The Blog

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…)

A Brief Introduction to Permaculture: Sustaining Our Future

A Brief Introduction to Permaculture: Sustaining Our Future and Why It Matters to Muslims 

By Tara Tariq and Sakina Grome

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”

– Albert Einstein

In 2005, the United States Department of Energy published a report titled Peaking of World Oil Production: Impacts, Mitigation, & Risk Management, (also known as the Hirsch report). The report predicts that the production of oil that fuels today’s economy and our lifestyle will peak and decline in the coming years. According to some industry analysts, it has already peaked. The report also underscores the inevitable and “unprecedented risk management problem” that Peak-Oil will present to the world.

Today we have reached a moment, a status quo that is characterized by extreme imbalance of resource depletion and consumption and it did not happen overnight: The famines in East Africa, riots in Indonesia, warfare in the Middle East, and tight-fisted policies regulating under- developed regions and their precious resources all share the common denominator of natural- resource and food insecurity. (more…)

Introducing the Ramadan Tool-Kit!

Ramadan
Enhance your Ramadan experience this year, by following along with the Green Muslim’s as they practice “greener” habits. Each day we contemplate an inspirational ayah, quote, or hadith and incorporate the teachings of our tradition into our practice with a daily challenge and reflection. Follow along!

Whether as a community, a family or an individual, the Ramadan tool-kit is a powerful way to green your deen during this holy month. Join us and our friends and partners all over the world in incorporating the eco-conscious teachings of our tradition into our practice with a daily challenge and reflection.

Download the Toolkit Here!

“green muslim”

how’s this for a working definition?

“being green in the muslim community,
and muslim in the green community.”

-bilal, 12/20/2008

on the fence

i’m new around these parts so let me introduce myself. my name’s yasmin, i’m a vt alum (go hokies!), i like blogging, and i would like to help in a small way with dc green muslims (even though i’m from the VA). please find it within yourself to forgive my habit of not capitalizing, using many many commas, and just generally being one of “those” bloggers.

let’s get right to it then- why? i’m here to share my views, help make some of the people around me more conscious of the decisions they make (and why), and figure out *why* issues of sustainability are so important to me. why indeed. when it comes to my intentions, i try to be brief (perhaps for my own lack of mental organization), so forgive me for my brevity. on with it 🙂

does anyone else like driving as much as i do? i tend to get my best thoughts while driving, and find it very easy to engage in dhikr (remembrance of God). granted, of course, that the driving is easy (sooo, not so much in dc proper ;). anyway, i’m a fan of analogies and they seem to come together for me most while i’m driving. here’s my latest…

i was thinking about what it means to be “green,” and how it’s been described in “shades”- darker, lighter. i think even i’ve used that imagery. sometimes i feel like there’s this hidden competition to see who’s greener- having a hybrid vs. riding a bike vs. walking vs….i don’t know. eating at mcdonalds vs. eating only raw stuff vs…not eating? not to say we shouldn’t reduce our ecological footprint on our beloved planet, but what is our end goal, anyway? if it’s harmony we’re looking for, i think it’s safe to say i’ve met quite a few harmonious people who aren’t your typical “greenies.” and God knows better (allahu alam).

i feel like encouraging sustainable behaviors is more a sensibility and less an argument- a demonstration of adab (manners), perhaps. (don’t worry, i’m getting to the analogy)* and how, perhaps instead of each person being a particular shade of green, each person’s sensibilities is like a field. some fields are adjacent and some share no borders at all. each is tilled in its own way, grows its own things, and yes, they even affect each other (runoff, cross-pollination, etc.). now imagine fences between them (happy fences, if the thought disturbs you). well, i’m on the fence on most issues. the benefit being that i know that even if the grass looks greener on one side, the potential on the other side isn’t diminished.** occasionally, i pick sides. but in the case of my philosphy on being green, i like knowing that fences can be jumped.

