Green Ramadan Guide is pleased to release the Green Ramadan Guide 2019.

From food to transportation and energy, this guide explores various aspects of everyday life and how simple changes can make a big impact this Ramadan.

Grab your free copy of the Green Ramadan Guide (click the image below) and share with friends, family and community members far and wide. We hope that through this guide everyone is inspired to take action this Ramadan. And may we all reap the rewards inshaAllah. 

(Green) Ramadan Mubarak!

As an extension to our Green Khutbah Campaign, we are excited to launch a Green Ramadan initiative designed to help everyone have a greener Ramadan.

This year’s Green Khutbah campaign centred on the idea that everyday is earth day; that we do not need one specific day to speak about, educate or tackle environmental issues like climate change.

During Ramadan, as we gather and give thanks for our many blessings, we encourage everyone to think of this planet that is entrusted to us. This earth, this one home, is all we have. And as stewards of this earth, on a daily basis there are countless individual actions that can make which will have a large collective difference.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a quick and easy Green Ramadan Action Plan with simple actions that will help get you started on a greener journey - whether at home, at the mosque or elsewhere in the community!

Download the Green Ramadan Action Plan and share with friends and family, community members or post it up at your local mosque or community gathering place to spread the word about #GreenRamadan19!

Alhamdulillah for Robins


Robins are known as the quintessential sign of spring, and have already been spotted in many parts of the country. Their graceful song and cheery presence are a sign of warmer days to come and the arrival of other songbirds such as house sparrows and nightingales. Robins are generally more active during the days, feeding on insects, cultivated fruits and berries, and assemble in large flocks at night to roost. This spring, consider leaving out suet cakes or mealworms to supplement their diet, and take advantage of this musical blessing of nature.

The “Alhamdulillah Series” has been a feature on Khaleafa for several years, aimed at highlighting the simple blessings in nature that surround us. The goal is to pause and reflect on the small things in our lives, and give thanks for these gifts that have been bestowed upon us.

"There truly are signs in this for people who reflect." (Quran 13:3)

This Is How Islam Advocates for the Environment


This article originally appeared on on April 22nd, 2019.

Sarah Huxtable Mohr

We all know that the environmental crisis facing our planet is one of the most urgent issues of our generation, and for the near future. Whales are washing up dead with hundreds of pounds of plastic in their stomachs; rain that is falling from the sky is saturated in micro-plastics; there’s a lack of clean water for so many people on earth;  and, the most devastating extinction event since the dinosaurs is upon us. As a general rule, research shows that one in five species go extinct annually. However, scientists are now estimating that we are losing species at 1000 to 10,000 times the normal rate. We are losing multiple species per day and the biodiversity of our planet suffering so dramatically.

So what does the Islamic faith have to say about this? Islam teaches us that everything has rights. From the animals, the plants, the air, the water, and the soil. Our Prophet (PBUH) advocated for the rights of all beings and things with his radical emphasis on justice and mercy.   Most Muslims are doing something about climate change and the environmental crisis in their personal lives and practices, and some Muslims are also making this a full-time endeavor. Sister Nana Firman, originally from Indonesia, is one of the women doing the most on this issue. She kindly agreed to share some of her history, work, and thoughts with the #MuslimGirlArmy for Earth Day.

MUSLIM GIRL: Asalaam aleikum wa ramatulah wa barakathu. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me about your work and knowledge on environmental justice. As we know, you are one of the most active figures in the Muslim community on this issue and have done such great work, including receiving an award from the White House in 2015 as a “Champion of Change.” How did you get involved in environmental justice work and climate activism?

SISTER NANA FIRMAN: Wa’alaykumussalaam warahmatullahi wabarakatuh. Alhamdulillah, the pleasure is mine!

I was born in Jambi (the eastern part of Sumatra) in Indonesia, but both of my parents are from Minangkabau culture of West Sumatra. Since the age of 9 months old, I was raised and grew up in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, until high school. I then continued my higher education in the United States. I did my Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design and my Master’s degree in Urban Design. I returned back home in 1998 and was a practicing Urban Designer for several years in Indonesia. That’s how I got into environmental work. My work in planning and designing cities and towns at that time required me to engage with a group of geologists from whom I learned a lot regarding the appropriate designs for cities with disaster-prone areas, such as the ring of fire regions like Indonesia.

At that moment, I realized that Islamic teaching could help me increase environmental awareness in Indonesia.

Fast forward to early 2005, I was called upon to lead a Green Reconstruction Program by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for Nature in Indonesia for the recovery efforts after the 2004 tsunami in the religiously conservative region of Aceh (the northern tip of Sumatra). It was very hard to convince local people of the benefits of planting mangroves to reduce the impact of storm surges at that time—until I remembered a hadith (the saying of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH) about the benefit of planting trees. At that moment, I realized that Islamic teaching could help me increase environmental awareness in Indonesia.

Since then, I have taken those messages worldwide. In 2012, I moved to the United States to join my husband in California, and immediately after, I was asked by the late sister Tayyibah Taylor to write an article about Climate Change from an Islamic perspective for Azizah Magazine.

I was also invited to join a Fellowship Program with GreenFaith that same year, and I have been part of the faith-based environmental movement in the United States and around the globe ever since. In early 2015, I was asked to join the Green Mosque Committee for Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and launched the Green Ramadan Campaign nationwide.

In the same year, I helped to organize the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change that calls on Muslims everywhere to take action, from conserving water during the cleaning rituals of ablution (wudu) to reducing plastic waste during the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. And in early 2016, I co-founded the Global Muslim Climate Network (GMCN) as a platform to implement the declaration on renewable energy transformation and also to introduce the network to the international event of COP22 (UN Climate Convention) that year.

In my life’s journey, learning about the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has been absolutely a major influence on me because he was so green in his attitude toward the natural world, including the animals and plants. Nevertheless, looking back, I also realized that my own mother, with her passion in planting and gardening, was very environmentally-friendly and has helped to instill in me some of the green virtues.

MashAllah, what great work. Can you tell us more about GreenFaith? What kind of work are you doing? I know part of it involves the Living the Change Initiative which I think is really exciting. It’s such a concrete way for average people to get involved.

So, I’d be happy to talk about this. GreenFaith is an interfaith environmental organization with a mission to inspire, educate, organize, and mobilize people of diverse religious and spiritual backgrounds globally for environmental actions. We believe that religious traditions see the sacred in nature, and that people grow spiritually through a strong relationship with the earth.  

Our behavior and consumption habits must help heal, restore, and renew the Earth—because all people deserve a healthy environment, regardless of their race, gender, or income. We do our work through several activities like Training and Capacity Building, Campaigning and Advocacy, as well as Local Organizing.

Living the Change started during the UN Climate Convention in November 2017. It’s a global, multi-faith campaign that supports sustainable lifestyle commitments by faith leaders and their followers in the areas of home energy use, diet, and transportation.

It came about from our concern on climate change impacts to the earth and our communities. Our misuse of natural resources over the years, while improving conditions for many, is wearing the web of life.

