Community. Creation. Creator. Connect.
Eid al-Fitr (عيد الفطر), “festival of breaking of the fast”, is a religious day celebrated by Muslims across the globe. It marks the end of Ramadan – the Islamic holy month of fasting. A special Salaat (Islamic prayer) is prayed in the morning, generally in an open field, or in a large hall, or in a masjid (mosque). Eid presents an important opportunity for us as Muslims to connect to our Creator, to our community and to other creations. By acting wiser and thinking deeper, Eid can be a day for us to be more environmentally spiritual and sustainable.
There are various aspects for you to consider to ensure that your Eid prayers, feasting and festivities are more environmentally friendly and sustainable, especially in light of the Sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). From transport and clothing, to feasting and environmental cleanliness, take this Eid-ul-Fitr as an opportunity for you to do your bit for the environment with the intention of serving our Creator Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) .
Don’t ever think that any action is too small. As Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) reminds us in the noble Quran: “No leaf ever falls but that He knows about it, and there is no grain in the dark layers of the earth, or anything fresh or dry that is not recorded in a manifest book.” (Quran, 6:59).
”The servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk on the earth humbly, and when the ignorant people speak to them (with bad words), they reply peacefully”. (Quran, 25:63)
It was the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) to walk to the Eid Gaah for prayers on Eid morning, often using two different routes. In the days leading up to Eid and on the day of Eid itself, consider how you can reduce your carbon footprint and fuel costs, and also become more physically active in the process. When dropping of the children at school and madressah, when going to work, when doing the shopping and visiting rounds, and when going to the masjid, plan your trips beforehand. Fewer trips means less stress, less time wasted, and a lower carbon fuel footprint. Form lift clubs with friends, family, neighbours and colleagues. When possible, opt for walking and cycling. Remember, the more people that we have walking and cycling the streets, the safer it becomes for all of us, Insha’Allah. Remember to try to uphold the Sunnah and walk to the Eid Gaah or masjid for Eid Salaah. Jump in with a fellow Muslim and reduce traffic and parking issues!
”Oh Children of Adam, wear your good clothes to every place of worship, and eat and drink, but do not commit ‘Isrāf’ (do not be excessive), because Allah does not love those who commit ‘Isrāf’ (are excessive).” (Quran, 7:31)
Ibn Abi’d-Dunya and al-Bayhaqi have reported with a saheeh (authentic) isnaad (chain of narrations) that Ibn ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه ) used to wear his best clothes on the two Eids. The days of Eid, for many of us, are the occasions of the year when we wear our best. More often than not, we choose this time to buy a new outfit for the year – especially when it comes to buying a good set of clothing for our children.
While celebrating the blessings that we have been granted with by Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), there are some considerations that we can take to ensure that our purchases of clothing will be kinder to people and to the planet:
- Wear clothing that is modest and that is in line with the dress code that our Deen has recommended for us.
- Wear good, beautiful clothing – this is the day of Eid-ul-Fitr after all! A day to be happy and a day to celebrate!
- Buy good, versatile clothing that will last a long time and can be used often and on many occasions. Think beautiful, think practical, and don’t just rush for the latest fashions!
- Aim to support local industries where workers are treated properly. This could be your local community seamstress, a South African company, or a third world country where the company has been approved that they are upholding workers’ rights.
- Aim to buy clothing that is made from more environmentally friendly materials, and that are produced with the environment in mind.
- Do a bit of spring cleaning before Eid and donate your pre-loved clothing to those who could also do with good clothing for this Eid.
If you are curious about ethical and sustainable clothing, here are some interesting articles to read:
- Ethical fashion: saving South Africa’s clothing industry: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/sustainable-fashion-blog/2015/feb/02/ethical-fashion-rebuild-south-africa-garment-industry
- Green is new black in fashion (Western Cape): http://www.iol.co.za/weekend-argus/green-is-new-black-in-fashion-9712344
- Fig Leaves Are Out. What to Wear to Be Kind to the Planet? https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/24/climate/eco-friendly-organic-clothing.html
3) Food and Feasts
”Eat and drink of what Allah has provided, and do not go about the earth spreading ‘Fasād’ (corruption, mischief, disorder).” (Quran, 2:60)
Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) commands us in the Noble Quran in surah 7, verse 31, that we must “eat and drink” but we should “not be excessive” i.e. we should neither eat too little nor too much. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) then continues in the verse to warn us that He (سبحانه و تعالى) does not like those who are excessive (in eating and drinking).
