Ramadan Kareem. Ramadan is much more than just avoiding food and water when fasting. It is a time for prayers, seeking God’s forgiveness, attaining spiritual growth and meditation. It is a time to reflect upon God’s blessings and seek nearness to Him in everything we do.
Ramadan is a time to detox and purify our body, mind and soul. It is also a time to avoid polluting planet earth and keeping it clean. Taking good care of our environment is a form of service to God. This month is a good opportunity to:
- Reach out to the poor and the needy in your neighborhood, and visit the homeless shelters to feed them.
- Reach out to other faiths- a good time to initiate (or strengthen existing) interfaith programs
- Initiate Intra-Faith programs. Mention the post on Shia Sunni unity
- Go green
I will have more to say in the coming month on other aspects but I will start by a call to go green during this Ramadan.
10 Tips to go Green During This Ramadan
Protecting the environment and maintaining our ecosystem is our civic AND our religious duty.
Those who are kind and considerate to Allah’s creatures, Allah bestows His kindness and affection on them. Show kindness to the creatures on the earth so that Allah may be kind to you. Hadith of Prophet Muhammad
This Hadith urges the believers to be kind to God’s creatures- that includes the animals and the planet earth itself! So how can we be kind and considerate to this creation of Allah?
During Ramadan, we commit ourselves to doing the good by being more humble, kind, helping the needy and the poor and spending time in extra prayers. Let’s also commit ourselves to protecting God’s creations-all of them. Here are some specific tips to go green during this Ramadan that are equally applicable to us as individuals and for the mosque administration.
- Eliminate plastic. Avoid using plastic bags, plastic spoons, forks and plates when serving at home or at the mosque. Plastic is considered one of the worst pollutants to the environment. It does not decay! It is a major source of contamination for the oceans and a serious hazard to the wild life. The Church of England had issued a lent plastic challenge last year that I referenced to on my post last year with some great tips.
- Avoid using Styrofoam containers. Not only they are bad for the environment, they are also bad for the health.
- Support and utilize local produce. Go organic. By using local, organic produce, we are helping reduce the CO2 emission when the delivery trucks don’t have to drive hundreds of miles from the farms to your grocery outlet.
- Reduce the water usage. I have seen folks leaving the tap wide open during making wadoo before the Salat. Please close the tap and use just the amount you need to wash your arms, face and feet. Trust me, you don’t need a lot to finish the wadoo.
- Reduce our overall energy consumption and carbon footprint. During Ramadan, the attendance at the mosque is high, which is very good. But try to car pool as much as you can.
- Use electrical appliances like washing machines, vacuum cleaner and dishwashers only during off peak hours, such as after Iftar
- Plant a tree. This is a great example of going green. Planting a tree is considered a charity, and a Sadqa e Jariah (Perpetual charity).
If any Muslim plants any plant and a human being or an animal eats of it, he will be rewarded as if he has given that much in charity. Hadith of Prophet Muhammad (Sahih Bukhari Vol. 8, Book 73, No. 41)
- Replace lights bulbs from incandescent to CFLs or LEDs and turning off lights when they are not in use.
- At the mosque, keep outside doors closed when the air conditioning is on to conserve energy. If you don’t have the motion sensing light switches, please have them installed.
- Avoid over serving. Avoid wasting food. For those living in the San Francisco bay area, one specific recommendation I have is to use services of White Pony Express, an organization that will pick up the unused food and serve it to the needy. You may search for a similar organization in your area. If you can’t find one, see if you can save the food for the next Iftar or deliver it to the local homeless shelter.
One additional recommendation: Once we are at it and get good at it during the whole month of Ramadan, let’s keep it going for the next 11 months until the next Ramadan. After all, the good habits we learn (or re-learn) during this blessed month are meant for us to apply them to rest of the year.