Author Archives: Green Deen South Africa
The annual pilgrimage of Hajj to Makkah, Saudi Arabia, is no small event. With around 2 million people (numbers varying from year to year) in attendance from across the globe, it is very easy for the essence of spirituality, connection and contemplation to get lost in the rush of the masses. In the throngs of crowds, food is eaten, business thrives, water and electricity is used, waste is generated, and spaces to breathe and think are few. Our lives are constantly overshadowed by the news and experiences of traumatic natural and man-made disasters. Political upheavals and social ills make for a depressing nature of affairs. The need for the pilgrim in these times to conscientiously and holistically experience the Hajj physically, spiritually and morally cannot be over-emphasised.
So how to have a more conscientious and greener Hajj? Insha’Allah over the next few days Green Deen South Africa will be sharing a few simple ways to be more conscientious on your Hajj pilgrimage. If you are not going this year, please share these messages with other pilgrims, and may Allah SWT bless us all with the oppurtunity to perform Hajj soon, Āmīn.
Dr Husna Ahmad writes in the “The Green Guide for Hajj” [published by Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) , September 2011]:
As you are about to embark on the Hajj, the journey of a lifetime, all kinds of emotions and thoughts will be running through your mind. Why is the Hajj so important? For many it is the culmination of years of spiritual development, for others it is the opportunity to complete a fundamental duty as a Muslim. ||
Being on Hajj enables greater alignment with our physical, spiritual and moral being. From the moment we make our intention (niyyah) to perform the Hajj our actions need to reflect on our connection with Allah through our prayers and how we treat other human beings and nature. If we do not take care our world, who will? Every Muslim has a duty to care for their environment, for the world around them and for animal and plant life. What better time to begin this duty and commitment than when you are about to commence your most beautiful spiritual journey? ||
This will be your chance to contemplate, to connect, to spend time on meditation and prayer; it is a time for patience and thoughtfulness towards other pilgrims. It is a time to understand your place in relation, not to your immediate family or your status in society, but your place in relation to the Universe. We are just small players in Allah’s plan; we are insignificant and small and yet Allah has placed humankind in the highest position in comparison to all His creation.
The Green Guide for Hajj by Dr H. Ahmed provides the pilgrim with simple instructions on how to implement a green Hajj. The Hajj experience can be improved by taking into account the environment around, and on the simple decisions you make. Download the guide at http://www.arcworld.org/downloads/Green_Guide_for_Hajj.pdf (external link),
“It is to Allah that everything in the heavens and earth submits, every creature that moves, even the angels – they are free from arrogance.” Quran (16:49)
“It is He (Allah) who made you the Khalaaifa (vicegerents, deputies, custodians, successors) of the Earth and raised some of you in ranks over others, so that He may test you in what He has given you. Surely, your Lord is swift in punishing, and surely He is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.” Quran (6:165)
“Wal-‘Asr (By time),
Indeed, mankind is in loss,
except for those who believe, do good deeds, urge one another to the truth, and urge one another to steadfastness (patience).” Quran (103:1-3)
“In the creation of the heavens and earth; in the alternation of night and day; in the ships that sail the seas carrying that which benefits people; in the water which Allah sends down from the sky to give life to the earth when it has been barren; in every creature He (Allah) has scattered on it (earth); in the changing of the winds and clouds that run their appointed courses between the sky and earth: there are āyāt (signs, evidences) in all these for those who use their minds.” Quran (2:164)
“We (Allah) showed Ibrāhīm (Abraham) the site of the House (of Allah i.e. Ka’bah), saying, ‘Do not associate partners to Me. Purify My House for those who make Tawāf (circumambulation around it), and those who perform Qiyām (standing up in worship) and those who perform Rukū‘ (bowing down) and Sujūd (prostration). And announce to all people about (the obligation of) Hajj, so that they will come to you on foot and on every kind of swift mount, emerging from every deep mountain pass’.” Quran (22:26-27)
Narrated Abu Huraira (رضي الله عنه ):
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “While a man was walking he felt thirsty and went down a well and drank water from it. On coming out of it, he saw a dog panting and eating mud because of excessive thirst. The man said, ‘This (dog) is suffering from the same problem as that of mine. So he (went down the well), filled his shoe with water, caught hold of it with his teeth and climbed up and watered the dog. Allah thanked him for his (good) deed and forgave him.”
