Interview With America’s Leading Green Muslim- Ibrahim Abdul Matin

 Ibrahim Abdul-MatinArwa speaks to Ibrahim Abdul-Matin about his latest book ‘Green Deen’ and why he believes that Muslims need be compelled spiritually to make dramatic changes in their lives for the sake of the planet

Ibrahim Abdul-Matin is a man of many talents. As well as working as a regular sports commentator and youth organiser, he is a policy adviser for NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s office of sustainability and author of ‘Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet’. He has been making waves on the US green scene for a decade now and his latest book, which connects his Muslim faith with his love of nature hopes to spark greater environmental awareness amongst the Muslim community. I caught up with him to speak about the influence of his father on his green ethic, what the life of an Eco-Muslim would look like, ideas for a green hajj and why Muslims need to become ambassadors for clean water.

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Jordan Prays For Rain

pray-rain-jordanAn unprecedented absence of rain in the Middle East has Jordanians praying in Amman

As the water crisis in Jordan deepens, the country’s ministry of religious affairs is urging citizens to hold special prayers for rain. The move comes after a significant delay in the rainy season and five successive years of limited rainfall which threatens the country’s water supplies.

Jordan has no significant rivers or lakes of it own and so relies on rainfall to replenish underground aquifers and reservoirs for water. The special Muslim prayer called Salat al-Istisqa, which has been practised since the time of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) who would pray for rain in Mecca whenever the rainy season was late, is being carried out in the water-dry country.

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Green Prophet: How Islam Could Fight Water Scarcity

water-shortage-islam-save

Muslim nations may face a lot of diverse problem but one concern they share is water scarcity. At the latest conference of Islamic environment ministers, water shortage was highlighted as one of the most pressing environmental issue facing the region and Muslim leaders stated it finding a solution was one of the ‘most important duties of our time’. Could reconnecting to Islamic water management principles help Muslim countries avoid the worst effects of water scarcity brought on by climate change?

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Egypt’s Climate Lessons

egypt-garbage-environment-climate-change-lessons-arab-muslim

As one of the most populous countries in North Africa and the Middle East, the effects of climate change in Egypt will hit alot of people. Some of the biggest issues the country is facing include desertification, dwindling water supplies and pollution. In fact Cairo is one of the most polluted cities on the face of the planet and according to a recent article by Ismail Abdel Gelil in Al-Masry Al-Youm:

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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.

Ban bottled water… for ever!

At taraweeh this Ramdan, I couldn’t help but notice the rows upon rows of not only praying Muslims but also bottled water.  As it’s Ramadan, everyone is doing their best to keep hydrated but why bottled water?

Bottled water is one of the biggest cons of this century and not only does it divert money away from better water infrastructure, it poisons supplies due to the production of plastic bottles which end up in toxic landfills. Also,  research has found that bottled water isn’t always safer than tap water and definately isn’t tastier.

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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!

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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Cambridge Eco-Mosque Plans

England’s historic city of Cambridge, with its world-famous university and idyllic countryside, will soon count a mosque amidst its stunning skyline of spires. But this isn’t just any old mosque. In fact it is the first-purpose built mosque in the city which also happens to be environmentally-friendly!

After years of dealing with overcrowding at various small sites across the city, the growing Muslim community decided that it was time to take action. By the summer of 2008, a strip of land and an old warehouse has been purchased and plans for the new mosque were underway. However rather than simply building a mosque as quickly as possible, it was decided from the very start that the mosque would follow environmental sustainability principles.

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