Eco-Eids, Celebrating A Sustainable Faith
By Zaufishan Iqbal, The Eco Muslim
Muslim festivals have always been sustainable events. Halal food, budget gifts, Eid prayer in the park and transforming 2-seaters into a 14-person carriers, Muslims do it best. We are natural eco-warriors. From Prophet Muhammad’s first Eid in 642CE, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, to our brotherhood of Jum`uah prayers, our community's health is a key ingredient to Islam’s ‘green deen’ ethics.
April 22nd will mark the 41st anniversary of Earth Day, a reminder of our God given duty as Khalifas of the earth to maintain a healthy world.
“And it is He (God) Who has made you successors (khala’ifa) upon the earth…” (Qur’an 6:165)
Originally, I thought about analyzing the spirituality of prophets past for you, and reciting to you revelations that are carbon-free and low in fat. But I realized what I really wanted to talk about was a basic human message of what being an Eco-Muslim in the 21st century is all about. As every Muslim is a Khalifa of Earth we need to find new and sustainable ways to celebrate.
A Sustainable Eid & Ramadan
What is this new Eco-Eid and new way of approaching celebration? In my family, Eid festival is a time we give back to those without. Famous dates in Islamic history have become our social diary for organizing soup kitchens, fundraisers and community fares. One time we donated our entire annual budget from Ramadan to a charity and I've never felt so fulfilled. Community love is such an integral part of the Islamic faith that we should be reaching out to the homeless and underprivileged during our times of happiness; equilibrium is another meaning of Shariah (Islamic law).
And, unlike Christmas and birthdays where the focus is the sparkly wrapped gifts, Islamic celebrations are based on sacrifice. Sure, we like our Eid decorations, and yes we do lay out an amazing spread, but the question remains: are there better ways to celebrate? Aren't there times where it makes more sense to make handcrafted Eid cards using salvaged materials from the scrapbooking drawer. As an eco-Muslim family don't we need to shift our thinking and reconsider our otherwise commercialized festival? We believe in re-using Eid decorations until they're torn; gift wrap, which becomes next year's bunting, is replaced with newspaper colored in inks and stamps; scrap and craft paper from the office is put into storage for the kids Eid cards. Nothing is wasted and everything is reused.
This year insha-Allah (God willing), we will be holding our first Eco-Fare at the local mosque to help Muslims measure their Wudhu-water count through workshops, the impact of wasting food and a street clean-up. All of these actions add up to a more sustainable and Eco-Eid. Our actions have a butterfly effect and encourage others to participate.
4 paths to an Eco-Eid
1. A Green Iftar meal
2. A 3D Mosque craft project which my eco-brother made for me.
*Download the (A4) .pdf template here.
3. Cutting out plastic and paper, for Ramadan last year we managed to reduce our Iftar meal waste into a single recyclable bin bag, ma-sha-Allah. Considering there were 13 of us, that's pretty good.
4. Cut out magazine photos to make your own modern paperchains.
May Allah help you protect His Earth and keep you pure, insha-Allah.
The Eco Muslim
Zaufishan Iqbal is The Eco Muslim, residing in the Yorkshire hills of Great Britain, and is totally environmentally friendly. The Eco Muslim recycles, reuses water, reduces consumption and rejects poverty. www.TheEcoMuslim.com.