Category Archives: Our Articles

Conscientious (Green) Hajj

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)


 

Abu Barza al-Aslami (رضي الله عنه) said, “I said, ‘Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), show me an action by which I will enter Jannah (paradise)!’ He (ﷺ) said, ‘Remove harmful things from people’s pathways’.” (Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 228, graded Sahih by Al-Albani)

“Give relatives their due, and the needy, and the travellers. And do not squander your wealth wastefully. Indeed, those who squander are the brothers of Satan, and Satan is most ungrateful to his Lord.” Quran (17:26-27)

“Then eat of what Allah has provided for you (which is) Halāl (lawful) and Tayyib (good). And be grateful for the favor of Allah, if it is (indeed) Him that you worship.” Quran (16:114)
 
“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)

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).

 


 

 ”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 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)

 

Green Verses, Ramadan 2016 – Prophets, Nature, Quran

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:

– Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, portrait orientated graphics

– Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, landscape orientated graphics

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:

– Text minimalised: Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, portrait orientated graphics

– Text minimalised: Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, landscape orientated graphics

#ProphetsNatureQuran #Ramadan2016 #Ramadan1437 #GreenVerses

If you are having issues downloading the series, please drop an email to schools@greendeensa.org or research@greendeensa.org, and we will email them through to you, Insha’Allah.

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 0, Introduction

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 0, Introduction

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 1, Prophet Adam AS and his creation from clay

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 1, Prophet Adam AS and his creation from clay

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 2, Prophet Adam AS and Hawwa (Eve) AS's first abode was the gardens of Paradise

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 2, Prophet Adam AS and Hawwa (Eve) AS’s first abode was the gardens of Paradise

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 3, Habil, Qabil, the crows, and the first burial on earth

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 3, Habil, Qabil, the crows, and the first burial on earth

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 4, Prophet Nuh AS and the massive flood

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 4, Prophet Nuh AS and the massive flood

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 5, Prophet Nuh AS, the animals, and the ark

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 5, Prophet Nuh AS, the animals, and the ark

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 6, Prophet Hud AS, the people of Aad, and the roaring, wind storm

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 6, Prophet Hud AS, the people of Aad, and the roaring, wind storm

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 7, Prophet Salih AS, the people of Thamud, and the she-camel

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 7, Prophet Salih AS, the people of Thamud, and the she-camel

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 8, Prophet Ibrahim AS and observing the sun, moon and stars

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 8, Prophet Ibrahim AS and observing the sun, moon and stars

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 9, Prophet Ibrahim AS and being thrown into the huge fire

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 9, Prophet Ibrahim AS and being thrown into the huge fire

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 10, Prophet Ibrahim AS, Prophet Ismail AS, and the ram

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 10, Prophet Ibrahim AS, Prophet Ismail AS, and the ram

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 11, Prophet Yusuf AS, the well, and the wolf

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 11, Prophet Yusuf AS, the well, and the wolf

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 12, Prophet Yusuf AS, the dream, and the agricultural-financial affairs of Eqypt

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 12, Prophet Yusuf AS, the dream, and the agricultural-financial affairs of Eqypt

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 13, Prophet Shuaib AS, the people of Madyan, cheating, and causing corruption on the earth

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 13, Prophet Shuaib AS, the people of Madyan, cheating, and causing corruption on the earth

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 14, Prophet Musa AS, the chest, and the river Nile

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 14, Prophet Musa AS, the chest, and the river Nile

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 15, Prophet Musa AS and helping the two sisters at the watering hole

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 15, Prophet Musa AS and helping the two sisters at the watering hole

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 16, Prophet Musa AS and the series of punishments

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 16, Prophet Musa AS and the series of punishments

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 17, Prophet Musa AS, striking the rock, and the twelve streams

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 17, Prophet Musa AS, striking the rock, and the twelve streams

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 18, Prophet Shamweel AS, King Talut, and the test of not drinking too much water

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 18, Prophet Shamweel AS, King Talut, and the test of not drinking too much water

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 19, Prophet Dawud AS, and praising and glorifying Allah SWT with the mountains and birds

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 19, Prophet Dawud AS, and praising and glorifying Allah SWT with the mountains and birds

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 20, Prophet Dawud AS, Prophet Sulaiman AS, and the case of the livestock and crops

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 20, Prophet Dawud AS, Prophet Sulaiman AS, and the case of the livestock and crops

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 21, Prophet Sulaiman AS, his marching armies, and the ants

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 21, Prophet Sulaiman AS, his marching armies, and the ants

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 22, Prophet Sulaiman AS, Queen Bilqis and the hoopoe bird

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 22, Prophet Sulaiman AS, Queen Bilqis and the hoopoe bird

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 23, Prophet Yunus AS and the big fish

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 23, Prophet Yunus AS and the big fish

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 24, Prophet Ayyub AS and the healing waters

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 24, Prophet Ayyub AS and the healing waters

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 25, Prophet Uzair AS, the long sleep, the preserved fruit, and the resurrected donkey

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 25, Prophet Uzair AS, the long sleep, the preserved fruit, and the resurrected donkey

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 26, Prophet Zakariya AS, Prophet Maryam AS, and the fresh fruits from Allah SWT

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 26, Prophet Zakariya AS, Prophet Maryam AS, and the fresh fruits from Allah SWT

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 27, Maryam AS and the birth of Prophet Isa AS under a palm tree and next to a stream

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 27, Maryam AS and the birth of Prophet Isa AS under a palm tree and next to a stream

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 28, Prophet Muhammad SAW, the first revelation of Quran, and the cave of Hira

