There are more ways than one in ‘going green’ that is, being environmentally friendly. Whilst some Muslims still might not be aware of the importance of this issue, our religion and the current climate teaches us that it is something we have a crucial role to play in.

We live in a world where global warming has and is becoming one of the biggest threats in the world; a silent but violent disaster is happening in the background. As Muslims, it is worth reflecting upon the words of the Holy Qur’an, which encourage us to preserve and protect Allah’s creation – ourselves as well as the environment around us. The question here is, how can we achieve or become green productive Muslims?

Being environmentally friendly starts with ourselves by having ‘sabr’ (patience) and ‘tawakkul’ (reliance on our Maker) to snap out of the wasteful habits, which occur in our day to day lives. From here, extend this to our homes, and further, to various public spaces we use.

Conserving water and electricity

The first point of action is to identify where these wasteful habits occur and the most common example to identify is water. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a great advocate of being green and taking care of planet earth in every possible opportunity. He understood the importance of conserving water and even in the most difficult situations.

 

It was narrated by Ibn Majah (may Allah have mercy upon him) that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

happened to pass by a companion, Sa’d (may Allah be pleased with him), as he was performing ‘wudhu’ (ablution) next to a river. At this, the Prophet (pbuh) asked: “Sa’d what is this squandering?”

 

How can we implement this now?

 Simple steps can be taken in your day to day activities:

  1. Turn the water off whilst you brush your teeth.
  2. When you are carrying out your daily wudhu, try not to create a swimming pool around you.
  3. Turn your dishwasher on when it is fully loaded.
  4. Take a shower as opposed to a bath.
  5. Turn off the lights as you leave a room you are not using.
  6. Shutdown your computer rather than putting it on sleep mode.

Recycle and mend

To recycle may seem tedious and to mend what is damaged may seem less essential when the means to replace is there; this is in fact a practise that the Prophet (pbuh) used to engage in often.

When asked about how the Prophet (pbuh) used to live in his house, his wife A’ishah bint Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with her), said that he used to repair his own shoes, sew his clothes and carry out all such household chores done without complaint or want for more. [Authenticated by Al-Albani] Subhan’Allah (Glory be to Allah) – our teacher and leader provided the example of modesty and humility.

I understand this may be one of the most difficult things for a person to do, especially for those who live for fashion and such. However, a Muslim should never assume that happiness is acquired through materialistic things in this world. This is not an easy lifestyle change but starting small, such as recycling your clothes or learning to keep them for as long as possible, is a good start. This concept, which was introduced by the Prophet (pbuh), is easy to adapt into the 21st century. We can start by donating clothes we have not worn for more than a year; or even share clothes with our siblings (however hard that may be).

Therefore, it is important to understand that being green is not just about helping the environment by feeding the plants and planting trees, it is also reducing this ever increasing reliance on buying ‘things’. It is a vicious circle; to produce these items of clothing; factories are established, which actually release harmful emissions that destroy the earth. Reducing this demand will decrease the supply, thus reduce the total emissions.

Simple recycling tips:

  1.  Recycle clothing by donating your clothes to charity or share your clothes with family and friends.
  2. Do not throw everything in the dustbin; make use of recycling bins – try to organise categorically, i.e. plastic glass and the like in one and the rest in another. Many county councils in the UK provide local residents with various dustbins but if yours does not, it is worth visiting your local recycling centre every now and then.

Food consumption

Due to the sheer variety of food in today’s society, we tend to or very often like to ‘overeat’, when in fact in Islam this is incorrect and such actions are also damaging to us in the medical sphere, destroying the ecosystem in our bodies. Overeating leads to obesity and diseases, such as diabetes and heart problems. As Muslims, we are taught to take care of Allah’s creation, including our bodies. Our bodies have been given to us as an ‘amanah’ (trust) from Allah and therefore we should treat it as a loan that must be returned as it was given.

Abdullah Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him), reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said: “The [Sahih Al-Albani] You may not live in an area where your neighbour is actually starving but you are probably guaranteed to walk past or hear about someone who has no food and shelter. If this is the case, let this be a constant reminder in your head for the next time you overcook, over-eat or throw away perfectly good food. Let it be one of the things that pushes you to become efficient and also encourages you to go out or donate to those who need it the most.

Being green is a way of life. It is the way we change our wasteful habits to become more productive. Every human being is connected with one another and every action we engage in is reflected directly onto this earth, and thus it is our duty to make sure we make the right decisions. Conserving energy by using water and electricity smartly is a simple but effective solution. Instead of using your tablet or phone to read the Holy Qur’an, actually read it from the beautiful Holy book itself. For example, when it comes to food, eating less will always be more. You will not only save money, you will also be saving your health. Lastly, sharing or donating to charity will not only bring a smile to another but also guide you to lead a more humble and modest life, just like the one our beloved Prophet (pbuh) lived.

Walk, public transport or car?

If the opportunity presents itself, walking will always be your best option. You are improving your health by exercising and also the environment, not burning any fuels and not giving off any harmful emissions into the air. Whenever you can, it is always worth walking to your destination and if you have children encourage your children to do the same. Living green is not an individual’s campaign; it can be a family affair. Walk to your mosque or if it is far, one could arrange a car share with friends or others attending the mosque.

However, it was narrated by Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: “Shall I not tell you something [Sahih Muslim]

Reducing the amount of cars on the road will not only reduce emissions but also accidents. Public transport is also a good alternative to using your car, in some cases it can save you a lot of money and hassle.

Being green is an opportunity to gain a great deal of good deeds and become a more productive Muslim. May Allah, The Most High, always guide us to where there is ‘khair’ (good) and may He strengthen our ‘imaan’ (faith) to appreciate this beautiful gift of life He has bestowed upon us.

Ameen.

Aseel Saif academically majors in Middle-East politics and is an avid blogger in subjects such as religion, culture and politics. Her Palestinian roots form the foundations of her passion for writing and expressing herself to the world. Visit her personal blog: www.ahijabilife.wordpress.com