Prince Charles yesterday urged the world to follow Islamic ‘spiritual principles’ in order to save the environment.
In a high-profile speech, the heir to the throne argued that man’s destruction of the world was contrary to the scriptures of all religions – but particularly that of the Islamic faith.
He said the current ‘division’ between Man and Nature had been caused not just by industrialisation, technological development and the relentless pursuit of economic growth, but also by our attitude to our relationship with Nature – which goes against the grain of ‘sacred traditions’.
Charles, who is a practising Christian, spoke in depth about his own study of the Qu’ran which, he said, tells its followers that there is ‘no separation between Man and Nature’ and says we must always live within Nature’s mean and limits
‘From what I know of the Qu’ran, again and again it describes the natural world as the handiwork of a unitary benevolent power,’ he said.
‘It very explicitly describes Nature as possessing an “intelligibility” and that there is no separation between Man and Nature, precisely because there is no separation between the natural world and God.
‘It offers a completely integrated view of the Universe where religion and science, mind and matter are all part of one living, conscious whole.
‘This suggests to me that Nature is a knowing partner, never a mindless slave to humanity, and we are Her tenants; God’s guests for all too short a time.’
The prince was speaking to an audience of scholars at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, which attempts to encourage a better understanding of the culture and civilisation of the religion, of which he is patron.
When he accepted the role back in 1993 Charles gave a landmark speech about the need for better understanding between Islam and the West, which still has resonance today.
Yesterday the theme for his lecture, to mark the centre’s 25th anniversary, merged religion with his other favourite subject – the environment.
The hour-long speech saw Charles once again berate Man for the damage he is doing to the planet, saying: ‘Many of Nature’s vital, life-support systems are now struggling to cope under the strain of global industrialization.
‘How they will manage if millions more people are to achieve Western levels of consumption is highly disturbing to contemplate.
‘The problems are only going to get much worse. And they are very real.
‘It is an approach that acts contrary to the teaching of each and every one of the world’s sacred traditions, including Islam.’
He went on to argue that as well as adopting ‘green’ scientific and technological developments, people of all faiths needed to radically alter their whole approach to life on the basis of spiritual teachings such as those central to Islam.
‘Whichever faith tradition we come from, the fact at the heart of the matter is the same. Our inheritance from our creator is at stake,’ he said.
‘It will be no good at the end of the day as we sit amidst the wreckage, trying to console ourselves that it was all done for the best possible reasons of development and the betterment of Mankind.
‘The inconvenient truth is that we share this planet with the rest of creation for a very good reason – and that is, we cannot exist on our own without the intricately balanced web of life around us.
‘Islam has always taught this and to ignore that lesson is to default on our contract with Creation. ‘