Hima (environmental protection)
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A ḥima (Arabic: حمى ḥima) "inviolate zone" refers to an area set aside for the conservation of natural capital, typically fields, wildlife and forests - contrast ḥaram, which defines an area protected for more immediate human purposes.
A Muslim has a specific obligation to practice stewardship over nature, and each species of animals is said to be "its own nation". "Human beings are God's representatives on earth. This means that if they are not charged with maintaining the world, or rending to it, they must at least not destroy it" .
The selection of ḥimas was thus a religious rather than community obligation, and was often undertaken by the ulema.
There are five types of ḥima:
- areas where grazing of domestic animals is prohibited
- areas where grazing is restricted to certain seasons
- beekeeping reserves where grazing is restricted during flowering
- forest areas where cutting of trees is forbidden
- reserves managed for the welfare of a particular village, town or tribe (see also ḥaram, although that term usually refers more to water protection measures)
- "The Relationship between The Environment and Man". The Holy Quran and the Environment. 2010.
- Gari, Lutfallah (2006). "A History of the Hima Conservation System". Environment and History (The White Horse Press, Cambridge, UK) 12: 213–228.