Salaam and Greetings of Peace:
“The Qur’an describes the moment of creation as the moment in which humanity was entrusted with a heavy responsibility…God made human beings God’s agents or viceroys on the earth and entrusted them with the responsibility to civilize the land.
“Civilizing the earth does not mean constructing buildings or paving roads. It means striving to spread on the earth the Divine attributes such as justice, mercy, compassion, goodness, and beauty. In doing so, human beings spread Divinity itself upon the earth. In contrast, corrupting the earth – spreading violence, hatred, vengeance, and ugliness – means failure in discharging one’s obligations toward God. The Qur’an teaches that the act of destroying or spreading ruin on this earth is one of the gravest sins possible – fasad fi al-ard – which means to corrupt the earth by destroying the beauty of creation, and is considered an ultimate act of blasphemy against God.”
Excerpted from a longer essay by Dr. Hesham A. Hassaballa on his excellent blog, God, Faith, and a Pen.