Eid-ul-Fitr is the Eid of feasting. After a month of fasting for the pleasure of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), we celebrate the bounties that we have been blessed with by cooking and eating a storm! However, as the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) teaches us, we as Muslims need to be moderate in all of our actions.
A few aspects to consider on the day when you are planning your menus:
- Think of your energy consumption. Plan your preparation and cooking times to ensure that the stoves and ovens get switched on less frequently and for shorter periods of time.
- Incorporate more healthier food options into your menu as well as food items that have a lower carbon footprint. Include vegetable dishes and fruit platters, and decrease the amount of meat and sweet that you serve. You will feel a whole lot better after a day of eating wiser!
- Don’t waste food. Encourage guests to dish out food wisely, and respect what is not eaten. Save leftovers for the next day (less cooking work) or share it with others.
Eid-ul-Fitr is also a time to share our bounties:
- Pay fitrah for all your household members, preferably well in advance.
- Be charitable and give more than the minimum fitrah amount if possible.
- Donate to the many of the charity organisations that feed the less fortunate, both local and international.
- Donate to an animal shelter (SPCA) and help feed the creations of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى).
- Share the yummy delights and wholesome meals that you cook with those around you. Strengthen the ties of your relationship between family, friends, neighbours, employees, and colleagues.
May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) grant you baraqah in all the food that you make, eat and share on this upcoming day of Eid-ul-Fitr. Aameen.
4) Gifts and Decorations
Narrated `Aisha (رضي الله عنها): “Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to accept gifts and used to give something in return.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 2585, Book 51, Hadith 19)
For many, the day of Eid-ul-Fitr is the day of gifting, especially for our children (Eiddee!). It is the day when we take pride in beautifying our homes and our tables for our guests. There is reward in both giving gifts and in treating guests with honour.
Keeping moderation in mind, here are some guidelines to ensure you are more environmentally friendly and sustainable in your gifts and decorations:
- If you are giving gifts, choose to give gifts that are environmentally friendly and will last a long time. Think wooden over plastic. Think of gifts that won’t be out of fashion next year and be thrown away (e.g. fidget spinners).
- We learn from the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) that if we plant a plant, and a person, animal, or bird eats from the food it bears, we will receive reward for it, Insha’Allah (Sahih al-Bukhari 2320, Book 41, Hadith 1). Take advantage of this narration and gift seeds, plants, and trees. Visit your nursery and get advice on easy-to-care for plants, especially those plants that will be a source of food to some kind of creatures, Insha’Allah. Remember that birds, bees and other insects feed off the flowers of ornamental plants and trees!
- Do not give pets as gifts! Most of the time, after the excitement has died down, the animals get neglected and are sent to animal shelters and the SPCA. Thereafter, sadly, many have to be put down.
- When wrapping your gifts, try to use less wrapper. Don’t use plastic wrapping. Opt instead for recycled paper, newspaper, and old school notes – just make it funky! An additional advantage of this is that you will save a good few Rands.
- Use less disposable plastic ware in your decorations, in serving food, and in food storage. Avoid cling wrap! Use containers with their lids to keep food airtight.
- Theme your tables with green, reusable, and sustainable themes. Make it an up-cycling art project for the youth, or search the house for items that can be used. Be discrete, do not waste.
Remember, one less piece of plastic used today, is one less piece of plastic choking an animal somewhere tomorrow!
Get the green, generous, creative juices flowing!
5) Mission: Pure Earth
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “The earth has been made for me (and for my ummah) a masjid (place of prostration) and a means of purification (tayammum),” (Sahih al-Bukhari 335, Book 7, Hadith 2)
Wherever we are on earth, Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) has made it a place that we can pray on and a means to purify ourselves with for our prayers. Indeed, the earth is among the āyāt (signs, evidences) that Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) asks us to ponder on.
“And of His (Allah’s) signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colours. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge.”
The earth is in constant glorification of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى).
“The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein, glorify Him (Allah) and there is not a thing but glorifies His (Allah’s) Praise. But you understand not their glorification. Truly, He (Allah) is Ever Forbearing, Oft-Forgiving.” (Quran, 17:44)
Litter has many negative impacts on our environment:
- It is unsightly and reflects badly on the people who live in and use those places.
