Organic and Halal: Muslim Food For Thought


It’s official- Ramadan is over and so food is back on topic!

To mark this, I wanted to spread the word about RENEWAL, the first feature-length documentary film that captures the work of religious-environmental activists. It’s 90 minutes long and showcases Muslims, Jews, Christians and other religious groups’ efforts to tackle climate change and instill a love for the planet.  The segment on Muslims is entitled ‘Food for Faith’ and looks at issues of sustainable farming and ‘Eco-halal’. Definitely worth a look.

The Architecture of Mud in the Muslim World

Mud buildings have withstood the test of time; will they populate our futures too?

Think of Islamic mud structures and more than likely the iconic Great Mosque of Djenne in Mali will come to mind. The largest mud brick building in the world, the mosque is considered to be amongst the greatest achievement of Sudano-Swahelian architecture and one of the most famous landmarks of Africa.

But it’s not only Africa that boasts impressive (and sustainable) mud structures, the Middle East is home to some of the most stunning mud buildings in the world. From the ‘Manhattan of the Desert’ in Yemen to the Bam citadel of Iran, these mud structures show that there’s more to Muslim architecture than Mecca and Masdar. More

Environmental Stewardship is a Virtue

Image Credit: Illustration: Nino Jose Heredia/©Gulf News

This Ramadan, Emirate seems to be making an effort to increase awareness of the need to care for the environment. As well as a campaign to reduce food waste, they recently hosted a seminar on link between Islam and the environment. And it’s just as well as, the country has one of the largest footprints in the world. In 2008 the UAE even beat the US to claim the highest carbon footprint per capita in the world.

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Islam and Climate Change~ A Call to Heal

Green Muslim organisation Wisdom In Nature have released a great booklet outlining the Islamic perspective on the environment. Put together by the small team of faith-inspired community activists, it explains in simple terms climate change and its effects as well as concepts such as Khalifah (stewardship), Wholeness, Fitrah and practical actions we can take.

It’s quite an easy read with lots of images and not too much text so that you don’t lose interest. Here’s what the team had to say:

Climate Change is a signal that humankind has lost its course. By drawing on spiritual wisdom, we can respond to this call – this call to heal. This booklet was produced by a team of community activists to educate, cultivate reflection and inspire holistic action to help build a fairer and more sustainable world for all.

You can download the booklet for free from HERE although contributions are invited and gratefully received by the voluntary organisation. (For details see inside the booklet).

Updated with new image via Only Sequel on 25th August 2010.

Littering is super uncool- Islam says so

People who litter the streets with their rubbish have to be the most universally hated people. In the whole world. Ever.

I don’t know if it’s  just me but littering seems to defy all logic and sense- why litter YOUR own streets with filth that YOU have to smell and might STEP on, when you get dispose of it in a bin? WHY?!?

Ok. Rant over now so let’s get to the important stuff.

Emirate is attempting to fight the tonnes of litter it has to deal with by reminding its Muslims that littering goes against one of  the most important tenets of Islam: doing good for others.

According to an article in the National, Sheikh Musa Furber, a researcher and scholar of Islamic sciences with the Abu Dhabi-based Tabah Foundation is hoping to challenge Emiratis attitudes to littering by highlighting the fact that a hadith reported by Abu Hurairah, a companion of the Prophet, states  that removing harmful things from pathways is an act of charity.

Furber also added that “just as there is some reward for performing this action, there is a penalty for performing its opposite.” This seems to be part of a bigger campaign to encourage environmental awareness amongst the Gulf residents as recent friday khutabs have extolled the virtues of preserving water.

The full article is definately worth a read as it mentions the notion such as the world being inter-related, kindness to animals, modesty and limiting waste. It also mentions the need to encourage Islamic scholars  to go back to the basic “green” tenets of Islam and use them to explain issues faced by people today, such as conservation or global warming.

Couldn’t have put it better myself.

Image via Dan Taylor on Flickr.

