Let's go green in Ramadan
Featured Islam Ramadan

Ramadan and Earth Day: Simple Steps to a more Eco-Friendly Month

It is the Month of Ramadan, a very special and blessed month for Muslims everywhere. This year, Ramadan coincides with Earth Day, which falls on Friday, April 22, 2022. 

Caring for the Earth is very much a Muslim tradition. In fact, there are many ways we can protect the earth that is highly rewarded in Islam. From changing eating habits to decreasing plastic consumption, Muslims can reap the blessings of this month while contributing to a greener earth.

Avoid Wasting Food

While fasting, many Muslims feel hungry throughout the day. While preparing the meal to break the fast, many people assume that they will be able to eat more than their bodies can ever tolerate. This results in the preparation of excess food, especially in the presence of guests or at large gatherings. One of the best things you can do for your planet this month is to avoid food wastage. Allah tells us in the Quran:

O Children of Adam! Dress properly whenever you are at worship. Eat and drink, but do not waste. Surely He does not like the wasteful.

(Al-A’raaf 7:31). 

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also taught us to avoid being wasteful in food and drink. He said:

The son of Adam cannot fill a vessel worse than his stomach, as it is enough for him to take a few bites to straighten his back. If he cannot do it, then he may fill it with a third of his food, a third of his drink, and a third of his breath.

Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2380

Not only is wasting food considered a wasteful act in Islam that a person will be held accountable for, it is also very harmful to the environment.

Also Read: “Do Not Waste Water Even If You Were at a Running Stream” Prophet Muhammad

The environmental impact of food waste stems from the greenhouse gases that result from its preparation and decomposition. Methane from food waste rotting in landfills is 25 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. 

naturecanada.ca

Limiting Plastics

Ramadan is a time when Muslims like to gather. Particularly this year, it is the first Ramadan after the Covid-19 pandemic and Muslims are eager to gather once again with their families and communities. Whether it is family-size gatherings for Iftar or large community gatherings, most of our gatherings will revolve around the meal time of breaking the fast. The larger the gathering, the more likely it is that disposable utensils will be used. Plastics are one of the most commonly used utensils at Iftar gatherings. 

If discarded improperly, plastic waste can harm the environment and biodiversity.

At least 14 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year. Plastic debris is currently the most abundant type of litter in the ocean, making up 80% of all marine debris found from surface waters to deep-sea sediments. Plastic is found on the shorelines of every continent, with more plastic waste found near popular tourist destinations and densely populated areas.

iucn.org

Also Read: Plastic Pollution: How Vulnerable Communities Are Adversely Affected By Plastic Wastes

As Muslims, we can make an effort to change this. If we are the host, we can make the effort to use biodegradable plates and utensils. If not, we can try bringing our own. We can spread awareness regarding this on social media outlets. The same goes for water bottles. We should try to avoid using plastic water bottles and make an effort to bring our own reusable water bottles to iftar gatherings and to the Mosque for nightly prayers. 

It may seem like a small effort, but starting with ourselves and reminding others may go a long way in reducing environmental harm. 

Planting Trees

This year, Ramadan falls in the Spring for most of us. While planting may not be an option for everyone, it should be considered by those who are able to do so.

Also Read: The African Great Green Wall

In some countries, the days are long. Engaging oneself in gardening and planting is a nice way to get outside for fresh air and re-energize ourselves before breaking the fast. This is also a great way for Muslims to increase their rewards during this blessed month. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

“If a Muslim plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift (sadaqah) for him.”

Bukhari

Preparing for Eid

While the end of Ramadan is fast approaching many Muslims begin to prepare for the Eid festivities. This is another time to keep sustainability in mind. Sometimes excess food is bought for celebrations. Sometimes excess celebrations are conducted where much waste is produced. And sometimes excess in clothing is also visible. The Muslim nation is one built upon moderation. So even in celebrating Eid, we should not be too excessive. In the Quran we are clearly told:

“And do good as Allah has been good to you. And do not seek to cause corruption in the earth. Allah does not love the corrupters”, (Surat Al Qasas 28:77)