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 28, Prophet Muhammad SAW, the first revelation of Quran, and the cave of Hira

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 29, Prophet Muhammad SAW, and the cutting and burning of the orchards of the Banu Nadir

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 29, Prophet Muhammad SAW, and the cutting and burning of the orchards of the Banu Nadir

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 30, Prophet Muhammad SAW and The Pledge of Ridwan under the acacia tree

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 30, Prophet Muhammad SAW and The Pledge of Ridwan under the acacia tree

 

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 31, Khaleefatul Aard, Caretakers of the Earth

Prophets Nature and Quran, Green Deen South Africa, 31, Khaleefatul Aard, Caretakers of the Earth

Green Verses, Ramadan 2015 – A verse per Juz/Para

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


 

Quran, ch2, v11

Juz 1: Do not cause mischief on this earth… #greenverses #quran #GDRamadan #greenramadan

 

Quran, ch2, v164

Juz 2: Signs for people of understanding…

 

Quran, ch2, v261

Juz 3: Allah SWT draws a beautiful comparison between how much we spend in His way (i.e. on the poor and needy, on our relatives, on our friends, etc) and the reward we will receive in return, with how one single seed sown gives a multiplied produce of 700 times more seed. May Allah SWT accept all our acts of goodness we do and reward us many, more times over in return, Aameen.

 

Quran, ch3, v190-191

Juz 4: A true #greendeen favourite! And inshaAllah appropriate to all who read our posts!

 

Quran, ch4, v43

Juz 5: So, if we pollute all our waters and dirty the earth with our waste…how will we pray?

 

Quran, ch5, v31

Juz 6: The first burial of our modern human species was taught to us by Allah SWT through a crow! The first murder was committed by Qabil – one of the sons of Adam (AS). Qabil (Cain) was upset that he’s other brother Habil (Abel) got to marry he’s prettier twin sister while he had to marry Habil’s less prettier twin. Angry and resentful, Qabil struck Habil and killed him. Afterwards, Qabil felt ashamed of having murdered his brother and did not know what to do with the body. Allah SWT sent down a pair of crows (medium sized black birds) who fought with each other. The one killed the other and scratched a hole in the earth in which he buried the dead bird and covered it was sand. Qabil followed this example and buried his brother. May Allah SWT never make us of those who kill unjustly, Aameen.

 

Quran, ch6, v59

Juz 7: Allah SWT is the All Knowing, the All Aware…

 

Quran, ch7, v40

Juz 8: Stern warning – do not abuse the aayaat of Allah SWT! Aayaat in our Quraan, aayaat within us, aayaat in the world around us!

 

Quran, ch7, v100

Juz 9: May Allah SWT never make us of those who are abusers of our inheritance, that is, the earth and all that it contains. May our Sustainer never make us of those who spoil this inheritance that we will InshaAllah pass on to the following generations of mankind. And may our Creator never make us of those who are deaf to the beauty and power of His wonderous creations that surrounds us and continously gives joy to our hearts!

 

Quran, ch9, v89

Juz 10: Allah SWT has chosen the best and final destination for us in the hereafter to be “gardens beneath which rivers flow”. SubhanAllah. Do we take the time out of our busy days to take a deep breath in the gardens of this earth? Are we rejuvenating ourselves by sitting and contemplating as we see rivers flow by to be better human beings in the service of our creator? Can we truly even begin to imagine our Jannah if we don’t appreciate and understand the creations of our Creator? May Allah SWT be pleased with our actions in the service of Him and His creations, and may He bless us all with a place in the gardens of paradise.

 

Quran, ch10,v6

Juz 11: Signs that are all around us…

 

Quran, ch11, v6

Juz 12: Allah SWT has taken it upon Himself to provide sustenance (rizq) to all creatures in the lands, skies and waters, with this rizq being more for some than for others…

 

Quran, ch13, v3

Juz 13: Mountains, rivers and earth

 

Quran, ch16, v79

Juz 14: Birds in the sky are a sign of Allah SWT!

 

Quran, ch17, v43

Juz 15: We often forget that everything is in constant glorification of our Creator. The animate consciously glorifies Allah SWT. The inanimate glorifies Allah SWT by simply being the evidence of the true magnificence of Allah, the exalted. Sadly, we humans are “deaf” to this constant glorification of our Creator. The question we need to ask ourselves is…are we truly respecting our Creator by abusing that which glorifies Him? How would you feel if someone hurt the person who always said good things about you? Or how would you feel if someone threw dirt on the trophy that shows you were the best in academics or sports? May Allah SWT forgive us and give us the ability to “hear” and understand how the entire universe is in constant glorification of Him! Aameen.

 

Quran, ch20, v49-50

Juz 16: When Allah SWT draws our attention to Him in the Quraan, or when the Prophets (AS) of the past remind their people of Allah SWT, it is frequently through a description of Allah SWT as the originator, sustainer and controller of the universe and all that it contains. The guidance that Moosa AS is telling Firaun of in this verse is not the guidance we commonly associate with beings of intellect i.e. the guidance in humans and Jinn. Rather, it is more likely referring to the guidance that Allah SWT has given to non-intellectual beings to fulfil the purpose they were created for. The air, water and earth to support life, the fire as a source of energy, the bees to make honey, the animals to hunt and graze, etc. (Ma’ariful Qur’an)

 

Quran, ch21, v79

Juz 17: Dawood AS – the prophet that glorified our Creator along with other creations… Prophet Dawood (David) was a just and righteous ruler who brought about peace and prosperity among his people. He was honoured by Allah SWT to be a Messenger and delivered Allah SWT’s messages to the people through the precious gift of his melodious voice. When he recited the Zaboor it was as if the rest of creation chanted with him! They messages that Dawood AS delivered are famous and well remembered. They are known in the Bible as the “Psalms or Songs of David”.

