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.

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…)

Ramadan w/Green Muslims!

Ramadan LefTAR!
Join Green Muslims and Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, author of Green Deen for the first annual LefTAR (Leftover Iftar)!

Packing List:

  • A Dish to pass (leftovers are expected and welcome!)
  • BYOD – Bring your own dishes (and something to take them home in).
  • Serving Utensils
  • Picnic blankets

Details:

Meridian Hill Park (Southeastern Corner)

Corner of 15th St and Florida Ave NW

Washington, DC 20009

July 28th

8pm

Convietiently located four blocks from Columbia Heights Metro (on Green or Yellow line)

RSVP HERE!

 

Ramadan Footprint Photo Contest

THE RAMADAN FOOTPRINT PHOTO CONTEST
GREEN YOUR RAMADAN. SNAP A PIC. WIN A PRIZE.

This Ramadan, make a pledge to reduce your footprint and then share a photo of you “in the act” on the Green Muslims Facebook page.

The photo on our Facebook Page that gets the most Likes by the day of Eid will win and receive a generous prizes:

  1. My Halal Kitchen
  2. Nalgene
  3. Saffron Road!!

Your Photos: Get as creative, funny, or inspiring as you’d like! Just add a description in the caption of what you’re doing.

Need Inspiration? The Green Muslims team has put together a list of suggested activities (below) that you could photograph in any way you’d like. Any other ideas or green activities are encouraged as well!

10 Suggested Ways to Reduce Your Ramadan Footprint

1.) Forgo styrofoam! Ramadan iftars are often filled with styrofoam plates or cups, so bring your own reusable tableware to iftars to reduce waste. Styrofoam is harmful to the environment and takes a very long time to decompose. Recycle!

2.) Lessen your carbon footprint. Carpool, ride a bike, or walk to your iftars, taraweeh prayers, and anywhere else!

3.) Check your usage! Conserve electricity, gas and water. Be conscious of waste. Do your wudu with less water, cook with less, or pray by candlelight.

4.) Host a Zero-Trash Iftar. Ask people to bring their own plates/utensils or provide reusable tableware. You could always rent a set from Green Muslims! Use Green Khutba resources to share some tips to continue the environmentally-conscious ideas the rest of the month. Turn leftovers into a leftar. Don’t waste a morsel!

5.) Raise consciousness amongst your community about over-consumption. Take stock of what you have in your house; is there anything that can be better served by giving it to someone else? Volunteer at a local GoodWill storage room. The amount of stuff that needs sorting is eye-opening. And this is the stuff worthy of being used by someone else…Imagine what sits in the trash dump.

6.) Rock the boat! Ask your local mosque leaders to recycle, stop using styrofoam, stop using plastic water bottles (watch the documentary Tapped for inspiration),  and feel inspired to push the congregation to reduce water usage while making wudu. The Prophet pbuh only used a small amount of water to cleanse himself. It will take a long time for these kind of changes to take place, but it’s worth the effort.

7.) Plant a seed this Ramadan! Challenge yourself to spend some time in the garden. If gardening isn’t your thing or the land is arid, plant some herbs in a pot. Watch first hand a miracle of Allah swt take place in front of your eyes. The world is full of miracles for us to reflect and think upon.

8.) Pray under the stars. Remind yourself how small you are by praying under the vastness of the sky that holds us. We are small but our impact can be large. As inheritors of the earth, how are we fulfilling the trust we have with God to protect it? Pray for our planet and each other.

9.) Eat healthy food. Go to the farmer’s market and choose fresh, local produce.

10.) Fast! Eat less. Sometimes we even eat more in Ramadan than other months. Celebrate Ramadan by actually eating and consuming less. For any non-perishable food in your house that you’re not eating, donate it!

Most importantly, set your intention for a Green Ramadan. Create a support network and set some goals to make this a green ramadan. And then continue to reflect on how you’ve grown over the last month!

For more ideas, check out our Ramadan tool-kit!

Going forward, try to continue the more environmentally friendly habits you have started this Ramadan. Take the knowledge you have gained and turn it into conviction.

