Sunday, September 14, 2008

Siri Pedoman Hidup: Global Mischief: acts of God or acts of man?

This article is the summary of Kuliah Maghrib: Isu-isu global dari perspektif Islam" at Masjid Sultan Ismail, UTM by Muhammad Izzuddin Syakir Hj Ishak, organized by Kelab Rakan Masjid, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

“ Mischief has appeared on land and sea because of (the meed) that the hands of men have earned, that (God) may give them a taste of some of their deeds: in order that they may turn back (from evil)” (30:41)

Ibnu Katsir had describe the word mischief is the lower agriculture production. Prof Dr Hamka had interpret ‘mischief’ is about environmental pollution. But according to Tafsir Al Maraghiy, mischief is due to the sins by the mankind.

As the world population is climbing up to exceed six billion, economic expand and create excessive demand to the earth. The momentum of industrial revolution since 19th century led to massive consumption of energy to fuel the modern lifestyle today which resulted to ‘destructive development’.

Turning cropland to the industrial, residential, commercial and recently intensive bioenergy cropland make rapidly shrinking of the land and water level drops. Develop countries like Japan are not able to feed themselves and start to import for about 70% of their grain from developing countries and thus will lead to massive environment impact such as deforestation for intensive agricultural land.

In addition, biofuel demand due to high price of fossil fuel are contributing to turn the cropland to bioenergy crop land, may speed up deforestation, species extinction, water level drops and global warming. Food price soar and thus will turn down the standard of living which widen the gap of poor-rich. Strong increases in food prices, as reported by IHT, fueling a "new hunger" across the globe and anarchy on the streets of poorer nations.

Several impacts was seen as major and need immediate action to deal with, thus, food security, energy and environment. All these three elements are inter-related and complex. The global economy had created a perfect storm for the world's hungry, caused by high oil and food prices as well as low food stocks. Continuing growth of population seems to makes the situation are becoming worst to the world economy (poverty), social (hunger and food security) and environment (deforestation and climate change).

However, we are familiar with the most popular Ghandi’s words, perhaps, “the world is enough for everybodies need, but it is not enough for anybodies greed”. So, does the population growth is the real culprit for all those misfortunes? Or we rather justify the issues are the matter of survival fittest? If so, what about the poor? How to enhance their ability in order to make themselves ‘fit’ to face the new wave of so called “new hunger” as they are most vulnerable? As food prices hike are expected to continue until 2010, it is a really challenge for the world to achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDG) poverty reduction target where to halve the proportion of people whose income is less than USD1 per day, by 2015, After all, I tend to agree with Ghandi’s point of view that as long as the world are steered by the greedy, we especially poor, are in the endless piles on the gloom.

“ When it is said to them: Make not mischief on the earth,” They Say “Why, we only want to make peace!” (11) Of a surety, they are the ones who make mischief, but they realise (it) not" (12). (2: 11-12)

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