*perhaps you should know before reading the analogy: i studied agriculture in college. maybe that’ll explain a little.
** in particular, i studied soil. yes- dirt. that lovely dark (sometimes red, if you’re from my area) stuff. it’s important 🙂

ps – oh, i forgot to mention. i try to keep my intentions short, but i tend to ramble on posts (you win some, you lose some).

My Niyyah


My name is Sarah and this is my niyyah: Being a Green Muslim, to me, means recognizing and reflecting on my presence in the moment and my direct impact on everything around me. Despite negative externalities, which may seek to unsettle my state of equilibrium, I take time to get lost in the simple miracles of nature, the streams, sycamores, pocket parks in an urban jungle and the like. This is where I feel at peace with myself. I am reminded of a Rumi poem:

“to enjoy this conversation…make everything in you an ear, each atom of your being, and you will hear at every moment what the Source is whispering to you, just to you and for you, without any need for my words or anyone else’s. you are—we all are—the beloved of the Beloved, and in every moment, in every event of your life, the Beloved is whispering to you exactly what you need to hear and know. who can ever explain this miracle? it simply is. listen and you will discover it every passing moment. listen, and your whole life will become a conversation in thought and act between you and Him, directly, wordlessly, now and always. it was to enjoy this conversation that you and i were created.”

For me, my presence in nature is a deep conversation between me and my Creator. I realize this feeling of general health/wellness that nature provides is often times a luxury and can be seen as intellectual elitism, a sentiment I do not share. Everyone should have the right to reach their greatest human potential and this is certainly true in our interactions with something as ubiquitous as the built environment and the natural world. Many of our urban centers are concrete sterile shells void of a meaningful exchange between the built environment and nature. We are unequivocally changed by our surroundings, public spaces can empower us or be a part of our detriment.

My involvement with Green Muslims stems from my desire to help others see the inequalities that exist between those who have access to affordable housing in safe neighborhoods, equitable transportation uses, healthy foods, and accessible green public space, and those who unfortunately do not. My hope is that we can foster greater opportunities for bottom-up community building, thereby directly addressing these inequalities. Simultaneously, engaging in dialogue with the other Green Muslims will help me grow into a more reflective person, in hopes of discovering sustainable ways to preserve the environment for future generations. In many ways, my interest in urban planning is motivated by these factors.

I am humbled to be in the presence of my Green Muslim peers. I have spent much of my academic profession, having to explain what I do to the older generation, qualifying it to careers comparable to those typical of South Asian second-generation Americans. To be in the presence of other Green Muslims, people who just get it, is a very empowering feeling. They have taken the initiative to demand change and I want to be a part of this movement.

Picture: Garden in Pasadena, CA

My Niyyah

My love for the outdoors, and the natural world, is a classic case of nature vs. nurture. On one hand, I believe this deep connection is encouraged in Islam, and inside each and every one of us. On the other, my love for nature has been conditioned by my father, who also loved nature-and wanted to give his wife a break from their six kids. Perhaps he felt that the racket of a rambunctious family was muted (however momentarily) by the rustle of the soaring trees, or by the calming sound of water lapping against rocks. He gave us the gift of tranquility, teaching us to sit in stillness and awe of God’s creation in all its vast scope and beauty. Today, nature is where I go to be still, when I need to re-center.

I am a Green Muslim because I want to be a part of the change I desire for my community and humanity at large. Spirituality for me is recognizing my connection to all creation, and translating all commandments of my faith in action. Islam challenges us to a higher consciousness, to reach for our highest self, and in that, we begin to see past ourselves and fulfill our duty as caretakers of all creation, including each other.

One of my favorite hadith/sayings of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is to “want for your brother/sister what you want for yourself”. This blog, this group, and our intention is Inshaallah the beginning of many ways we, individually and collectively, personify this saying. Among other things, I want to help preserve the beauty and nature I associate with some of my best childhood memories, for future generations.

My intention in joining Green Muslims is to meet and work alongside people wanting to make a positive change in the community, and to share this experience with as many people as we can.

Our Common Niyyah 3.0

A few of us got together again last week to work on our common niyyah (intention) for the DC Green Muslims effort. This is, by definition, a work in progress… both because this is a growing group of people whose fresh insight is always welcome and because niyyahs need to be revisited and reaffirmed from time to time.

So here’s version 3.0, if you will. You’ll notice that the first paragraph has not changed, but the second paragraph now includes points on building relationships, networks and enacting change in our lives and the world around us. Please take the time to review and comment on this version of our niyyah here on the blog, or send suggestions to info@dcgreenmuslims.com:

Nature moves us. In it we feel a deep, spiritual connection to our Creator and the world around us. Our faith and our values motivate us to be more aware of our surroundings and understand the interconnections in our lives and in life. They also drive us to nourish that which is positive and wholesome (i.e. the good which brings us closer to our Creator) and to curb the negative consequences of our actions, on everything and everyone we are connected to.

Our group is one of many networks coming together around common values and collective action, building meaningful relationships and strength in the process. We believe the small changes we make, in ourselves and in our lives, have a wide ripple effect. Our environmental work will be an entry-point to affect profound and lasting change in our communities and country on issues ranging from education and health to economics and social justice, insha’Allah.

I am a green muslim, part 2

“Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

“Do good works, engage politically, and get involved: can’t change anything sitting on the sidelines.” – Keith Ellison

I wanted to share two recent interviews with two people I admire greatly, one as a religious scholar, the other political, but both for their efforts in articulating an authentic American Muslim voice and serving their community. Not particularly “green-related” but they answer perfectly the “why I do this” question.

The first is an interview with Imam Zaid Shakir by Asma Nemati, from Southern California InFocus:

InFocus: Do you have any specific advice to American Muslim and Muslims around the world?

ImamZaid: My advice to American Muslims would be to really think deeply on the opportunities that we have here and to take advantage of them, not to squander them with ignorance or short-sighted thinking; to really realize that we have tremendous opportunities in that our community is very wealthy, talented and highly educated. We should take advantage of those realities to try to organize ourselves and galvanize our energy and the potential we have to do something significant for the Muslim and non-Muslim people of the world.

In terms of advice for Muslims of the world, I would just say to look at the fullness of the religion and never lose touch with the heart of the religion, which is purification of the heart. If we have a deep relationship with Allah, it becomes very easy to keep all of the trials and tribulations of the world in perspective, and not to be overwhelmed by them.

(Via In the Land of Sand and Time.)

The second is an interview with Keith Ellison, by Wajahat Ali, from altmuslim. Along with questions on race and politics, the 2008 presidential campaigns, and Muslim political participation, Ali asks Rep. Ellison about the inspiration (or the ‘niyyah’) behind his work:

altmuslim: It sounds like you’re very passionate, Congressman…So, what inspired you to run, to take this leap, to be a trailblazer knowing you’re a Black man and a Muslim running for Congress?

KE: Well, you know, part of my involvement in politics is really rooted in my desire to try to promote unity among people, trying to promote unity with the Earth and creation, and trying to promote justice. That’s really the origin of my activism. We are also, as Muslims, urged to engage in shura, consultation, with what the community should do. So, I think my involvement is just to sort of try to help them do what’s best for the community and the world at large.

(And more on civic involvement from Islamica Magazine.)

Draft #2: Our Common Intention

Nature moves us. In it we feel a deep, spiritual connection to our Creator and the world around us. Our faith and our values motivate us to be more aware of our surroundings and understand the interconnections in our lives and in life. They also drive us to nourish that which is positive and wholesome (i.e. the good which brings us closer to our Creator) and to curb the negative consequences of our actions, on everything and everyone we are connected to.

Our group is one of the many networks we look to for support, inspiration and action. We aim to foster a broader dialogue around the issues of wholeness, interconnection and sustainability in our communities. Sustainability, as we understand it, is a concept that encompasses equality, social justice and human rights.