The Holy Qur'an and the Environmental Crisis

NOA Community Centre (Ferry Centre)
Summertown, Oxford

(click for map etc.)

"Corruption has appeared on earth and at sea, because of what people's hands have wrought ..." (Qur'an, 30:41)

The environmental crisis is a catastrophic consequence of an essentially materialistic conception of the universe. In this lecture Dr Reza Shah-Kazemi will argue that the environmental crisis could never have happened in a world fashioned by the Qur'anic view of nature. In exploring what the Qur'an has to say about the current crisis, he will reveal the kinds of solution advocated by the Qur'an, on both the individual and collective level, and within the spheres of moral responsibility and spiritual awareness.

The lecture will approach the environmental crisis within a framework defined by tawhid, that is, "integrating oneness", the cardinal principle of Islam. In terms of tawhid, the natural environment is nothing other than the expression here below of that "environment" constituted by the divine Reality itself, one of the Names of God being precisely al-Muheet, "The All-Encompassing".

It will be argued that the only effective solution to a crisis as all-encompassing as the one facing us today is a solution that is likewise all-encompassing: one which integrates the practical and material aspects with the ethical and spiritual dimensions of our existence, beginning with the microcosm, the "small universe" which each human being is.

Dr Reza Shah-Kazemi is an author and Research Associate at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London. He specializes in comparative mysticism, Islamic Studies, Sufism and Shi'ism. His publications include The Other in the Light of the One The Universality of the Qur'an and Interfaith Dialogue (2006); Paths to Transcendence According to Shankara, Ibn Arabi and Meister Eckhart (2006); and Justice and Remembrance Introducing the Spirituality of the Imam Ali (2006).

6.00 (Friends 3.00)