 

Quran, ch24, v35

Juz 18: “The Verse of Light” contains a beautiful parable of the Light of Allah SWT. Its plain meaning is enough to mystify the reader, while its layers upon layers of spiritual meaning draws the deeper thinker into mysteries of delight. The physical light of this world is but a reflection of the true Light that is Allah SWT. We can only begin to comprehend Allah SWT by our limited senses, and the purest thing we can comprehend is light. Knowing this, we accept that the perfect Light of Allah SWT has none of the physical defections of the light that we see and has all the properties of “illumination” and “empowerment” far beyond the light that we see. A niche is a little recess that is found in the wall of a room (before we started using electricity) and in which lamps are placed. A niche is usually high up in the wall and thus allows the lamp, which gives of the light, to better shine down on the room and its contents below. The glass that makes up the outside of the lamp is transparent but glows white like star when the lamp is lit. The oil is the source of light, and olive oil is the best of oils. An olive tree that is neither of the East nor of the West could possibly mean that the tree is not limited to any single particular geographical location. It could also mean that the oil is the best of oils coming from a tree that receives full sunlight and not only receiving morning (eastern) nor only afternoon (western) sunlight. Allah SWT knows best. Allah SWT ends this verse by saying that He choses to guide with His Light who He wants to guide, and it is He who is all-knowing of everything. May Allah SWT make us of those who guided by His Light and of those who can have a taste of the beauty of this verse, Aameen.

 

Quran, ch25, v48

Juz 19: A simple reminder. It is Allah SWT who causes the winds to blow that are responsible for the formation and movement of clouds. It is Allah SWT who causes the rain to fall from these clouds, thus bringing down water from the sky. And it is this water that purifies and sustains the lands, the creatures and us. Let us be grateful for this Mercy upon us and let us not be of those who waste and pollute this precious resource of water, Aameen. Note: Often in the Quraan, when speaking of Himself, Allah SWT makes use of the “Royal Plural” (e.g. “We”) as a means of stressing His all-encompassing nature among other things.

 

Quran, ch27, v60

Juz 20: n the Noble Quraan, Allah SWT often draws our attention to the order, beauty and grandeur of the universe. Can we really think that there are multiple, conflicting gods or a weaker god besides the One True God? If we cannot even cause a tree to grow, how can we not recognise and not submit to the One True God?

 

Quran, ch30, v41

Juz 21: ‘Fasād is translated as evil, corruption, plight and calamities. This includes and is not limited to famine, epidemic diseases, frequency of the incidents of fires, drowning, lack of Allah’s blessing in everything, and reduction in profits and increases in losses in businesses… [Ma’ariful Qur’an] We need to sit back and self-reflect. Wars, land degradation, air pollution, water shortages, waste issues, human and animal rights violations, famine, human induced climate change…are we collectively the cause of it? Are we so wrapped up in chasing our own interests in this world that be have forgotten our roles as being leaders and caretakers of this Earth and all its creations? Have we forgotten that in order to attain success in the Hereafter we need to be accountable for all aspects of our lives in this world? Be an earthkeeper…even if it means only saving the life of a single trapped ant today… May Allah SWT protect us and the other creations of this earth from Fasād, Aameen.

 

Quran, ch33, v72

Juz 22: As custodians of this great Amānah we need to impress our Lord and fulfill the responsibility of caring for the world and its contents. This Amānah is so great that the heavens, earth and mountains declined to bear it for fear of failing! May Allah SWT makes us of those who are capable of upholding this Amānah that we have undertaken to bear, aameen.

 

Quran, ch39, v21

Juz 23: Rain, sky , rivers, crops

 

Quran, ch40, V57

Juz 24: The heavens and the earth includes all creations – from the distant galaxies to the tiny fleas on the stray cat that visits your backyard. We are but a tiny part of creation. Why are we so egocentric?

 

Quran, ch41, v53

Juz 25: If one looks at the creatures and creations of the whole universe, big and small, in the skies, on the land, in the water, they all bear witness not only to the existence of Allah Ta’ālā, but also to His Knowledge, His all-encompassing authority, and to His being One and unique. If one looks even nearer, at one’s own self, at each organ and limb, at the fine and fragile mechanisms and systems functioning within oneself, it simply leaves one in awe of Allah Ta’ālā.

 

Quran, ch47,v15

Juz 26: Subhanallah! The Gardens of Paradise…a true #GreenDeen dream! Unpolluted rivers of water…milk that never spoils…wine that is sweet to taste and does not intoxicate…honey that does not have to be cleaned and processed…and fruits of all kinds! May Allah SWT make us all of those who are fortunate to live in the Gardens of Paradise in the Hereafter, Aameen.

 

Quran, ch55, v6

Juz 27: The word “najm” may collectively refer to stars or to herbs (which are non-woody plants e.g. grass, dandelions, spinach, etc.) while “shajar” refers to woody plants with stems (trees, shrubs, etc.). The Sajdah (prostration) made by these elements differs from the sajdah made by those that have free will. We (humans, jinn) have the choice to submit or not. The submission of other elements, like the air, water, animals, plants, clouds, stars, black holes etc., is inherent in their nature. They fulfil their duties to their Creator in playing their roles in the universe without defecting. Subhanallah.