- Litter stinks, especially when it piles up.
- Litter serves as a breeding ground for vermin including flies, cockroaches, and rats.
- Litter clogs our drainage and sewage systems.
- Litter pollutes our waterways, rivers, dams and oceans.
- Animals, especially marine animals, mistake litter for food and eat it. This blocks their digestive system and causes them to die of starvation. Not a nice thing to do on Eid.
Removing harmful objects from the paths of others is part of the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) (Sahih Muslim 2618, Book 45, Hadith 170). A simple, powerful stance to take this Eid is to ensure that we keep our prayer grounds, masaajid, homes, parks and streets clean. Clean enough to pray on. Clean enough to purify ourselves with. Don’t litter this Eid, encourage others not to litter, and pick up litter – even if it’s not yours.
May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) open all your pathways in life, and keep them litter-free! Aameen.
6) Be Water Wise
It was narrated from ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr (رضي الله عنه) that: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) passed by Sa’d (رضي الله عنه) when he was performing wudhu (ablution), and He (ﷺ) said: ‘What is this extravagance?‘ Sa’d (رضي الله عنه) said: ‘Can there be any extravagance in wudhu?‘ He (ﷺ) said: ‘Yes, even if you are on the bank of a flowing river.’ (Sunan Ibn Majah, Vol 1, Book 1, Hadith 425)
Using water in excess of our needs has become the norm in today’s society, especially for the more fortunate of us who have the luxury of having multiple taps throughout our homes. When we open our taps and the water gushes out, it really is like a flowing river that we waste from! We forget where the water has come from and the cost that our water use has on our environment. The effects of our overuse is no stranger to us in our country. With the past and current droughts afflicting us in South Africa, our inability to use water sparingly and manage our water resources as a country has driven us into disaster status.
As Muslims, our relationship with water is of a unique nature. We need water for purification (istinja, wudhu, ghusl) on a daily basis for our prayers. After an entire day of fasting and not drinking water, one can’t help but appreciate the importance of water. The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) emphasised the saving of water even when it is plentiful. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) often speaks of the value of this valuable resource on in the Quran, with water being among the āyāt (signs, evidences) of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى). Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) reminds us that it is He (سبحانه و تعالى) who sends down water for us, causing rivers to flow and vegetation to grow for us and other animals to eat from. He (سبحانه و تعالى) also addresses us in strong terms in Surah Waaqiah, reminding us to be grateful for His favours. He (سبحانه و تعالى) says, “And have you seen the water that you drink? Is it you who brought it down from the clouds, or is it We (Allah) who bring it down? If We willed, We could make it bitter, so why are you not grateful? ” (Quran, 56:68-70)
This Eid, take that extra care to ensure that you are water wise in all your activities. From cooking and cleaning, to washing and fun, choose to save as much water as possible. Remember to take the time out to sort out plumbing issues before the day of Eid.
Note of interest: Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) used water sparingly, even when making ghusl (bath) and wudhu (ablution). He (ﷺ) used to take ghusl with one Sa` (± 3ℓ, 4 Mudd) up to five Mudd (± 3.75ℓ) of water and used to perform wudhu (ablution) with one Mudd (± 750mℓ) of water. (Sahih Bukhari 201, book 4, hadith 7).
Are you praying Eid Salaah as a community under the cloudy, blue skies in an open field? Are you sharing meals, making memories, and playing games with family, friends and neighbours in your home, yard or local park? Connect with the Creator, the community and the creation this Eid!
Eat well. Don’t waste food.
Don’t waste anything.
Gift nicely. Decorate wisely.
Pray with joy. Pray on time.
Pick up litter.
Keep your environment clean.
Help others. Be charitable.
Care for people. Care for creation.
Think of your Creator.
Think of the universe.
Thank your Creator.
Be the good guy. Be true.
May your Eid-ul-Fitr be a time of connection, contemplation and spiritual rejuvenation! May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) accept all of our acts of worship that we made during Ramadan and on the the day of Eid. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive us for all of our shortcomings. And may Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) give us the strength and dedication to continue with all good acts after this blessed month. Aameen.
Please find all articles and posters on #TheEidConnection series online (http://greendeensa.org/eid-ul-fitr-2017-theeidconnection/) or on social media – just search for Green Deen South Africa (@GreenDeenSA) on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.