In the name of Allah Most Compassionate Most Merciful
GREENING OUR RAMADAN
Allah (swt) tells us: “He is the one who made you khalifahs (vicegerents, stewards, guardians) of the earth” (6:165).
Letter to Mosque/Islamic Center Leaders
Dear Mosque/Islamic Center Leader:
There is no denial that the climate change and environmental degradation is an existential threat to our planet. Scientific studies continuously draw our attention to the perils of global warning. Paris Climate accord has been the recognition of the dire consequences, especially to the people in countries with little resources.
In August 2015, Muslim scholars meeting in Istanbul issued “Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change” which highlights the consequences of humanity’s massive exploitation of Earth. The declaration calls upon Muslims to tackle the habits, mindset and root causes of climate change, environmental degradation, and loss of biodiversity wherever they can in order to resolve these issues.
Realizing our responsibility towards the preservation and conservation of environment ISNA in December 21014 established ISNA Green Initiative (Formerly known as Green Masjid Task Force) to create environmental awareness, guide mosques/Islamic centers towards environmentally friendly actions, and promote sustainable practices. Since 2015 ISNA Green Initiative have been conducting “Greening Our Ramadan” campaign to encourage environmentally friendly practices.
I request that this Ramadan let us live up to our responsibility as caretakers of the earth and join in the ISNA efforts to adopt environmentally friendly practices. I earnestly request that your mosque/Islamic Center join in “Greening our Ramadan Campaign”. Let us all work together to reduce our carbon footprint. Have a blessed Ramadan.
Sayyid M. Sayeed
President Islamic Society of North America
“less consumption, conservation, more spiritual uplifting and social good”
By ISNA Green Initiative Team
“O you who believe! Fasting is ordained for you as it was ordained
for those before you, that you may become righteous” (Translation – Al Baqarah 2:183)
Ramadan is a month of mercy and blessing from Allah (SWT). It is the month when first verses of Quran were revealed. It is a month of submission for spiritual uplifting and control of physical desires and emotions. It is not only a month of fasting but also the month to remember the hungry, vulnerable, and the needy. It is also a month when the compassion, doing social good, charity, and self-control are highly desirous acts. Of course, this does not imply that they be limited to this month only but are rather the steppingstone for the rest of the year and beyond.
Ramadan is also the time for being together as a community through tarawih prayers and iftars. It has become a great Ramadan tradition in North America to hold community Iftars and dinners at Masajid/Islamic Centers. More food and drinks are devoured in Ramadan than any other time around the globe. Unfortunately, a considerable amount of food and water is wasted with very little conservation and recycling efforts. This happens despite the well-known Quranic verse:
“For it is He who has brought into being gardens-[both] the cultivated ones and those growing wild -and the date-palm, and fields bearing multiform produce, and the olive tree, and the pomegranate: [all] resembling one another and yet so different! Eat of their fruit when it comes to fruition and give [unto the poor] their due on harvest day. And do not waste [God’s bounties]: Verily, He does not love the wasteful! (Translation – Al-Anaam: 6-141)
and the Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): “Never waste water even you were at a running stream (Ahmad).
Following the commandment: “He (Allah) is the one Who made you guardians / inheritors in the earth —– (Translation – Fatir 35:39—–)” ISNA Green Initiative Team has been promoting environmentally friendly practices in our individual and community life to fulfill our responsibility as caretakers of our planet. “Green Ramadan Campaign” is part of this initiative.
Join “ISNA Green Ramadan Campaign” to make this Ramadan both spiritually and socially rewarding. This campaign is about being environmentally conscious, socially responsible, and compassionate to those around us in the steps of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – the mercy to the worlds. This will be the 6th year of ISNA Green Ramadan campaign to enlist the Masajid/Islamic Centers across the nation to join in this endeavor.
This is our opportunity to remember and protect our planet which, through the grace of Allah (SWT), provides us with the sustenance to nourish our bodies and community spirit. Interacting mindfully with our environment is simply a manifestation of faith as we refrain from food and drink during the blessed Ramadan, let us reaffirm our sense of self-restraint and accountability to the Creator, the Provider of Sustenance.
Remember, every year consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tons) as the entire food production in sub-Saharan Africa (UN). Approximately 40% of America’s food supply ends up in a dumpster. Plastics take up 25-30% of our landfills. In the US, about 1500 plastic water bottles are used every second!
