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Launch of Al-Mizan: A Covenant for the Earth

The highly anticipated launch of 'Al-Mizan: A Covenant for the Earth' took place this week during the sixth UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-6) in Nairobi, Kenya, led by Leila Benali, President of UNEA-6. The document, written by a team of eminent Islamic scholars, outlines an Islamic perspective on the environment, and calls on all Muslims to 'work together to protect our common home’.

 


Also present for this historical moment were Msgr Hubertus van Megen, Permanent Representative of the Holy See; Dr Samir Boudinar, Executive Director of the Peace Center of the Muslim Council of Elders; and two co-authors Ms Aishah Abdulla and Mr Othman Llewellyn. 


Launched on 27 February 2024, Al-Mizan is 'a call to action for Muslims and non-Muslims alike to embrace their role as custodians of the Earth and to work towards a more sustainable and equitable future for all beings.'

'…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)

Written by a diverse team of eminent Islamic scholars, with the support of an expert committee on the environment, this text manages to be both scholarly yet highly accessible. With a solid foundation in Islamic teaching, the document outlines the rationale for a need for everyone to 'embrace their roles as custodians of the Earth' as well as including a practical roadmap to achieve this.


An Islamic charter

Al-Mizan: Covenant for the Earth is described as an Islamic charter. It is based on concepts rooted in Islamic teachings that emphasise the balance, harmony, and stewardship of the Earth.


'Al-Mizan is a historical document that represents the collective voice of the Islamic community on environmental issues. It calls on all Muslims to embrace sustainability in their daily lives and work together to protect our common home.' ~ Al-Mizan (ii)

'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,' writes Iyad Abumoghli, Founder and Director of the Faith for Earth Coalition of UNEP.


He continues: 'Al-Mizan: Covenant for the Earth calls upon individuals and communities to recognise their responsibility as stewards of the Earth and to act in ways that preserve and protect the natural world. It 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.'


We ask the Lord of all beings to guide us – all of humankind – to mend the devastation in the Earth that we, as a species and as individuals, have wrought, to cease distorting His creation, to return to the natural way of God on which He originated us, and to bear in mind that 'The servants of the All-Merciful are those who walk gently on the Earth…' (25:63) ~ Extract from a prayer in Al-Mizan

A call to action

Al-Mizan outlines the triple crises in our world today: global climate change, loss of biological diversity and pollution, which highlights the need for ecological and social justice. From there, Al-Mizan uses scripture to explore how humanity should respond to these crises, and finally, it offers an extensive set of pledges to tackle them.


Many of the pledges relate to the need for international responses and global targets for change, but there are many which can involve faith groups at a national and local level, including:


  • To establish an academy for environmental teachings from an Islamic perspective.

  • Create a faith-based Civil Society Organisation to lead the implementation of Al-Mizan principles and recommendations.

  • To implement an Al-Mizan Decade of Action with initiatives and campaigns from cities, universities, schools, institutions, civil society, etc.

  • To create an Al-Mizan Youth Council and Summit encouraging young faith leaders to take the lead on environmental action.

  • To create an Al-Mizan Global Award of Achievements on environmental action.

  • To create an Al-Mizan Network to connect Muslims around the world and to share their knowledge and experiences.


Other pledges included setting up a trust fund to promote local projects; creating an Al-Mizan international day for awareness raising; facilitating a bi-annual conference and implementing an Al-Mizan mosques initiative so that every mosque would teach on Islam and the environment.


Global problems: global solutions

Al-Mizan identifies global problems and offers global solutions and is anticipated to have as big an impact on the Muslim world as the Pope’s 2015 Laudato Si’ encyclical had on Catholics. 'It presents an Islamic outlook on the environment in a bid to strengthen local, regional, and international actions to combat the triple planetary crises defined by the United Nations as climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. It is a global endeavour to engage Muslims from all levels of society in the development and adoption of this call.'


Watch the launch recording

The launch was live-streamed from a packed conference room, and the replay is available to watch here:



With thanks to Iyad Abumoghli, Founder and Director of the Faith for Earth Coalition of UNEP, for this live recording.


Find out more

For more information about Al-Mizan: A Covenant for the Earth, or to download a copy in either Arabic or English, visit AlMizan.earth.

'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' ~ Iyad Abumoghli, Founder and Director of the Faith for Earth Coalition of UNEP

Al-Mizan is also a scholarly resource and includes a helpful glossary of terms, extensive academic references, plus unified scriptural references to guide scholars to identify particular passages in the Qur'an which may, for example, have different page numbers or references depending on the language and the publication date.




 

How the Faith Plans framework can help you


The Faith Plans Seven Key Areas framework begins with Key Area One: Assets. This includes information and guidelines to help faith organisations to explore how to manage natural assets such as land, forests and woodland, and nature in line with their values. Find out more at https://www.faithplans.org/land-forests-and-nature


The Faith Plans framework may be useful to your faith group as you plan how to respond to the many calls to action contained within Al-Mizan.


You can read and download seven of the 2009 Muslim plans written for the Many Heavens One Earth Faith Commitments Programme here on the Faith Plans website, or download the most recent Faith Plan from the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council.


If you would like more information about the Faith Plans framework or any of the Seven Key Areas, please contact us. We would love to hear from you.

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