from 10:00 to 13:00 at the European Commission
European Interfaith Event on the
“Water Campaign” and “The Rights of all
Children to live without Violence”
Mustafa Ceric, Ph.D.
Grand Mufti of Bosnia(1993-2012)
Dear participants at the European Commision the European Interfaith Event on the “Water Campaign” and “The Rights of all Children to live without Violence” I deeply regret for not being able to attend this very important event of interfaith meeting in Brussels, but I want to assure that I am with you with all my heart
If Egyptis a gift of the Nile, then the Italian and Balkan Peninsulas are gifts of the Adriatic Sea which is an arm of the Mediterranean Sea that is situated between three great continents: Europe to the north, Africa to the south, andAsiato the east.
But, where do the beautiful river of Egypt and the magnificent seas of Europe, Africa and Asia come from? It is not only a matter of courtesy to say that all rivers and all seas are gifts of God Almighty, but it is also the fact of the very life of our planet. Again, not only because, as an Arabic proverb has it that the water, greenness and nice face relieve men from worries, but also because as the Holy Qur’an has it: God made from water every living thing, that man must know that the question of water is the key for the survival of the very life on earth.
Indeed, we are in the position to read these beautiful and magnificent verses from the Holy Qur’an about the beauty, magnitude, nay, about the very source of our life and happiness that the water holds for us. Let us, therefore, listen to the words of God from the Holy Qur’an:
(It is God) Who made the earth your couch and the heavens your canopy. He sent down rain from the heavens so that fruits may come forth therewith for your sustenance … (2:22).
Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, in the alteration of the Night and the Day, in the sailing of the ships through the Ocean for the profit of mankind, in the rain which God sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead, in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth, in the change of the winds, and the clouds which they trail like their slaves between the sky and the earth (here) indeed are the Signs for a people that are wise (2:164).
It is God Who sends down rain from the skies with it vegetation is produced of all kinds, out of which some green is produced, out of which grain is obtained heaped up (at harvest). Out of the date-palm and its sheaths (come) clusters of dates hanging low and near, and (then there are) gardens of grapes, and olives and pomegranates , each similar in kind, yet different (in variety), when they begin to bear fruit, feast your eyes with the fruit and the ripeness thereof. Behold! in these things, there are signs for people who believe (6:99).
The likeness of the life of the present is as the rain which God sends down from the skies by its mingling arises the produce of the earth which provides food for men and animals. (It grows) till the earth is clad with its golden ornaments and is decked out (in beauty): the people to whom it belongs think they have all powers of disposal over it: there reaches it God’s command by night or by day, and God makes a harvest clean-mown, as if it had not flourished only the day before! Thus God explains the signs in detail for those who reflect (10:24).
And in the earth are tracts (diverse though) neighboring, and gardens of vines and fields sown with corn, and palm trees – growing out of a single roots or otherwise: watered with the same water, yet some of them God makes more excellent than others to eat. Behold, verily in these things there are signs for those who understand (13:4).
And God sends the fecundating winds, then causes the rain to descend from the sky, therewith providing you with water (in abundance), though you are not guardians of its stores (10:22).
It is God Who sends down rain from the sky. From it you drink, and out of it (grows) the vegetation on which you feed your cattle (16:10).
With (water that comes from rain) God produces for you corn, olives, date-palms, grapes, and every kind of fruit. Verily, in this is a sign for those who give thought (16:11).
God has made to your service the Night and the Day, the Sun and the Moon, and the Stars are in subjugation by His command: verily in this are signs for men who are wise (16:129)
And the things on this earth which He has multiplied in varying colours (and qualities): verily in this is a sign for men who celebrate the praises of God ( in gratitude) (16:13).
It is God Who has made the sea to your service, that you may eat thereof flesh that is fresh and tender, and that you may extract therefrom ornaments to wear, and you see the ships therein that plough the waves, that you may seek (thus) of the bounty of God and that you may be grateful (16:14).
And He has set up on the earth mountains standing firm, lest it should shake with you, and rivers and roads that you may guide yourselves (16:15).
And marks and sign-posts, and by the stars (men) guide themselves (16:16).
Is then He Who creates like one that creates not? Will you not receive admonition (16:17). If you would count the favors of God, never would you be able to number them: for God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (16:18).
And God doth know what you conceal and what you reveal (16:18).
Those whom they invoke besides God create nothing and are themselves created (16:19).
(They are things) dead, lifeless: nor do they know when they will be raised (16:20).