We have seen more disasters happening around the world, such as numbers of storms, droughts, fires, floods, and other catastrophes. They are more severe, intense and frequent, like the recent Cyclone Idai affecting the people in Mozambique, Tanzania, and Malawi, as well as the Bomb Cyclone in the U.S. which has flooded Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri.

As Muslims, we are called by Allah in the Holy Qur’an to “walk gently upon the earth”, meaning that we are bound by a moral imperative to treat our shared common home with the care and respect it deserves. 

The tragedy of such occurrences has caused much suffering and loss of life. Sadly, the most vulnerable amongst us—those least responsible for this global threat—suffer the most, unfairly and unjustly. We absolutely need to raise consciousness and start to live sustainably. This responsibility is more urgent than ever before! We have done the talks. Now, it’s time for us to take real actions and to change our ways!

As Muslims, we are called by Allah in the Holy Qur’an to “walk gently upon the earth”, meaning that we are bound by a moral imperative to treat our shared common home with the care and respect it deserves. So, for me and many other Muslims, the reality of climate change not only has grave implications for the future of our planet, but also represents one of the great moral and ethical issues of our time, which must drive us to respond with actions.

And through the collective effort of Living the Change, we started to create a global community of practice in which we learn to put our beliefs into real actions in our own lifestyles. We have also inspired each other during the past year and we look forward to invite more individuals and engage more communities to join this journey together.

Thanks so much for that explanation, and mashAllah, what amazing work! Please tell me more about the Green Ramadan campaign you are working on. That sounds like something beneficial for ourselves and our communities that we all need to focus on.

Yes, absolutely! Every Muslim around the world knows that the purpose of prescribed fasting during Ramadan is to attain taqwa. In my own words, I call it, the time for purifying our souls while detoxing our bodies.

Yet, whether we admit it or not, a big part of Ramadan is eating! Even more so, Ramadan is about eating in community. We fill up a plate, then grab a drink and a few utensils, sometimes we remember a napkin, eventually sitting next to people whom we might see every Friday prayer, but never know their names. After a month of bumping elbows at iftar tables, we leave behind Ramadan with tons of styrofoam, paper, and plastic plates, forks, spoons, knives, cups, napkins and paper towels to pile up in our local trash dumps! We definitely can’t ignore those bags of trash after every beautiful iftar each night—and don’t forget, the food wastage as well! That really defeats the purpose of the sacred month, doesn’t it? This has to change! So, how can we make this Ramadan spiritually and practically better?

First and foremost, we need to make a sincere niyah for this Ramadan to be environmentally conscious, socially responsible and compassionate to those around us by following the example of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)—the mercy to the worlds. That’s how the Green Ramadan Initiative was born. Then, taking the opportunity of this blessed month, to remember and respect our planet which, through the grace of Allah, provides us with the sustenance with which we nourish our bodies and community spirit during a month of fasting.

…please remember that interacting mindfully with our environment is simply a manifestation of our imaan.

As the khalifah upon this earth, we have a responsibility to protect the environment. And please remember that interacting mindfully with our environment is simply a manifestation of our imaan. So, we should try to make this Ramadan a better and greener one by doing one or two simple actions individually or collectively with our communities. In short, just keeping in our mind that less consumption also means less waste! May Allah azza wa jalla make it easy and help all of us accomplish a better and greener Ramadan this year, to the best of our ability in seeking His pleasure, ameen!

This is so important. I would also say that Women have a special role to play in the work of a green ummah and a green Ramadan. I mean, we do a lot of the cooking, grocery shopping, and selection of what kind of household choices each family makes. In previous conversations you had said to me that you think women play a special role in environmental work. Can you elaborate?

Well, all through the history of civilization, women unquestionably have played a significant role in managing natural resources and contributing to environmental rehabilitation and conservation, on their family-level as well as community levels. In many communities around the world, women manage water, sources for energy and food, and in some instances also forests and agricultural lands.

Survival of their families and communities is closely linked to the health of the ecosystem around them. Through their roles as farmers, collectors of water and firewood, women have developed a close connection with their local environment. And on many occasions, they are the most sensitive to changes in the environment, and often become those who suffer the most from environmental problems.

Throughout centuries, women’s direct interaction with the natural world has produced their deep-knowledge about the environment, which served them as agriculturalists, water resource managers/keepers, and traditional healers/scientists. Because of their traditionally primary responsibility of domestic and household management, women interact more intensively with the natural and built environment they inhabit. Thus, they are vulnerably exposed by degraded homes, neighborhood and village/city environments, similar to if they are living in poor housing and community, with inadequate infrastructure and accessibility.

Even if climate change were not an issue, it is still our duty as Muslims to walk gently on the earth and to protect all creations.

Today, with devastated ecological degradation and intense climate change impacts, women also bear a disproportionate share of the burden—whether about access to food and water in times of resource scarcity, land ownership, or even being able to swim in floods/storms. These have become disadvantages. Nevertheless, women are still marginalized in the economic and political spheres to participate in decision-making processes for climate and environmental policy, finance and implementation. But, despite those disadvantages, many experts acknowledge that women have skills, knowledge, leadership and wisdom which is critical for solving the challenges the world faces today—climate resilience!

I was very fortunate, in 2009, to be selected to join the Climate Reality Leadership Program and was trained by former U.S. Vice President, Al Gore, in Australia. Immediately after that, I initiated Eco-Fab Living, a social campaign to increase public awareness in Indonesia, by presenting current ecological and climate crisis while at the same time advocating sustainability for a better future through citizen involvement, public participation, and policy reform.

During those times, I engaged with many women’s groups who were so eager to learn and participate in taking real actions, starting from themselves and their families. And I continued that initiative when I moved to the United States in 2012—this time around by engaging American Muslim communities in practicing eco-lifestyle in their homes and their mosques.

Alhamdulillah, in the recent years, women around the world from many walks of life have become change-makers toward sustainability, including behavior-change towards living in harmony with nature.

Women now account for approximately 80 percent of household purchases in developed countries. Interestingly, based on some studies, women are more likely to buy recyclable, eco-labeled and energy-efficient products than men. Women in Sweden spend more time than men seeking information on sustainable consumption and lifestyle alternatives. Meanwhile, Japanese women are more concerned about the environment and are willing to pay more for sustainable products. And, in North America, 80 percent of women believe strongly that individuals can affect the environment, though they aren’t yet doing enough.

In addition to that, more women in the developing world realize the financial and environmental advantages of eco-products and eco-markets. On many occasions, women are also the key to managing the aftermath of disasters, especially for the practical needs such as providing food, water, sanitation, clothing and health care. Since women are more likely to be affected by environmental problems due to their social roles and impoverished status in many places, women are more environmentally mindful and careful, and apt to follow sustainable pathways. At last, as the hand that rocks the cradle, they become the first and best teachers to their children—the future generation—and can instill in them the love for Allah’s creations, as the manifestation of our gratitude to the Creator.

Sister Nana, your work is so important. MashAllah, thank you so much for taking the time for this interview, and to share your knowledge. Are there any closing thoughts you’d like to share?

