Fighting for ecological justice

Promoting Religion as an Inspiration for Environmental Protection

Mochamad Ichwan, a member of Kaoem Telapak, revealed that in living life, three principles must be adhered to by Muslims. The principles are hablum minallah, hablum minannas, and hablum minal’alam. Unfortunately, the habluminal’alam principle is the least discussed among the three principles.

“The principle of hablum minal’alam is barely touched,” said the man who graduated from IAIN Tulungagung.

Ichwan explained the meaning of hablum minallah is the relationship between humans and God. This is related to worship, for example, prayer, zakat, and fasting. Then, hablum minannas means the relationship between humans and fellow human beings, for example, justice, equality, mutual respect, and tolerance. Then, hablum minal’alam is a principle related to human relations with nature, for example, not throwing garbage in the river.

According to Ichwan, the omission of hablum minal’alam in religious discourse creates religious practices that are not pure or holistic. “The impact is that many religious people throw garbage anywhere, even though cleanliness is part of their faith,” he said.

Additionally, Ichwan said that many religious teachings order humans to protect nature. Ichwan gave an example in Islam, during the pilgrimage, people are not allowed to kill animals, not even pulling grass. “This is evidence that religion has critical thoughts about the environment,” he said.

Muhammad Ichwan, member of Kaoem Telapak

Ichwan said that in 2009 Kaoem Telapak, who was still called Telapak, held a workshop inviting many religious leaders to discuss the war against illegal logging. At that time, Kaoem Telapak was overseeing an illicit case logging which attracted quite a lot of public attention. Ichwan assessed that the workshop received a positive response from religious leaders. “Many were interested in the topic. Muhammadiyah was present, and NU was also present,” he said.

In the current context, the discourse on religion as a source of inspiration for protecting the environment is still ongoing. However, all the stakeholders need to determine the impact. Even so, Ichwan still recommends continuing to convey religious messages about protecting the environment.

Especially in the current context, when many people are starting to feel climate change, the weather is unpredictable. Ichwan believes that religionists should begin to integrate these messages into sermons. “So that religious people have alignments in protecting the environment,” he said.

According to Ichwan, Kaoem Telapak is a unique organization. Its members consist of interfaith and have organizational values that respect each other. Ichwan hopes that these diverse members will start talking about religion in the context of environmental protection. “Talking about the content of religion in the context of environmental protection, because this is nothing new for Kaoem Telapak,” he said.