Call to make water a means to bridge differences

The International Fiqh Conference on Water ended on a high note calling for manifold action in terms of preserving water and making the precious liquid a means to bridge gaps between nations, societies and individuals.
The three-day conference, held under the patronage of His Eminence Shaikh Ahmed bin Hamad al Khalili, Grand Mufti of the Sultanate, was organised and supervised by the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs. The conference, which was attended by nearly 55 Islamic scholars from various continents, passed a resolution on water preservation and submitted to the Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs.
The recommendation included a call to revive human function in the light of the lifestyle of Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) who urged people to be attentive to water, pasture and fire. It said that water must be the cause of humanitarian cooperation and push to build bridges of love and compassion and humanity between nations and individuals.
The symposium also recommended that the community has a religious responsibility to maintain the reserves of water, improve community efficiency in water use, reduce the depletion of water resources, address the phenomenon of water pollution, achieve social justice in the optimal distribution and ensure the rights of individuals and communities are protected.
It called for concerted efforts among scientists, competent and experienced parties to devise the legal provisions that guarantee the sustainability of water resources, its survival and preservation from pollution, and be instrumental in regulatory controls that stimulate the partnership between citizens and those who preserve it as a national wealth.
The symposium recognised the Oman drive of planting a million palm trees, which came with the blessing of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos.
The recommendations pointed out that the provisions relating to water in Islamic jurisprudence are many and urged to preserve this important wealth, while addressing major water issues and problems facing human societies today.
It also urged everyone to preserve it and not to waste, and preserve its sources and means, and protect it from all that would harm them, and safeguard them for humanitarian reasons.
The symposium’s recommendations stressed the need to preserve the heritage of the Aflaj civilisation
and care for it physically and morally, and to educate generations on the approach of the importance of building channels and ways of sustainability, and include all this in the curriculum so as to educate the younger generation on the culture of water consumption.
The recommendations emphasised the importance of studying contemporary water issues related to the distribution of state shares of rivers, the preservation of sea water, wastewater treatment, and the role of industrial organisations in reducing the negative effects of factory wastes, and the preservation of water stocks and other issues associated with rapid industrialisation across the world.
The symposium also issued a document on Fiqh of Water, which reads: “This document emanated from the directives and blessings of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos of the Symposium on the Development of Jurisprudence Sciences: Jurisprudence of Water and its Shariah Rules.”
The document stipulates:
1) Water is a divine grace and a necessity of life. It should not only be seen as a common property, but also a human right;
2) The conflict over water indicative of issuing a code of universal legislative and binding provisions to resolve any conflict over water;
3) Adherence to treaties to prevent aggression on water sources, and criminalising their pollution locally, regionally and globally;
4) Taking advantage of the Islamic experience in dealing with water issues, ownership, endowment and monopoly, by referring to the rules related to water issues in Islam;
5) Work on the issuance of national legislation, criminalising the attack on water in any way;
6) Establishing legislative controls for sharing water, based on fair principles in the distribution of shares and burdens;
7) Directing media institutions and public opinion-making centres to create a positive culture in dealing with water whose drops may be more important than the drops of blood;
8) Directing educational institutions to work on the formation of a cultural structure that protects water in its various stages, and is considered the main issue in the survival of human civilisation, and perhaps it is important that Arab and Islamic universities consider adopting the jurisprudence of water as a course;
9) Generalising the culture of water rationalisation to every human being, whether it is related to one’s beliefs, adhering to his customs, and reuse the used water for agriculture, irrigation, to the benefit of the environment, cleanliness and purity, and is applicable to domestic and industrial use, water sports in all its forms, water arts in all its forms;
10) The survival of humanity is based on water and establishment of courses and programmes on water for preachers, guides and workers in the field of fatwa and the media to work on the dissemination of this culture and dissemination;
11) Establishing departments in the faculties of engineering, science, literature, law and maritime academies to study water issues.

— Photo by Khalfan al Tobi