 

Quran, ch59, v5

Juz 28: Only once in his lifetime, whether in war or in peace, did the Prophet Muhammad SAW ever damage trees or any other part of nature without a direct need to use them. This verse [59:5] from the Quraan speaks of this exception. After the Battle of Uhud (3AH, 625AD), a matter arose where a companion of the Prophet Muhammad SAW mistakenly killed two men (after witnessing 70 fellow Muslims being murdered) and blood money had to be paid to the neighbouring tribe to which the two men had belonged to. The Prophet Muhammad SAW started to collect the money from both Muslims and non-Muslim residents of Madinah. This was according to the clauses of the Madinah Charter (one of the first written unilateral treaties) signed by the different parties of the city. Sadly the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadeer, after signing the treaty two years prior to this incident, and subsequently promising to pay their share of the blood money in this incident, attempted to assassinate the Prophet Muhammad SAW. Following this treachery, the Prophet Muhammad SAW offered them the option of evacuating the city. They refused and the only means of coaxing them to leave their well-stocked, heavily-fortified fortresses was to start burning their orchards. This situation was so exceptional that revelation was sent down to make clear mention of it and that the Muslims were granted special permission in this serious case. Never again would the Prophet Muhammad SAW harm the creation and he would repeatedly speak to his companions not to harm or ill-treat any creation.

 

Quran, ch67, v15

Juz 29: As humans, we have been given the ability and the permission to use the earth and its resources to seek our provision beyond that which other creatures are able to do. In this verse, Allah SWT warns us that even though we have been given this ability and permission, we must not be neglectful of death and the life-after-death. This world is a temporary abode. We will return to our Creator and be held accountable for all the good and evil that we did. We are often warned in the Quraan not to get caught up in chasing the worldly adornments of this life. It’s precisely this transgression that has resulted in a disconnect from each other and from our environment. It is this consumerism attitude that is largely responsible for the continued violation of social, economical and environmental rights across the globe. Seek your provision, but remember your return is to your Rabb.

 

Quran, ch113, v1-3

Juz 30: Despite there being many #greenverses in the last juz of the Quraan, it is simply befitting to end on a surah familiar to all of us – Surah Al-Falaq, The Break of Dawn. This surah, alongside the last Surah of the Quraan (Surah An-Nas), was revealed after the Prophet Muhammad SAW fell ill from being a victim of witchcraft. Surah Al-Falaq in particular tells us to seek Divine protection against worldy calamities, while Surah An-Nas tells us to seek Divine protection against calamities in the hereafter. Surah Al-Falaq is rich with the symbolism of daybreak and darkness. It is Allah SWT that causes the sun to rise, breaking the night, and thus vanquishing the evils and difficulties that are usually associated with darkness. It is Allah, Rabb (Lord) of the Daybreak, with whom we seek refuge from the “sharr” (evil) that He has created – whether this evil comes directly from mankind, or is a result of calamities from other creatures and creations in our world and universe.

GMOs, Islam, Monsanto and South Africa

March Against Monsanto 31. What are GMOs?

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:

  1. selective breeding of plants and animals. This has been practiced in various forms since the earliest days of our ancestral farmers.
  2. 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

March Against Monsanto 23. So, what does Islam have to say about GMOs?

Dealing with GMOs in Islam is no simple matter. There are many aspects to consider, some of which are:

  1. 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)?
  2. Are there animal rights violations occurring in the testing and production of these GMOs?
  3. Are these GMOs halal? Are these GMOs tayyib (pure and wholesome) for human health in the long term?
  4. What about the impacts of using these on other microbes, plants, animals and the environment in general?
  5. 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?
  6. 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.aspxhttp://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).

3. The African Centre for Biodiverstiy website.

4. The Monsanto website.

5. The South African Food Sovereignty Campaign website.

March Against Monsanto

 

Guiding Waters: Water for people, Water by People

“We (Allah) created from water every living thing.” (Quran, 21:30)

We often forget how connected we are as people to each other. The food that we eat has passed through countless hands. The clothes that we wear are made by people in distant lands. The homes that we live in are built through the labour of many workers. The air that we breathe in has been breathed in by so many others. And, the water that we need for survival has been touched by the actions of so many people. This water that comes out of our taps has flowed through lands lived on by others. It has flowed into rivers and dams used by others. It has been treated and purified by others. It comes to us through reservoirs and piping that have been installed and are maintained by others. And after we use this water, it leaves our homes through the sewers to enter our rivers and dams. This used water is cleaned by others and will then be used by others.

Green Deen Sa, National Water Week, Guiding Waters

South Africa is astonishingly rich in many natural resources. However, when it comes to water, we do not have much. Our country is one of the 20 driest countries on this planet, receiving an average rainfall of less than 500 mm/year in wetter regions and a mere 200 mm/year in the drier regions of our country. Rain does not always fall when and where it is needed the most. Many areas that have high demands for water receive less water than what they need. The injustices of apartheid have left about 15 million people without a safe water supply and over 20 million without adequate sanitation services. While government managed to address these backlogs to some extent, there are still many areas without adequate water supply and sanitation. Continued pollution of our water ways, our failing infrastructure, climate change and excessive use in our homes, businesses, industries and on our farms threaten our water security. The ever increasing demand for water and decreasing water quality continue to make careful water management a priority in our country. Yet, we continue to waste water faster than it can be replenished. Water is life and our fresh water systems in South Africa are in crisis!

