The Blog

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.

Farm of Peace

Over Labor Day weekend, a group of Green Muslims drove up to south-central Pennsylvania to the Farm of Peace. The Farm of Peace is a Sufi-run free range farm that raises chickens, donkeys, and sheep, and keeps a small orchard. Its rolling pastures, tucked between cerulean tree covered hills, are a bucolic treasure. The visual gem of the farm reflects the ideology that drives it – all animals are raised halal. Nowhere is this more evident than with the chickens, who make up the part of the farm called Sumayah’s Peaceful Poultry. It is second

nature for us to block out where the drumstick at dinner or breakfast eggs come from, but most of the chicken we ingest, including chicken slaughtered according to Zabiha standards, comes from hormone-injected birds who often have their beaks removed and are kept in cages too cramped to move around or flap their wings. On the other end of the spectrum is Peaceful Poultry, where the chickens are true free range and given the opportunity to live and grow naturally. You can learn more about Peaceful Poultry and its philosophy at their website.
Sumayah herself is an inspirational character
who kept us captivated as she spoke about her efforts. She helped us look deeper into the ethics of where our food comes from, reminding us of the great privilege mankind is given to take another creature’s life, and the responsibility that comes with that. We rarely think of the dignity and God-given purpose that is so often robbed from creation to supply our own sustenance. Sumayah helped bring our place in nature’s order to focus.
She made sure we gave back to the land as well, and had us clean the manure from the donkey stalls and lay it on one of their pastures. Though a small effort, it felt good to reconnect with the land and take part in its natural renewal. DC can leave one wanting for a stronger connection to nature, and the work was therapeutic. It also made the potluck iftar with some members of the local Sufi community that much more satisfying.
At some point, it would be great to bring more members of Green Muslims to the Farm of Peace. They would greatly appreciate the help, and there is reward to be found in it by anyone. Sumayah would certainly be thrilled to meet more members of our group as well, and we all have much to learn from her insight and experiences.

Niyyah of Space (Soliloquy from Green Dinner # 6)

The following are concluding remarks from the Green Dinner #6. So happy you all could join us.

Summary of evening:

The spatial experience allowed us to see that our spaces affect us and we have control over it. In the personal space portion of the program, we had you take a survey to see how your favorite spaces make you feel and the word that come up the most was reflective…so we learned that our spaces give us an opportunity to look within and reflect on our surroundings. Then we expanded to community level, discussing how there are some spaces that negatively affect our communities and need our help. That’s where you heard about the Green Muslims helping out at Marvin Gaye park.

So the big words of this evening are…intentions, reflection and connection to your environment.

For a moment, let’s think about the way DC was built. It was intentionally planned to emulate a European city design. Grand Boulevards, huge vistas like standing at the capitol and see the Washington monument in the far distance, these were are all intentional designs to make an announcement to the rest of the world that the US had arrived. The Roman style architecture of the buildings show a sense of power and government, making common people feel small in comparison. When you in fly into DC, nothing is taller than the monument and that is because there is a height restriction that doesn’t allow buildings to be taller, again, DC was meant to elicit a sense of history, tradition and power. So something as simple as DC’s built environment has so many intentions behind it, it wasn’t haphazardly constructed, there was a vision, whether or not you agree with it, there was an intention. So let’s reflect on that intention so we feel more connected to our environment.

As Muslims, we are expected to constantly reflect, praying 5 times a day …what we provided you today was another process to reflect and help you achieve a greater level of spiritual awareness. Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasir is a leading thinker in defining the relationship between the natural world and Islam. The theme in his writings is about man’s total disharmony with his environment. He sees the crisis as an externalization of an inner malaise that cannot be solved without internal reflection leading to a spiritual revival. The human destiny, Nasr says, entails fulfilling the role of God’s appointed protector of the natural world, thus bearing witness to the truth that the whole of nature speaks of God.

This can be transferred to living green, specifically by checking our intentions on why we are try to live a more green life… for example, why do you recycle a bottle? Is it for the 5 cents or is it because you recognize that this bottle will sit in some land fill for years because it doesn’t decompose. Why do you conserve water? Is it because you are concerned about limited clean water supply for future generations? Or are you trying to lower your water bill? Or is it both? Which is a valid point.

All I am saying here is that let’s reflect on our intentions…there are so many formulas out there on how to lower your carbon footprint…you can google it. You’ll find lists after lists telling you what you should be doing to live more green and sometimes it can be overwhelming…I am not going to provide you with another list. I am not going tell you what you should be doing. What I hope you walk away with today is recognizing the importance of our spaces, being more sensitive to how they affect us, being present in the moment so that we are position to see God work in our lives and finally, to look within and find ways to be better protectors of this earth in whatever capacity works for us. This process of self-reflection will hopefully motivate you to individual action… collectively this individual action means more than any list I could give you on living green. Your actions will come from a genuine place. And finally when we reflect on our spaces, hopefully we can become empowered to take ownership of our surroundings and shape our spaces in a way that best fit us and protect our planet.

“Renewal” Screening Pics; July 16, 2008

Salaam folks! We had such a great turn out at the screening and discussion of the film “Renewal,” the first documentary to focus on the wide range of faith-based environmental movements being undertaken in America. More info about the film can be found here >

Thanks to the Green Muslims that came out to show their support and learn! There were close to 65 individuals from all different faith backgrounds who attended!

Pics from the event can be viewed here >

Our Second Service Day at Marvin Gaye Park

Jazzakum Allah khair for all your hard work folks! Here’s a recap:
1. Getting to know each other at the Riverside Center

2. Taking the tools over to the work site

3. Smiling and full of energy as we await instructions

4. Our work: digging holes for a guardrail around the stage

5. Making progress…

6. This was much harder than it looks!

7. Getting started on the guardrail (cutting and welding)

8. Almost there!

9. Mixing concrete for the foundation

10. Ahhh… admiring the guardrail.

(thanks to Rama and Ambreen for the photos!)

Pictures from reduce, reuse, RE-DESIGN

Thanks to everyone who came out and made it a great event Alhamdullilah!

Hosted at DC Goodwill’s training center in Arlington.
Thanks Goodwill!

Amazing sewists & designers at work (Special thanks to: Aasiyeh, Fatima, Mariam, Khadijeh, Mrs. Z, Sarah Ullah, and Sarah Rashid!)

The resurrection of a skirt

1 old bag + old long johns + artistic vision= a new place to rest your head

In a re-fashioned shirt for his newly re-fashioned body

Re-design in action

Presentations during another delicious potluck dinner

Participants watch a documentary on fair trade clothing

(photo credits: Nadia J & Nadiya El-K)

While checking out the awesome cherry blossoms…

A stop at the FDR Memorial revealed this:

Men and Nature must work hand in hand. The throwing out of balance of the resources of nature throws out of balance also the lives of men. - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

(c) T. Ahmad, 4/1/2008, Washington, DC.

Mercy Mercy Me

Pictures from Green Muslim service trip to Marvin Gaye Park

Oh, mercy, mercy me.*
Ah, things ain’t what they used to be.
What about this over crowded land?

How much more abuse from man can she stand?

*Lyrics from Gaye’s Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)

Gawd Blezzum

“Actions are only according to intentions, and to each only what he intended.”

(taken @ a local mosque)

Photos from Green Muslims Dinner #3

More pics