From Lawns to Greens: Changing the Suburban Landscape

I have a well sustained reputation of being all thumbs in my garden and unfortunately, none of them are green! Despite this fact, we decided to invest in a backyard garden and give ourselves and our children the invaluable experience of growing our own food. Perhaps it was initiated by my husband who recently turned vegetarian or perhaps it was the beautiful spring weather in Northern California, or perhaps it was Michelle Obama’s White House garden that everyone is talking about, but whatever the impetus, the initiative is well under way.

As long as my children can remember we have shopped at the farmer’s market for our weekly veggies and fruits and the time was ripe to begin our own garden. It’s not as if we hadn’t tried before, but the clay soil and the rocks holding up the hills we live on were not conducive to growing much and the deer usually enjoyed whatever little was able to sprout. This year, with a fence, a prepared garden bed, organic fertilizers and a host of little plants and seeds we were armed for the challenge. Best of all, I had an army of little soldiers ready to water, fertilize, weed, plant and harvest. I think their enthusiasm is what really took root.

When late spring rolled in with the fog from the bay, we began our humble garden. Like Arnold Lobel’s Toad, my littlest one would sing to the seeds waiting for them to germinate. My second son joked about hitting the jackpot once the beans he planted sprouted, while my eldest dutifully watered the garden and waited eagerly for the results. The budding plants reinvigorated my family as we began to see life emerge from the ground and my daughter let each flower be- as she now learned that this will be what she soon eats!

Environmentalists will tell us how we can reduce our carbon footprint by raising our own food, while the frugal shopper will tell us that it’s the cheapest food money can buy with a bountiful yield. Nutritionists will remind us how nutrient dense and tasty our home grown veggies and fruits will be, and doctors will agree that pesticide free, organic food will leave us healthier. What I want to highlight is how much my family has learned from the experience of gardening. From germination, pollination and a short, quick lesson on the birds and bees, to calculating the amount of water and fertilizer needed by a particular plant, to patience, responsibility, exercise, faith in God and gratitude- were invaluable lessons learned with ease while experiencing the most amazing cycle of life.

Now that my family has learned the values of healthy eating with fresh, delicious home grown food, they refuse to see it go to waste because they’ve seen it take so long to come to our plate. According to Ted Steinberg, author of “American Green: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Lawn”, Americans spend between $30-$40 billion each year on maintaining their lawns. The US census bureau tells us the average American spends up to 60% of their weekend hours working on their lawns. Imagine all this time and money spent on greens that we cannot even eat! Now imagine fresh, crisp lettuce- without threat of salmonella, green herbs only as much as your need, blossoming flowers, vine ripened tomatoes you don’t have to pay an arm and leg for and sweet delicious fruits when you want them; all this for much less time and money. This is the outcome of changing our backyard to our green grocery store. Remember change always happens in the home- or in this case, the backyard. Large backyard gardens or potted patio plants, each of us can teach our little ones the pleasures of gardening with a bit of will, water and Wikipedia; so get growing!

Originally posted at Soulfulstudies.

Think Green Khutbah Campaign, Friday April 20th

Our friends at Khaleafa.com have launched a campaign to commemorate Earth Day on April 22, 2012 and we are joining them. Mark your calendars for April 20th and ask your religious leaders to celebrate Earth Day by reminding us of our role to protect this Earth, a trust given to mankind. We hope this is an opportunity to deepen our role as protectors of the planet.

This year’s Think Green Khutbah Campaign’ challenge is to request all Muslims to live according to the S plan:

a)    live a simple life

b)     live a sustainable life

c)     live as stewards of the environment

Please sign up online if your organization will join the campaign and if you will be delivering a Khutbah on the environment on Friday, April 20th, 2012.

Also, if you need specific verses from the Quran, check out the resources here as well as Green Muslims Ramadan toolkit from 2011. There are wonderful ideas of what to do on Earth day in there as well.