Thanks so much. Yes, the thought I want to leave you with is that it is incumbent upon us, as Muslims, to protect the environment and to be green. Even if climate change were not an issue, it is still our duty as Muslims to walk gently on the earth and to protect all creations. With the crisis we are facing, it needs to be a central part of our lives as Muslims. This is the basic understanding we see amongst a lot of Muslims today and the direction we need to continue to take as a community.

Thanks so much, may Allah bless you in this work!

To learn more about the initiatives discussed in this interview, please visit the following websites:

The Ethical Treatment of Animals


Cori Mancuso reflects on the Islamic moral and theological approach towards the treatment of animals, the controversial practices of industrial animal farming, and provides practical advice and recommendations on ethical consumerism in the Muslim community.

What are the Rights of Animals in the Modern World?  

Animals are part of our everyday lives and environment; whether one owns a pet, keeps livestock, or eats meat. Yet few Muslims today are aware of Islam’s rulings regarding ethical animal treatment and consumption, or the centuries’ worth of scholarly literature on the topic. This literature reflects our scholars’ profound understanding of the rights and responsibilities that come with our relationship with animals. Modern agricultural and farming practices such as intensive animal farming, machine slaughtering, and animal experimentation, are among a few of the most controversial trends which directly oppose the Islamic moral and ethical treatment of animals.

As consumers and participants in the global world, it is essential that Muslims make every effort in aligning their actions and attitude towards a greater awareness of the proper treatment of animals in their everyday lives.

What Does the Qur’an Say About Our Relationship With Animals?

The Qur’an and Hadith outline the moral and theological significance of animals and their relationship with mankind. Allah Most High says in the Qu’ran “It is He who created for you all of that which is on the earth.” (Surah al Baqarah 2:29) Human beings were given permission to make use of animals in terms of transportation, clothing, shelter, warfare, hunting, food, and drink. (Musa Furber; Rights and Duties Pertaining to Kept Animals) The Qu’ran honors several types of animals, including livestock, camels, birds, cows, sheep, and fish. There are three chapters of the Qur’an named after specific animals, such as The Bee (Surah an Nahl 16), The Ant (Surah an Naml 27), The Spider (Surah al Ankabut 29) and The Elephant (Surah al Fil 105). We are encouraged to reflect upon animals and created beings as a means of gratefulness and appreciation towards The Creator. One’s treatment towards animals reflects one’s state of guidance; ethical treatment of animals is a sign of guidance and appreciation, while one’s mistreatment of animals is a sign of misguidance and ungratefulness towards the Creator and His creation. (Musa Furber; Rights and Duties Pertaining to Kept Animals) Our state of guidance is reflected in our behavior towards animals, making it of utmost priority to realign our behavior towards that which we were commanded and created to uphold.

Treatment of Animals in the Hadith Literature

As the Qur’an clearly outlines the proper moral and theological approach towards animals, the Hadith specifies how one should properly interact with and keep animals. The Hadith collections emphasize the overall necessity of mercy, avoidance of harm, and proper care towards animals. For those who mistreat animals, this is a major sin worthy of Allah’s punishment (Musa Furber; Rights and Duties Pertaining to Kept Animals). In a well-known hadith, reported from Ibn Umar, Allah be pleased with him, says “The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: ‘A woman was tormented because of a cat she had confined until it died and for this she entered Hellfire. She did not provide it with food or drink as it was confined, nor did she free it so that is might eat the vermin of the earth.’” (Muslim ibn al-hajjaj; al-Musnad al-sahih) For those who treat animals with mercy and compassion, there is a great reward with Allah Most High. The companions of the Prophet, Allah be pleased with them, asked the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace “O Messenger of Allah, is there a reward for us even for serving these animals?” He said ‘Yes, there is a reward for rendering service to every living animal.’” (Bukhari; al-Sahih)

Injunction of Eating Halal and Tayyib

In the modern global economy, there is a veil between humans and animals in terms of meat and dairy production. Although there is a growing movement towards farm to table, organic, and humane certified products, the vast majority of people participate in the industrialized agricultural system of slaughter, production, and consumption. Animals living under these conditions have little to no movement, are raised in inappropriate housing without sunlight or air, and face regular trauma and injury (Musa Furber; Intensive Animal Farming). All of these practices violate Islamic law and our religious principles. Animals cannot be raised under these conditions for the mere purpose of economic gain or efficiency. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, warned the believers that committing unlawful acts affects the acceptance of our deeds.

Allah has enjoined us to avoid the doubtful and unlawful matters. This alone should be enough to concern us regarding our direct and indirect involvement in industrial animal farming production and consumption. As individuals and as a community, we must strive to prevent, alleviate, and offer alternatives to industrial animal farming.

Practical Advice on Ethical Consumerism  

Muslims are commanded to eat of the halal and tayyib, “O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth [that is] lawful and good and do not follow the footsteps of Satan.” (Surah al Baqarah 2:168) We are reminded to do all things in the most excellent manner and with ihsan. This includes making conscious decisions surrounding our purchases and consumption of animal products and goods. How does one go about acquiring halal and tayyib products?

For starters, Muslims should purchase halal-certified meat products, preferably from local farmers and butchers. When inquiring about the farming and production practices of a halal farmer or business, one should be asking the following questions “Is the animal raised in a wholesome and humane environment? Is the animal distressed or mishandled during transportation? Are the animals slaughtered in an ethical and merciful manner? Are the animals killed away from the view of other animals?” (Ezra Ereckson; Animals in Islam).

This is easier to recognize when one purchases locally or as a group from a local halal butcher. In cases where this is not applicable or accessible, there are other options such as inquiring into the specific halal certification on the label and purchasing meat and animal products online. There is no standard government sanctioned or internationally recognized halal certification, so we must be cautious about this labelling. Most halal certifications regulate the slaughter of the animal, not the conditions in which they are kept or how they are raised. In terms of halal and tayyib meat and dairy products, Beyond offers an online directory of farmers and businesses around the world which are providing quality halal meats and dairy products.

Mufti Musa Furber, offers several recommendations for individuals, communities, and scholars to address the inhumane production and consumption of animals. (Musa Furber; Intensive Animal Farming) Although Vegetarianism and Veganism are on the rise, these are not viable options for most of the Muslim community given that Islam still requires animal sacrifice for specific religious rites. Also, they do not address or counteract the mainstream practice of industrial animal farming. It is among the sunnah of our Prophet, and all the Prophets, Allah bless and give peace on all of them, to eat meat in moderation. It would be beneficial to reduce the amount of meat in one’s diet, or to adopt more healthy alternatives to meat products.

As a Muslim community, we must create alternative farming initiatives which raise animals in a lawful manner and provide permissible and nourishing products to the community. As consumers, we must strive to find lawful sources of meat and dairy, even at the expense of paying higher prices. Lastly, many animal products can be substituted by alternative materials and consumable goods. Furber challenges the scholars and religious leaders of our time to address many of these controversial legal issues related to industrial animal farming and halal certification standards. (Musa Furber; Intensive Animal Farming)

As believers, we are called to be an example to humanity and stewards on this earth. This is a great honor and responsibility. We must be willing to start with ourselves and address our own individual lifestyles. Then we can begin to work as a community to adopt and promote the ethical treatment of animals according to our tradition. We have been commanded to be stewards of the earth, to eat of lawful and nourishing bounty, to perfect our character and actions, and to treat all animals with compassion and mercy.

Cori Mancuso is a graduate in Religious Studies at Lycoming College. While seeking sacred knowledge, she develops content for SeekersGuidance and Sabeel Community.

This article originally appeared on SeekersGuidance on April 2nd, 2019.

Alhamdulillah for Houseplants


This weekend marks International Plant Appreciation Day – a day where gardeners and plant enthusiasts pause and reflect on the benefits plants provide, and encourage others to incorporate plants into their own lives. Much of human existence and nutrition can be attributed to plants, from filtering the air, producing food, offering medicinal cures, providing shade and regulating weather to name a few. In urban environments, the growth of the houseplant industry has grown exponentially by wellness-minded millennials, seeking to bring nature and greenery into their homes and offices. If you're considering adopting a plant, make a note of your lighting conditions, and speak with the staff at your local nursery who would be more than happy to guide you through finding the perfect plant.

The “Alhamdulillah Series” has been a feature on Khaleafa for several years, aimed at highlighting the simple blessings in nature that surround us. The goal is to pause and reflect on the small things in our lives, and give thanks for these gifts that have been bestowed upon us.

"There truly are signs in this for people who reflect." (Quran 13:3)

Cambridge’s burgeoning Muslim community to benefit from new ‘eco’ Mosque

By: Nashwa Gowanlock

A new ‘eco’ mosque in Cambridge hosted its first morning prayers this month — it’s a unique building with world-class environmental credentials and hopes to better serve the city’s burgeoning Muslim community. Freelance journalist Nashwa Gowanlock went to visit for Environment Journal.

Beyond the striking university campuses of historic Cambridge, lies a lesser-known part of the city that boasts its own chronicle — one of tolerance and diversity.

The heart of this multicultural community is Mill Road, a narrow and heaving thoroughfare lined with ethnic eateries and specialist supermarkets.

Nestled within the Victorian terraced housing is one of the city’s newest builds — the UK’s first eco-mosque.

A first not only in the country but also throughout Europe, the new mosque will serve some of the city’s estimated 8000 Muslims — including students — who hail from around 60 nations.

The project was founded by Tim Winter, a renowned scholar and lecturer in Islamic Studies at Cambridge University.

‘The mosque has been designed as a facility for local residents of whatever religious persuasion,’ Winter says.

‘Its public areas, including the gardens, cafeteria, and teaching space, will provide a significant new amenity for all our neighbours.’

Cambridge’s population has experienced a boom in recent decades, due in large part to the development of the city’s science and technology industries.

With only a handful of smaller mosques serving the city, demand for such a space to accommodate its Muslim residents had been mounting.

Community Regeneration


The mosque itself has been ten years in the making, with the once-derelict land at the far end of the street, in the Romsey neighbourhood, acquired in 2008.

According to local historian and guide, Allan Brigham, the area past the railway bridge has always been an area of change.

‘200 years ago, the only people living here were farm labourers,’ says Brigham.

‘After the railway came in 1845, Romsey Town became really an area for railway workers living here, which was a community completely unknown in Cambridge and they came mainly from the east of England. They weren’t people who lived in Cambridge before.’

A Romsey local of 40 years, Brigham was a member of a committee consulted in the project’s initial planning stages.

‘We said this end of Mill Road needed an area of greenery,’ Brigham says. ‘It will create a bit of breathing space and be really attractive. It will – and has already – helped uplift this end of the road.’

Creating a calm oasis

Inspired by the Islamic gardens of India and Spain, this greenery at the entrance to the mosque was sculpted by garden designer, Emma Clarke, as a contemplative space.

Along with the café and the atrium, which will host various functions and exhibitions, the garden was designed for all visitors to enjoy.

The mosque’s tree-shaped columns made from Swiss timber are another distinctive feature, meeting at the ceiling in a latticed canopy.

Selected in 2008 through an international competition were architects Marks Barfield, who also designed the London Eye and Kew treetop walkway.

This project was principally the vision of the late David Marks together with his partner, Julia Barfield, who says that marrying tradition and local character with contemporary design was a priority.

‘Throughout the world and throughout history, mosques have taken on the character of their area — they’ve taken on the vernacular of the architecture,’ Barfield says.

‘The idea of the calm oasis is very important in Islam. We imagined the site covered in a glade of trees and then the trees became structural trees and then they were joined at the top with this geometry.’


Every detail of the mosque was designed to specification and environmental concerns were at the forefront of structural plans.

‘The mosque incorporates a number of green technologies,’ Winter explains, ‘including air-source heat pumps, rainwater harvesting, grey water recycling, sedum roofs, photo-voltaic arrays and passive ventilation.’

‘These and other features respond to the Qur’anic insistence on the sanctity of the natural world and the commandment to avoid waste and extravagance.’

Natural light is diffused via circular skylights, supplemented with low-energy LED artificial lighting. Energy use is designed to be minimal, using static heating and natural ventilation supplemented by displacement cool air supply.

‘Cambridge is a symbolic capital city of modernity,’ Winter says.

‘This build signals Islam’s constructive and healing response to the challenges and problems which the modern world faces. Muslims should be at the forefront of the fight against waste and global warming.’

Social factors were also measured in planning the configuration of the building, whose height was determined by that of the local three-storey terraces; its brick façade also complements the architecture of the town.

The mosque’s gold dome may be an eye-catching attribute, but there will be no minaret and no call to prayer broadcast outside the building.

‘Sustainability is not just environmental; it’s also social,’ Barfield says.

‘In order for it to fit into this local setting, it needs to be of this place and of this time. But it also needs to celebrate Islamic culture.’

A city of tolerance

Over £23m was raised to fund the project, including donations from the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs and at least 8000 individuals. at least 8000 individuals.

Although it has yet to launch officially, the mosque temporarily opened its doors to the local Muslim community for its first Friday prayers on March 15.

Despite that morning’s news of shootings at two New Zealand mosques, which left 50 people dead, the prayer hall at the new Cambridge mosque, which has a 1000-person capacity, was packed with worshippers.

‘Hopefully, the mosque will be part of the community in the way that all the other churches in the area are,’ Brigham says.

Dubbed ‘the community of communities’, Mill Road has long been a landmark of unity.

Its Winter Fair, during which the entire length of the street is closed off to traffic, draws huge crowds every year.

Locals mostly run the stalls, exhibitions and stage performances that line the street, no matter the weather.

According to the organisers, the event is ‘created and run by people from the Mill Road area’. It is a ‘celebration of the area’s community,’ as well as its ‘culture and way of life’.

‘Most main roads divide communities,’ Brigham adds. ‘Mill road, one way or another, brings communities from both sides of the road together. And I think that’s what makes it unique in Cambridge.’

Its popularity is even beginning to gain acclaim, with Romsey Town being listed by Travel Supermarket in 2018 as being one of the country’s ‘hippest neighbourhoods’.

This year’s fair will be a chance for one of its newest neighbours to participate.

One of those welcoming them is Cambridge councillor for Romsey Ward, Anna Smith.

‘Romsey is a wonderful, diverse and vibrant ward, with a fantastic community spirit,” Smith says.

‘I’m thrilled that this beautiful new mosque, with its welcoming congregation, is coming to Romsey.’

Offering parallel values of respect for a place and its people, the mosque should find itself in good company as the city of Cambridge continues to thrive.

This article originally appeared on Environmental Journal on April 4th, 2019.

Green Khutbah Campaign Launches

Muslims across the world to celebrate Earth Day with Green Khutbah Campaign

TORONTO, March 30, 2019 - Muslims across the world will commemorate Earth Day on Friday, April 19, 2019 with the Green Khutbah Campaign as faith leaders deliver a sermon to raise awareness on climate change.

“We are encouraging mosques, schools, universities and Islamic Institutions to devote their Friday Khutbah to celebrate the blessings, graces and beauty of all of God’s creation and to raise awareness about climate change,” said Muaz Nasir, the publisher of the Canadian environmental website, and one of the founders of the Campaign.

This year the theme of the Green Khutbah Campaign is Everyday is Earth Day’.

“We chose this year’s topic with this thought in mind: at this very moment in time - right here, right now - we are at the tipping point in history for whether climate change can be reversed; or whether it will continue unchecked having irreversible consequences on this earth,” Nasir added.

The Campaign was launched in 2012 in Canada and, every year, Imams across the world are encouraged to deliver a message that remind their congregations of the Qur’anic message to be stewards of the earth and its environment.

The Green Khutbah Campaign commemorates Earth Day that will take place on Friday, April 19.

The first Earth Day, held on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement.

More than 1 billion people across the world now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

“Leading climate scientists now believe that a rise of two degrees centigrade in global temperature, which is considered to be the “tipping point”, is now very unlikely to be avoided if we continue with business-as-usual; other leading climate scientists consider 1.5 degrees centigrade to be a more likely “tipping point””, according to the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change.

“This is the point considered to be the threshold for catastrophic climate change, which will expose yet more millions of people and countless other creatures to drought, hunger and flooding. The brunt of this will continue to be borne by the poor, as the Earth experiences a drastic increase in levels of carbon in the atmosphere brought on in the period since the onset of the industrial revolution.”

Muaz Nasir says that Muslims cannot tune out from the environmental damage.

“Tuning out would mean that we are disregarding our moral responsibility to God’s creation,” he said.

“This earth, this one home, is all we have. And as stewards of this earth, we encourage everyone to think about the individual actions we can take on a daily basis that can make a large collective difference,” Nasir added.

Islamic organizations and well-known leaders here in Toronto and around the world are throwing their support behind the campaign intending to dedicate their Friday Khutbah on April 19, 2019 to this year’s Green Khutbah theme.

The team has also created an extensive online resource kit to aid faith leaders participating in the Green Khutbah Campaign.


For more information, photos or to arrange an interview please contact:  

Afeefa Karim-Nasir

Media Relations, Green Khutbah Campaign


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Alhamdulillah for Earth Hour


This weekend marks Earth Hour, the world's largest grassroots movement for the environment, inspiring millions of people to take action for our planet and nature. As accelerating climate change and staggering biodiversity loss threaten our planet, Earth Hour 2018-2020 endeavours to spark never-before-had conversations on the loss of nature and the urgent need to protect it. Earth Hour is more than just turning off the lights for one hour. It’s a time to pause and reflect with those around us the blessings we have, and a catalyst to encourage us to lead a more sustainable life. This year, take the Earth Hour pledge and share it with friends and family.

The “Alhamdulillah Series” has been a feature on Khaleafa for several years, aimed at highlighting the simple blessings in nature that surround us. The goal is to pause and reflect on the small things in our lives, and give thanks for these gifts that have been bestowed upon us.

"There truly are signs in this for people who reflect." (Quran 13:3)

Campaign Challenges Interfaith Community to Take Action

Living the Change is a globally-connected community of religious and spiritual institutions, along with leading experts in the field of sustainable consumption practices. Through commitments in the areas of diet, transportation, and energy use, they seek to create a worldwide community of conscience and practice to drive lifestyle-related reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.

Living the Change Campaign

Living the Change began as part of the interfaith communities global response to the Special Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on "Global Warming of 1.5ºC", and continued through the opening of the United Nations’ climate change conference COP24 in Katowice, Poland. The first campaign was held between October and December 2018, and diverse religious and spiritual communities organized more than 100 local sustainability events in 25 countries across 6 continents.

We believe everyone can become part of the solution to climate change, and it will take all of us working together for our shared future. We know what must be done, and we have the ability to start taking action today. We are all environmental stewards, united in the responsibility and the blessing to care for our common home. We feel love and concern for the billions of living beings with whom we share this planet. We have the knowledge and skills to help make a healthier, happier future for all. During the most challenging times, we are reminded how truly we are all in this together.

Many notable Muslim leaders have joined the campaign including Imam Zaid Shakir, Dr. Ingrid Mattson and Imam Ibrahima Saidy among other prominent Muslim acamedics, theologians, community leaders and environmental champions. Over the next several weeks, Khaleafa will be featuring their stories, highlighting the importance to take action on climate change.

Interfaith Statement “Walk on Earth Gently”

During COP23, Living the Change published and delivered the Interfaith Statement “Walk on Earth Gently”. This call for climate action was signed by distinguished faith leaders, clergy, theologians, scholars, climate advocates, and community members. They represent many of the world religions: Baha'i, Buddhism, Christianity (Anglican/Episcopal, Baptist, Roman-Catholic, Franciscan, Jesuit, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, Moravian), Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Quaker, Unitarian, and Zen.



Earth is a blessing. She supports life and is the basis of all our economies. She conveys beauty and evokes our recognition of something greater than ourselves. She is our temple, our mosque, our sanctuary, our cathedral. Our home.

Our actions now threaten the delicate balance of life on Earth, with climate change posing a most grave danger. Record numbers of severe storms, droughts, fires, and related catastrophes leave trauma and grief in their wake. Recent months have witnessed the tragedy of such occurrences in the Caribbean, the US, and India. We shudder over the enormity of this suffering and over what more lies ahead.

For thousands of years, our traditions have taught us to care for Earth. This responsibility has become urgent in recent decades. Our misuse of Earth’s generosity, while improving conditions for many, is not improving them for all and is fraying the web of life. The most vulnerable among us, those least responsible for this global threat, suffer the impacts of a warming climate unfairly and unjustly.

We have begun to respond, raising consciousness and starting to consume more sustainably. We have implored leaders to act. We have studied, prayed and petitioned, advocated, marched and mobilized. We have awakened to the urgent challenge and begun to change our ways.

However, we are at a crossroads. The Paris Agreement affirmed limiting temperature rise to well below 2⁰C, while pursuing efforts to a far safer 1.5⁰C limit. Our friends from Fiji and small island states, understanding the stakes and underscoring the science, have told us “1.5 to stay alive.” Yet we are currently headed for warming of 3⁰C or more, perilously beyond this limit

This challenge is both dire and urgent. It calls for us to act.

As religious and spiritual leaders, we are committing to make changes in our own lives, and to support the members of our communities in doing the same. Together, we come to you with an invitation to embark on a journey towards compassionate simplicity for the sake of the climate, the human family, and the community of life. For many of us, changes in three areas make the greatest impact: dramatically reducing emissions from our home energy use, adopting a plant-based diet and reducing food waste, and minimizing automobile and air travel. Because of the gravity of our situation, substantial and long-term changes in these areas are indispensable if we are to reach a 1.5⁰C future, particularly for those of us in communities whose carbon footprints exceed sustainable levels. We pledge our commitment to such change.

Through this collective effort, we look forward to creating a global community of conscience and practice in which we learn to put belief into action in relation to our own lifestyles. Our spiritual and faith communities will give us hope and companions for this journey. We will share ideas, materials, and stories of struggle and success. Our practices of mindfulness, spiritual discipline and prayer will enable us to grow. These ancient teachings and practices, and our renewed commitments and willingness to strive, will help us build pathways towards a sustainable future.

We wish to be clear that we understand that systemic change is required to solve this crisis. We will continue to advocate for the policies that are so urgently needed. However, we also believe that individual commitments and behaviors are as important in addressing climate change as they are in addressing poverty, racism, and other grave social ills. And we know that our spiritualities and traditions offer wisdom about finding happiness in a purposeful life, family and friendships, not in an overabundance of things. The world needs such wisdom; it is our privilege both to share and to seek to embody it.

We invite you to join the many others willing to walk this path by adding your name to this document, and by preparing to make commitments in the three areas named above. The diverse groups coming together in this moment will reach out to invite you to become involved in a programme of support and action which will take shape over the coming year.

Let us pray and hope we can come together in love for each other, those who suffer from climate change, future generations, and planet Earth.

Alhamdulillah for Sparrows


Today marks World Sparrow Day! The common House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) is a familiar sight to many in Canada, and their colonies are common in many urban centres across the country. Unfortunately, this species has been in decline in recent years for a number of reasons, from the loss of habitat to a lack of insects for food. This year World Sparrow Day is marking its 10th anniversary of bringing together those working for the conservation of the species to better protect this humble bird.

The “Alhamdulillah Series” has been a feature on Khaleafa for several years, aimed at highlighting the simple blessings in nature that surround us. The goal is to pause and reflect on the small things in our lives, and give thanks for these gifts that have been bestowed upon us.

"There truly are signs in this for people who reflect." (Quran 13:3)

Faiths Unite to Save the Rainforest

Rainforests play a critical role in regulating the Earth’s climate. They are the only safe, proven, natural solution that exists for carbon capture and storage and are key to addressing climate change. Unfortunately, tropical forests are highly undervalued assets even though they provide many ecosystem services, including removing carbon from the atmosphere; providing protection against floods, landslides, avalanches and ocean surges; providing clean water, fish, medicines and crops; space for recreation and exercise; and places sacred to the world’s various faiths

The Interfaith Rainforest Initiative is an international, multi-faith alliance that works to bring moral urgency and faith-based leadership to global efforts to end tropical deforestation. The initiative welcomes engagement by all organizations, institutions and individuals of good faith and conscience that are committed to the protection, restoration and sustainable management of rainforests.

Components of its mandate include:

  • Build consensus - Facilitate dialogue across religions about the shared moral, ethical and spiritual responsibility to protect rainforests.

  • Make the case - Create opportunities for religious leaders, scientists and indigenous peoples to speak in concert about the case for ending tropical deforestation.

  • Facilitate learning - Equip religious and spiritual leaders with the science, training and tools they need to become effective advocates for protecting rainforests.

  • Mobilize commitment - Mobilize religious and spiritual leaders to make ending tropical deforestation an ethical priority and create space for them to advocate for policies that protect rainforests and those that serve as their guardians.

  • Raise awareness - Increase the profile and visibility of the deforestation crisis, and the fundamental role that rainforests play in addressing climate change, achieving sustainable development and surviving as a planet.

  • Influence policy - Serve as a moral force for change to influence governments and companies to adopt, fulfill and expand upon commitments to protect rainforests.

  • Build coalitions - Facilitate new partnerships among religious and faith leaders, indigenous peoples, and other sectors – government, business, and civil society – to anchor global commitment to protecting rainforest in on-the-ground action in rainforest countries.

  • Inspire action - Create a worldwide movement for rainforest protection that is grounded in the values, ethics and moral guidance of faith communities.

The initiative was launched in June of 2017 at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway in a first-of-its-kind summit of Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu and Taoist religious leaders, climate scientists, rainforest experts and indigenous peoples’ representatives from Brazil, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Meso-America and Peru.

Alhamdulillah for Time


This week marks the beginning of Daylight Savings Time for those living in Eastern Canada. This bi-annual rotation between Daylight Savings and Standard time is not only a reminder to change the batteries in your smoke alarm, but shifts our daily patterns as the time for prayers move forward and the days begin to get longer. This gives us a greater reason to pause and reflect on the passage of time; a connection between our past and the present, and set a new direction for the future.

The “Alhamdulillah Series” has been a feature on Khaleafa for several years, aimed at highlighting the simple blessings in nature that surround us. The goal is to pause and reflect on the small things in our lives, and give thanks for these gifts that have been bestowed upon us.

"There truly are signs in this for people who reflect." (Quran 13:3)

Islamic Exhibit Captures the Journey to the Moon


And He has subjected for you the night and day and the sun and moon, and the stars are subjected by His command. Indeed in that are signs for a people who reason.

(Quran 16:12)

The moon has played a pivotal role within Islamic history, marking the passage of time and symbolizing the delicate balance within the universe. It has inspired scientific understanding, formed the basis of spiritual beliefs and influenced art and poetry for millennia. It was the cohesive bond between cultures as Islam spread throughout the world, and it is no surprise that the crescent moon has become the modern symbol of Islam.

This Spring, the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto is curating an exhibit that explores the relationship of faith, science and the arts, highlighting the 50th anniversary of the Apollo lunar landing.  The Moon: A Voyage Through Time brings together important miniature paintings, scientific instruments, Islamic manuscripts, and contemporary works of art to illustrate the wonder at the moon that is shared among culture.

This immersive and interactive exhibition encourages visitors to view the moon from a new perspective by bringing together pieces by contemporary artists and masterworks from around the world.

For more information, please visit:

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Alhamdulillah for Peaches


This week marks Peach Blossom Week! This simple sweet fruit was first domesticated in Asia and spread throughout that world, inspiring cuisine from Spain to the United States. Peaches were referred to as the ‘Persian Apple’ during Roman times, and were known as the “Fruit of Calmness’ for their ability to reduce anxiety. Though we won’t see peach blossoms for several more weeks in Canada, one can only imagine their fragrance as a sign of summer days ahead.

The “Alhamdulillah Series” has been a feature on Khaleafa for several years, aimed at highlighting the simple blessings in nature that surround us. The goal is to pause and reflect on the small things in our lives, and give thanks for these gifts that have been bestowed upon us.

"There truly are signs in this for people who reflect." (Quran 13:3)

Islamic Relief & Climate Change

Islamic aid organizations have recognized the connection between social justice and climate change, and that the changing climate is already having a devastating impact on the poorest and most vulnerable in society. Over the coming decades, climate change is an issue that will adversely affect the Muslims world, especially those who are displaced by floods, drought, desertification and extreme heat.

“We are in danger of ending life as we know it on our planet”
–   Islamic Declaration on Climate Change, 2015

Islamic Relief

Islamic Relief works with communities to strengthen their resilience to disasters, and provide vital emergency aid when disasters occur. They are known to tackle the root causes of poverty and are a policy leader on Islamic humanitarianism. In 2017, they released ‘Climate Champions - Islamic Relief’s Global Climate Action’, which captures why Islamic Relief is vocal on climate change and climate justice issues, and how they are campaigning to reduce emissions, promote sustainable living and protect the most vulnerable.

Islamic Relief recognised climate change as one of the greatest moral, social and environmental issues facing humanity. Inspired by Islamic teachings on justice and stewardship, they help communities become more resilient to climate change, improve learning on environmental issues among staff and supporters, aim to reduce our carbon footprint, and undertake advocacy to promote substantial and equitable reductions in greenhouse gases.

Global Climate Change Policy

Launching its updated Climate Change Policy this week, Islamic Relief Worldwide has reiterated its stark warning that bold and urgent action is needed to limit global warming and respond to the consequences of climate breakdown.

The Islamic Relief Climate Change policy recognises climate change as one of the greatest issues humanity faces, and sets out the far-reaching response that is needed.

“Our climate policy speaks out on behalf of the poor and marginalised suffering from climate change across the world,” said Islamic Relief CEO Naser Haghamed, speaking at the policy’s launch event on February 11th, 2019.

“We say that as a moral, social and environmental issue, mitigation of climate change demands an urgent and global response and change on an unprecedented scale.

“Limiting warming to 1.5°C is the most effective way to use resources. But there must also be investment where the consequences of climate breakdown are already being felt: in disaster risk management, adaptation and resilience building, and addressing loss and damage.”

Expressing the need for urgent action, Naser Haghamed echoed Swedish child activist Greta Thunberg’s cry that “Our house is on fire”. Thousands of schoolchildren worldwide are not attending school to take part in strikes pressurising world leaders to tackle climate change.

“Just the previous week, it was announced that 2018 was the fourth hottest year on record, the oceans are the warmest ever, the UK will average 1.5 degrees warming within five years, glaciers in the Himalayas are set to melt threatening water shortage for two billion people, and Islamic Relief was on alert as the government of Balochistan declared a drought emergency.”

Talanoa Dialogues

The Talanoa Dialogues organised by Islamic Relief in 11 countries sent messages to governments and the UN that adaptation to climate change needs to be tackled by the people who know their situation best. The duty of government is to help them plan and carry out the necessary work.

Emphasising that Islamic Relief must also continue to strive to do more, Islamic Relief’s CEO added:

“We must make sure that we are doing everything to limit our own greenhouse gas emissions, with continuously improving environmental performance integral to our business strategy and operating methods.

At next month’s UN Environment Assembly, Islamic Relief will present on their climate and consumption work in East Africa. There they will also engage with the UN secretary general’s climate summit and UN Climate Change conference later in the year.

International Polar Bear Day


International Polar Bear Day is an annual event aimed to raise awareness about the impact of global warming and reduced sea ice on polar bear populations. Organized by Polar Bear International (PBI), the event encourages people to reduce their carbon footprint through making small changes in their daily lives such as driving less or lowering their thermostat. The mission of the organization is to inspire people to care for the Arctic, the threats to its future, and the connection between this remote region and our global climate.

The Polar Bear Connection

Polar bears rely on sea ice to hunt seals, which is their primary sources of food that sustain them throughout the year. However, the sea-ice in the Arctic has been melting earlier each year on average, limiting the time polar bears can effectively hunt and build up critical fat reserves. The snowball effect over several years reduces the polar bear population and range, making them vulnerable to extinction in the future.   

Changes in the Arctic are a litmus test of the effects of climate change, as the impacts are felt greater at higher latitudes. Scientists predict that as the Arctic continues to warm, two-thirds of the world's polar bears could disappear within this century. The latest IUCN report estimates there are approximately 26,000 remaining in the wild. Reducing our carbon emissions goes a long way towards limiting the negative impacts to polar bears and other Arctic species.

Islamic Perspective on Extinction

“And the earth, He has assigned it to all living creatures” – Quran 55:10

There are numerous references in Quran and Prophetic Tradition (Hadith) that speak to our role as stewards over the environment and the animals that inhabit it. We are obligated to take care and protect all animals as a sign our gratitude and for the blessings provided to us by Allah.

“The merciful are shown mercy by the All-Merciful. Show mercy to those on earth, and He Who is in heaven will show mercy unto you.” (At-Tirmidhi, 1924)

When it comes to polar bears, we all have a collective responsibility to ensure that we prevent not only their habitat degradation but their extinction as well. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by lowering our thermostat or not idling our cars are simple steps we can take on an individual level. Educating others and engaging your community are other great ways to raise the awareness about polar bears and harmful impacts climate change to animals.

For more information on International Polar Bear Day, please visit:

Alhamdulillah for Winter Sports

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We admit it - Winter in Canada can be long, cold and dark, But it doesn’t mean that you have to hibernate indoors. Take advantage of the cold weather and head outdoors to ski, skate or go sledding while there’s still snow on the ground. Winter is truly a blessing that gives us countless opportunities to explore the great outdoors from a new perspective.

The “Alhamdulillah Series” has been a feature on Khaleafa for several years, aimed at highlighting the simple blessings in nature that surround us. The goal is to pause and reflect on the small things in our lives, and give thanks for these gifts that have been bestowed upon us.

"There truly are signs in this for people who reflect." (Quran 13:3)

Islamic Principles in Dealing with the Environment

By Riad Galil

Born and raised in Cairo of the Mu’ez (Old quarters of Cairo), I found myself surrounded by remnants of a glorious past.

My extended family and I used to gather on the rooftop of our home to have our usual meals. Both the Qalawun complex (a school, hospital, mosque and mausoleum) and Barquq mosque command the landscape around us.

These structures were established by the Mamluks in the middle ages. The Mamluk architectures in old Cairo reflect many devices that tend to effectively blend the built environment with the natural surroundings using some natural phenomena to improve the built environment. Such improvements helped to reflect the Islamic heritage.

The key to understanding the Islamic influence on the environment is the full appreciation of the Islamic concepts of God, the role of man on earth, and the role of the natural environment.

On the other hand, it is man who impacts the environment more than any other creature of God. Seyyed Hossein Nasr who is considered as the ‘founding father of Islamic eco-theology’, argues that “in the old days man had to be saved from nature, today nature must be saved from man in both peace and war”.

Islamic teachings provide a blueprint for an ecological sustainability that is workable and ethical. When we look at the amount of deforestation, soil erosion, water and air pollution and toxic waste in the majority Muslim countries, we find that Muslim communities are sometimes worse than many advanced nations in the world.

They tend to import inappropriate technologies to resolve local environmental issues. They overlook traditionally appropriate practices that were prompted by their Islamic teachings, and hence unnecessarily create difficulties and hazards.

The Muslim Mamluks have employed some ecological measures that enabled them to introduce a number of environmentally friendly measures to improve their built environments. Their attitude was dictated by their belief in Islamic ethics.

The environment holds a huge potential that man may wisely use for his benefit and other inhabitants of our earth making certain that enough resources for future generations were secured.

Muslims need to be aware of their environmental heritage so that they would both reap the benefits in this life and be rewarded in the Hereafter as they would have fulfilled their obligations as vicegerents of God on earth.

The primary sources of Islam; the Qur’an and the Sunna of the Prophet, contain many injunctions aiming at guiding the Muslim’s activities in this life so that on the one hand he/she would fulfil their obligations towards their God and on the other hand they would enjoy a good and healthy life with a promise of even better rewards in the Hereafter.

Qur’anic verses describing nature and natural phenomena outnumber verses dealing with commandments and sacraments. Some 750 verses, or one-eighth of the Book, exhort believers to reflect on nature, to study the relationship between living organisms and their environment, to make the best use of reason and to maintain the balance and proportion God has built into His creation.

The Qur’an and Sunna stipulate some principles that affect man’s attitude towards the environment. Fitra (initial state of creation), tawhid (Unity of God), khilafa (vicegerency), mizan (balance), and hikma (wisdom) are some important concepts that seem to lay the pathway for Muslims as they deal with their environments.

Fitra (The Creation) Principle

God created man as part of the primordial nature (fitra) of His creation [Qur’an 30:29]. Fitra is the intrinsic goodness in everything created by God. Man’s role is defined by that patterning . . . and the conscious expression of this rests with humankind.

Tawhid (The Unity of God) Principle

Muslims believe in one undividable God who has no partner nor does anyone or anything may resemble. Tawhid implies the unity and the equality of all God’s creation who should strive to mutually benefit one another. God considers every type of creation, particularly in the animal world, as nations much like human nations.

The Qur’an also emphasises the concept of the unity of God in many surahs (Qur’anic verses) indicating the supremacy of Almighty God over all of creation and that most creation willingly prostrate themselves to the will of God

Khilafa (The Responsibility) Principle

The Qur’an and the Sunna combine to remind mankind of their responsibilities towards maintaining and caring for the environment. God has created man to be His khalifa (vicegerent) on earth.

Such prerogative carries with it a heavy responsibility. Humans are “responsible for maintaining the unity of all God’s creation, the integrity of the earth, its flora and fauna, its wildlife and natural environment. As representatives of God on earth, Muslims should effectively preserve and care for the environment in order to protect God’s creation.

Mizan (The Balance) Principle

As God has created all things in quantified amounts, balance is required to maintain equity between species and their environments. The concept of balance draws the attention that moderation is required to maintain the balance in nature.

Violating the balance in nature has serious consequences. The destruction of the environment causes a severe imbalance in nature.

Hikma (The wisdom) Principle

“He giveth wisdom unto whom He will, and he unto whom wisdom is given, he truly hath received abundant good” [Qur’an 2: 269].

Undoubtedly wisdom is necessary for the right judgements to be passed so that future impacts of today’s decisions would perhaps be minimised.

The five main principles for humans to deal with their environments named above, Fitra, tawhid, khilafa, mizan and hikma represent the Qur’anic plan for the relation between man and the environment.

Each creation should be guaranteed respect and the right to live in security and dignity.

“Our God, the Creator, they said, is He Who gave form, shape and features to every entity. He created and vested each entity with its qualities and attributes which guide each creature to its inherent role in life” [Qur’an 20:50],

The Qur’an asserts the universality of creation that would place every creation as an important contributor into the overall functioning of life on earth as we know it. God determined that

“Everything, spiritual, animates and inanimate We create according to plan indicating the relations of objects to one another” [Qur’an 54:49].

The books of sirah are full of teachings pertaining to the good use of the environmental resources and other measures to help in maintaining the balance of nature. The Prophet advised his followers to restrict their consumption of the earth’s resources to their immediate needs without causing any waste. In a hadith the Prophet of Islam reprimanded one of his close Companions for using excessive amounts of water for their ablution.

Muslims should be thrifty in the use of the earth’s resources even if resources were abundant. The Muslim should consume enough amounts to meet his/ her needs and then think of ways to recourse the surplus to those in the world who may need it.  The concern for a lot of other humans is so much ingrained into the Muslim’s psyche that the rewards for kind and charitable actions are highly rewarded by Almighty God in both this life and in the Hereafter.

In pursuit of conserving the environment, the Qur’an issues clear and unambiguous instructions dealing with the conservation of land animals. Almighty God has decreed in the Qur’an that “The calendar introduced by God . . . divides the year into twelve months, four of which are sacred” [Qur’an 9:36].

These four months were further elaborated in Suratul Ma’eda (The table).

“Nor are you permitted to engage in the chase (killing) of wild animals or game”, while you are on pilgrimage –major or minor- (in the sacred months). God ordains what He will” [Qur’an 5:1].

For four months every year (three of which are consecutive and one stands alone), Muslims are not permitted, by order of God, to hunt land game.

Such halt of killing the land game would allow the animals a chance to rejuvenate and multiply so that its numbers would not dwindle or even become instinct as the situation is today with so many species disappearing from the face of the earth after extensive harvesting by people.

Mr Riad Galil OAM is Senior Imam at West Heidelberg Mosque and Chaplain both at RMIT University, City Campus as well as Deakin University, Burwood campus. Married with four children and nine grandchildren, he is based in Melbourne.

This article originally appeared on AMUST on February 27th, 2019.

Alhamdulillah for Warmth


As many parts of Canada succumb to frigid temperatures this winter, we are reminded of the simple blessing of warmth. Unfortunately, there are many people in Canada who do not have access to housing, and are left exposed to the elements. Take a moment to share the warmth, and reach out to those in your community who may need some additional help this time of year.

The “Alhamdulillah Series” has been a feature on Khaleafa for several years, aimed at highlighting the simple blessings in nature that surround us. The goal is to pause and reflect on the small things in our lives, and give thanks for these gifts that have been bestowed upon us.

"There truly are signs in this for people who reflect." (Quran 13:3)