American Muslim scholar Imam Zaid Shakir encourages the Muslim community across the world to support their nation’s “Green Ramadan Initiative” by cultivating Green Iftars at your mosques.
The inter-faith organisation Green Faith are also hosting a Green Ramadan webinar later this July in which the eco-Imam Zaid Shakir will share just how to make fasting more environmentally friendly.
The importance of the community is the foundation to Islāmic society. The Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said each believer is like a brick, one supporting the other, in turn creating solid walls and together forming a sound structure that is resistant to shakes and changes. These changes also come in the form of climate change, pollution, toxins and harmful gases and acres of chemical compost.
Turning back to the beginning of faith is the root to finding solutions for our environmental downfalls. Many times, the most active of eco-campaigners criticise the faith groups for only talking about sustainability and green living with ‘hot air’. But this is a putative judgement.
Like Imam Zaid Shakir encourages, if one cannot walk the walk of green action, one should at least support those who do take the greener deen (path) and share the prophetic foundations of that lifestyle.
I have transcribed the video to capture the main points and for those short of time.
Video link: http://youtu.be/gFkP9yuzWn4 | 4:13 mins
Imam Zaid Shakir begins with the Islāmic formula by mentioning the name of God (bismillah), praising Him (hamd), sending salutations upon Prophet Muhammad of Islam (salawat) and the Islāmic greeting of peace and ‘hellos’;
“Salam`alaykum, peace be with you.
This is Imam Zaid Shakir and I’m here in office of Muslim Chaplain Imam Sohaib Sultan at Princeton University to bring you a very important message.
That message is that Ramadan is here and Ramadan is for the community. It is a time, to come together as a community, for cultivating a healthy sense of environmental and ecological consciousness. [Many will ask] Why mention this in Ramadan?
We have all witnessed during Ramadan that our community generates and disposes tons of trash. Be it paper plates or Styrofoam cups or plastic knives and forks or reams and reams of paper towels, that we bag up and fill all dumpsters outside the masjid [mosque], night after night.
Brothers and sisters, imagine how many tons we could save, with one simple job: Greening the Iftar. This would help our environment and help our community get involved in projects to benefit the citizens and those of the world.
I encourage you: Green your iftar!
There are many organisations such as the Green Faith initiative and similar that are pushing for ‘Green Iftars’ such as my masjid in Oakland, California masjid where two years ago they adopted the initiative. Now, instead of garbage bags of scraps, left-over food is composted, dishes are washed at a local restaurant to be reused, there are no paper towels allowed; all hand towels are washed.
So let’s begin in Ramadan with a Green Iftar!
Let’s green our community and country. If America greens itself, we can green the world insha-Allah ta`la. As you all know U.S. is first in producing greenhouse gases-many have surpassed us (with China coming up behind)-but we all know that in landfills and producing trash, we have no rival.
Protecting the environment is beloved to God and the Prophet. They encouraged us not to be wasteful, and to live in harmony with everything around us.
Nothing exemplifies this more than God’s statement in the Quran concerning the Prophet Muhammad, saying he is “Sent as a mercy to all the worlds”. This includes the animals, plants, insects, fish, all of these ‘awalam’ (Arabic for ‘worlds’), all of these worlds, to which the Prophet is a mercy. He is an environmental exemplar. So we, as people of the 21st century, should be about the business of being of mercy to all that share the environment with us.
Thank you for listening and viewing this brief message, insha-allah (God willing) we can come together and make a difference. THESE are the types of initiative that will take people away from all the negativity on Muslims because they will be focused on the good things being done by Muslims.”
As one of the noted Eco-Muslim figures who has taught classes on Islam and environment, Imam Zaid Shakir is participating in Green Faith’s Green Ramadan webinar. Green Faith is a platform campaign movement that ties the three monotheistic faith groups – Islam, Judaism and Christianity – with long-term ecological practice.
Entitled Green Ramadan, the Imam will offer a keynote presentation on Islam’s teachings about the earth. The event is open to all.
Green Ramadan Webinar details
- Thursday 26 July 2012 07:00 PM – 08:00 PM ET
- Admission: Free
Register for the Green Faith – Green Ramadan Webinar