In Islam, ownership in an absolute sense belongs to God (Allah). The earth and its natural resources are God’s blessings.
First, “To Allah belongs all that the heavens and earth contain” (Qur'an, 2:284). Second, “ Do you not see how Allah has subdued to you all that is in the earth?” (Qur'an, 22:65). Third, “God has subjected to you what the heavens and the earth contain, and all is from God” (Qur'an, 45:13).
The Quran also indicates that God has created man as God deputy on earth to enjoy and protect God’s creation. First, “God said to the angels; “I will create a vicegerent on earth” (Qur'an, 2:30). Second, “It is God who hath made you the inheritors of the earth” (Qur'an, 6:165).
It is important to remember that Islamic economics is of a normative form. Thus, the use of these resources is subject to Islamic norms of moderation and avoidance of wastefulness.
The earth and its resources must be protected for all generations to come. In a few words, Islamic social justice demands intergenerational equity as well. This suggests that while we are allowed to use these resources for our own benefits, we must also protect them for our progeny.
Consequently, Islamic economics could resolve a major problem that has preoccupied Western economists for a long time, namely, the problem of negative externalities and its impact on the environment.
In Islam, the earth and its resources belong to God, and moslems are obligated to protect these resources for future generations. Consequently, Islamic norms will not allow one to benefit from these resources and impose cost on others.
A complete application of Islamic norms will eliminate the problem of negative externalities and provide a safeguard for environmental protection.