And with Him are the keys of the Ghaib (all that is hidden), none knows them but He. And He knows whatever there is in (or on) the earth and in the sea; not a leaf falls, but he knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth nor anything fresh or dry, but is written in a Clear Record. Qur'an 6/59

Our Prayer: Oh Most Merciful, Oh Lord of the Worlds, Oh Creator of the Universe, protect our homes, protect our land, protect our water, protect our air.

Oh Sustainer, Oh Most Powerful, Oh Inspirer, help us maintain good habits, help us be agents for change, help us inspire our communities to action.

Mission: Green Muslims seek to reemphasize the unique role and responsibility entrusted upon humanity by God: environmental stewardship. We hope to serve as a bridge between American Muslim communities as well as partner with a wide spectrum of organizations accomplishing great work. Additionally, Green Muslims seek to provide a unique and organic source of environmental leadership, inspiration, awareness, and direct action within Muslim communities.

Announcing: Green Muslims’ Zero Trash Party Set!

Are you planning a Super Bowl party this Sunday?

Plan ahead and avoid using any disposable plates or utensils by borrowing the Green Muslims’ Zero Trash Party Set!

The party set includes:

  • Large & Small plates
  • Cups & Utensils
  • BPA & Melanine free
  • Made from 100% recycled materials.

    Order Your Set!

Order online for just a small donation that will support future Green Muslims’ programming. We value any contribution you can make to raising awareness and reducing waste.

Dicounts available for:

  • Sending us your party photos!
  • Writing a blog post!

We welcome any questions or feedback!

A Jewish Approach to Ecological Dinners

While our own No Impact Iftar had to unfortunately be cancelled do to the Hurricane Irene, we wanted to share a similar model of community, food, and ecological stewardship. The following is from Green Muslims partner and friend, Joelle Novey, and Green Muslims is forever indebted to her for all the countless help she has offered. Here is her introduction to a ecologically friendly Shabbat dinner (excerpted from the book Empowered Judaism by Elie Kaunfer):

At Tikkun Leil Shabbat (whose name alludes to tikkun olam – repairing the world), more than 150 folks in their twenties and thirties gather regularly on Friday nights for a songful, soulful service featuring a teaching about a social justice issue—and just about all of them stick around afterwards to share a vegetarian potluck dinner.

For more than four years, Tikkun Leil Shabbat in Washington, DC has managed to establish a system for hosting collaborative Shabbat dinners without using disposable plates, cutlery, or napkins, while meeting the needs of people with varied practices of kashrut. People share the work of cleaning up while maintaining an atmosphere of oneg Shabbat (delight in Shabbat).

The “two-table” potluck system, which TLS borrowed from the independent minyan Kol Zimrah (Sound of Song) in New York (who claim it may have originated, in turn, back in DC) is designed to honor a variety of Jewish dietary practices. We have one table for vegetarian food and another table for vegetarian food which is also hekhshered or made in a hekhsher-only kitchen, each with its own sets of dishes and cutlery that are washed separately. This makes it possible for the maximum number of people both to eat and to contribute food. By saying “vegetarian” and “hekhshered,” rather than “not kosher” and “kosher,” we make clear that TLS is not taking any position on what it means to keep kosher, but is simply setting out a logistical arrangement so that we all can share the meal.

Reusable Dishes
We’ve also sought to minimize waste from disposable tableware. On both potluck tables, we use lightweight reusable Preserve plates and cups from Recycline, made from recycled yogurt containers. We use a collection of previously loved forks purchased from Goodwill and donated by participants, and wash and reuse plastic cutlery and cups. We use a colorful collection of cloth napkins we procured on Craig’s List and through donations from participants—a volunteer launders them after each Tikkun Leil Shabbat. We recycle glass, plastic, and aluminum containers after TLS meals. (To keep the separateness of the hekhsher tableware simple, the “H-table” sports its own set of dishes, serving utensils, and sponges, all of a “lime-green” color, and its own dish bin that sits under the hekhsher table. When an “H” fork or plate finds its way into the wrong bin from time to time, it is retired.)