The people asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Is there a reward for us in serving (the) animals?” He replied, “Yes, there is a reward for serving any living being.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 2363)
who commit ‘Isrāf’ (are excessive).” Quran (7:31)
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)
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).
It was narrated that Safiyyah bint Shaibah said:
“I heard the Prophet (ﷺ) delivering a sermon in the Year of the Conquest (of Makkah), and he said: ‘O people, Allah made Makkah sacred the day He created the heavens and the earth, and it is sacred until the Day of Resurrection. Its trees are not to be cut, its game is not to be disturbed, and its lost property is not to be taken except by one who will announce it.’ Abbas said: ‘Except for Idhkhir (a kind of fragrant grass), for it is (used) for houses and graves.’ The messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘Except for Idhkhir’.”
Sunan Ibn Majah, Book 25, Hadith 3228, Hasan (Darussalam)
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.
Over the next few days leading up to Eid, Green Deen South Africa will be sharing with you 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.
28 January 2017
29 Rabi’ul Akhir 1438 AH
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ
In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful.
السَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ
May the peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be with you
This serves to notify the public that the Green Deen South Africa (GDSA), previously unregistered despite its active presence, has been registered as a private entity with me, Fatima Hassen Ragie, as the owner and director.
GDSA began in mid 2013 when I approached the national Muslim Students Association Union (MSA Union) with a project proposal, helped by two other university students. GDSA was subsequently launched as an initiative of the MSA Union with me as the project manager of a small Green Deen team. Under my watch, GDSA evolved from being a student initiative to an independent entity by the end of 2014. GDSA was rebranded and new structures were put in place. At the end of 2015, based on my knowledge and expectations at the time, I envisioned and planned for the organisation to be registered as a Non Profit Organisation (NPO) trust. I gathered together a small team of people who I felt could assist, appointing them as an acting board of trustees, with me retaining the position of director. However, this registration was not done. This was partially due to me not having enough time with commitments to further my education, and partially to me not being sure of settling on something that I had reservations about, especially as I moved beyond my tertiary student life.
The idea of a large NPO GDSA launching and running always did sound inspiring. I have taken, however, the decision that it is in the interest of both the organisation and I first to register as a private entity and to then develop the organisation from there. This socio-entrepreneurship model will, Insha’Allah, allow for GDSA to be sponsorship independent, as well as be able to provide high-quality resources and services to the public while also remunerating those – where possible – for their time and services rendered. The private entity model will allow the organisation to grow in these infancy stages without the cumbersome operational structure of an NPO trust that is required by the South African legislation.
GDSA has over the years built up a moderate reputation on both the national and international markets, with its presence being mostly a digital one. The journey of GDSA has seen a diverse range of people involved in its activities at different times and to varying degrees, all contributing invaluably to the organisation. However, it must be noted that, with the permission of Allah SWT, the organisation has and does run on the work that I have spearheaded over the years. This includes but is not limited to the conceptualisation, resource generation, financial management (including the bulk of all payments coming from my personal funds), website hosting, networking and social media coverage of GDSA. The new organisational structure will in no way detract the from GDSA’s aims of serving Allah SWT and all of His creations. GDSA will not be aimed at solely creating profit nor will it serve the interests of only one person or party. GDSA will continue to provide quality, value-add services to the ummah for the pleasure of Allah, Insha’Allah. I pray that the organization will see beneficial growth and continue to make a positive impact on the community, as its intentions remain untainted.
Regrettably, the decision to privatise was implemented without further shura from the acting board of trustees, thus inciting their resignation. This resignation was made public on the 22nd January 2017, when the now-ex acting board trustees of GDSA publicly released their collective letter of resignation via the mediums of WhatsApp and Facebook. I would like to thank the ex-board for the dignity and values they have upheld during the change and their resignation. As this new phase of GDSA begins, I would like to thank these ex-board trustees of GDSA and everyone who has contributed to the organisation. Their opinions, knowledge and effort are appreciated, and I cannot adequately thank them. I would like to apologise for any ill feelings, misconceptions and inconveniences caused during this time. I hope that they would feel welcome to be part of GDSA, albeit in different capacities. I pray that Allah SWT blesses them and accepts all their efforts in what they are doing now and in the future.
