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Islam and Ecology: Reflections on the Qur’anic Way

i May 8th 2 Comments by

Guest Blog: Guest blogger Mouna Mana reflects on the wisdom shared by Dr. Fred Denny at a guest lecture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on the topic of environmental protection and Islam.

By Mouna Mana

A few weeks ago on April 10, Dr. Fred Denny, professor emeritus from University of Colorado-Boulder spoke at UW-Madison’s campus as a guest on the topic of environmental protection and Islam. The title of the talk drew me in, “Ecology and Islam.” I cannot pretend to know much about ecology, but I care enough to want to know more. Was he going to explain how ecology appears in Islamic texts, or was he going to talk about Muslims’ work (or lack thereof) in ecology? Was he going to raise any critiques or questions? Would I discover something new and insightful about the topic?

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How We Began a Green Movement at our Muslim Students Association

Guest BlogThe University of Michigan MSA established and grew, beginning in fall 2012, the Green Muslims Initiative. The insightful reflections of two members of the group highlight both the inspiration and possibilities behind this action.

by Tesneem Alkiek and Layth Dahbour

The Green Muslims Initiative (GM) at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is two-fold. Firstly, we hope to educate and implement environmentally sustainable habits that can be easily adopted by our campus community. Secondly, as we are a new initiative under the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA), we want to create a clear connection between the importance of environmental conservatism and the faith of Islam. In our first year we already have made major changes in the way the MSA, as an organization, treats the environment, hosted events that educate our community of habits that they can adopt, discussed several connections between the protecting the environment and Islam, and provided college students with opportunities to get further involved with green activities on campus.

We hit the ground running and started our year off by inviting Chaplain Nuri Friedlander of Harvard to shed light on the Islamic importance of living green. One of our greatest investments has been using reusable plates, cups, and utensils at all of our MSA events! In addition, we have found a homeless shelter in our community that accepts all the extra food left over at the MSA events.

Our biggest event this year was the “Green Week” that happened in early February. Throughout this week, we put a green twist on MSA weekly events. We held a “Green” Mini-Qiyam where one of our community members who studies Environmental Science explained to us that our role as Muslims is to be stewards of the Earth that Allah (swt) has blessed us with. GM also hosted the MSA’s first ever “Brothers vs. Sisters Cook-off.” This event was meant to teach our community the importance of buying local, organic food, in order to minimize the impact we have on the environment.

The Green Muslim Initiative’s Green Week schedule

Prior to the cook-off, we had a workshop on simple steps that we can incorporate into our daily lives, in order to protect the environment in general, and the University of Michigan campus more specifically. This is part of UM’s new Planet Blue Ambassador Program. To conclude the week, the Green Muslims Initiative influenced a “Green” Friday khutbah and also hosted a trip of volunteers at the local arboretum where we cut down invasive species from their natural habitats.

Looking forward, the Green Muslims Initiative hopes to continue providing the Muslim community and the overall campus community with opportunities to be more educated and involved in environmental sustainability. In the future we hope to implement regular services that encourage college students to be more conscious of how they treat the Earth. Strategies to do this include collaborating with campus offices and student organizations in Ann Arbor and elsewhere.

We also want to continually remind the members of our community that our faith emphasizes our role as stewards of the environment. It is through verses like the one below that drive the progress of GM:

“But waste not in excess: for Allah loveth not the wasters” (6:141), (7:31)

If you have questions or comments about the Green Muslims Initiative at the University of Michigan, please feel free to e-mail greenmuslims@umich.edu.

#GreenMuslimah Twitter Chat Hosted by Azizah Magazine

On Earth Day 2013, Azizah Magazine hosted a great Twitter chat called #GreenMuslimah to discuss the amazing ways that Muslim women are making a difference in the environmental movement mashaAllah. Below is a transcript from the chat, via Storify.

Big thanks to Azizah Magazine and the speakers for making it an enriching conversation for all of us!

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News: Green Muslims on PBS!

PBS’s Religion and Ethics Newsweekly sat down with Green Muslims at a reflection-based discussion on verses from the Qur’an and narrations from the prophetic tradition related to the environment.

Watch Religion and the Environment on PBS. See more from Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.


 The story and video are available online hereHost Lucky Severson interviewed Green Muslims Director Sarah Jawaid to discuss our work and her perspectives on faith-based environmental work. It will air on PBS stations across the country on Sunday morning. Check local listings for broadcast information.

The extended version of the interview with Sarah Jawaid is available below:

Watch Sarah Jawaid Extended Interview on PBS. See more from Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

 

 

News: We’ve Redesigned our Website

Welcome to our newly redesigned website! Beyond the fresher appearance, greener hosting and improved performance, we’re excited about the following:

  • Our Key Areas: We’ve boiled down our key programming areas to help you better understand how we’re making a difference together.
  • Getting Involved Made Easier: We’ve developed a straightforward menu of ways you can engage with Green Muslims broken down by commitment-level.
  • Events Calendar: Wondering what we’re up to? Have an event to share? Visit our events calendar.
  • Updated Resources: There’s a lot happening within our community about environmentalism, so we’ve updated our resources page!
  • More Guest Blogging: We’ve reorganized our blog to give guest blog posts more prominence.

