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Conservation of Water and Rationalization of Consumption is an Obligation and a Collective Responsibility

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
What is the religious duty of a person as regards rationalizing the consumption of groundwater, and is one considered sinful for not doing that?

Answer:

All perfect praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

Islam urges people to conserve, store, and properly use water, but prohibits wasting and corrupting it. This is regardless of its source; be it from seas, rivers, underground reservoir or houses; small or big amounts. This is because water is a great blessing on which all forms of life depend, in addition to being the most spread blessing on the face of earth. Allah the Almighty says, "We made from water every living thing." {Al-Anbeya`, 30}.

As rationalizing water is key to life, the Messenger of Allah prohibited wasting it even for performing acts of worship, such as prayer or *Ghusl. ‘Abdallah b. ‘Amr b. al-‘As said that the Prophet came upon Sa'd when he was performing ablution and asked, “What is the meaning of this extravagance, Sa'd?” He replied, “Is there extravagance in ablution?” He said, “Yes, even if you are beside a flowing river.’’ {Ibn Majah transmitted it}.

Conservation of water and rationalization of its consumption is an obligation and a collective responsibility particularly since our country is suffering from scarcity in this vital source. This condition necessitates standing firmly against all forms of transgression against water and holding every complacent in this regard into account.

One form of this transgression is drilling wells to extract groundwater illegally and doing so has grave repercussions on society. According to experts, the largest percentage of wasted water in Jordan comes from illegal drilling of wells, which directly affect the balance of groundwater and the water deposits in the country. Therefore, law and regulations ban drilling water wells without legal permit to regulate this vital sector and conserve water; the essence of life.

The illegal drilling of water wells is a form of transgression against public funds and this is amongst the most prohibited matters. Khawlah al-Ansariyah (RAA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (Blessings and peace be upon him) said: “Some men acquire Allah’s Property (such as the funds of the Muslim state treasury, Zakah etc.) and they will go to Hell on the Day of Resurrection.” {Related by Al-Bukhari}. Consequently, it is prohibited to drill water wells without obtaining a legal permit. This is to preserve our country`s resources and prevent inflicting harming on citizens.

In conclusion, conserving groundwater in general is the responsibility of every person who can play a role in this issue and it is a joint right that belongs to the future generations to come and constitutes the country`s water security. Thus, if is forbidden to transgress against it and the degree of forbiddance increases when the misuse of the water undermines the water system itself. And Allah the Almighty knows best. 

 

*Muslim adults perform an ablution, called ghusl, prior to rituals and prayers. … In the ghusl ritual, the entire body must be washed and rubbed clean in order to remove impurities from the body.

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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