There are literally a couple of days left till Ramadan starts, so I want to make a last ditch attempt to encourage Muslims to go green in the holy month of fasting. Whilst Tafline explored the darker side of fasting in countries less tolerant of a Muslim’s decision not to fast, I want to look at the ways that Muslims are embracing a greener Ramadan in the hope that such behaviour will one day become the norm all year round.
The month of Ramadan for me is a huge reminder that an entire year has passed. Although things like your birthday and the new year do mark the ebb and flow of time, it’s a lot easier to recall the last Ramadan than what presents you got for turning X years old. In the same spirit of the new year, it is also a time to reflect on what you achieved over the year and what you hope to achieve over the coming months. As such, Ramadan is the perfect time to embrace a new habit or way of life such as recycling more, shopping less or growing your own food.
Fairtrade and Green Guidance
The UK-based organisation the Radical Middle Way is currently taking the lead with its efforts to encourage Muslims to take the ‘Fairtrade Ramadan’ pledge which states that they “consciously buy, use and serve Fairtrade products this Ramadan in preparing meals and breaking my fast”. They especially want to encourage the use of fairtrade products like bananas, dates, olive oil, coffee, tea and chocolate which are widely available at your local supermarket.
To help Muslims on their way, the US Green Faith organisation arranged a webinar on observing a Green Ramadan last week. Imam Shakir, the acclaimed American Muslim scholar, spiritual leader and activist, offered a keynote presentation on Muslim teachings about the earth. And Ibrahim Abdul Matin, author of Green Deen: What Islam Teaches about Protecting the Planet (see our interview with him here) also offered his words of wisdom.
Save Water and Save Food
The US-based Green Muslims organisation is hosting a film screening of ‘Tapped’ a documentary about the environmentally problematic aspects of the water bottle industry at the end of this month, in an effort to encourage Muslims to end their water bottle habits and focus on conserving water. Green Muslims are also keen to reduce the amount of waste that is generated during the fast-breaking meals called ‘Iftar’ by fundraising to provide reusable cups plates and silverware for area Masjids to be used throughout the month of Ramadan. They added:
“This traveling set of dishes (enough for 500 people) will help us introduce and educate communities about the ease of going green and reducing waste during the Month. We will also distribute literature and accompany our ‘Green Iftars’ with an ecologically minded Khutbah [mosque sermon] to accompany our efforts.”
If all that action and activity hasn’t inspired you, then why not take a look at my quick 6-step guide to a green Ramadan which I put together last year. From advice on how to kick the car habit to embracing local food, there should be enough to keep you motivated for the whole month.
:: Image via Federico Sartorio\flickr.
For more on green Ramadan see: