With the intention of establishing spiritually rooted, socio-economically sound and ecologically regenerative land-based communities, we will explore Islamic metaphysics, law and ethics as they pertain to the stewardship of the created world. 

A Nurturing Environment
Program Dates: June 30–July 8, 2017
Travel Dates: June 29 and July 9

Over the course of 9 days, we will attempt to acquire practical life changing lessons from luminaries such as Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah and benefit from the company of Shaykh Muhamed Ahmed Ibrahim Yusif el-Jilani, and other scholars of the Islamic spiritual, theological and legal traditions. A typical day consists of roughly 6 hours of instruction, with ample time for relaxation and activities on the Rosales campus. There will be one day of leisure, with optional activities.

Tending the Earth: The Art of Living with God's Creation
an abstract by Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah

We witness today unprecedented degradation and destruction of the earth and the environment. This degradation and destruction in the world around us is but a mirror for what has been lost and become corrupt in the human being, his thought and the systems that he created. In the midst of the grave crises that we are in, what are our spiritual, ethical and cultural imperatives?

To climb a mountain, we must begin at its base. We will begin our endeavor with an assessment of the current state of affairs and the worldviews implicit in them. As we study the principles and paradigms of the ethics of Islam, we will consider how they propose to heal the earth after it has been pillaged, polluted and largely ruined. We will look to the past and consider how great Islamic cities such as Baghdad, Damascus, and Granada were able to support large populations without creating environmental disasters. We will also look to the future and consider how Muslims can create sustainable communities that work effectively with the dynamics of our time, while providing the basis for a stable and healthy natural, social and economic environment.

Islamic husbandry cannot be separated from the broad disciplines of being human and developing a vibrant, all-embracing culture that enables us to be God’s stewards on earth. The Zawiyah will stress this necessary relationship between culture and the practice of husbandry in any of its manifestations. We will also seek to demonstrate the benefits of Islamic law and ethics for ecologically sound agriculture and permaculture when they are linked to the broad principles of Islamic theology, metaphysics and esthetics. The scope of Islamic ethics is unlimited; it directs us to set the world around us right at all levels and opens up for all beings horizons of unlimited good. There are no limitations to the good we are capable of doing when we get the fundamentals of how we are meant to live on earth right.

Often the most practical of things are also the most profound. The act of tending the earth is meant to release within us deep feelings of gratitude toward God and a sense of awe for God’s creation. Direct contact with nature as God’s stewards on earth is the grand portal that makes the perfection of virtues possible. Thus, while studying the abstract concepts of Islamic husbandry and stewardship, we will focus our deliberation on how to move from theoretical ethics to meaningful action for our times. Through a variety of tangible training programs and hands-on activities, we will awaken our consciousness and whet our appetites to rediscover and reclaim these arts. While all traditional civilizations attained notable heights in the arts of husbandry, we will explore the significant differences between them at the level of principles and particulars along with the insights and techniques unique to the Islamic heritage.

In its response to the ills of the modern way of life, the Western model, with its many admirable accomplishments, has often focused on getting off the grid and going back to the land, which is both difficult and impractical in many ways. One of the unique contributions of Islamic ethics pertaining to husbandry and environmental stewardship is that it was essentially urban as reflected in the Islamic tradition of the garden city and garden village. Such an approach marries nature and the built environment for holistic living, taking the pressure off of the wilderness and other natural lands. It leads to the development of healthy, largely self-sustaining cities and has numerous other practical ramifications for today’s world. Therefore, while we will consider the implications of Islamic theology, metaphysics and ethics on environmental legislation, policies and action, the thrust of the Zawiyah Rosales 2017 will be to address how Muslims today can create self-sustaining and resilient, urban, land-based communities.


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