Observing a Green Ramadan with Imam Zaid Shakir


Last week GreenFaith hosted its annual Green Ramadan webinar with special guests Imam Zaid Shakir; prominent Muslim scholar and co-founder of Zaytuna College and Br. Saffet Catovic; board member of the Islamic Society of Essex County and Greenfaith fellow.

This annual seminar aims to raise awareness within the Muslim community about our environmental responsibility towards the planet and provides proactive tools and resources Muslims can adopt during the month of Ramadan.

Imam Zaid Shakir opened the webinar with a call for Muslims to stand with other faith communities in protecting the environment. No matter what faith group we belong to, the earth is part of our common heritage and should be treated as a gift for future generations. It is critical that our community join the environmental movement as an awareness of nature fosters an appreciation of the signs of Allah and enhances our spiritual well-being and development.

The Green Ramadan project was created to encourage and establish environmentally-friendly habits and practices during the holy month of Ramadan.  During this month we celebrate spirituality, brotherhood and strengthen our connection with Allah, however; there is a disconnect between our belief and some of the practices at our local mosques and community organizations. The prevalent use of disposable products like Styrofoam containers and plastic water bottles results in a staggering amount of waste thrown away after each iftar. These problems often have simple solutions such as utilizing reusable dishware and cutlery, composting leftover food-scraps and holding littlerless iftars.

Imam Zaid closes his portion of the seminar by reaffirming the need to reconnect with the earth and strive towards maintaining the balance that Allah has created. He urges Muslims to participate and contribute towards the larger environmental movement, or risk failing our responsibility of preserving the planet for future generations.

Br. Saffet Catovic is part of the Green Muslims of New Jersey network and is one of the founders of the Green Ramadan campaign.  The organization was founded as a response to many of our mosques who have yet to assume their full role when it comes to fulfilling our communal responsibility and promoting individual accountability towards the earth.

The Green Ramadan Initiative incorporates two components to address this deficiency: 1)      What can I do this Ramadan to be Green? (individual) 2)      How to Green my Masjid/Organization this Ramadan? (collective)

To accomplish this they collaborated with Khalid Dardir, an environmentalist within the New Jersey community, to form the Green Ramadan Pledge which tackles waste and excess through four categories.


"I _______________________ pledge this Ramadan to MAKE A DIFFERENCE to be environmentally conscious, socially responsible and compassionate to those around me in following the example of Prophet Muhammad (SAAWS) – the mercy to the worlds. In order to fulfill this, I pledge to do the following action items (SELECT PLEDGE ITEMS):

WATER1. Adopt a Sunnah Wudu: It is reported that the Prophet Muhammad would perform the entire wudu from a bowl two-hands full together (approximately 0.5 liter) and he warned against excess in performing ablution (israf). 2. Quick Showers: Reduce shower time by 20%. On average, a ten minute shower results in twenty-five gallons of water down the drain.

WASTE3. Eliminate Plastic Water Bottles: Plastic should be minimized because of harm related to global warming and health. 4. Eliminate Styrofoam. Styrofoam is unrecyclable and non-biodegradable, which means that it will persist as garbage even a thousand year after its use. 5. Adopt a Reusable water bottle/mug whether you are at the mosque, work, or home. Avoid bringing plastic disposable bottles to the mosque during iftars and for tarawih. 6. Reduce Disposable Party items: Remove or reduce all of disposable items from your parties and save money while doing so.

FOOD7. Reduce food waste and over consumption by eating moderately, keeping in mind the hadith (fill ⅓ of stomach with food, ⅓ water, and ⅓ empty). Take only what you can comfortably finish. 8. Sunnah Iftars: Eat More Fruits & Vegetables, Less Meat: The Prophet’s diet consisted mostly of grains, dates, water, milk, honey, vegetables and fruits. Meat was not daily part of his diet.

ENERGY9.  Make an effort to carpool.  10. Plant or expand a garden this year (less grass, more trees and plants) at home or the mosque and remember that planting a tree is a charity.

For more information on this initiative, please visit:

GreenFaithGreen Muslims of New JerseyGreen Ramadan Webinar RecordingZaid Shakir – Green Ramadan 2012

Photo credit from Iqra.ca