And he it is who sends the winds as heralds of glad tidings, going before his mercy, and we send down pure water from the sky,
That with it we may give life to a dead land, and slake the thirst of things we have created, cattle and men in great numbers.
And we have distributed the water among them, in order that they may celebrate our praises, but most men are averse to anything but rank ingratitude. Quran 25: 48-50
Water is one of the earths most precious and threatened resources which has not been allowed to return to its natural cycle and is over-used. Drinking water is now often contaminated with chemicals and contains bacteria and viruses. Vital aquifers are becoming toxic. Once an aquifer is contaminated, it’s not likely that it can ever recover.
A lack of water to meet daily needs is a reality today for one in three people around the world, on every continent. Almost one fifth of the world’s population live in areas where the water is physically scarce.
The effects of climate change have caused glaciers to recede, reducing stream and river flow, and shrinking lakes. Regions respond differently to climate change, some become drier and some wetter, whilst others (such as England) experience extremes of weather bringing an alternation of flooding and drought.
Water scarcity occurs even where there is plenty of rainfall or freshwater. It is how water is conserved, distributed and used in communities, and its quality, which determines if there’s enough to meet demand. We assume it will always be possible to direct water as we please but the Quran teaches us to be in a state of constant gratitude for our water is from the Mercy of Allah. History shows that if the water stops running, civilization will fail.
He is the one that sends down rain after men have given up all hope, and scatters his mercy. And he is the protector, worthy of all praise. Quran 42: 28
There is a vast amount of water on the planet but sustainably managed water is becoming scarce. If present trends continue, 1.8 billion people will be living with absolute water scarcity by 2025, and two thirds of the world population could be subject to water stress. Countries such as India, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan are already experiencing water stress.
Allah enlarges the sustenance to whichever of his servants he pleases; and he grants by measure: for Allah has full knowledge of all things.
And if needed you ask them who it is that sends down rain from the sky, and gives life therewith to the earth after its death. They will certainly reply, Allah! Say, Alhamdulillah! But most of them understand not. Quran 29: 62-63
Not only does the Qur’an teach us ‘to waste not by excess, for God loves not the wasters’ (7.31) but the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) also attached great importance to water, and forbade the excessive use of it even when making ablutions, saying that to do so was shunned (makruh).
The following story illustrates this: “God’s Messenger (pbuh) appeared while Sa‘d was taking the ablutions. When he saw that Sa‘d was using a lot of water, he intervened saying: ‘What is this? You are wasting water.” Sa‘d replied asking: “Can there be wastefulness while taking the ablutions?” To which God’s Messenger replied: “Yes, even if you take them on the bank of a rushing river.” (Musnad, ii, 22; Ibn Maja, Tahara, 48, no:425; I, 147)
The likeness of the life of the present is as the rain which we send down from the skies: by its mingling arises the produce of the earth which provides food for men and animals: it grows until 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 our command by night or by day, and we make it like a harvest clean mown, as if it had not flourished only the day before thus do we explain the signs in detail for those who reflect.
But Allah calls to the home of peace: he guides whom he pleases to a way that is straight. Quran 10: 23-25
- 70% of freshwater worldwide is used for agriculture, almost 50% of that never reaches the crops. Most soaks out of unlined canals, leaks out of pipes, or evaporates before reaching the fields. We should support sustainable agriculture, such as permaculture, forest gardens, diversified crops and crop rotation.
- 22% of of freshwater worldwide is used in Industry. Industries should use closed water cycles and prevent polluting water so that it can be returned into the water cycle.
- Privatization of the water system in developing countries is causing the world’s poor to go without clean water because they can’t afford to pay for it.
- Losses of food in storage, transport, food processing, retail and in our kitchens, are huge. Over eating and throwing food away is like leaving the tap running.
Better Basics for Home
- Awareness: Installing a water meter keeps us aware of how much water we use and how much we can save. Avoid food wastage.
- Saving water: Cut down on baths, put a brick in your cistern, only use the washing machine when it’s full and turn off the tap unless you are directly using the water.
- Recycling: Install a system that uses grey-water (from sinks, showers and baths) to irrigate gardens, but be sure to use biodegradable soap products.
- Rainwater Harvesting: Install a system to gather and store rainwater. Use a water butt in the garden.
- Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems: Make sure ground surfaces outside your home and in your garden are permeable to allow rainwater to return to the water table.