At least 30 people end up playing a role in washing all these dishes after dinner. We have developed an extensive online spreadsheet of a dozen volunteer roles at each TLS, including, for example, a “Food Monitor” who sets and refreshes the buffet tables, and two “Dish Captains,” one for each potluck table. The fifteen members of the Tomchei Tikkun (Supporters of the Minyan) coordinating team play a “spreadsheet role” pretty much every time. Additionally, a group of reliable volunteers, known as the “Tachlist,” gets an e-mail inviting them to sign up for these spreadsheet roles as well (a list of tasks for each role is included in the spreadsheet for those signing up for the first time).

Attendees are invited to volunteer for 10-minute dishwashing shifts by accepting a colorful lei necklace, which they wear while they’re helping, and can then bestow on someone else, until the dishes are all clean. (We like to joke that we are a “lei-led” Jewish community.) The volunteers circulating in the crowd collecting dishes with a Hawaiian necklace on add to a generally festive atmosphere, and some of the best conversations, new melodies, and personal connections at Tikkun Leil Shabbat happen around the kitchen during dishwashing.

On several different dimensions, Tikkun Leil Shabbat’s dinner system reflects our community’s core values:

  • It is pluralistic, because it permits people with various practices of kashrut to eat and to contribute food.
  • It is egalitarian, because everyone brings food to help create the meal, and just about everyone ends up helping to clean up, through a combination of roles signed up for in advance (like Dish Captain) or accepted in the moment (like a lei for 10 minutes of dishwashing).
  • Just as important, by having named roles and physical markers of who is helping and how at a given meeting, we also help to clarify who is “off the hook” this week. Naming explicitly who has signed up for particular tasks helps prevent certain conscientious souls, or women more likely to have been socialized to help with dishes, from accidentally becoming the default cleaning crew week after week.
  • It is socially conscious, by being mindful of minimizing our waste from disposables, and modeling a greener way of eating (vegetarian, and using reusable napkins and dishware).
  • Finally, it is community-building. By involving so many people, even those newly arrived, in the act of helping to feed one another and then doing the dishes, we’ve created an atmosphere of hands-on participation and provided the context for many conversations and connections that arose around the sinks.

Someone wrote a satirical song about TLS last year, which included the line: “You just might get your wishes; meet your soul mate washing dishes . . .” While we have yet to report an incidence of true love arising from dishwashing at TLS, it’s not too much of a stretch to say that our dish system in all its glory is one of our community’s spiritual practices.

Joelle Novey directs Greater Washington Interfaith Power & Light, which supports faith communities from across the DC area in saving energy, going green, and responding to climate change. She helps to coordinate Tikkun Leil Shabbat, an independent Jewish community that gathers in Dupont Circle for songful, soulful Shabbat services featuring a teaching about a social justice issue and followed by a potluck vegetarian dinner.

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!

Simple Steps

Yesterday, my brother and I went on a lengthy bike ride, weaving through the buildings of DC proper and passing by the national monuments only to arrive at a secluded area on the edges of the Georgetown Waterfront. I sat upon the stone cliffs overlooking the Washington Harbor and couldn’t help but smile looking down at the purity of the blue water and the fresh green in the surrounding trees, listening to the laughs and cheers from the kayaking locals.

For a brief few moments I was able to think beyond the work I was behind in, the emails I was yet to respond to and the general reality that I didn’t have time to sit here. I began to reflect on how essential it is that we, as the DC community, do our best to preserve that natural beauty and build a stronger relationship with it.

As part of Green Muslims, I would love to discuss topics of conversations that can range from things as simple as ways we can work to green our daily lives to things a bit more complicated like expanding the ways we get our daily supply of energy and how we can raise awareness about how to lower energy consumption. I feel that Green Muslims will be a great opportunity to establish an open dialogue on these issues and a great opportunity to grow in understanding as to the relationship we should be having as Muslims with the environment.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgDJ_H-BzFo

Faizan Tahir is in his second year of undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he is studying Political Science and Legal Studies.