Original Research - Special Collection: Theology and Nature

God, humanity and nature: Cosmology in Islamic spirituality

Syafaatun Almirzanah
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 76, No 1 | a6130 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v76i1.6130 | © 2020 Syafaatun Almirzanah | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 May 2020 | Published: 20 October 2020

About the author(s)

Syafaatun Almirzanah, Department of Religious and Islamic Studies, Faculty of Theology and Islamic Thought, State Islamic University Sunan Kalijaga Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta, Indonesia; Department of Systematic and Historical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Most of the works on creation theology in the past have departed from a functional point of view with the assumption that creation is for the sake of human use, thus a means to an end. It has been believed that this utilitarian perception is supported by the sacred texts of theistic religions, saying that people were masters and possessors of the natural world. They were created in the likeness of God, ‘in His image’, and the rest of creation existed solely for human benefit, to serve a human need. If there is an issue regarding the protection of the environment, it is behind the logic of convenience. Thus, eco-theology aims to be a practical ethic controlling and shaping human behaviour towards the natural environment. This article discusses a different approach to nature that is not a utilitarian point of view, but mystical, which regards creation as self-disclosure of God, so that each has its intrinsic meaning for itself and there is genuine and deep respect for the integrity of creation.

Contribution: This article gives an alternative approach to the issue on environment in the study of eco-theology. The approach is an Islamic mystical approach. It also promotes inter-religious studies on the subject and demonstrates the textual studies within Christian and Islamic traditions, and beyond.


Self-disclosure of God; Sufism; Cosmology; Eco-theology; Inter-religious dialogue


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