If you have any queries, please contact me on the details below. Details on how GDSA will function will Insha’Allah be released with time as the new structure is put in to place. Please keep the work of GDSA and of all those who are involved in your prayers.
Fatima H Ragie
Green Deen South Africa, “Living Fitrah”
Our #GDRamadan series for 2016 focused on aspects of nature that feature in the stories of our Prophets (Peace be upon them). From animals to trees, miracles to punishments, inshaAllah you will find this journey through the Quran a naturally blessed one! May Allah SWT give us the ability to draw closer to the Sunnah of the Prophets, especially the sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad (Blessings and peace be upon him), in all aspects of our lives, aameen.
For those who would like to print this series as flashcards for their children, please feel free to do so. Print only when needed, and only laminate if you are certain you would like to use the series for a long, long time. Plastic takes centuries to decompose.
The series can be downloaded in two parts as pdf documents:
For teachers in particular, extra text (hashtags and contact details) have been removed from the posters. These edited documents can be downloaded in two parts as pdf documents:
#ProphetsNatureQuran #Ramadan2016 #Ramadan1437 #GreenVerses
If you are having issues downloading the series, please drop an email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will email them through to you, Insha’Allah.
Our first #GDRamadan Quran series from last year (2015) focused on bringing you a green, ecological verse from each juz/para every day. We have collated them below for you to have a refreshing read!
May Allah SWT make us of those who recognise, understand and appreciate all of His aayaah – in the Quran, within ourselves and in the universe around us. Aameen.
#greenverses #GDRamadan #Ramadan2015 #Ramadan1436
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are defined as any living organism whose genetic hereditary material has been altered. Genetic material, the DNA of organisms, can be altered through:
- selective breeding of plants and animals. This has been practiced in various forms since the earliest days of our ancestral farmers.
- genetic engineering that has been occurring in the last half-century which involves the direct transfer of DNA between organisms at a microscopic level.
GMOs themselves include a variety of organisms. In agriculture, domesticated livestock and food crops are usually modified to create better, more resilient and more productive breeds. Scientific and medical research often use GMOs for the production of chemicals, medications, antibiotics and vaccines. Many ornamental plants and flowers are genetically modified.
2. Why the fuss?
Well, simply put, the GMO business is tricky. GMOs affect us in two places where we feel it the most – our food and medicine. Additionally, the use of GMOs in agriculture and research has knock-on effects on the environment (that we obviously all depend on). When we speak of GMOs, we are talking of conflicts of interest between global companies, governments, activists, farmers and the average citizen. There are pros and cons with regards to human health, food ethics, animal rights and environmental health. Science is usually undertaken with no independent moderation and profits seem to speak larger than rights.
What is certain is that a great doubt exists in various aspects, such as the health implications, environmental impact and political agenda of the GM companies etc. It is our hope that for the sake of the Ummah and mankind in general, Muslim scientists of repute and integrity could shed some independent light on this matter. – South African National Halaal Authority (SANHA), Genetically Modified Foods
Dealing with GMOs in Islam is no simple matter. There are many aspects to consider, some of which are:
- Is the actual process of genetic altering organisms acceptable? To what extent? And on which organisms is this allowed (compare bacterial cell to a potential animal embryo)?
- Are there animal rights violations occurring in the testing and production of these GMOs?
- Are these GMOs halal? Are these GMOs tayyib (pure and wholesome) for human health in the long term?
- What about the impacts of using these on other microbes, plants, animals and the environment in general?
- What are the effects of promoting the GMOs commercial industry on the small farmers, the poor and the undernourished? Will GMOs empower them or enslave them to a global corporate?
- Can corporates copyright GMOs and sell them?
“In conclusion then, it can be said that Islamic scholars need to seriously investigate the issue of GMF (Genetically Manipulated Food) and prove its conformity to principles established within Islamic sources. Such an investigating necessarily requires close collaborations between traditional areas of scholarship with modern natural and life sciences. The presentation of the issues and challenges outlined in this paper is intended to serve as a starting point for further in-depth examination and debates on the subject.” – Isabel Schatzschneider, The Debate on Genetically Manipulated Food: An Islamic Perspective, 2013-07-16
4. GMOs, Monsanto, Global to South Africa
Monsanto is a multinational company that began in the USA more than a century ago. It has a long history of chemical and agricultural seed production. On Saturday, 21 May 2016, there was a global march against Monsanto in over 400 cities in 50 different countries (http://www.march-against-monsanto.com/may21/). From France to Mexico, Chile to South Africa, protesters gathered and raised the issues of human health and food sovereignty.
Monsanto’s presence in Africa, particulary in South Africa is not new (http://www.monsanto.com/whoweare/pages/southafrica.aspx, http://www.monsantoafrica.com/). In a continent and a country where our average small farmer is vulnerable to climate change, land right issues, weak economies, corruption and poor support structures, the issue is as complex as can be.
I support the march against Monsanto because I feel there is a disconnect with our food. Large corporations, like Monsanto, have dehumanized our food. I wish we could trust our government in South Africa to make informed decisions about our food, but that is being too optimistic. Access to healthy food is a constitutional right, yet in most cases you have to be rich to eat healthy. We need to restore food ethics of care that underpins our food system. Food is our heritage. We must work together, support small-scale farmer, and model new systems of ethical, eco-agricultural practices. Of our kids and for future generations.” Rifqah Tifloen, @GreenDeenSA board member, 2016-05-16
Recently, Monsanto has released a request to test a new set of GMOs in South Africa. The application is for field trials of three genetically modified maize products in the Western and Northern Capes, Free State and Mpumalanga, and was published in The Business Day, dated Monday 23 May 2016. An online petition has been started to object to these trials in South Africa. To read more about the petition and sign-up to it at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/949/204/342/we-say-no-to-monsanto/.
5. Recommended readings and websites
1. The Debate on Genetically Manipulated Food: An Islamic Perspective,by Isabel Schatzschneider, 2013-07-16.
2. Genetically Modified Foods Q: Are Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or ingredients or products containing GMO’s Halaal?, South African National Halaal Authority (SANHA).
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Muslims set themselves into a daily routine of rising above their physical needs in order to embrace greater spirituality. The month is filled with extra acts of worship, an emphasis on being a source of goodness, and an avoidance of any action that is of harm to others and to one’s surroundings.
Following up on our #30PacketsOfGreeness campaign last Ramadan (just search for the hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!), we would like to invite you to take your daily remembrance (dhikr) of your Creator outside and practice on a Sunnah by cleaning up your neighbourhood. 30 days of fasting, 30 Juz (parts) of Quran, 30 sets of Taraweeh, 30 Sehris, 30 Iftaars…So why not 30 acts of environmental service to our Creator?
The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said that removing harmful things from the path of others is an act of worship – Sahih Bukhari & Sahih Muslim
Pick up a packet of litter everyday or on as many days as you cann. On the way to the masjid. At your school or makhtab. At your local park. Around your work place. On your own. With a friend. With family. Wherever you are and whenever you can. Share with us your pictures of your #30PacketsofGreeness by tagging us on social media or emailing it through to us. Green Dawah on our streets!
Our duas (prayers) are with you as this special month of spiritual and self-discipline dawns upon us. Contemplate the deeper meaning of life Connect to your Creator! May you emerge from Ramadan spiritually uplifted, humbled, more conscious of the divine, more compassionate, and a better human being as a result of your worship. Aameen.
Purple Bandage is a non-profit, community based organisation from Roshnee, Gauteng, South Africa. They have been active in the community for some time and have done sterling social, economic and (now) environmental work. Read their call-out for tree sponsorhips below!
There’s no denying the SPEED BUMPS have slowed us down ?, we might as well make the ride scenic ?. We are embarking on a journey to turn Roshnee into a beautiful green oasis and we need your help ??ً. This is a lovely opportunity to earn continuous reward by sponsoring a shady fruit bearing tree.
The benefits of more trees are many some of which are:
- Trees clean the air
- They provide oxygen
- Trees will help cool down our town
- They help save water
- they are beautiful markers of changing seasons.