“And He (Allah) is the One who created man from water, then made of him relations created by lineage and relations created by marriage.” (Quran, 25:54)

As Muslims, we must recognise that water is a blessing and mercy from Allah SWT. We need to cherish water and use it responsibly. Mankind, plants and animals need water for survival. Allah SWT emphasises the value of water and reminds us to be thankful of water in several places in the Quran. With water, Allah SWT gives life to the dry earth and beautifies the land. Islam revolves around the use of water for essential acts of worship like istinjaa, wudhu and ghusl. The Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad SAW teaches us some important basic lessons when it comes to using and appreciating water. In summary, we need to use water wisely, not pollute it, and help provide water to other people and animals.

Some examples of water lessons that we can draw from the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad SAW are:

  1. Do not waste water when using it, even if there is enough!
    • The Messenger of Allah SAW passed by Sa’d when he was performing ablution, and he said: “What is this extravagance?” Sa’d asked: “Can there be any extravagance in ablution?” The Messenger of Allah replied: “Yes, even if you are on the bank of a flowing river.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)
  2. Do not pollute the waterways!
    • Narrated Mu’adh: He said: “Beware of three things that cause you to be cursed: relieving yourself at the watering places, on the roadbeds and in the shades.” ( Sunan Abu Dawud)
  3. If you have extra water, share it!
    • It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah SAW said: “Three things cannot be denied to anyone: water, pasture and fire.” (Ibn Majah)
    • It is narrated by Abu Hurairaa that Prophet Muhammad SAW had said that among the three types of people whom Allah will neither talk to, nor look at, on the Day of Resurrection, is a man who withholds water after already seeing to his own needs. Allah SWT will say to him, “Today I will withhold My Grace from you as you withheld the superfluity of what you had not created.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
    • Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar: Allah’s Messenger SAW said, “A lady was punished because of a cat which she had imprisoned till it died. She entered the (Hell) Fire because of it, for she neither gave it food nor water as she had imprisoned it, nor set it free to eat from the vermin of the earth.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
  4. The best charity is giving water to drink and it is a means of seeking forgiveness!
    • It was narrated that Sa’d bin ‘Ubadah said:”I said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, my mother has died; shall I give in charity on her behalf?’ He said: ‘Yes.’ I said: ‘What kind of charity is best?’ He said: ‘Providing drinking water.'” (Sunan an-Nasa’i)
    • Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger SAW as saying: There was a dog moving around a well whom thirst would have killed. Suddenly a prostitute from the prostitutes of Bani Isra’il happened to see it and she drew water in her shoe and made it drink, and she was pardoned because of this. (Sahih Muslim)
    • Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger SAW as saying: A person suffered from intense thirst while on a journey, when he found a well. He climbed down into it and drank (water) and then came out and saw a dog lolling its tongue on account of thirst and eating the moistened earth. The person said: This dog has suffered from thirst as I had suffered from it. He climbed down into the well, filled his shoe with water, then caught it in his mouth until he climbed up and made the dog drink it. So Allah appreciated this act of his and pardoned him. Then (the Companions around him) said: Allah’s Messenger, is there for us a reward even for (serving) such animals? He said: Yes, there is a reward for service to every living animal. (Sahih Muslim)

The environment needs to be conserved as a whole to care for our water resources. If we pollute our lands and air, we pollute our water systems and destroy the ecosystems that keep our water systems healthy. The water that we waste and pollute as individuals, is water stolen from other people, animals and plants. The water that we fail to conserve, is water stolen from future generations. As Muslim we have the duty to conserve and protect this resource. It is a matter of concern that our disregard for water, our pollution and our wastefulness are depriving human and non-human creatures of water. We need to proactively and continuously care and act for water as individuals, communities and as a global society. We need to change our habits in our homes, businesses, schools, madressahs and masaajid. And we need to invest in sustaining our water resources for all into the future.

May Allah SWT guide our actions when it comes to caring for water when we play, pray and work. And may He make these actions as a means of reward and forgiveness. Aameen. #guidingwaters

All About Cloth Nappies

Cloth nappies are akin to what our parents and grandparents used before disposables became popular, but these days they are far from those towelling squares that we tend to associate with cloth nappies. Those square folded nappies are still around if you prefer to go old school, but like many things that have been revolutionized, newer cloth nappies have also been redesigned and has evolved into a ready to go and easy to use item of clothing that has become an obsession to many. Now, they come in a variety of styles, (which is an article on its own and I cannot pretend to be fully knowledgeable on all of them,) fabrics, prints and even brands. Most cloth nappies function very much like a disposable with the added benefit of it being washable and reusable.

Cloth Diapers All about cloth nappies pic 1

To most, the idea of nappies being washable and reusable sounds like a nightmare, but like our clothes, socks and even underwear, cloth nappies don’t require much additional work other than an extra load of laundry.

How does it work?

My nappy routine involves changing my son like one usually would, then putting the soiled nappy into a nappy bucket that has a mesh drawstring bag. Every second day or if the bucket is full, I pull out the drawstring bag and drop it into the washing machine. I do a pre-rinse to rinse out the wee and then I either wash the nappies on its own or if I need to, fill up the machine with more laundry and run a regular wash cycle with detergent, without using fabric softener. Thereafter you have the wonderful display of a washing line filled with cute, clean and fresh fluff (as it is fondly called).

Cloth Diapers All about cloth nappies pic 2

Then there’s always the revolted question, “What do you do with the poop?” Exactly what everyone else does with poop, flush it down the toilet. With the aid of a biodegradable and flushable bamboo liner that’s placed in the nappy, wee passes through the liner and catches any solids so you can just turn your nappy upside down and drop it into the loo. Admittedly, on occasion baby poo has missed the liner, but a lovely invention that has been dubbed a nappy sprayer, aka a handheld bidet or I like to call it an istinjaa hose, any rogue excrement can be showered off directly into the toilet. As much as you might think it is, I promise you, it’s nowhere near as gross as being vomited on.

