Are fossil fuels halal?

It's time Muslims took a stand. How can the use of fossil fuels be considered halal – permissible to Muslims – given that the present and future danger they pose far outweighs their benefit?

Especially so since the immediate, and likely future, benefits of oil and natural gas production, will accrue to a tiny number of already hyper-rich individuals, while the costs will be borne by the most vulnerable people on Earth.

This question is unlikely to be on the agenda at COP18 in Doha over the next two weeks. But it should be. Qatar has the greatest per-capita carbon footprint the world has ever seen. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE are not far behind. Not far from where I'm writing this in Doha's nprthern suburbs, an all-night car wash uses jets of high-pressure desalinated water to buff bloated pickups and SUV's, their tanks full of the cheapest gasoline on earth.

A visible, but minor contribution to the problem, compared with the non-stop flaring of waste natural gas from Qatar's vast natural gas processing complex of Ras Laffan – which is in turn dwarfed by the vast off and onshore emissions from Saudi Arabian's oil production centres in the Gulf and the Eastern Province.

Over the coming days, I hope to return to this question, with contributions from some of the most renowned Muslim thinkers and jurists working today.

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