Signs on the Earth - Islam, Modernity and the Natural World by Fazlun M Khalid

Kube Publishing Ltd

Review by Kube Publishing editorial staff

This book by one of the world’s leading Muslim environmentalists examines the relationship between modernity and Islam in the context of the environmental concerns which now engage our attention. It looks at how modernity has imposed its stamp not only on the Islamic world but also how it has thrown into disarray the progression of other societies and traditions and ways of life. It enquires into how this disruption is unfolding and at the same time has succeeded in corrupting natural systems that support life, while holding out a promise of progress towards a better future. It argues that industrialisation, a rush for economic growth and an addiction to consumerism need to be rethought, alongside an appeal to reconnect the human race with what is sacred. This book has the potential to transform the attitudes of future generations into one that is more caring of the natural world.

The book devotes a whole chapter to environmentalism and Islam in practice and theory and explores how Islamic practice can contribute to the task of restoring the natural world to a state of equilibrium. It includes a restatement of the legal tradition in Islam that deals with the environment and incorporates this into a historical overview of the causes that have led to the current concerns over climate change and related environmental issues. It appeals to Muslims to take a serious approach to these challenges and demonstrate the dynamism it is capable of in addressing the perils faced by the planet.

Fazlun Khalid not only draws his inspiration from the Islamic faith but he also challenges the current mindset in a manner that confirms mainstream analysis. In recognising that environmental concerns are a collective responsibility this book calls on people of religious faith and no faith to work together on these issues in a concerted effort to leave an Earth where future generations will not only survive but also thrive.