Ecology in Islamic Culture: A Selected Critical Bibliography

The studies on the Islamic view of environment protection and the links between Islamic classical culture and ecology knew recently a notable progress, testified by numerous valuable publications in various languages. The following is a critical bibliography, organised alphabetically, that we conceived of as a guide for the interested reader. It includes references to works published recently in different languages, including Arabic. The publications in Arabic are particularly valuable, as they are hardly known by Western scholars, although some of them deserve to be known.

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FSTC Research Team

Table of contents

1. Introduction
2. Articles on
3. Institutions and Initiatives
4. General references

* * *

1. Introduction

Figure 1: Front cover of Islam and Ecology by Fazlun Khalid and Joanne O'Brien, published by Continuum International in 1992 ((World Religions & Ecology, Paperback).

Notable progress occurred in the last decades in the studies on the Islamic view of environment protection and the links between Islamic classical culture and the wide field of ecology. In this context, several dozens of stimulating publications appeared, as results of ongoing research in various languages.

To introduce the reader to these works, we prepared a rich critical bibliography. This bibliography, organised alphabetically, was conceived of as a guide for the interested reader. It includes references to works published recently in different languages, including Arabic. The publications in Arabic are particularly valuable, as they are hardly known by Western scholars, although some of them deserve to be known.

The idea of this bibliography was suggested by the stimulating commented bibliography published online by Richard C. Foltz, Islam and Ecology: Bibliography (PDF version); Center for the Study of World Religions, Harvard Divinity School, 2003, © 1999-2004 Center for the Study of World Religions and The Forum on Religion and Ecology. We augmented and updated this rich bibliography by other entries and comments.

The Bibliography

2. Articles on


– See also related articles on Nature, Agriculture and Town & City.

Figure 2: Diagram showing the interaction between ecology, society and economy. (Source).

3. Institutions and Initiatives

Figure 3: Artistic view of an ideal environment. (Source).

4. General references

  • Abdel Haleem, Harfiyah (editor), Islam and the Environment. London: Ta-Ha Publishers, 1998.
  • Abu-Sway, Mustafa, Toward an Islamic Jurisprudence of the Environment (Fiqh al-Bi'ah f'il-Islam). Lecture presented at Belfast mosque, February 1998; updated 20 June 1999.
  • Abu-Sway, Mustafa, Islam: The Environment and Health. Qualbert, South Africa: Islamic Medical Association of South Africa, 1999.
  • Aftab, Tahera, "Text and Practice: Women and Nature in Islam." In Custodians of the Earth? Women, Spirituality and the Environment, edited by Alaine Low and Soraya Tremayne. Oxford, UK: Berghahn Books, 2001.
    This essay links the ethical framework of the Qur'an and the misinterpretation of that framework by males in positions of authority. Though, as the author makes clear, the Qur'an is clear in setting out an ethic of equity and justice for all which has been perverted. The author suggests that Muslim women must regain access to the land and to nature in order to enjoy and attain true freedom.
  • Agwan, A. R., The Environmental Concern of Islam. New Delhi: Institute of Objective Studies, 1992.
  • Agwan, A.R. (editor), Islam and the Environment. New Delhi: Institute of Objective Studies, 1997.
  • Ahmad, Ali, "Islamic Water Law as an Antidote for Maintaining Water Quality." University of Denver Water Law Review 2, no. 2 (Spring 1999): 170-88.
  • Ahmad, Ali, A Cosmopolitan Orientation of International Environmental Law: An Islamic Law Genre. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 2001.
    The process of regulation in the field of international environmental law belies the complexity of environmental issues that need to be addressed in managing global environmental resources. Although the regulatory process has succeeded in elevating the acknowledgement of a new set of ideas and concepts toward sustainable development, it has not had success in elevating those concepts into a set of determinative norms or rules. In this book, Ali Ahmad, an international lawyer, stresses the futility of a state-centric approach to a planet-wide phenomenon that the environmental issue presents.
