An Abridged Shari‘ah Perspective: Obligations to Future Generations

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

﴿رَبِّ اشْرَحْ لِي صَدْرِي * وَيَسِّرْ لِي أَمْرِي * وَاحْلُلْ
عُقْدَةً مِنْ لِسَانِي * يَفْقَهُوا قَوْلِي﴾

The following is an abridgment of my paper Obligations to Future Generations: A Shari‘ah Perspective, published by Tabah Foundation. Please see the original for references and additional details.


Technology and population have advanced to where today’s decisions result in irreversible changes or damages which will be passed on to generations of persons who are not yet born. Do we have any obligation to these future generations? Is there a Shari‘ah-based foundation for such an obligation? If so, what are these obligations? What follows is a brief introduction to the concept of obligations to future generations, a demonstration that the overall objectives of the Shari‘ah (maqaṣid al-sharī‘ah) call for such obligations and suggest particular obligations. It then ends with several observations for Muslim scholars. The full paper covers a wider range of topics and in greater detail, and is available for those who are interested.

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