Water and Silly Questions

There was a very interesting article I was reading yesterday relating to a debate over water. The question that many nations and NGOs are trying to answer is this: Is access to clean water a basic human right? I think it’s a ridiculous question to be asking. It’s been drummed into our heads since we were little tots that humans cannot do without water for survival, that if you’re stranded anywhere (deserted island, middle of the Mojave, wherever), the one thing you will need is water. Not your cell-phone, not sushi, not even sunblock. No, you will need water within a couple days.

Given that a dummy like me remembers this from kindergarten makes it a particularly bad question for much smarter and powerful people to be asking. According to the article discussing the ongoing water conference in Turkey,

One of the thorniest issues governmental officials at the forum have struggled with has been this question of the right to water. A declaration to be signed by the ministers of some 120 countries attending the forum is expected to refer to access to water as a “basic need,” rather than a right.

The United States – along with Canada, China, and several other nations – has so far refused to recognize the human right to water.

I was surprised to see Canada resisting the notion of water as a human right, since they usually implement laws that seem to be more in line with common sense. And then I read this:

There are concerns among some countries – based on a misconception, experts say – that enshrining a universal right to water would force them to share their water resources with other nations.[emphasis mine]

…which means, once again, that it really comes down to the most basic of human elements: greed. Pity, that.

As I was reading the article, I kept thinking of the numerous ahaadith that encourage us to share water:

Narrated Abu Huraira رضي الله عنه:

The Prophet صل الله عليه و سلم said, “There are three types of people whom Allah will neither talk to, nor look at, on the Day of Resurrection. (They are):

1. A man who takes an oath falsely that he has been offered for his goods so much more than what he is given,

2. a man who takes a false oath after the ‘Asr prayer in order to grab a Muslim’s property, and

3. a man who with-holds his superfluous water. Allah will say to him, “Today I will with-hold My Grace from you as you with-held the superfluity of what you had not created.”

[Volume 3, Book 40, Number 557]

Narrated Abu Huraira رضي الله عنه:

Allah’s Apostle صل الله عليه و سلم said, “Do not withhold the superfluous water, for that will prevent people from grazing their cattle.”

[Volume 3, Book 40, Number 543]

Narrated Abu Huraira رضي الله عنه:

that Allah’s Apostle صل الله عليه و سلم said, “Do not withhold the superfluous water in order to withhold the superfluous grass.”

[Volume 3, Book 40, Number 544]

Perhaps this could be encouragement, from the religion of peace, to do the right thing.
With that, I bid you all a fabulous Friday, inshaAllah. Jumu’ah Mubarak 🙂


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7 Responses to Water and Silly Questions

  1. realistic bird says:

    😯 it is not a human right? So they don’t have to share?! Well sis they don’t even share their excess food with the hungry why bother with water.

    In Lebanon we have been blessed with water but we have two problems one: governments that let this water go to waste without making plans to use it while some towns and villages don’t have water reaching their homes and two: Israelis keep stealing our water.

    Akh! :X

    I didn’t know these hadeeths thanks for sharing and this was said in the dessert! Jazaki Allah khier.

  2. mems says:

    What a pathetic thing to be debating about. Why bother teaching your children “Sharing is caring?”

  3. realistic bird, nope, water is not a human right. It’s apparently a privilege! And I didn’t think that any governments in the M.E. would actually let water go to waste. Knew about the Israeli water theft, though…and for swimming pools, too!

    I didn’t even think in terms of the desert when I read those ahaadeeth. Good point, mashaAllah!

    mems, I know, right? Well, I guess we are supposed to teach our kids that so that they will *know* when they’re being deprived. 😯

  4. realistic bird says:

    Akh, my government is special *rolls eyes*. Some politicians steal the money that is meant for the water projects; corruption is a problem here.

    Today on the news they said that in the last month the rain fall is more than last year’s level (at this time); before they feared this will not happen. Water is riziq (bounty) from Allah SWT, no one can take it!

  5. Hey Salaams!

    I don’t know how this post went missing on my radar! Excellent topic to highlight too!

    Water is most definitely the most basic of human rights – I think there should be no questions asked about that. In my opinion, I think it will take a very very long time for the bigger nations to recognise water as a basic human right purely because at this moment in time, these governments don’t want to be held accountable or be seen as leading the way on an “issue” which is not profitable to them.

    Most of these first world nations face water issues/droughts from time to time, but it never is too big a deal because water can be somehow sourced from somewhere, and the people of these first world countries are “safe” and “happy”. However, I think once the scale of the problem increases (environment issues etc over the next 50-100 years), these issues will then have a greater emphasis in every part of the world.

    It is the way the world works unfortunately – we tend to deal with issues after they happen as opposed to nipping it in the bud! I guess we can all try and do what we can, and try and make the world a better place on a small scale.

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