Tag Archives: duty

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)


#30PacketsOfGreeness, #Ramadan2016

2016 30 Packets of Greeness posterRamadan 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

2016 30 Packets of Greeness hadithPick 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.

2016 30 Packets of Greeness collage 2015


#30DaysOfRamadan, #30PacketsOfGreeness

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar when Muslim set themselves into a daily routine of rising above their physical needs and wants 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 one’s surroundings. 30 days of fasting, 30 Juz of Quran, 30 sets of Taraweeh, 30 Sehris, 30 Iftaars…So why not 30 acts of environmental service to our Creator?

This Ramadan 2015 sister Fatima Ragie, coordinator of Green Deen South Africa, has challenged herself to do her daily remembrance (dhikr) of her Creator outside – while practicing on a Sunnah! She will InshaAllah be picking up 30 packets of waste in her not-too-clean home suburb of Zinniaville, Rustenburg, North-West.

Green Dawah on our streets! Join her on her journey, wherever you are, whenever you can. Do it silently or spread the word. Follow her pickups on twitter and Instagram (@fhragie, @GreenDeenSA). Also, do share with us your pictures of your #30PacketsofGreeness by tagging us on social media or emailing it through to us.

2015 30 Packets of Greeness

Our duas (prayers) are with you as this special month of spiritual and self-discipline dawns upon us. Contemplate the higher purpose and deeper meaning of life! Connect to your Creator! May you emerge from Ramadaan spiritually uplifted, humbled,  more conscious of the divine, more compassionate, and a better human being as a result of your worship. Aameen.


Saqifah Bani Sa’eda

A Green Garden Gem in Madinah

سقيفة بني ساعدة

In the blessed city of Madinah Munawwarah, just over 200m away from the Masjidun Nabawi, lies a green garden quietly being looked after by its faithful caretakers. Located west of the north-western corner of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم‎)’s mosque (the Movenpick hotel corner), this place of natural tranquility and historical Islamic history is often overlooked by the unsuspecting pilgrim.



When the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم‎) was in Madinah (622AD onwards), there was a “saqifah” (meaning ‘shelter’) where the present garden is. This shelter was in the locality of the Bani Sa’eda – a famous family branch of the Khazraj tribe of the Ansaar. To the north of this shelter was a well – the well of Budha’ah. During his life time, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم‎) used to frequently go to this shelter, drink water and perform ablution at the well, and pray in the shade of the shelter. The companions used to also rest in the coolness of this shelter.

When the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم‎) passed away, there was a lot of confusion on how to proceed with matters. Senior sahabah and leaders of the community retreated to this shelter to discuss matters and after some deliberation Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه) was elected as the Caliph (successor) of Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم‎).

While the original shelter and well is no longer there, the garden offers an opportunity to remember our Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم‎) and to remember the historical election of Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه) as the first Caliph of Islam. Visit this garden and reflect therein if you have an opportunity. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) give us all an opportunity to visit these blessed lands of Madinah Munawwarah and Makkah Mukarramah. آمين.


Pictorial History of Madinah Munawwarah by Dr. Muhammad Ilyas Abdul Ghani, 2004, King Fahd National Library Cataloging-in-Publication Data, Al-Rasheed Printers, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Saqifah 2 Saqifah 3 Saqifah 4 Saqifah 5

Does Islam accord animals rights?

Does Islam accord animals rights? What is our Islamic duty towards the animals on this earth?

– Lutfiyah Suliman, 2013-12-09

When the disconcerting image of a proud Melissa Bachman, alongside a beautiful (but dead) male lion went viral on social media, I found myself engaged in a heated debate about the merits of canned hunting. Ironically, both sides of the argument were driven by individuals that are passionate about environmental conservation. Those arguing in favour of canned hunting do not support blood-sport, but rather the proposition that by allowing canned hunting, revenue is created which supports game farmers and conservancies. Although it is not an ideal solution, it helps to protect wild animals from illegal poaching, and allows for wild populations to increase their numbers. Ecologically speaking, controlled hunting could prevent extinction in the wild, even if the effects of killing large numbers of adult males means a reduction in the genetic diversity of the species. Indeed there are several peer- reviewed scientific studies which attest to this theory. Those arguing against (myself included), countered that consenting to sacrifice the lives of some, for the continuation of a species, is morally reprehensible, and gives in to the mindset which deems animal life unworthy of equal ethical consideration as human life. That is, arguably, the mindset which in the past allowed for such rampant destruction of natural habitats in favour of human development, and led to the conservation predicaments we now face. Additionally, from an economic perspective, regulations are weakly enforced and there is no guarantee that the money generated from hunting will benefit conservation.

At a glance, one could easily label this as an argument between realism and idealism, but it points to the helplessness felt by so many involved or interested in conservation. Is our only solution to declining wildlife populations really to breed these majestic beings, and then offer up the most impressive amongst them to foreigners for a bit of ‘fun’ ? However dissatisfied with the realists I may be, I cannot provide them with a concrete, more reliable ‘interim solution’ to the funding of conservation and protection of wildlife, and as the continuing decline of wild rhinos globally has shown, demand trumps current conservation measures. Will taking the moral high ground encourage practical, innovative solutions and stronger action? Or simply provide a better view of the killing fields?

Uncertainty is often the reminder to return to Islamic principles and ethics. Of foremost relevance to this particular debate, is whether Islam permits killing for sport. A narration from the Prophet (PBUH) provides some clarity;

The Prophet said, “Whoever kills a sparrow or anything bigger than that without a just cause, Allah will hold him accountable on the Day of Judgment.” The listeners asked, “O Messenger of Allah, what is a just cause?” He replied, ”That he will kill it to eat, not simply to chop off its head and then throw it away.” (An-Nasa’i)

Animals in Islam


Humans were created by Allah (swt) to be custodians and guardians of the Earth. Killing without need- that is killing for fun- is not permissible. Furthermore it is shown that we should treat animals humanely, seeing to their needs where possible, and seeing that our duty as caretakers of creation is fulfilled;

The Companions said, ”O Allah’s Messenger! Is there a reward for us in serving the animals?” He replied: “There is a reward for serving any living being.” (Bukhari)

All living beings- be they man or animal, are worthy of consideration and respect. However this speaks to our behaviour and conduct towards animals- what of the animals themselves? What does the Quraan and ahadith say about their status in this world?

“Seest thou not that it is Allah Whose praise all beings in the heavens and on earth do celebrate, and the birds (of the air) with wings outspread? Each one knows its own (mode of) prayer and praise, and Allah knows well all that they do.” (Quran 24:41)

“And the earth, He has assigned it to all living creatures” (Quran 55:10).

These verses serve as a reminder to us that animals, like man, are created with purpose. They have feelings and are part of the spiritual world. They too have a right to life, and protection from pain and suffering. With this in mind, we need to ask ourselves- is the Muslim community upholding these rights? What should our role be, not only in the debate on such subjects, but in conservation and protection of animals and the environment as a whole? Have we disenfranchised animals? How do the laws of the country in which we live stand up to the Islamic principles? And finally, how does Islam help us to find solutions to the dilemmas we face?

It is not impossible to demand greater action and consideration for the natural world. In Bolivia they have gone as far as to legally grant nature equal rights with humans; they introduced the Law of Mother Earth which reportedly assigns 11 new rights to nature, including: ‘the right to life and to exist; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to balance; the right not to be polluted; and the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered.’

This law is considered radical, but what it enshrines does not ask for much, indeed only that animals, and nature are given equal respect and care – as much as is expected of us in Islam.

References/ Background reading

1. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/11/131119-melissa-bachman-lion-hunt-photo-conservation-animals/
2. http://www.islamicedfoundation.com/askscholar/animal.htm
3. http://khaleafa.com/environmental-justice-in-islam/
4. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/apr/10/bolivia-enshrines-natural-worlds-rights
5. http://ewn.co.za/2013/06/03/Canned-lion-hunting-could-save-the-species

Lutfiyah Suliman is currently doing her MSc in Ecology, Environment and Conservation at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Her particular focus is on how science and conservation is represented in the media. Email: lutfiyah.suliman@gmail.com