Why being an Environmental Activist can get you arrested in Morocco

For most us, being green is a choice we take because we believe it is better for the environment but also that god has entrusted us to care for this planet. We take very little risk while doing our recycling or composting,  and reducing our waste isn’t likely to attract the attention of government officials. But in Morroco, activist Mohamed Attaoui was sentenced to two years in prison for exposing illegal logging of shrinking cedar forests and ‘cedar mafia’-style corruption among the ranks of the forest service and  government officials.

Weeks after he published his article on the illegal trafficking of cedar by community leaders in March 2010, Attaoui was arrested and sentenced to two years in prison. Although cedar wood is a protected species in Morocco and so those who were partaking in the illegal logging are in the wrong, Attaoui was arrested on charges of extortion for his whistleblowing.

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Earth is a Mosque: Green your Deen in 30 days

Green Your Deen in 30 Days (Click on the image to download the guide)

I have already posted a blog on going green this Ramadan as well as publishing an article on the ‘Ramadan Compact’  in Green Prophet but the latest initiative by the ‘Green Deen’ author really deserves some backing.

Brother Ibrahim Abdul-Matin has put together a great little guide with some  very simple steps that you, your family, your friends, your neighbors, and your masjid can all do – steps for the individual and steps for the collective – to reduce waste, save water, conserve energy, and provide food to as many as possible.

And as its Ramadan- there really isn’t a better time to do it. Remember it takes 30 days to install a good habit so lets start now and take these positive habits forward after Ramadan too.

As Abdul-Matin reminds us:

Earth is a mosque. If we can pray anywhere, everywhere is sacred.  Protect the planet from piles of plastic and dried up water supplies.  Simple steps can make sweeping changes.
Ramadan Mubarak!

Green ‘Ground Zero Mosque’

The ‘controversial’ Ground Zero mosque has been in the news again- but this time for something more positive. Once it’s built, organizers behind the mosque insist it will boast green LEED credentials which will inspire Muslims and non-Muslims alike to take up the environemntal cause. Plans for the mosque have been dogged by harsh criticism from the American right as ‘tactlesss’ and an affront to the memory of 9/11.  However  Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, a Green Muslim from the city revealed that the mosque will be a green, open space for everyone and will “provide an opportunity for all people to gain a more complete and accurate picture of how Islam sees the world.”

Author of ‘Green Deen: What Islam Teaches about Protecting the Planet‘, Abdul-Matin also added that the mosque is more like a community centre and has been renamed Park51 to reflect its green concern as well as its openess. Reactions from the green community have so far been positive with change.org stating that it was a ‘symbol of a better planet’  with “the potential to help heal the wounds of September 11th” and “harness the power of Islam (and of all world religions) to contribute to some planetary healing too.”

Image via Panoramas

Sisters Magazine: Green Sunnah

Sisters Magazine, which can be a bit hit and miss most of the time, have recently re-launched their website and will now inshallah be publishing a monthly magazine. It’s really great to see them up and running again, especially as they have a section dedicated to Green Islam.

On the website they have a great little feature by Najma Mohamed, who is an environmental Muslim writer from Cape Town, South Africa that I thought would be great to post it on ‘A World of Green Muslims’. Here are the highlights!

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6 Steps to a Green Ramadan!

ramadan go green guide picture ramadan gardenArwa offers a 6 step guide to greening this year’s Ramadan starting August 11.

With the month of Ramadan quickly approaching, Muslims across the world are beginning to prepare for the month of fasting from sunrise to sunset. Food supplies are stocked up (ironic, I know), appointments are rescheduled and preparations are made for the month of spiritual rediscovery. At its simplest Ramadan is a welcome reminder of the basic but invaluable blessing of food and water, but it is also a chance for Muslims to re-affirm their faith and reconnect with god and all his creations. And what better way to do this then by ‘greening’ your Ramadan.

Islam states that humans are the stewards of the earth, with a duty to protect it from harm but are we doing enough? Well, I have put together a basic list of things all Muslims from the US to the Middle East can all do this Ramadan (and hopefully the rest of the year) to protect the environment and any ideas you want to add are welcome!

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