How Green is Your Deen?
"The servants of the Lord of Mercy are those who walk gently upon earth..." Quran 25:63
This week I saw a single blue jay flying across a bare tree, the cherry blossoms blossomed, and I can finally see the tree limbs and branches filling with tiny little leaf buds. Spring is in the air after what seems like an incredibly long and tumultuous winter, here in the south at least. Spring means rejuvenation, uplifted spirits, beautiful color, and we cannot forget about spring cleaning.
Whilst we speak of spring cleaning our closets and homes, and even spiritual cleansing, let us also shift our focus on our responsibility to this earth that has been bestowed upon us so graciously. Are we stepping up and taking action to ensure future generations will be able to experience these simple bounties of nature?
The word ‘Deen’ is an Arabic word that literally translated means ‘way of life’. No matter what faith you are, you are living a Deen, a Christian Deen, a Jewish Deen, an Atheist Deen.1 We, as a collective have a responsibility to this earth that I am convinced we have not lived up to. Let’s change that, one person, one action at a time.
I was watching the news this past week and Ali Velshi rattled off some alarming statistics about climate change. He noted that experts identified 14 catastrophic events in 2018 in the US alone. 2018 was also the warmest year ever in recent recorded history.
We’ve all been affected somehow by the natural disasters across the world over the past few years. I myself have felt the seasons ‘shifting', seen the devastation hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis and tornados have caused, and in many instances, in locations where such events are not known to occur. These disasters have taken the lives of tens of thousands of people, left those cities and countries in physical and economic devastation, many of which are still trying to recover.
Last year, in 2018, we were on vacation in Mexico. We stayed around the City of Tulum. The first thing we noticed was the miles and miles of seaweed along the shores. The locals said that this was the worst they have ever seen it. We had to wade through at least 10-20 feet of seaweed before getting to clear water. The rise in ocean temperature is a major cause. The warmer water breeds more seaweed, coupled with the changing wind patterns, and brings it shore.
Is there any doubt in any of our minds that climate change is real? Not in mine. Still, there is 27% of the US population that believes climate change is a hoax. However, 80% of the population wants cleaner water, air, and alternative energy sources such as wind and water.
My daughter was born on earth day, and she is very proud of that. I hope to inspire in my children and the generations to come to value the duties we have as protectors of this beautiful planet. I learned at a very young age the importance of simple acts like recycling and reusing. But that is not enough. Plastics have overrun our oceans and are literally suffocating this planet and killing all walks of life, including us. We must do something. As an individual, as a community, and as an Ummah.
In Islam, all humans are considered stewards of this earth.
"It is He who has appointed you vicegerent on the earth..." Quran 6:165
In the coming weeks, I will touch upon how my religion has actually provided a clear guidance as to our roles as stewards of this earth, and how we can taken action now to begin to reverse the damage that has been done. How we need to create a Green Movement amongst our communities, get educated, connect with people of other faiths and not be afraid to take risks in our ideas and strategies.1
Join me in discovering how we can all be part of this Green Deen and how the "earth is a Mosque"1
1. Abdul-Matin, Ibrahim. Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet. Berret-Koehler 2010