Why did I choose to use cloth nappies?

Long before I was pregnant with my son, I started researching alternatives to disposable nappies purely with the intention of trying to do my bit in saving the environment. Some may argue that washing nappies would be using more water, but there are ways to offset the extra load’s water by reducing your consumption elsewhere, such as shorter showers and even the type of washing machine you use. That said, I have learnt that it actually uses about 34 litres of water to make one disposable nappy and after it ends up in a landfill, it could take between 250 to 500 years to decompose. This was the catalyst to the start of my journey of going green and me realising that I need to be more conscious of my impact on the environment in many aspects of my life. I still have a long way to go though and my intention with using cloth nappies is to raise and teach my son the importance of being mindful of this as well.

What does it cost?

Depending on what brand and type of nappy, the price may put many parents off, but once you’re set, the saving, which is a bonus, will become evident after a few months of not buying disposable nappies, if you choose to go full time. If you don’t have the cash available for the initial start up cost of a cloth nappy stash big enough to use full time, you could choose to do cloth part time. Then, over a few months add as it suits your budget with types you like best until your stash is large enough to stop using disposables. A word of warning though, with the huge variety of options, collecting cloth nappies can be become addictive.

My advice?

The thought of giving up the convenience of disposables completely could be daunting for many parents, old and new. So if you’re interested in attempting cloth nappies but still a little apprehensive, you don’t have to commit to doing it full time to start making a positive change on the environment. With the right intention and every soiled cloth nappy sitting in it’s nappy bucket, there’s one less disposable filling up a landfill and the beginning to a better future for our children and selves. 

Nielfa Cassiem-Carelse is a wife, stay-at-home mom, freelance graphic and book designer, living between Cape Town, RSA and Dammam, KSA. She loves drinking tea and iced coffee, cuddling cats and is affectionately called a hippie. Can be found lurking on social media platforms @nielfahanifa.

 

Cloth Diapers All about cloth nappies pic 3

Green Deen South Africa at the Living Faith Camp, Brits, 2015

– FH Ragie, 2015-12-17

Over the past weekend I was gifted the opportunity of mentoring youth at the Living Faith Camp that took place in Brits. These camps are hosted by the Living Faith Project (http://www.livingfaithproject.org/) and are aimed at reviving faith in the hearts and minds of younger Muslims by equipping them with the understanding of Islam. The camp makes use of mentorship models, workshops and fun activities that are all run on the clock of salaah in Jamaah (congregation), dhikr sessions and tasty meals. It was a space to learn, to form bonds of friendship, to be inspired, and to be at peace at being a Muslim – for both campers and mentors. Self-identity workshops, social activism sessions, eating watermelon, dhikr sessions, bonfire reflections, and hearing Athaan in the middle of the bush on a night hike, were just some of the activities at this camp that have left me humbled and energised.

Living Faith Camp 2015 Brits Photos Green Deen SA 1
I, on behalf of Green Deen South Africa, ran a session that encouraged the campers (and mentors) to get thinking green. The first part of the session was a drawing exercise. With a few clippings of branches, leaves and flowers, and some tree seeds and a few rocks, campers and mentors were asked to be observant of nature and Allah’s creations by drawing them. You would be surprised how crayons turn us all into excited kids!

Living Faith Camp 2015 Brits Photos Green Deen SA 2
The second part of the workshop consisted of brainstorming around the concept of Green Masaajid and Madressahs in South Africa. The groups of campers, who were already divided according to age and gender, were first asked to role play different people on their masaajid committees: Chairperson, Imam/Islamic Scholar, Teacher, Parent, Youth, Caretaker, Treasurer- Finance, Community member and Adviser. This was aimed at exposing them to the difficulties of decision making as well as making them aware on how they need to consider the viewpoints of everyone in their community. Each group was tasked with one of six themes: Water, Energy & Transport, Plants & Animals, Waste & Recycling, Decoration & Design, Tarbiyyah (Education) & Community Empowerment.
It really was an inspiring workshop. May Allah SWT bless both the mentors and campers for their enthusiasm for this rather difficult task. Their artwork was beautiful! Their team spirit was energizing! And their presentations were intelligent, creative and professional! I really would like to thank the camp organisers (who do this without receiveing any rumenration), the mentors and the campers. May Allah SWT bless you all and take you from strength to strength. May Allah SWT make the Living Faith Project continue growing so that it can serve our Muslim girls and boys in South Africa.

As one of the helping staff in the kitchen said – we came, we prayed (in Jamaah) and the rains came!

If you would like to:

  • have a look at the Green Massajid workshop plan, please feel to drop us an email on info@greendeensa.org.
  • learn more about the Living Faith project including their different sessions hosted by mentors, please drop them an email on team@livingfaithproject.org. Their camps consists of spiritual building (salaah, dhikr, quraan, reflections), practical education sessions (self-identity, arts, social activism, history) and fun and games.

Living Faith Camp 2015 Brits Photos Green Deen SA 3

 

Guiding Waters: A Reading from Ma’ariful Qur’an (post 2.2)

Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and earth, and the alternation of the night and the day, and the ships which sail through the sea with that which benefits people, and what Allah has sent down from the heavens of rain, giving life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness and dispersing therein every moving creature, and directing of the winds and the clouds controlled between the heaven and the earth are signs for a people who use reason (Quran, 2:164).