- Trees will attract more diverse bird and insect life
Most importantly, the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “There is none amongst the Muslims who plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, but is regarded as a charitable gift for him.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 2320)
The trees we are looking at are peach, apricot and pecan nuts. We have sourced bigger, stronger trees at a cost of R200 each. Please sponsor a tree or two and encourage your friends and family to do the same. As a gift, in memory of someone or for yourself trees are indeed a life giving gift to give.
Please deposit funds into the following account
Acc Name : PURPLE BANDAGE NPC
Type of Account : Current Account
Bank Branch Code :570 101
Account No. :11 901 287218
Cash or cheque deposits Only :
A/C NO:408 463 6633
REFERENCE: 287218- TREES
Alternatively, deposits can be made directly at any HBZ Bank Ltd branch
For further info and to send through proof of payment, so we can issue you with a certificate please email email@example.com or 0834588868 SMS/Whatsapp only any of the Purple Bandage team members
Allah (SWT) has created us with very basic, physical needs – drinking, eating, sleeping and intimacy. These needs essentially connects us to our environment, and connects us to the living and non-living elements that surround us. Recognising these needs and this connection helps us to understand and embrace our dependence on our Creator through His creations.
Allah (SWT) has granted us free will. Often, in our state of spiritual weakness, we go against our inner fitrah and transgress the boundaries set down by our Creator. We lie, gossip, cheat and steal, we become unreasonably angry and fight, we become negligent of and harmful to our surroundings. Ramadan is that month where we break from this routine. By raising above our physical needs, we become more aware of who we are. We become more aware of our dependence on and responsibilities to who and what surround us. We become more aware of our dependence on and submission to our Creator.
Many aspects of our fasting in Ramadan reinforces environmentally consciousness. From moderation in consumption to self-discipline, the principles emphasised in Ramadan are in accordance with good spiritual, social, economical and environmental practices. While we try to find a balance between work, food preparations, and prioritising our spiritual activities, we must simultaneously embrace a greener Ramadan.
To remind us of the unbreakable connection between our Deen and our actions, here is a series of theme-based tips for Ramadan – read below!
Be-a-green-soul-searching-tree-hugging-frog-loving-Muslim this Ramadan! (And thereafter!) #GDRamadan
Post One: Don’t waste food!
¤يَا بَنِي آدَمَ خُذُوا زِينَتَكُمْ عِندَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا وَلَا تُسْرِفُوا ۚ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِينَ
“O Children of Adam! wear your adornment at every place of prayer: eat & drink: but be not excessive, for God does not love those who are excessive.” Noble Quraan, Surah Al-Araf, Ch7, V31
An important emphasis that needs to be made in this blessed month is that to waste food is sinful. The “waste” in wasting food is more than the little bit of food that we throw away, but rather is a lot more. The waste includes all the resources that goes in to the growth, preparation and delivery of food from the rural farms to our tables and includes the use of land, water, energy, petrol, packaging, pollution and effort. We have no right to simply throw this food away to rot in landfill sites on the outskirts of our towns!
Food considerations for this Ramadan.
- Eat healthy food that is less processed. Locally-sourced, fresh foods are both good for our internal physical and spiritual environment, as well as the larger physical environment.
- Estimate properly. We tend to make more rather than less in these hungry times, but just think twice before frying another dozen of samoosas (or cut another dozen slices of cucumber #thinkgreen).
- Share the bounties of leftover iftaar goodies with your visiting friends and family and send them off with ‘barakatjies’. (Barakatjies – like a doggy bag, but with more panache.)
- Eat leftover iftaar food for sehri the next day.
- Pack leftover savouries for non-fasting kids for school lunch (less preparation for you in the morning)
- And best yet, plate it up beautifully and distribute it to needy people at the masjid or in your community.
Let us try to be green with the correct intention and may Allah reward us for caring for the resources that he has granted us.
Think deen, think green, think green deen! 🙂
Post Two: Use Water Wisely
¤ أَفَرَأَيْتُمُ الْمَاءَ الَّذِي تَشْرَبُونَ
¤ أَأَنتُمْ أَنزَلْتُمُوهُ مِنَ الْمُزْنِ أَمْ نَحْنُ الْمُنزِلُونَ
¤لَوْ نَشَاءُ جَعَلْنَاهُ أُجَاجًا فَلَوْلَا تَشْكُرُونَ
“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? ”
Quraan, Surah Al-Waaqiah, [56:68-70]
After an entire day of not drinking water (even during these short winter days ), one can’t help but appreciate the importance of water. Allah (SWT) often speaks of the value of this blessed resource that we are dependent on in several places of the Quraan. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) emphasised the saving of water even whilst using it when it is plentiful. It is reported that Prophet (SAW) saw Sa’d (RA) performing wudu he said: “What is this? You are wasting water.” Sa’d replied: “Can there be wastefulness while performing ablution?” The Prophet (SAW) replied: “Yes, even if you perform it in a flowing river.” (Ibn Maja : 1990 : Vol. 1: 147: no.425).
So here are some tips, that if made with good intentions, Allah may reward us for our efforts:
- When rinsing out fruit and vegetables, collect the water in a dish. Use it to wash out dirty dishes, mop the floors or even water the plants.
- Cook with you pot covered where possible. You will use less water and energy.
- When waiting for warm water for wudhu, fill up a bucket with the cold water and water the plants, use it elsewhere or fill up your istinja jug in the toilet.
- Try to see how much water you can save by scooping water from a dish in the old fashioned way instead of using a running tap.
- If the bucket-wudhu proves difficult remember: Say bismillah, don’t leave the tap running especially during masah, and complete your wudhu as quick as possible without talking. Win-win situation, follow the Sunnah way and save water!
- Alternatively, take your wudhu outside and water the backyard vegetables at the same time.
- Many of us are reluctant to bucket shower these day. The easiest way to save water whilst showering – wet you body, close tap, lather soap, and then rinse off quickly.
- After a long period of sitting down and reading quraan, take a walk round your house and make note of any dripping taps and possible pipe leaks. Fix them up asap (or call a plumber)!
May Allah guide our intentions and accept all our good actions this month. Aameen.
Post Three: Use Fuel and Energy Efficiently!
¤فَرَأَيْتُمُ النَّارَ الَّتِي تُورُونَ
¤أَأَنتُمْ أَنشَأْتُمْ شَجَرَتَهَا أَمْ نَحْنُ الْمُنشِئُونَ
“Then tell me about the fire which you kindle. Is it you who made the tree thereof to grow, or are We the Grower?” Noble Quraan, Surah Al-Waqi’ah, Ch56, V71-72
A care-for-the-environment advice series cannot be complete without reminding you to save electricity, energy and fuel. All sources of energy are from Allah (SWT). From the sun that we depend on, the oil from deep within the Earth, the fuelwood that we harvest and the more “man-made” forms of energy like electricity and petrol – everything comes from Allah (SWT). Acknowledging our dependence on these resources is an inherent aspect of Islam, and hence we as Muslims must not be wasteful or excessive in the use of these resources.
Use less petrol this Ramadan!
- Take a walk to the masjid, work, school and to the shops.
- Car pool or offer your neighbours and family members lifts, especially to the masaajid for salaah.
Save energy in the kitchen this Ramadan!
Remember that that by reducing our use of electricity we remove pressure from a winter-strained national grid. Try to use less electricity, especially at iftaar, with the intention of trying to avoid inconvenience from load-shedding to others.
- Remember to switch off the stoves and oven after preparing for suhoor andiftaar, especially since iftaar is during the time when electricity is in demand.
- Cook less of a variety to save on preparation energy costs.
- Ovens use up a lot more than the stove-plates, so attempt to not use the oven everyday often by separating days for fried and baked goods.
- Introduce a Ramadan Food Schedule to help to shorten cooking time in the kitchen so you can spend more time on Ibadat.
- Reduce energy used to defrost foods in the microwave by letting it defrost outside earlier in the day.
- Cook with lids on pots when possible.
Another great idea is to read Quraan and salaah in one room so as to minimise the number of heaters and lights that are switched on at one time. Important to note is the multiple benefits associated with many green tips. Take a walk = healthier for you. Give a lift to the neighbour = build good relationships. Pray together = build family ties. Insha-allah. May Allah (SWT) guide us and accept our efforts. Aameen.