Your God is One God: as to those who believe not in the Hereafter, their hearts refuse to know, and they are arrogant (16:21).
Let them bear, on the Day of Judgment, their own burdens in full, and also (something) of the burdens of those without knowledge, whom they misled. Alas, how grievous the burdens they will bear (16:25).
In all ages wicked men tried to plot against God’s Way, but they never succeeded, and were covered with shame in ways unexpected. The righteous see good in God’s Word, and their goal is the Good. Great teachers were sent to all nations, to warn against Evil and guide to the Right. The penalty for evil comes in many unexpected ways, for Evil is against Nature, and all Nature proclaims God’s Glory and humbly serves him, the Lord Supreme (24:26.50).
I have brought to your attention this long citation of the Holy Qur’an in order to demonstrate the intensity of the Muslim connection with Nature and its various favors, of which water is the most obvious one. Water in the Qur’an is the cause of life of everything, but it is not one of the creation myths as, for instance, luminous lotus bud was for the early Egyptians. Water is not worshiped as such, but it is used by men for worshiping One God in the sense of abolition before the prayer five times a day and after sexual intercourse. Water, therefore, is an indispensable part of a proper Islamic life and, as such, is a kind of Muslim cultural cult that has shaped a great deal the structure of Islamic civilization. Simply, without water, I mean clean water, Muslims cannot have peace of mind needed for their daily religiously moral demands.
Isn’t it somewhat wandering, measured by our human logic, that a Prophet of the empty Arabian desert stipulates water as the main religious requirement for his followers. For Muslims, however, there is no wandering because the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are not from him as a human being, but from God Almighty as his Messenger. Hence, the Night and the Day, the Sun and the Moon, the Stars, the Clouds, the Winds, the Mountains, the Rain, the Rivers, the Seas, the Oceans, the Fruits – indeed, the countless favors in our Nature are simply great Signs for those who are wise. Furthermore, these things are in the service of man if only he keow how to use them for Good against Evil, for Right against Wrong, for Beauty against Ugliness, for Happiness against Sadness.
I guess, this is why we are here to ask ourselves whether we are at peace with Nature or at war with it, whether Nature fears us or we are afraid of Nature, whether we will destroy Nature for the sake of Evil or save it for the sake of Good? We are not at war with Nature because Nature does not like war, but we are not at peace with it either because we are like children who like to play with dangerous toys that frighten Nature. Indeed, Nature is afraid of man now more than man has been afraid of Nature when some tried to explain that the origin of religion came from the fear of natural forces that are explicable by science rather than divine teachings.
Well, with all due respect to the scientific explanation of some manners of Nature, we are still confused as to the future destiny of our life on earth and we are still in fear, this time not from the forces of an evil spirit of Nature, but from the forces of an evil human spirit that uses the science as a tool to play the role of God or to play the game with peaceful Nature. Of course, Nature knows how to defend its good spirit against the evil spirit of man, but the cost of this fight between Man and Nature will be high because all the waste that is produced by Man in the form of chemical poison or otherwise, disturbs the balance in Nature that is made by its own waste. I want to say that all the waste of Nature is at the same time necessary food for Nature itself, while all the waste that Man has produced by the way of his science is a deadly weapon against Nature.
Indeed, humankind is today at a challenging moment in the history of our planet and the decision must be made as to our position for or against Nature – its clean water or dirty fluid, its flourishing seas or dying flora, its sailing oceans or a space for nuclear testing, its healthy air or choking smog. But, do we really have a choice but to work for the salvation of our environment?! No we don’t. Perhaps, it is somewhat late, but not too late to be aware of the fact that the water of the Mediterranean Sea by connecting three continents is teaching us of the necessity of the connection of human beings who are using it for drinking, washing, sailing, swimming and thus enjoying life and that they should all be grateful for it to the One and the Same Almighty God who is the Master of the heavens and the earth.
I hope that this Symposium will send a clear message to the whole world that we are all in the same Noa’sArkregardless of our faith, nationality, ethnicity, philosophical or political views and, therefore, we will be all saved or all failed on this planet earth.
It is better, I believe, that we be saved for the sake of the Good of this World so that we all may hope to be saved in the Hereafter as well.
May God hear our honest prayers and may God bless us all. Amen!
 Qur’an, 21:30. All quotations of the Qur’an are taken from the translation of the Holy Qur’an by A. Yusuf Ali, Lahore, 1934, if not indicated otherwise.
Copyright religionsforpeace-europe.org 2019