On Being Responsible With Our Free Will by Rayhan Al-Safawi
It is not just the environment that is being squandered, but our own mental states and free will – all of which are gifts from God.
God has given us the gift of vicegerency (khilāfah) on earth. Vicegerency comes with a degree of responsibility in so far as we must act as good stewards on earth. Yet Allah has also given us free will and with that free will we have the capacity to reject His Will and thus misuse our vicegerency. Our free will also enables us to refuse to use our freedom in a way that pleases Allah.
We often use and abuse the earth we live in. We overeat, drink too much, overuse our lands, destroy our forests and fill our oceans and atmosphere with poisonous toxins. Our rivers are not as crisp as they were before but are, instead, filled with harmful chemicals.
Our environment is not the only thing that we ruin. Our minds, our ʿaql which God has given us is wasted away with countless hours spent on smart phones, ipads and laptops. As the Qur’an says, we were created in order to worship Allah yet we mindlessly squander so much of our time with things that have little After-worldly value.
Our actions and inner states often defy what we profess to believe in. We not only fight God’s sovereignty in the environment, but we also fight His sovereignty within our hearts.