  • Ahmad, Akhtaruddin. Islam and the Environmental Crisis. London: Ta-Ha Publishers, 1998.
  • Ajmal, Mohammed. "Islam and Ecological Problems." In Quest for New Science, eds. Rais Ahmed and S. Naseem Ahmed, 215–20. Aligarh: Centre for Studies on Science, 1984.
  • Al-Amin, Hi'at Muhammad. Al-fiqhah al-b'at. Beirut: Mu'assasat al-wa ‘i al-islami, 1420 (2000).
  • Al-Hassani, Salim, Chief Editor, 1001 Inventions: Muslim Heritage in Our World, Manchester, FSTC, 2006.
  • Alhilaly, Tajuddin H. "Islam and Ecology", trans. Keysar Trad, 1993. updated n.d.
    Answers provided by Imam Tajuddin H. Alhilaly, Mufty for Australia (~1993).
    Translated and some comments added with permission by Keysar Trad.
  • Ammar, Nawal H. "Islam and Deep Ecology." In Deep Ecology and World Religions: New Essays on Sacred Ground, eds. David Landis Barnhill and Roger S. Gottlieb, 193–211. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 2001.
  • _______. "An Islamic Response to the Manifest Ecological Crisis: Issues of Justice." In Visions of a New Earth: Religious Perspectives on Population, Consumption, and Ecology, eds. Harold Coward and Daniel C. Maguire, 131– 46. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 2000.
    Utilizing a revelationary methodology, Ammar proposes the concept of hay'a (shyness with reverence and respect) as a guiding principle for Muslim environmental action. She focuses on issues such as Muslim economic and political livelihood, distributive justice, rights of the community over the individual, just leadership, attitudes toward women, and women's relationship to population control.
  • _______. "Islam and the Environment: A Legalistic and Textual View." In Population, Consumption, and the Environment: Religious and Secular Responses, eds. Harold Coward and Daniel C. Maguire, 67. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1995.
    With no intention to present the Islamic view, Ammar introduces an Islamic ethical paradigm supported by the Qur'an, Hadiths, Sunnah, and Sharia'h. She explains that the meaning of "ethics" can be understood in Islamic terms as hay'a, the state of respect and/or practice of good deeds. Ammar provides clear ethical guidelines regarding natural resources (conservation, sharing, treating with kindness), and protected and preserved land designations. She concludes with the suggestion that any discussion on the environmental crisis should remain sensitive to cultural issues.
  • Asmal, Abdul Cader, and Mohammed Asmal. "As Islamic Perspective." In Consumption, Population, and Sustainability: Perspectives from Science and Religion, eds. Audrey Chapman, Rodney Peterson, and Barbara Smith-Moran, 157–65. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2000.
  • Ayduz, Davud. "The Approach to the Environment Question of the Qur'an and its Contemporary Commentary, the Risale-i Nur." Paper presented at the Fourth International Symposium on Bediuzzaman Said Nursi: A Contemporary Approach Toward Understanding the Qur'an: The Example of Risale-i Nur, Istanbul, Turkey, 20–22 September 1998.
  • Ba Kader, Abou Bakr Ahmed. Environmental Protection in Islam. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1995.
    Originally prepared for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in English, French, and Arabic, this document was later considered to have international appeal. Beginning with a description of an Islamic attitude toward the universe and human/nature relations, the document broadens its scope to include topics on conservation of natural resources, protection from harmful impacts of products and processes generated by humans, and viable legislative principles, policies, and institutions.
    Bagader, Abou Bakr Ahmed, Abdul Latif Tawfik El Shirazy Al Sabagh, Mohamed Al Sayyed Al Glenid, and Mawil Izzi Dien, Islamic Principles for the Conservation of the Natural Environment. 2d ed. Gland, Switzerland: International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, 1983.

