A couple more weeks of blogging will make it a full year since I joined the Green Prophet team writing on Eco-Islam. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it and learnt a lot about writing green blogs for Muslims, which is why I have put together a short guide to green blogging for Muslims!
Answering questions such as why the Muslim audience is important and how to keep the diverse Muslim readership happy, this guide is a little ‘how-to’ for the aspiring writer in you. Also, keep an eye out for part two of this guide which includes tips on how to avoid offending your readers, preaching at them and how to fun while you are at it.
Why Should Green Bloggers Engage With Muslims?
The first question that may have popped into your head upon stumbling on this is probably ‘what’s so special about the Muslim audience that I should go out of my to blog for them?’ Well, let me fill you in. Worldwide, there are approximately 1.57 billion Muslims who share a basic set of beliefs rooted in the Islamic faith which shapes their morals, convictions and also their daily lifestyles. Now, that is a lot of people – to put into perspective that means that Muslims make up one fifth of the world- and if we are serious about tackling climate change then ignoring them really isn’t an option. In fact, the most inspiring thing about talking to Muslims about the environment and climate change is the real possibility of making an impact if we are able to mobilize Muslims into action.
Remember That Muslims Are Diverse!
Before we can influence the large Muslim population and inspire them into action, we need to realize one thing: the Muslim population is as diverse as they come. From Arabs in the Middle East, Asian in India and the Far East, to African Muslims and millions more scattered across Europe and America, there really is no ‘standard’ Muslim. As most Muslims are also influenced by their local culture and political experience, this means that Muslims have a divergent set of beliefs on everything from how to treat animals, whether climate change is real to the role that we must play in protecting nature.
But don’t let this put you off, diversity is exciting and means that there is still a lot to discover, discuss and disagree over. To make the most of this diversity, you will have to use different arguments, angles and perspectives to attract the attention of the Muslim population. For example, rather than appealing to Muslims solely one level- say on the question of faith and spirituality- remember that Muslims have a diverse range of interests and so it may be worth talking to them about green arts, growing their own food, eco-fashion, climate justice, conservation and animal rights.
Recognize Islam’s Green Principles
Engaging with the Muslim community about climate change inevitable means talking about Islam and Muslims themselves. Now this may sound obvious but if you want to speak about/to Muslims than you really should know the very basics of the faith and especially Islam’s green principles and traditions. These include the concept of ‘Tawheed’ or ‘one-ness’ that reminds Muslims that we are interdependent and interconnected with the earth’s creations so if we take care of them, they will take care of us because ultimately our fates are tied. ‘Khilafah’ is another Islamic green principle that states that humans are the appointed vicegerents or guardians of the earth and are therefore entrusted with the securing its health and well-being.
Celebrate Green Muslims!
Now, that we have established the green roots of Islam and the very real ways that it can contribute to the conservation of this planet, it’s time to find some modern day green Muslims to celebrate. Luckily for you, dear blogger, there are some great green Muslims out there doing amazing things and working on fantastic projects. So all you need to do is find them (this is the tricky bit, which isn’t made easier by language barriers- Google translate can only take you so far!) and give them a little bit of exposure.
This is really important as it reassures your Muslims audience that link between Islam and environmental awareness is real as there are already Muslims making the link and taking positive action. Having something positive to say about other Muslims and also Islam is a great way to grab the attention of other Muslims and introduce them to the issues. Keep your eye on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to find out and connect to green Muslims across the globe.
Show A Little Respect
Every person has topics that are off-limits and the Muslim world is no different in that respect. There are various topics that the Muslim community finds difficult to openly discuss including the high carbon footprint of Hajj, which is the Muslim sacred pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia that is required of every Muslim. This doesn’t mean that these topics should be avoided altogether. On the contrary, they can be important ways to engage a Muslim readership on a topic and even find workable solutions- but only if done with a consideration and respect.
Watch out for part-two of this feature which is a checklist of do’s and do not’s when blogging for a Muslim audience.
:: Image via Mrehan/Flickr.
For more on Green Muslims see: