as a Muslim response to tackle the ecological crisis (see more below).


'…He (God) set up the balance (al-mīzān) so that you may not exceed the balance. Weigh with justice and do not fall short in the balance. He has spread out the Earth for all living creatures' ~ Qur’an 55:7-10

Iyad Abumoghli, Director of UNEP's Faith for Earth Coalition, who was present for the official launch in Kenya last week, explains: 'Al Mizan is more than a document; it's a catalyst for change. It provides a framework for individuals, communities, and institutions to translate Islamic values into concrete actions.


'In Islam, the term 'Al-Mizan' refers to balance or justice, and it is often used to describe the equilibrium that should be maintained in all aspects of life, including the relationship between humanity and the environment.


'Al-Mizan: A Covenant for the Earth emphasises principles such as conservation, sustainable development, and environmental justice, drawing upon Islamic teachings that emphasise the interconnectedness of all creation and the importance of preserving the Earth for future generations.'


There is a dedicated website, www.almizan.earth, and an extensive set of pledges to tackle the global problems identified in the publication, such as climate change, loss of biological diversity and pollution, and the need for ecological and social justice.


Pledges include:

  • establishing an academy for environmental teachings from an Islamic perspective;

  • creating an organisation to lead the implementation of Al-Mizan principles and recommendations;

  • implementing an Al-Mizan Decade of Action with initiatives and campaigns from cities, universities, schools, civil society;

  • creating an Al-Mizan Global Award of Achievements on environmental action;

  • creating an Al-Mizan international day for awareness raising;

  • an Al-Mizan mosques initiative so that every mosque would teach on Islam and the environment;

  • and many more.


What does Al-Mizan say about waqf?


Al-Mizan urges Islamic communities globally to revive the waqf (charitable endowment) system that 'has led the way in establishing exemplary conservation practices in the past', but which remains 'nearly untapped as an instrument for conservation'.


Awqāf (singular waqf) are charitable endowments that are dedicated in perpetuity to the cause of God. In Islamic civilisation, they are the most important institution by which individuals may make bequests for the public good' ~ Al-Mizan, chapter 5.24

It says the waqf can be dedicated to the public good at large, or it can be devoted to any legitimate cause that the donor specifies. It might take the form of a land trust for charitable purposes, such as ecological and range research, wildlife propagation and reintroduction, habitat development, a village woodlot or pasture, or a facility for environmental education and recreation.


Alternatively, it might be used to fund such research and reintroduction, to acquire land for purposes of conservation, or to fund habitat restoration and enhancement within

or outside protected areas.


'The value of the awqāf system can be gleaned from the fact that the 12th century ruler of greater Syria, Nūr ad-Dīn Mahmūd Zangī, established an endowment to care for ageing animals in Damascus, which continued to function into the middle of the 20th century' ~ Al-Mizan, 5.24

 

The document adds: 'We urge Islamic countries – and indeed all countries – to encourage the use of awqāf and similar endowments, trusts, and gifts for the care of the Earth and its communities of life.'


 

More information


  • Download a copy of Al-Mizan in English.


Al Mizan (English)
.pdf
Download PDF • 2.41MB

  • Visit the dedicated website, www.almizan.earth, to find out more and to download an Arabic version.

  • Check out our guest blog by Omar Shaikh of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative on the exciting path ahead for the US$4.5 trillion Islamic finance industry, which has generated a lot of interest among our readers.


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