British Muslims and the Natural World

Dr Mark Bryant

Tuesday 14th December 2021 at 6pm on Zoom

Prayer Zanzibar – Copyright M Bryant

Islam, as a faith, is inherently ecological and has a specific Islamic environmental ethic. The leading Muslim environmentalist Fazlun Khalid says that the “ethos of Islam is that it integrates belief with a code of conduct which pays heed to the essence of the natural world”.

The Muslim philosopher Seyyed Hossain Nasr notes: “the cosmos itself is in fact God’s first revelation, and upon the leaves of trees, the faces of mountains, and features of animals, as well as in the sounds of the winds and the gently flowing brooks, are all to be found signs of God.”

It can be argued that the existence of an Islamic environmental ethic is not particularly evident in the behaviour of Muslims. This talk will outline the basis of this ethic within the Qur’an and Hadith (Examples of the Prophet Muhammad) and highlight the challenges faced with connecting Muslims to these teachings. It will also outline some of the ecological work of Muslims and the potential for community cohesion and interfaith dialogue. Finally, the talk will explore a growing Islamic voice within the wider discourse around the current environmental emergency and climate change.

Dr Mark Bryant has had a lifelong passion for the natural environment and has been working with IFEES/EcoIslam for the past decade. He is currently the organisation’s Senior Consultant as well as the Climate Change Consultant for the Muslim Council of Wales

Mark has represented IFEES/EcoIslam both in the UK and abroad. He has been involved in Imam training and initiatives such as the plastic free Iftars.

As development officer for the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK in Cardiff University Mark works closely with the local Muslim communities.

Mark completed an MA Islam in Contemporary Britain in 2009, and he was employed as a research assistant for the ‘Islamic Gardens’ project funded by Botanic Gardens.