Figure 4: View of a forest. (Source).

  • Bagader, A A, El-Chirazi El-Sabbagh, A, As-Sayyid Al-Glayand, M, Samarrai, M U I, and Llewellyn, O A (1994) Environmental Protection in Islam, IUCN Environmental Policy and Law Paper, 20, second revised edition, Gland, Switzerland.
  • Ba Ubaid, Ali Yeslam. Environment, Ethics, and Design: An Inquiry into the Ethical Underpinnings for a Contemporary Muslim Environmentalism and its Environmental Design Implications. PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1999.
    This dissertation begins with a survey of historical shifts in the idea of nature in Western thought and the frustrations of the prevailing paradigms of modernism. Building on the dynamic nature of Islam as a framework for thought and life, the author then re-constructs some relevant Islamic precepts in support of a higher sensitivity towards nature and environment and still relevant to contemporary living. The final product of the study depicts actual and potential applications for the aforementioned set of ecological design principles and themes in the recent experience of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The conclusions point out a future direction for local environmental design thinking and practice.
  • Barnhill, David, and Roger Gottlieb, eds. Deep Ecology and World Religions: New Essays on Sacred Ground. Albany, NY: SUNY, 2001.
    A collection of thirteen new essays on the relationship between world religions and deep ecology. In examining how deep ecologists and the various religious traditions can both learn from and critique one another, the following traditions are considered: indigenous cultures, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Judaism, Catholicism, Islam, Protestantism, Christian ecofeminism, and New Age spirituality. Contributors include Nawal Ammar, David Landis Barnhill, John E. Carroll, Christopher Key Chapple, John B. Cobb Jr., Roger S. Gottlieb, John A. Grim, Eric Katz, Jordan Paper, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Mary Evelyn Tucker, and Michael E. Zimmerman.
  • Bivins, Mary W. Women, Ecology, and Islam in the Making of Modern Hausa Cultural History. PhD dissertation, Michigan State University, 1994.
    A study of Islamic Hausa women in the West African Republics of Nigeria and Niger from the 1800s to the present, and the unique roles they played in shaping, even at times defining, modern Hausa culture. The dissertation concludes that the blending of Hausa notions of gender, ethnicity and Islam empowered Hausa women's participation in the economic transformation of the nineteenth century Hausa landscape and the Hausa response to European conquest. The historical connections between women, gender, ethnicity and Islam are essential to understanding the influence of the past on the present in Hausa culture and political movements.
  • Bousquet, G. "Des animaux et de leur traitement selon le Judaisme, le Christianisme et l'Islam." Studia Islamica 9 (1958): 31–48.
    Bousquet distinguishes the religions of the Far East and India from those of the West by virtue of their understanding of human and animal nature. However, while there are fundamental similarities among the Western religions, Bousquet states that there can be large differences in their details. He draws on the legal, scriptural, and philosophical texts of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions in order to support his observation that Christianity has less to say about the treatment of animals than either Islam or Judaism.
  • Bryer, Jenny Banks. "Science and the Environment Symposium II: The Black Sea in Crisis." Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 10(March 1999): 69-76.
    This article explores the history of the "Religion, Science, and The Environment" initiative in the Easter Mediterranean/Black Sea region, which dates to 1988. This initiative brings Jews, Muslims, and Christians (Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant), and environmental scientists together to discuss how best to protect and rehabilitate the ecosystem of the Black Sea (and the Rivers that feed into it, especially the Danube). This article focuses on the outcome of the September 1997 conference, at which a set of principles for protecting the Black Sea was articulated.
  • Busool, Assad N., Animal Rights and Ecology in Islam (The Guidance of the Sirah Series, Volume 3). (Al Huda, 1995, paperback).
  • Callicott, J. Baird. "The Historical Roots of Western European Environmental Attitudes and Values: Islam." In Earth's Insights: A Multicultural Survey of Ecological Ethics from the Mediterranean Basin to the Australian Outback, 30–36. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1994.
    Analyzed in terms of the despotic, stewardship, and citizenship models introduced by Callicott, Islam is found to be "unambiguously" anthropocentric. In this short section, he focuses on one tenth-century manuscript, The Case of the Animals versus Man Before the King of the Jinn, in order to demonstrate its environmental ethic based on an Islamic understanding of humankind's rule over the earth guided by virtues of obedience to God, good character, and good works.
  • Canan, Ibrahim. Environmental Ethics in the Light of the Hadiths (In Turkish). Istanbul: New Asia Press, 1995.
  • Canan, Ibrahim, "Environment in Islam." Yeni Turkiye 5 (July-August 1995): 27–38.
  • Canatan, Kadir. "The Paradigmatic Background to the Ecological Crisis and Said Nursi's Cosmological Teachings." Paper presented at the Fourth International Symposium on Bediuzzaman Said Nursi: A Contemporary Approach Toward Understanding the Qur'an: The Example of Risale-i Nur, Istanbul, Turkey, 20–22 September 1998.
  • Chee Yoke Ling. Humanity Must Protect Nature: What Islam, Taoism, Hinduism, and Christianity Have to Say about Environmental Protection. Penang, Malaysia: Third World Science Movement, Consumers Association of Penang, n.d.
  • Chittick, William. "God Surrounds All Things: An Islamic Perspective on the Environment." The World and I 1, no. 6 (June 1986): 671–78.
  • Damad, Mostafa Mohaghegh. "A Discourse on Nature and Environment from an Islamic Perspective." Tehran: Department of the Environment, 2001.
  • Denny, Frederick M., Islam and Ecology: A Bestowed Trust Inviting Balanced Stewardship. Accessed 9.09.2008 on the website of the Forum on Religion and Ecology: Revisioning Human-Earth Relations. To access this article follow the following path: Enter site/World religions/Islam.
  • Department of Environmental Protection. Majmu ‘e-ye maqalat-e avalin hamayesh-e eslam va mohit-e zist. Papers from the first conference on Islam and the Environment. Tehran: Department of Environmental Protection, 1378 (1999).
  • Dutton, Yasin. "Islam and the Environment: A Framework for Inquiry." Faiths and the Environment: Conference Papers, 46-70. Faith in Dialogue, no. 1. London: Centre for Inter-Faith Dialogue, 1996.
  • Dwivedi, O. P., ed. World Religions and the Environment. New Delhi: Gilanjal Publishing House, 1989.
  • Eaton, G. Islam and the Destiny of Man, Islamic Texts Society, Cambridge, 1994.
  • Erdur, Oguz. "Reappropriating the ‘Green': Islamist Environmentalism." New Perspectives on Turkey 17 (fall 1997): 151–66.
    Erdur demonstrates how the American environmental movement began as a radical critique of Western modernity and was subsequently absorbed into it. He proceeds by illustrating how the struggle ag