Please be sure to bookmark the new address (http://greenmuslims.org) – the old address (http://green-muslims.org) will continue to re-direct here.

Please feel free to post a comment to us know what you think and how we could improve!

What is a Khalifah? MIST Workshop Recap

In early April, Green Muslims led two workshops at the Muslims Inter-Scholastic Tournament (MIST) Richmond annual tournament  in Richmond, VA.

At the tournament, Sameer Siddiqi and Rizwaan Akhtar, Green Muslims board members, led a session called “Everyday Khalifah,” an interactive workshop and environmental stewardship training with young students and adults. The theme of this year’s competition was The Patience of Champions: Rising to a Better Self. The workshop participants focused on learning about the deeper meanings of being a “khalifah” and challenges and strategies related to doing so.

View photos from one of the two workshops below or view them on Facebook.

If interested in learning more about Green Muslims workshops and trainings, or if you are interested in coordinating a workshop, please email us or tweet us @GreenMuslims.

In the News: Green Muslims Presents at Environmental Education Workshop

In January 2013, Rizwaan Akhtar of Green Muslims presented at an environmental service-learning program hosted at Zaytuna College. Read the complete story on the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

Zaytuna College Hosts Historic Workshop on Environmental Education in Islamic Schools

By Elaine Pasquini
Participants and guests gather at the Berkeley Independent Studies outdoor oven during a tour of the garden as part of the Experiential Environmental Education in Islamic Schools program. (Staff photo Phil Pasquini)

Participants and guests gather at the Berkeley Independent Studies outdoor oven during a tour of the garden as part of the Experiential Environmental Education in Islamic Schools program. (Staff photo Phil Pasquini)

AN HISTORIC environmental service-learning program, initiated by Saleem H. Ali, founding director of the University of Vermont’s In­stitute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security (IEDS), was held Jan. 1 through 5 at Berkeley’s Zaytuna College, the first Muslim liberal arts college in the U.S. Imam Dawood Yasin of Dartmouth College served as program director of the multi-day event, which was co-sponsored by Zaytuna College, the IEDS, and the Center for Islamic Studies at Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union. Read more…

Recap: Over 50 Come to Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring, MD

On January 13th, the beautiful Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring, MD on a foggy day, had over 50 come to participate in a Green Muslims presentation and discussion. At the event, a group decided to begin a community garden at the masjid and already received a donation to cover all of the gardening tools! May Allah bless them and give them a lot of rizq from their garden!

The MCC invited Green Muslims to present and lead a discussion for their Continuing Education Series. We thank everyone who invited us to come, organized the event, spread the word, and most of all, to those committed individuals who participated.

A Letter to my Community Group about Composting

by Rizwaan Akhtar

I recently decided to start composting at my apartment in Washington, DC (via a service called Compost Cab) after Ibrahim Abdul-Matin at a Green Muslims Leftar brought up the idea of collective composting, to reduce cost and encourage others.

A few of us thought it was a great idea so we wanted to invite our community group (the Columbia Heights Halaqa) that gathers weekly at my home to compost with me. So, I wrote this letter (below) to our listserve.

Let me know what you think and if you might make use of it for any collective composting initiatives as well (feel free!).

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Salaam all,

A few months ago, a few of us, Ryan, Nada and I, decided to start composting at the Columbia Heights Halaqa to help reduce waste that harms the earth. It’s been awesome, and I want to personally invite you to join in the process! So, read on: (more…)

Carry on your Lessons from a Green Ramadan

Green Muslims Update: May the transition from summer to fall find you in good health and spirits! 

As fall enters through the changing leaves and cooling winds, we find ourselves almost a month after Ramadan reflecting on the adjustments we tried to make during that blessed month and whether our efforts can be sustained in the weeks after.

During the month of Ramadan, we held multiple events to encourage Muslims in the Washington D.C. to use the holy month to start greener life habits. We heard back from many others that they were inspired to hold their own green iftars during the month. We were also busy hosting and were blessed to be able to hold an event with the Yaro Collective, using our reusable dinnerware. We also partnered with Crescent Moon Nights and America’s Islamic Heritage Museum to host a soul food iftar where the diverse D.C. community shared powerful words and brilliant concepts. Here too, we used our plates and debuted our compost bin. We held an iftar at a park protected by a canopy of trees with peaceful mist as backdrop and were led through great discussion by our friend Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, author of Green Deen. We also rented out our tableware set to a few other groups, leading over 600 people to reduce their trash for a meal through our reusable tableware and compost bin over the month. We are elated by this progress! Thank to all of our partners! (more…)