Time to Turn Eco-Friendly
Islam teaches that Muslims too have a responsibility to protect the environment, as stewards of the Earth that God created. Several Muslim organisations worldwide are taking that responsibility to an active level, dedicating themselves to environmental protection. But unfortunately, Muslims in India are yet to wake up to this reality. With the exception of very few NGO’s run by Muslims, who talk about tree planting, nothing much is visible as yet on environment protection from Indian Muslims.
Muslims have formed various organizations worldwide to protect the environment. To name a few, the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences, founded in the 1980s in the United Kingdom is an internationally-recognized body, articulating the Islamic position on environmental protection. They publish the ECO Islam newsletter, which can be downloaded from their website. Green Deen, the blog of author, Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, also the title of his book, about what Islam teaches about protecting the planet. DC Green Muslims, founded in 2007 by Muslims in Washington, DC gathered for an organic, vegetarian iftar during Ramadan. They are a network of Muslims in Washington DC and surrounding areas who work to “help our communities understand and implement sustainable and eco-conscious ways of living while relating it to our faith and a holistic world-view.” AMEN – The African Muslim Environment Network was formed in 2006, to share information about successful environment-friendly development initiatives by mosques and Islamic organizations throughout Africa. The network includes Muslim organizations in Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa, and Muslim Green Team – A project by the Muslim American Society.
God gave human beings certain knowledge, which allows us to use the natural world to meet our needs, but we are not given free license to exploit it. While Muslims work on issues related to education, poverty and many other social problems, environment protection should also be a priority cause. While each of us can work on this at an individual level, starting right from our homes by saving water, electricity, avoiding plastic and choosing eco-friendly items, collectively as a community, the least we can do is to be conscious of the wastage we indulge in during those conferences and seminars. Bulky plastic folders with bundles of brochures printed on glossy papers, gaudy banners, leather bags with logos, name tags in plastic, add to the pile of garbage after the conference. Business snacks are a better option during conferences, than those heavy non-vegetarian banquets which add to the garbage in the form of plastic plates, spoons and of course the nasty burps that ruin the environment.
Be it the Sparrow Day or the Earth Hour, celebrated world over, Muslims need to wake up and get sensitive to nature around them. A bit more gentleness and softness are values that each of us can imbibe, if we truly wish to live in harmony with the environment around us.