Post Four: Reduce Your Waste
¤كُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا مِن رِّزْقِ اللَّهِ وَلَا تَعْثَوْا فِي الْأَرْضِ مُفْسِدِينَ
“Eat and drink of what Allah has provided, and do not go about the earth spreading ‘Fasād’ (corruption, mischief, disorder).”
Quraan, Surah Al-Baqarah [2:60]
As humanity, we often forget about the impacts of our daily activities on the earth. Our use of products in our homes, schools, businesses, masaajid, and community work has devastating consequences. Plastic and Styrofoam waste (especially single use plastics like shopping bags, straws, food containers, etc.) takes centuries to decompose. They usually end up in our oceans and result in the deaths of marine and land life. Just google it! You will be saddened at the picture of bird chicks, turtles, fish, dolphins, etc. choking and dying with our waste.
- For food – package and store food using reusable containers instead of throwaways.
- Gift gifts to family and friends in reusable and biodegradable packaging.
- In our masaajid and charity drives, food and items need to be packaged using reusable containers and bags. These items can also be reused by those receiving it (e.g. a reusable bag can be used for years by a recipient instead of a plastic bag).
- For clean-up after mass food distribution, encourage community members to assist in cleaning up. Additionally, this can be taken as an opportunity to create work in our job-scarce country.
- Dispose of waste correctly and tidy up!
We need to think about the effects our use and abuse of “modern” products on Allah (SWT)’s world. By using less, using wisely, seeking alternatives, and giving to others sustainably, we will help contribute to a better world for all, Insha’Allah.
Post Five: Connect To Your Creator
¤إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لَآيَاتٍ لِّأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ
“Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding.” Noble Quraan, Surah ‘Ali Ímran, Ch3, V190
The plants, the animals, the insects, the microbes, the landscapes and mountains, the rivers and oceans, the skies, the clouds, the stars, the sun are all the creations of Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) talks of these ayaah, these signs, frequently in the Holy Quraan. Surahs are named after natural elements e.g. An-Nahl, The Bee, Ash-Shams, The Sun, Al-Layl, The Night. Allah (SWT) often takes oaths with various natural elements. Allah (SWT) repeatedly reminds us that these creations are created, owned and controlled by Him, and that they glorify Him and are a means of reflecting His Greatness.
The seerah of our Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is also rich with the relationship he had with creation. His initial reflection on there being only one Creator was rooted in the time he spent contemplating the universe in the deserts. We know that the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was an advocate for not wasting resources, for keeping our environment clean, for planting trees and not cutting them down, for stressing the reward in treating animals kindly and the sin involved in ill-treating them.
Ramadan presents the perfect oppurtunity to connect spiritually with our Creator by contemplating on His creations as well as the chance to gain extra reward by doing “green” actions. Here are some simple green-spirit household ideas:
- Ramadan is the month of the Quran. Identify the #greenverses while reading your daily Quran and ponder on their meanings.
- Children love animals. Get your younger siblings, cousins and family members involved in sharing some of the nature-Ramadan spirit like feeding birds or ducks. Remind them that it pleases Allah (SWT).
- Plant a tree or shrub in your yard. Name it “Our Ramadhaan Tree”. Kids will love it and ask them to guess how big it will be by next Ramadhaan, Insha-Allah. Keep track of its growth throughout the year and InshaAllah the green spirit and Ramadan fever will be kept alive for the year .
- Alternatively, plant pot plants for your kitchen windowsill. Flowers or herbs – something to remind you to be thankful to Allah (SWT) and marvel at His creation.
- Take your ibaadat outside, especially when the fasting tires you. Sit outside, under a tree or near some green vegetation and read Quran.
- Take your tasbeeh and family for a walk in a nearby green space instead of a walk in the mall over the weekend.
- Take out some charity to help some of Allah (SWT)’s creation this month in addition to your routine charity The NSPCA is always in need of food and medical supplies to house stray, abandoned and abused animals. Or donate to an organisation that plants trees in poorer communities.
We should always keep in mind that it is Allah (SWT)’s creation. Caring and nurturing for them pleases him; abusing and being unmindful of his Greatness displeases him. May Allah (SWT) guide us all and be pleased with our actions.