In the Quran, Allah SWT speaks of water and other associated natural systems a number of times. For example, the noun mā (مَآء), meaning water, occurs 63 times in the Quran. In addition to this, Allah SWT speaks of the springs, rivers, oceans, the clouds, the storms and the water that all creatures drink. Allah SWT describes water as part of His āyāt, His signs. Those who recognise and accept these signs as those who believe in Tauhīd and do not associate partners with Allah (2:22,27:60). They are those who use their reason and understanding (2:164, 13:4, 39:21). They are those who give thought (10:24), who listen (16:65) and who see (32:27,35:27). They are those who are patient and who are grateful (31:31). As the servants of our Creator, we rejoice when it rains (30:48) and derive joy from the gardens that grow from these rains (27:60).

To convey a feeling of the basic spirituality of water in Islam, we have decided to share this beautiful reading from Mufti Muhammad Shafi’s Ma’ariful Qur’ān. This reading comes from Mufti’s commentary on verse 164, Surah Al-Baqarah of the Quran. Here he reminds us that the creations are the signs of Allah SWT. He speaks of the ships on the oceans, the winds that blow, the molecular nature of water, the marvel of rain, and the natural storage of water in ice, rivers, dams and lakes for the use of all creations. Mufti’s comentary makes us pause. Have we truly studied these natural signs in detail? Do we study the science behind these signs and strengthen our faith? Do we care for and protect these signs of our Creator as we would care for our own treasures? Do we think of our needs only or do we consider our duty to care for water as a global responsibility?

Guiding Waters, Quran, ch2, v164“Now in Verse 164, there is as series of signs and proofs in support of the premises that Allah Almighty is really One. Stated simply, these can be grasped by the learned and the ignorant alike. How can one bypass the wonder of the creation of the heavens and the earth? Who can ignore the constant alternation of the night and the day? The message is simple and clear. Their origination and their perpetuity is the work of His perfect power alone and that there is absolutely no being other than Him who can take that credit.

Similarly, the movement of boats on the surface of waters is a formidable indicator of Allah’s power which gave water, a substance so liquid and fluid, the property of lifting on its back ships which carry tons and tons of weight all the way from the East to the West. Then, there is the movement of winds which Allah harnesses into the service of man and His wisdom, keeps changing their direction. These are great signs; they tell us that they were created and operated by supreme being, the One who is All-Knowing, All-Aware, All-Wise. If the substance of water was not given a state in which the molecules move freely among themselves while remaining in one mass, a functional fluidity in other words, all this maritime activity would not be there. Even if this fluidity of sea-surface was there, help from winds was still needed in order to cover all those thousands of nautical miles across the seas of the world. The Holy Quran has summarised the subject by saying:

If He wills, He can still the winds, then, ships shall remain standing on the back of the seas (Quran, 42:33).

The use of the expression “with what benefits men” points out to the countless benefits that accrue to human beings when they mutually trade their goods through sea freighters. It is interesting to keep in mind the variations these benefits take from country to country and from age to age.

Then comes the marvel of water descending from the sky, drop by drop, released in a measure and manner that it hurts nothing. If it always came in the form of a flood, nothing would have survived, man or animal or things. Then, the raining of water is not all; it is the storage of water on earth that baffles the human ingenuity. Risking a simplicity, let us imagine if everyone was asked to store for personal use a quota of water for 6 months, how would everyone manage that? Even if such an impossible storage was somehow done, how could it be made to remain potable and hygienic all this time? Allah Almighty in His infinite mercy, took care of this to. The Holy Quran say:

Then We made water stay in the earth, although, We were capable of letting it flow away (Quran, 23:18).

But, nature did not allow this to happen. For the inhabitants of the earth, human and animal, water was stored in ponds and lakes openly. Then, the same water was lowered into the earth under the mountains and valleys in the form of an unsensed network of hidden pipelines of water accessible to everyone taking the trouble of digging and finding water. Further still, is it not that a huge sea of ice was stored out on top of the mountain ranges which is secure against spoilage and melts out slowly reaching all over the world through nature’s own water lines.”

[Sourced from: Ma’ariful Qur’ān (completed in the 1970s) by Mufti Muhammad Shafi’s, pages 415-416, Volume 1, English Translation.]

May Allah SWT grant us all the understanding. May Allah SWT give us the ability to be true Khaleefa upon this Earth, and to be true caretakers of water, now and in the future, Aameen

Guiding Waters: A message that flows through the Quran (post 2.1)

Our current water crisis in South Africa is not a simple affair. Rather, it is the combined result of drought, high temperatures, poor service delivery, failing infrastructure, lack of nature conservation, insufficient legal implementation and poor public behaviour. Despite our recent rains (shukr-alḥamdulillāh), we are still being asked to save water. We often hear of scientific concepts like El Niño, climate change and long-term seasonal cycles. The media often blames the politics and incapacity of our national government and our local municipalities.  During these stormy times, we need to take a step back and ask ourselves – what does water mean to us? Whether it is a flood, a drought, or even when there is no water crisis, what does water mean to us as Muslims?Guiding Waters, A message that flows through the Quran, Green Deen South Africa

In general, our response as the Muslim community to the water crisis has been reactive. Only when our selfish uses and abuses of water are affected, do we start speaking about water issues. Only when our very basic needs of cleaning, bathing and drinking water are threatened, do we start implementing saving strategies. Only when we are forced to be aware of the threats to our agricultural industry, do we start praying for water. If we dive just a bit deeper, we will realise that we have forgotten what water means to us. We have forgotten to pray for water and act for water as part of our daily lives − as individuals and as communities, both in the present and for the future.

