Environmental Fitrah in the Light of a Systematic Approach to Shariah and Science
Keywords:maqasid al-shari'ah, fitrah, environmental protection, systems thinking, living earth
In the context of global warming and world climate change, Muslim nations across the globe are no exception in grappling with catastrophic and multifaceted environmental crises. In dealing with this phenomenon, Muslim scholars have been promoting a laudable principle of environmental preservation (hifz al-bi’ah) via the maqasid al-shariah, however not without unresolved ambiguities with regard to its actual focus and real implementation. This article provides an alternative conception of environmental preservation by drawing a connection to the well-established Shariah’s objective of preserving fitrah. While the mainstream discourse of preserving fitrah primarily deals with humans innate dispositions, this article suggests its expansion to a wider scope of nature’s innate properties, drawn upon from the resource of scientific discourse in systems thinking. Through a comparative analysis on Islamic sources and systems thinking literatures on nature, the article proposes that natures ability to sustain life through systemic interconnections, constitutes the important aspect of fitrah that necessitates preservation, even enhancement. Finally, through the suggested conception of environmental fitrah, the article discusses some pressing issues of Genetically Modified (GM) foods, and climate change in order to delineate the feasibility of systems thinking approach that may lead to reasonable policy recommendations.