Let us also remember that less consumption means less waste! As per Islamic teachings, protecting the environment is simply an expression of worship! May Allah help us accomplish better and greener Ramadan this year to the best of our ability in seeking His pleasure. Our social responsibility also demands from us to work to eradicate injustices, discrimination, and portray the right image of our religion.
This is a good time to be involved in civic activities in the broader community. It is a good practice to invite people of other faiths to the iftar events so that they know us better. Provide food to homeless shelter(s) in your area. Provide food, other materials, and support to Muslim inmates if they are in your area. Muslim inmates need special attention as they have the least facilities and resources to observe Ramadan.
Let us modify our habits and adopt environmentally friendly practices and work for the social good not only for this month but for all the times. Make this blessed Ramadan a better and greener one by doing all or some of the following actions individually and collectively:
- Reduce food waste & over consumption: Eat more fruits/vegetables and less meat, remember that the Prophet’s diet consisted mostly of grains, dates, water, milk, honey, vegetables and fruits, while meat was not daily part of his diet. Take only what you can comfortably finish, eating moderately, do not waste any food, keeping in mind the Hadith (fill ⅓ of stomach with food, ⅓ water, and ⅓ empty).
- Reduce and Recycle: Recycle material, especially plastic water bottles. Minimize plastic use because of its harm related to global warming and health. Most plastics go to landfill and harm the environment (it takes very long time to decompose). Use quick degradable/paper products. Start bringing your own utensils whenever possible. Do not use Styrofoam products. Styrofoam is not recyclable and non-biodegradable, which means that it will persist as garbage even a thousand years after its use.
- Adopt a Reusable water bottle/mug: Whether you are at the mosque, work, or home, avoid using plastic disposable bottles. It is estimated that 80% of them are not recycled. Bring your reusable bottle to the mosque during iftars and for tarawih.
- Save Energy and water: Replace light bulbs with energy saver bulbs and conserve electricity. Get energy efficiency audit of your facility to reduce energy waste. Consider installing solar panels to reduce the use of fossil fuels. Conserve water even during wudu.
- Khutbah: Request your Khateeb to at least deliver one Friday khutbah during Ramadan on the Islamic imperative to conserve and protect the environment and significance of doing the social good.
- Plant or expand a garden: This Ramadan is a good time to plant trees and vegetable garden (less grass, more trees and plants) at home and the mosque. Start to grow food and remember that planting a tree is a charity according to one of the Hadith.Social good and outreach: Ramadan is a good time to start participating in civic activities, doing social good by serving at homeless shelters, collecting food for the food pantries, volunteering for community social projects, inviting people of other faiths to community and home dinners, and taking care of Muslim inmates in the nearby jails.
- Involve Children: It is critical that children learn all these values and as such every effort should be made to involve them in most of the Ramadan activities. They can act as Green ambassadors during community dinners.
Incidentally, this year the “Earth Day” coincides with Ramadan. ISNA Green Initiative Team is partnering with Interfaith Power And Light (an interfaith national organization striving for better environment) to observe Earth Week and the Green Ramadan Campaign is part of it.
Register your Masjid/Islamic Center as a “Green Ramadan Campaign” participant on ISNA website. After Ramadan submit information about your efforts and achievement. The Masjid/Islamic Center achieving most of the goals will be recognized as the winner. A certificate of participation will be provided to all participants and through the courtesy of Ain Foundation a tree sapling will be planted on behalf of each registrant in an area needing forestation through Arbor Society.
Seek the pleasure of Allah (SWT) by doing all or the most of “Green Ramadan” projects. Make it sure to register so that we know that you participated.
ISNA Green Initiative Team members: Huda Alkaff, Saffet Catovic, Nana Firman, Uzma Mirza, Saiyid Masroor Shah (chair)
Green Ramadan Campaign Registration below
ISNA Green Initiative Team requests you to accomplish at least 5 items from the following
- Reduce Food waste and over consumption
- Reduce and recycle
- Eliminate or reduce the use of plastic water bottles
- Adopt reusable water bottle or mug
- Eliminate the use of Styrofoam products
- Use degradable paper plates and cups for serving food and drinks
- Conserve water including during wudu
- Conserve energy, change to LED lights, and install smart temperature control systems
- Deliver at least one Khutbah on the Islamic imperative to conserve and protect the environment
- Involve children in age appropriate Ramadan activities
- Perform social good activities in the at-large outside community