Our lack of pro-activity when it comes to water and other environmental issues stems from our disconnection with the creations of Allah SWT. We have lost this spiritual connection with our Creator through His creations. We have forgotten our responsibilities as khaleefa (stewards) of this Earth (Quran, 6:165).

The #GuidingWaters journey begins with the guiding booking to all mankind, the Quran. The meaning of water to humans and the rest of creation as explained in the Quran is profound. Allah SWT repeatedly reminds us to think deeply of this aayat (proof, evidence, miracle) of water.

The meaning of water extends beyond a few verses that are applicable to only certain events in our life. Rather, the Quran encapsulates what water means to us physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. Our connection to water starts from the very beginning of creation and extends through the ages to the Day of Qiyamaah (Resurrection) and the hereafter. Water is often an featured as a subject in the lives of the Prophets AS. We are reminded to consider the rain, springs, rivers and seas within an ecological framework of understanding. We understand our relationship with water through the Quranic verses that describes water as a major constituent of our bodies, as critical for our survival, and necessary for our daily prayers.

The directions and lessons that we draw from the Quran on water are intensely powerful. We speak of the miracle of the Quran and how it influences our lives, but it seems like we are referring to a mirage and as soon as we approach our claims, they hold no water (Quran, 24:39).

How is it that this deep contemplation of water is missing from our lives? Let us begin to guide our #GuidingWaters journey with the guidance from the Quran, in the same way that rivers are meant to guide us on this Earth.

And He has cast into the earth firmly set mountains, lest it shift with you, and [made] rivers and paths, that you may be guided (Quran, 16:15).

May Allah SWT guide us all like how the rivers guide us on earth, Aameen. Please do keep an eye out for our following posts!

Guiding Waters: An Introduction (post 1)

In the name of Allah SWT, the Creator, the Controller, and The Cherisher of all the worlds and all that they contain. Rab-ul-Alamīn.

Setting the Scene

Guiding Waters, Introduction, Green Deen South AfricaSince the inception of Green Deen South Africa  in 2013 by a handful of university students, our task has been simple —revive and remind our Muslim community of the environmental consciousness and stewardship that is spiritually inherent in Islam. We had launched through the national MSA Union and associated campus MSAs, and have since grown into a separate entity with the guidance of Allah SWT and through the voluntary assistance of everyone on our team and on our extended Green Deen network. As an organisation and as a movement, Green Deen South Africa puts the focus on sound Islamic scholarship and sound science.

We are becoming the networking, educating, empowering and activating environmental organisation that serves the needs of the South African Muslim community in service of our Creator and all of His creatures and creations.

The community responds: #drought, #savewater, #prayforrain

It truly has been inspiring to see the various ulema organisations, Muslim media powerhouses and various individuals heed the current water crisis in South Africa and respond. Overnight, our phones have been flooded with verses from the Quraan, duas and saving-water posters that have been made by almost every local Islamic organisation. WhatsApp broadcasts have been circulating with water facts and saving tips. Salaatul Istisqaa (prayers that ask Allah SWT to bestow rain) call-outs have been made by energetic youth*, local masaajid and our ulema councils. Indeed the list of towns participating in the Salaatul Istisqaa has been steadily building up. There has been Jumuah pre-khutbah talks and radio shows on water-and-Islam issues.

All in all, it has been a watery good time.

*(a #greendeen shout-out to the youth of Lenasia for their Salaatul Istisqaa callout. The callout was not according to the prescribed method that encourages mass community involvement. However, it was encouraging to know that our youth care and get worried when communications in the community are delayed).

#guidingwaters

Green Deen South Africa has been speaking about environmental issues, including water, in light of the Islamic teachings for over some time already (though our current pro-bono status makes it difficult to provide the level service that is needed by the community of South Africa). Through our regular online media activity, we often cover aspects of water scarcity in our country. The environment needs to be conserved as a whole to care for our water resources i.e. polluted lands and polluted air means polluted water systems. Climate change is threatening our country’s (and world’s) water supply. Poor management and failing infrastructure in our towns, industries and homes are responsible for daily water wastage. We have too few qualified and capable water caretakers (engineers, scientists, teachers, plumbers, etc). We lack active citizenship.

We need to proactively and continuously care and act for water as individuals, communities and as a global society. First and foremost, we need to guide and power our actions with the spirituality, understanding and responsibility of water that are embedded in Islam.

The recent drought, increased awareness and accompanying problems in our communities has become a time for deep-pool thinking for many at Green Deen South Africa. Our culture as an organisation is to emphasise the long-term, sustainable changes that we need to make, especially at times of crisis.

We are taking this time of drought to do a reality check. A serious reality check.

#guidingwaters is a series that we will be developing in real time over the course of the following weeks InshaAllah. With the help and mercy of Allah SWT we are trying to redirect the current energetic discussions in our communities.

We would like to guide the waters of interest in our communities into long term commitment to change. We would like to encourage systems-level thinking and action that accompanies our prayers, charity, spiritual rejuvenation and behaviour rectification, InshaAllah.

This #guidingwaters journey will require the input of our South African community. To get us started on this journey, we have dug out a slightly old set of resources for our younger children to learn from. We hope that they enjoy it!

Download as a pdf:

 

Green Deen Guiding Waters Ages 4-7

 

 

Green Deen Guiding Waters Ages 8-10 aGreen Deen Guiding Waters Ages 8-10 b

Green Deen Guiding Waters Ages 11-13 a

Green Deen Guiding Waters Ages 11-13 b

 

« Older Entries