OXFORD, U.K. – Twenty-eight Salve Regina students participating in the Study Abroad program in Oxford attended a lecture on Wednesday, June 9, given by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.
The Prince delivered the speech on the subject of Islam and the Environment at the Sheldonian Theatre to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, of which he is Patron.
The Salve students were joined at the lecture by their professors, Dr. Khalil Habib and Dr. Stephen Trainor.
The theatre (built to a design of Christopher Wren in the seventeenth century) was filled to its capacity of 1,000, including students, Oxford dons, and representatives of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.
The Prince addressed the challenges of pollution, global warming, and abuse of the earth’s resources, and argued that a solution to these problems could be found in the teachings of the world’s great religions. Citing authorities from the Islamic, Christian, and Jewish faith traditions, Prince Charles called for a reframing of our relationship with the environment in specifically spiritual terms.
“Salve students heard many echoes of their own university’s commitment to eco-justice and a more thoughtful use of our natural resources, and resonated with the Prince’s call to rediscover a more just and spiritual relationship with the earth,” said Dr. Trainor.
The Prince encouraged people of faith around the World to reconnect with their sacred teachings on this issue, saying that all the great faiths are rooted in an understanding of the fact that man is a part of nature, not apart from nature, and must always live within nature’s means and limits.
Detailing Islam’s teachings on this theme, The Prince noted that the Qu’ran describes nature as possessing an “intelligibility” and teaches that there is no separation between man and nature because there is no separation between the natural world and God.
The Prince pointed out that this teaching is also evident in Judaism and in his own faith, Christianity. He noted that this understanding is particularly well expressed in the writings of Islamic poets and scholars, and Western poets too like Wordsworth.