O mankind! Worship your Lord who created you, and those before you, so that you may attain the fear of God. He who has made the earth a couch for you, and the sky a canopy, and sent down rain from the heavens, and brought forth with it fruit for you as sustenance. So do not set up rivals to God when you know (Al Baqarah, verse 21).
Dear brothers and sisters in Islam wherever this memo may reach you, praise and thanks be to Allah who has blessed us with guidance, the religion, the blessings of the earth and the heavens, and countless other blessings. His blessings are unfathomable.
Glory be to Allah, The Creator! Glory be to Him, The Most Gracious! There is no god but Him!
Brothers and sisters of faith, it has come to my attention that we, the Muslims, need to make a comprehensive and considered effort to reconcile the vast benefits and wisdom found in the permaculture movement with our religion.
Due to the responsibilities that Allah has given us as custodians of his religion, and as custodians of the earth, it is clear enough that this is something we need to do in order to refine and preserve the wisdom that has been attained.
I believe that permaculture does indeed bring forward a portion of the truth and the light that Allah has weaved into man’s existence on planet earth. And whatever truth and light permaculture doesn’t actually incorporate within it’s own scope, for the most part it doesn’t block it. However, I believe there are some problems that need to be addressed.
The religion before Allah is Islam. Nor did the People of The Book differ over it except through envy of each other, after knowledge had come to them. But if any deny the signs of Allah, Allah is swift in taking account (Al I Imran, verse 19);
Permaculture as it stands today fails to deliver mankind what mankind needs. It fails in religion. It puts religion to the side instead of to the centre. Although the permaculture movement carries light, it comes from a people who have mostly turned away from religion. In it’s textbook form, permaculture leaves religion at the back, yet we know that it must be at the front. Let us seek the forgiveness of Allah and his aid.
No doubt the great benefits of permacultural knowledge and experience need to be regrafted to the rope of Allah. I hope that with the right combination of good work and the mention of God, people will come to faith in droves.
Believers, do not let either your possessions or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. Those who do that shall be the losers (Al Munafiqun, verse 9);
Those men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise. for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward (Al Ahzab, verse 35).
We must establish and maintain the rememberance of God in our work and we need to be committed to it. There is no success without it. Human beings are called to acknowledge Allah, to believe in Him, and to worship Allah. Without the rememberance of our Lord, our efforts will be wasted.
PURPOSE OF LIFE ON EARTH
In the noble Qur’an, Allah the Most Gracious tells us why we’re here on earth. It’s not to create a permanent culture. Paradise is a permanent culture, and we’re trying to get back there.
The earth is just a place for us to live and learn. Practising ‘permaculture’ on the earth can lead us to be enlightened about the permanent culture of Paradise, and enlightened about resurrection, but it can’t lead us to saving the earth and establishing permanence here.
Then Satan made them slip, and got them out of the state in which they had been. We said: Get down, all of you, with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be a dwelling place for you, and your livelihood, for a time (Al Baqarah, verse 37).
What is the life of this world but play and amusement? But best is the home of the Hereafter, for those who are righteous. Won’t you understand? (Al An’am, verse 32).
UNDERSTANDING LIFE CYCLES LEADS TO UNDERSTANDING RESURRECTION
This is what cannot be left out of Islamic call. Understanding life systems on planet earth should lead a person to realise of how his or her own life shall be recreated. While this will not happen for all people – we know that many will disbelieve – Muslims must actively acknowledge and share this link, bringing it to light with wisdom.
And He puts up ideas about us, and forgets his own making: He says Who can give life to dry bones, decomposed ones at that? Say: He who created them the first time will give them life! And He is The Knower of every way of creating (Yaa Siin, verses 78 and 79).
The last prophet has come. He brought a new revelation which made clear what we are permitted to do and what we are not permitted to do. And even if permaculture can be shown to come from a seed of faith, such as church communities that had become earthcarers, it still needs input from the message of the last prophet. The Qur’an came as an explanation of all things, trustworthy over the previous scriptures, guidance, and a criterion between right and wrong. We cannot ignore it.
We know from all Almighty God’s sacred revelations to our prophets that man’s life on earth will not be either happy or harmonious without the guidance and knowledge that comes through religion. While happiness and harmony may be obtained for a while, they will not be sustained without that guidance and mercy, and the assistance, and the other divine blessings that submission to Allah attracts.
O believers! Enter into Islam fully, and do not follow the footsteps of the evil one, he is a clear enemy to you (Al Baqarah, verse 208).
We have to Islamise. Islamisation of permaculture does not mean that all people shall have to adopt Islamised permaculture. Muslims have to Islamise their farming and lifestyle practices, not non-Muslims.
Practising Christians may Christianise their practices, and likewise people of all faiths may, at some point, identify syntheses between permaculture and their own religion. In a simplified statement: “Everyone is free to adapt permaculture to suit their own religious beliefs”.
Wherever the seeds of permaculture grew, whether it was amongst the earthlovers of renaissance European cultures, or it was from before that, in any case it has brought them inspiration.
Who can ignore that permaculturulists have been inspired to understand the earth, to nurture it, to take from it and to cultivate it, and to share out it’s bounties, which is all good and merciful. Praise be to Allah. No doubt there are other inspirations besides what I’ve mentioned here.
Yet since Bill Mollison, for all his genius, hard work, and other virtues, was not a believer as such, then it is only natural that his works did not cover the rights of Allah and how to fulfill them.
THE NEXT STEP
Now that there are many Muslim permaculturalists, there is a great burden on us. If we don’t accept it we will be punished by God. If we accept it we’ll be protected.
We must accept this and not try to avoid it. Rather, we need to openly acknowledge and accept the burden of our covenant with Almighty God, healing our hearts, and actively help each other with keeping the covenant. May Allah help us to bring forward the goodness and the light and to earn the good pleasure of Allah.
If there are any errors in this memo, then they are mine. I hope you’ll overlook them and pray that Allah forgive me.
And if there is any good in it, then it’s from Allah The Source Of Goodness, praise be to Him.
Byron Bay, Australia
Jumada Al Awwal 1439