Revolutionary Ideas from Progressive Islam Tackle Important Issues

Revolutionary Ideas from Progressive Islam Tackle Important Issues

Revolutionary ideas in the Progressive Muslim community come from diverse sources, including faith, says Imam Daayiee Abdullah.

Islam is a faith that cares about humanity. When we look at our pillars of faith, we realize Islam cares about us as a unit.

We are called to believe, to pray, to reflect through fasting, to give to charity, and to congregate as a community.

These are all revolutionary ideas because they unite people rather than “divide and conquer.”

As a result, Muslims should care about social justice, equality, and environmental sustainability.

These values align with the teachings of Islam because our faith gives special importance to justice, fairness, and compassion toward others.

I will expand on these topics throughout this guide.

Equality of All People

Revolutionary ideas come from our belief in ourselves, our communities, and our Higher Being.

Muslims are called to believe in the inherent dignity and equality of all people, regardless of their background or beliefs. One verse that supports this concept is 49:13, which states:

“Oh humanity, indeed, We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of God is the most righteous of you. Indeed, God is Knowing and Acquainted.”

This verse takes us to task on the idea that all people, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or background, are equal in the sight of God and that righteousness is the determining factor of nobility.


Sustainability As Part of Revolutionary Ideas

Once human equality is understood, God tasks us to think of the big picture. For example, the Quran teaches the concept of stewardship, urging Muslims to protect and preserve the environment for future generations.

Throughout the ages, Muslims have taken this seriously, including using sustainable products even in things like musical instruments.

Quran 6:165 states, “It is He who has appointed you vicegerent on the earth.” This verse highlights the role of human beings as caretakers of the environment and stresses our responsibility to fulfill this trust.

In fact, the word used in 6:165 is “caliphs” (خَلَـٰٓئِفَ). The term “vicegerent” is an administrative deputy or representative of a ruler or head of state. It can also be used to describe someone who is appointed to assume the powers and responsibilities of another person during their absence.

That verse is entrusting human beings as the literal representatives of God on earth. We are to lead our planet into prosperity.

Meanwhile, the Quran also places importance on moderation and conservation rather than excess and wastefulness.

This is mentioned in various verses, such as Quran 7:31, which states, “Eat and drink, but waste not by excess, for Allah loves not the wasters.”

As you can see, this verse encourages Muslims to be mindful of their consumption and to avoid wastefulness.

In other words, we are the guardians on earth, but we still need to remind ourselves of our position. We should not abuse our abilities by being extravagant.

Wildlife Protection

The concept of trusteeship is another principle that guides Islamic teaching on environmental sustainability. Muslims are considered custodians of nature and are encouraged to live in harmony with other creatures.

This concept is supported by many verses from the Quran, specifically Quran 24:41, which states:

“Don’t you see that it’s God whom all creatures in the sky and on earth adore? Even the birds, soaring through the air, join in the celebration with their wings spread wide. Each creature knows how to express its own unique form of worship and praise, and God is well aware of everything they do.”

Aside from the fact that we are entrusted as guardians on earth, the verse highlights the interconnectedness of all living beings. It also emphasizes the importance of cherishing the lives of animals.

By highlighting the fact that all animals worship God by being true to their nature, the verse encourages us to view animals as valuable and worthy of protection, as they, too, have a role in the larger spiritual and physical world.

It is worth noting that there are more than 200 verses in the Quran that mention animals, and six chapters are dedicated to animals or insects, such as Surah Al Baqarah (The Cow), Surah Al Anaam (The Cattle), Surah Al Nahl (The Bees), Surah Al Naml (The Ants), Surah Al Ankabut (The Spider), and Surah Al Fil (The Elephant).

So, it is the duty of all Muslims to respect, nurture, and care for the environment.

What You Can Do

The Quran has many instances of telling us that we are called to do good. One verse that exemplifies this call to do good is Quran 2:195, which states:

“And spend in the way of God and do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction [by refraining]. And do good; indeed, God loves the doers of good.”

This verse encourages believers to engage in acts of charity and kindness. It highlights the importance of doing good deeds that bring joy to the heart by offering something valuable to others.

You hold the power to make a positive impact on our planet. By making small changes in your daily life, you can create a ripple effect of change.

Start by reducing your carbon footprint where you can. For example, walk or bike instead of driving, especially when you are not going far.

Likewise, use reusable bags and water bottles. By just eliminating water bottles, you can do great things!

Similarly, consider embracing energy-efficient appliances. Not everything in your home is created equally, and you really want to shop around.

Meanwhile, I would also encourage you to educate yourself about sustainable practices. This gives you the opportunity to advocate for change in your community.

Of course, consider supporting organizations like MECCA Institute that do good in the world.

Also, support your local and organic farmers, reduce food waste, and compost.

Finally, you can do acts of societal charity when you plant trees and create green spaces.

May Allah continue to guide us all.

Imam Daayiee Abdullah is the Executive Director of MECCA Institute and the author of “Progressive Islam,” a historic book that defines Progressive Islam. 

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