“Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea on account of what the hands of men have wrought…” [Quran 30:41]
And when your Lord said to the angels, “Verily I am going to make in the earth a vicegerent”; they said: “wilt thou place in it such as shall make mischief in it and shed blood while we celebrate Thy praise and extol Thy holiness?” He said: “Surely I know what you do not know” [Quran 2:30]
Salaam alaykum dear readers,
Allah (SWT) has given humankind a extraordinary trust in that we are the vicegerent of the earth. Think about that for a moment. Of all the creations including Angels who cannot sin, humans were made stewards of the earth.
If we were to utilize the full potential with which we were created, we could reach the highest plane which God (SWT) granted no other creation. Yet if we were to indulge only in our baseness we can descend where no creation has fallen.
Being vicegerents, we have an obligation to take care of the environment including the plants and animals.
Organizations Stepping Up
Some Mosques in the UK are no longer buying single use plastic water bottles and instead made the switch to reusable bottles that can be filled at water fountains that were installed. This can make a huge difference, especially during Ramadan & Muharram where there can easily be 1,000 bottles used and thrown away (recycled).
There is a movement to build more "Eco Mosques". Here you can find five examples of Eco Mosques around the world. Europe's first Eco Mosque, Cambridge Central Mosque, has incorporated a number of design elements to help fight the global environmental crisis: skylights, low energy LED bulbs, Solar power, the use of gray water & rainwater, gardens etc. Let's inspire change at our place of worship or organizations we belong to.
It's not just Muslims moving forward in the protection and nurturing of the environment, many other faith traditions are also playing a part, such as Sikh's, Catholic, Christian, and interfaith organizations such as GreenFaith, faith in place, and National Religious Partnership for the Environment.
Individuals Protecting the Environment
When it comes to doing your part, you don't have to feel overwhelmed. Is there a lot to be done, yes but small changes by many add up. Do what you can, be an example for others and InshaAllah we can all play a part in protecting the planet, plants & animals we've been entrusted with.
Around the House
If you have your groceries bagged in plastic bags, reuse the grocery bags for your bathroom and kitchen trash bags. You save money on having to buy trash bags and you reuse the bags you'd normally throw away or recycle.
Or instead of having your groceries bagged with plastic, bring your own reusable grocery bags such as canvas or recycled cotton. You can do the same for your produce, either reuse the produce plastic bags trip after trip or buy / make reusable produce bags.
Reuse glass jars instead of throwing them out or recycling. You can remove the labels by soaking the label overnight in water to help loosen the glue. Then peel the label off and scrub the glue off.
Switch out your light bulbs to more energy efficient ones. This is an easy step to take to reduce your carbon footprint. Remember to turn off your lights when not in use.
Make your own cleaning products or buy ones that are more green. I make a granite cleaner that can be found here. For the liquid soap in the granite recipe I use a homemade Soap Nut recipe. The mirror/glass cleaner I make is water, vinegar and essential oils, it works pretty good but plan on trying this one.
Turn your heater / air conditioner down when you're not at home or at night.
Check your weather stripping / caulking around your windows and doors to prevent air leaks, in essence heat escaping out or cold getting in.
Hang your clothes to dry instead of using the dryer. Or fluff them just for a couple of minutes to help get the wrinkles out and hang dry the rest of the way. You can use a clothes line outside or simply install a wire wrack above your washer/dryer or hang the wet clothes in a guest room closet.
Switch to low flow shower heads and toilets. Toilets that are not ultra low flow use about 3.6 gallons of water per flush!
If you have landscaping, use indigenous plants since they generally require less watering. Compost food scraps except meat.
Out and About
At work bring your own re-usable coffee mug, utensils, water bottle and straw instead of wasting Styrofoam cups, plastic utensils and one time use plastic water bottles. We have become a disposable culture and it's wracking havoc on the environment and humankind.
If you can, buy organic produce which is better for the environment and you as there are no pesticides. Also, try to buy local if you can from local Farmers Markets to reduce the carbon footprint of produce traveling across the globe. Besides, going to the Farmer's Market can be a fun day for the whole family! It's also a great way to instill good stewardship in children at a young age.
Can you walk or bike to some of the places you regularly go?
Here are some other ideas you can try.
Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) said, "Whoever plants a tree and then a human or a creature of God eats its fruit, it will be considered as an act of charity for him." [ Nahj al-Fasahah, Volume 2, p. 563.]
Additional reading - Aspects of Environment Ethics: An Islamic Perspective
Your participation in discourse is most welcome & appreciated. Write a comment below to contribute to the conversation!