A Greener Deen
What is an Eco-Muslim?
The Eco Muslim is part of The Eco Jihad™, a Muslim’s greener effort towards self-improvement and preserving natural resources. This means changing our behaviour to minimise environmental impact. Although many Muslims view other Eco-Muslim-Activists as something novel or not as important as prayer and fasting, ecological ethics have always been deeply infused in Islamic principles.
Hundreds of verses in the Qur’an describe how nature, clay and water, is a part of us and in need of safeguarding. The Qur’an describes believers of God as those who “walk on the Earth in humility,” (25:63). What does this indicate? This is interpreted along with many others like it, to mean that Muslims are supposed to protect the Earth’s provisions from which they survive.
Numerous ahadith (sayings) of a true environmentalist, Prophet Muhammad (God’s peace and blessings be upon him), also teach us to have a deep and longstanding respect for the natural world. Preservation is therefore more than a good policy recommendation – it is a commandment from God.
Environmentalism in Islam
Choosing to practice the religion of Islam goes hand in hand with affirming a relationship with the environment. As part of ‘greening’ your faith, try going a whole month without extra “stuff”. No more packaged foods, less use of television and computers, no more cars and fumes, no more indulgent-consumption, nothing bought from a department store, nothing with an on and off switch. Try just letting go and disconnecting from material “things”.
The whole idea of being a Muslim “environmentalist” is founded on discipline. You are in control of what you use, what you eat, what you do, where you go, and what you affect. The boundaries of halal (lawful) and haram (prohibited) are there so we are not taking more than we ought to. So you have to ask yourself – what am I affecting and is it positive?
Top Tips For Greening Your Islam
“If any Muslim plants any plant and a human being or an animal eats of it, he will be rewarded as if he had given that much in charity.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, 8:41)
‘Green’ is a relaxing colour that psychologically connects us to the green in nature – plants, growth, rebirth. By including more ‘green’ in your life, you automatically come to appreciating the ground. The same earth that will one day cover you after death.
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was a steward of the earth, who hugged trees and planted seeds. Eco-Muslims believe in water management, they do not excessively cut down plants and they reuse everything from fruit peelings (which makes great compost) to rain water (better plant nourishment).
n Grow flowers in your back garden, start a community project and get your children involved. Herbs such as parsley and basil, and tomatoes and peas grow with little maintenance from a large pot or container
n Check how much water you’re using for wudhu (ablutions for prayer) and reduce this amount. Prophet Muhammad only needed a potful for his wudhu so use less water
n Sort your rubbish out into– recyclables, glass, uncooked food, and then bin or compost it. What you throw away is going to be dumped somewhere else, but by using less plastics and reusing paper and card, you’re creating less (or no) garbage for someone else
n Ask your masjid committee to install low-energy light bulbs, use solar panels for lighting and to ask masjid-goers to recycle their rubbish in provided bins. Introduce more outdoor prayers for healthier minds and create a mini-garden for children – a greater incentive to attend the masjid
n At home, break from your household routine to carry out community service in your neighbourhood, even if it’s just 5 minutes a day. Shop at charity stores to buy inexpensive things you need for your home and always ask yourself before buying brand new, “Do I really need this?” More often, the answer will be no.
By using less, we are actually gaining more. More appreciation, more understanding and more faith in Allah. I am The Eco Muslim, and I hope you can join me on this path. n