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USAID Releases “Al Khalifa (The Steward): Environmental Sourcebook with Islamic Perspective

October 25, 2010

Muslim religious leaders in Western Mindanao warmly received Al Khalifa (The Steward), a sourcebook on environmental protection and conservation written from the perspective of Islam.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Philippine Environmental Governance 2 Project (EcoGov2), worked with Muslim community leaders, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, educators, and Qur’anic experts from Western Mindanao to develop Al Khalifa. USAID released introductory copies of the sourcebook in Zamboanga City on April 22, 2007 to coincide with the global celebration of Earth Day. The sourcebook, the first publication of its kind in the country, underscores the commitment of the EcoGov2 project to promote good environmental governance practices in Western Mindanao.

Right now, 20 local government units (LGUs) in the Western Mindanao provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay receive substantial technical assistance from the EcoGov 2 project. USAID’s EcoGov2 project developed Al Khalifa to help LGUs in predominantly Muslim regions of the Philippines improve their capacity for sound ecological governance.

Based on the teachings of the Holy Qur’an, Al Khalifa seeks “to educate leaders and followers in Muslim communities that the environment and ecological governance are part of man’s responsibilities as God’s vicegerents on earth” and “to enable Muslims to be involved in environmental governance through a clearer understanding and better appreciation of his responsibilities and accountabilities as prescribed by Islam.”

Al Khalifa is inspired by the Islamic principle of man as God’s steward and trustee on earth. As stated in the sourcebook, “Islam exemplifies rightful conduct…and regulates man’s life according to the halal-haram dichotomy, of what is allowed and forbidden, lawful and unlawful… And Islam views the care and management of the environment as part of every Muslim’s religious obligation.”

Endorsements by Islamic religious leaders of Al Khalifa :

In Zamboanga City, Deputy Mufti for Western Mindanao and Palawan Sheikh Abdulwakil Tanjilil of the Darul Ifta, endorsed Al Khalifa. He said that, “As a Muslim, one should be aware of the responsibilities in the use of earth’s natural resources and the care of the environment, and should enjoin his Muslim brothers to obey Allah commands them to do, in relation to them.” He also enjoined “all concerned Muslims to propound the teachings from the Al Khalifa in their daily activities, at home and in government, schools and mosques, work and leisure, and to consider all these as part of Islamic worship”.

In Lamitan, Basilan, Ustadz Ulama Usman Mangkabung heartily accepted the sourcebook stressing that “the people are all responsible for the environment”.

In Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay Province, Hadji Jaalal Saniel appreciated the book as a “good source to support what the Qur’an and Hadith command”.

In Buug, Zamboanga Sibugay, Ustadz Abdul Mauna recommended that the book be used as in instructional reference in the different madaris (Islamic schools) all over the country.

Earlier, in the Islamic City of Marawi, Al Khalifa was used as a reference in a khutbah (a religious sermon) delivered on April 13, 2007 at Masjed Bubong Lilod by Amrola Diambangan, aleem (“learned man”) of the Young Moro Professional Network, Madaya.

This piece is taken from the website of the Philippine Environmental Governance Project.

See on-line at: http://ecogovproject.denr.gov.ph/docs/Story_USAID_releases_Al%20Khalifa_The_Steward.htm