Islamic Relief

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.

Islam and Fair Trade

International trade and globalization has had some benefits including alleviating poverty in the developing world and raising the standard of living of millions within these countries. However, the impacts have been uneven in some industries which have left many producers vulnerable to exploitation. Small scale producers, such as farmers, are unable to compete with foreign subsidies and trade restrictions placed on their goods, which leaves them at a disadvantage when seeking a share of the international market.

While there are many factors that can be attributed for this (skillset, infrastructure, incomplete markets, and governing policy), the fact remains that many of these marginalized producers are either excluded or susceptible to fluctuations of commodity markets.

What is fair trade?

The concept of fair trade aims to promote a more sustainable relationship between the rich and poor by including these producers in the global economy and providing them with a secure and fair income for their products. Often this includes providing training to develop and diversify their business in an effort to become self-sustaining over the long-term. While the term ‘fair trade’ can refer to anything from handicrafts to clothing, it is predominantly associated with cash crops such as coffee and cotton.


What is the Islamic perspective on fair trade?

Historically, trade and commerce played a crucial role in the spread of Islam. Mecca was a centre of commerce and caravans from Asia to Africa passed through on a regular basis. As a result, there are many teachings within the Quran and Sunnah relating to business transactions, trade and ethics. The Prophet (PBUH) promoted fairness and equity and indicated that one should not involve themselves in transactions that will cause greater harm than benefit to the community and the environment.

The Quran also quite clearly emphasizes the importance placed on justice and fairness when dealing in trade.

"Deal not unjustly, and you shall not be dealt with unjustly." (Quran 2:279)

"Eat not up each other's property by unfair and dishonest means." (Quran 4:29)

"Give full measure and full weight in justice, and wrong not people in respect of their goods." (Quran 11:85)

Sustainable development and social justice are two aspects of fair trade that run parallel to the teachings of Islam. Creating opportunities for marginalized producers, ensuring equitable wages and safe working environments for employees and ensuring that the environment is protected for future generations are all intertwined teachings of Islam and are supported by fair trade. In fact, Islamic principles go beyond the mission of the fair trade movement as it forbids speculation markets, hoarding goods to increase returns and interest as a tool for reinforcing poverty.

What can I do in my community?

The most effective action you can take is to raise awareness about the importance of fair trade and the inherent connection with Islam. Consider switching to fair trade products at home and at work and encourage others to do the same. You could also hold a fair trade iftaar during Ramadan or sell fair trade products at your mosque as a fundraising initiative. Mosques serve as the hub of our community, so consider making yours a fair trade mosque that chooses to use and support fair trade products. Ask your Imam to deliver a khutbah on the benefits of fair trade ahead of  World Fair Trade Day in May.

Islamic Relief has a wealth of resources online for those considering implementing fair trade products into their local mosque, school and workplace including posters, event ideas and educational material.

For more information on fair trade, please visit:

Islam and Fair Trade

An Islamic Perspective on Fair Trade

The Canadian Fair Trade Network

CBC News IN DEPTH: Fair trade