When I was thinking of the name for this blog “Islam’s Green” came to mind and I liked it, because it said two things in one sentence.
I’m a Green. That’s my family name. So I’m a Green that belongs to Islam. Then of course Islam is Green. Green is, at least according to some, the colour of Islam, but more importantly here Islam is a religion that naturally teaches the human how to live in harmony with the natural world. This is not something contrived or forced upon us, but an inevitable extension of living the Islamic way of life.
I remember some years back when I was working as a cabbie for Badgers of Battersea, I had a passenger who I was dropping off to Heathrow who I came to find out was part of the senior management of Greenpeace.
“I have to say, I really respect you guys. Some of the stuff you do to raise awareness is amazing.”
“Well, thanks, that’s nice of you to say so.”
“No I mean it. The environment is such an important issue. The way our planet is being destroyed with Global warming, pollution of seas and atmosphere, destruction of species…It’s an issue we have to deal with.”
“Of course, that’s what Greenpeace is all about!”
“Yea, sure, but you know I actually think you guys are part of the problem not part of the cure!”
Up until this moment my passenger had been sitting relaxed in the back, but now he sat up. I could see the shock on his face.
“What do mean?” He looks puzzled.
“Well all the stuff you guys do as brave as it is is just dealing with issues. Save the whale, save the rain forest, stop dumping hazardous chemicals, but these are symptoms of the disease. You make people think that by stopping these things they are going to make a difference. So they donate some money, think they are doing something for the environment, but all the while the real disease, the cancer is still eating away. You’re part of the problem because you cover the symptoms, but it means the root problem is ignored.”
“Well, what is the real problem?”
“It’s the way we live. It’s the ideal of consumerism, that by and through material things, we are taught, that this is the way to happiness. This is the real disease.”
“Well I agree, in fact we are beginning to discuss exactly these issues, but what is your solution then?”
“Well I know that this is going to sound unlikely, but I believe that the solution is the religion of Islam!”
“It’s because we have turned away from our Creator, lost our purpose our souls seek satisfaction in the material. But we can never find it there, so we consume more and more, hoping that if I just have this or that then I’ll be happy, but we are never fulfilled. I’m sure you know better than me that it’s our Western consumer societies that are destroying the world, causing the pollution and destruction. It’s only when we understand the true purpose of our life and surrender to the will of our Creator can we find true happiness. Just see how everything follows the laws and patterns and systems laid down for them by the wise Creator. They all submit to God. It is only when we too follow the guidance and system and patterns laid down for us by the Creator can we also be in harmony with the Universe and world around us.
Also, Islam teaches that we are responsible and accountable for everything we do. Our bodies, our health, our lives, our wealth, the planet and all that is in it has been entrusted to us, and Allah is going to ask us about what we done with it. This is the real solution. We have to change completely the way we think!”
We arrive at the airport.
wish you we driving me up to
Just by being Muslim you are already on the first and most important step to being truly "green". You know that this word is a test, a prison for the believer. You know that in good deeds and obeying your Lord and seeking His pleasure is the real path to happiness and success, and as you live that and feel that you become content with what Allah has provided you and are happy with what suffices.
This is of course only the beginning. Part of being a Muslim is being conscious, aware and realising that one is accountable. We have the cure, but that doesn’t mean we should forget to clear up the symptoms!
So from time to time you are going to find here some tips on living a sustainable lifestyle and some practical steps you can take that inshallah will also make your deen better. We always say it, it's become a cliché. We don't have a religion we have a way of life! Cliché or not, it's true. Islam, the deen, should permeate every moment of our existence. There is nothing that we think or say or do, but it should come to our mind "Is this pleasing to Allah or not?"
"What are the consequences for me on the day I meet Allah?" "What will my Lord say to me, how will I answer for this when the deeds are laid bare?"
Last summer the Rev. Ian Johnson, the Rector of Southampton spent a week with us in the mosque, and amongst the many things that we found we had in common was the realisation that both our faiths demanded a commitment to sustainability. He's caused quite a stir amongst his elderly parishioners by berating them for the waste they cause, and he mentioned that the average Muslim household in his area produces less than half the waste compared to white communities. The reason is because they tend shop locally, buy in bulk and purchase fresh fruit and veg from stalls. All this means they don't accumulate all the packaging, plastic wraps, polystyrene boxes etc…that one inevitably picks up from supermarkets. Muslims tend to reuse more and throw away less. Why should it not be like that? It should be normal for us to visit our local halal butcher, to get as much produce from our Muslim brothers as possible, to support their business rather than spend our money in huge supermarkets. This also means we tend to walk, not drive to the shops, and then there is always the added benefit of spreading the salams. As the Messenger told us: "You will not enter paradise until you believe and you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I tell you how to increase the love between each other. Increase the greetings of salams ." Umar used to go to markets just to greet the people there!
It always shocks me to see how much food people leave and throw away. We know from our deen that wasting food is feeding Shaitaan, and that Allah warns us of wastefulness in the Quran and that spendthrifts are the brothers of Shaitaan. So a Muslim even remotely aware of their deen, will feel a tug at their conscience at producing waste.
One of the sustainability buzz words flying around at the moment is your "footprint." It relates to the impact that you leave on the planet, the environmental damage that you cause and are responsible for.
Try these sites and see what sort of impact you are making on the planet:
This will tell you that if every one lived like you how many planets would be need to sustain such a life style.
For your carbon footprint try this fun and informative questionare:
Just make sure you read the little note at the end about what actually constitutes a tonne of carbon.
even if my results were just below the
some ideas on how to reduce you footprint from Jack of UEA (see blog Beyond Misconceptions:)
www.Flyless.info - How and why to travel the
world without flying.
May Allah help us to live in obedience to Him. Ameen