Dominionism with Imam Islam Mossaad

Imam Islam Mossaad, imam of the largest Muslim congregation in the southwestern US, and a Hafidh of Quran (he has committed the entire Quran to memory), shares his views on the Islamic view of "Dominionism" over Nature.

From AllCreation's Spring 2022 edition, "Dominionism: Exploring religious relationships with other life," guest edited by Rev. Dr. Dan De Leon. Dan speaks here with Imam Islam Mossaad about Dominionism from an Islamic scriptural perspective. 


About Imam Mossaad
Imam Islam Mossaad
has served as imam for the North Austin Muslim Community Center (NAMCC) from May 2008 – January 2015 and returned to NAMCC January 2018 to the present time. He has also served as Imam for the Islamic Center of Little Rock from September 2003 until May 2006 and Imam for the Islamic Community of Bryan-College Station January 2017 – January 2018.  Imam Islam is a Hafidh of Quran (he has committed the entire Quran to memory) and has received life-long Islamic education from scholars of Islam here in the United States and through his formal studies with Mishkhâh University.  He has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Imam Mossaad has diverse professional experience.  He has worked as an engineer, engineering consultant, Islamic school principal, teacher, and Imam.  He strives to unite Muslims along the Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him).  He also seeks to educate people on the beauty of Islam while promoting tolerance and mutual understanding. Imam Islam Mossaad is a long-time Austinite, is American born and raised with Egyptian parentage.  He is married and has two children. This interview is one of the features from our Spring 2022 collection, Dominionism. Thank you, Imam Mossaad!


References


Program
  • 00:01 Welcome & intro
  • 00:30 Self introduction 
  • 03:55 Cultural Ambassador. How much of your time is spent introducing Islam to people in the West? 
  • 05:20 Islam & the Environment. What is a traditionally Islamic view of the environment, and how do Muslims understand their relationship with the environment in terms of having "dominion" over the Earth?
  • 10:30 Accountability & Relationship. For Muslims, “dominion” cannot be separated from accountability?
  • 13:30 Disconnect. In 1956, Dr. Sayyed Nasr predicted the environmental crisis (paraphrased), “There’s nothing as important in the world. Most Muslims do not realize there’s a disconnect, the environmental crisis is driven by a blindness to [our sacred] teachings about Nature."
  • 21:55 "The All Encompassing." On Nasr's statement, “God is the environment into which we are born, in which we live, in which function, and in which we die.” 
  • 26:10 Names of God. Christians see Christ himself, “as surely as you do it to what you see you do it to me." I hear similar themes. 
  • 32:40 Self-love. "Love one another as we love ourselves."
  • 37:15 Anthropocentrism. What is the Islamic view on Anthropcentrism, the idea that humans are the most important creatues in the world.
  • 42:00 Sharia Law. Do Muslims actually abide by the environmental commandments of Islamic holy law?
  •  49:20 Right relationship. What will happen to the tree if I don’t do right by it? How can I live in right relationship with the whole of creation? 
  • 53:30 Metanoia. How do we need to change how we see? What is the Islamic view of "dominionism" and does that view need to change? 
  • 56:25 Spiritual Growth. Has the way you see the environment changed over time for you or your family?


Quotes
“Allah” is the name in Arabic for “the one God.”

Islam means submission and peace through submission. So we submit along with the trees, the birds, the animals, the galaxy, they are Muslim, meaning they are in submission to God.

“The Prophet Muhammad’s divine inspiration came through being in Nature… We see nature as a sacred sign from God.”

This idea of having dominion, or “to subdue, and to dominate,” those are anathema actually in the Islamic context,
but there is definitely an idea of what some modern day authors are [calling] stewardship; so, “halifa.”

You are answerable to God for what you do with the animals and the plants and the streams, and so there’s a lot of this feeling of accountability before God for the Nature that we are entrusted with.

One of the names of God is The Most Beautiful, and so when we see beauty it should draw us closer to the wonder for the beauty of God himself, the beauty in Nature and the patterns and the colors, and as you mentioned, just the wind blowing thru the leaves, and so on. It can take a person to another mystical plain.

How we treat animals really says a lot about our inner spirituality or our inner world and our inner self.

A very powerful feeling to have, is to feel communion not just with your fellow human being but even with the blades of grass, with the molecules in the air, and this oneness with everything. Go out into Nature -- into a stream, into a lake -- and just watch the ripples, and just enjoy that whole feeling that you’re getting of closeness to God. 

Nature connects us to God and we don’t want to lose that.



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Thanks for listening.
This podcast is part of our Spring 2022 series, Dominionism.
Visit the AllCreation podcast site or AllCreation.org for more.
Produced and edited by Chris Searles.
See the whole "Dominionism" collection here.


@BioIntegrity Partnerships