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!

Another project that we started during Ramadan was our Ramadan Footprint Photo Contest with winners Kori Majeed and Amirah AbuLughod receiving the most likes on Facebook for sharing creative green activities. These lucky winners will receive goodies from Nalgene, Saffron Road and My Halal Kitchen!

So what now? Don’t let the spirit of Ramadan wane! Carry it with you through the rest of the month. Here are things you can do to continue reflecting on your footprint through the days to come.
10 Ways to Green Your Life!

1.) Forgo styrofoam! Restaurants, picnics, and parties are often filled with styrofoam plates or cups, so bring your own reusable tableware 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.

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 Event. 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 through the year. Turn leftovers into a creative new meal! 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! 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 through the year! Eat less. Remind yourself the mercy of fasting throughout the year. The prophet pbuh would often fast on Mondays and Thursdays. It is a way to remain mindful of the bounty bestowed on you through the year!

Sarah Jawaid is the Director of Green Muslims.

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