Deen Digest | How to have a green Ramadan

by Abu Hanifa
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“O Children of Adam! Take your adornment at every place of worship and eat and drink (what you want), but do not be extravagant / excessive / prodigal or wasteful (Arabic: tusrifu). God truly does not love those who are excessive / prodigal / wasteful / extravagant (Arabic: musrifeen)” –Qur’an 7 verse 31.  

If we all agree that going green simply requires conservation of resources, reduction of pollution, conservation of energy, reduction of consumption and reduction of waste, then the above quoted verse of the Holy Qur’an summarizes the fact that no Muslim is truly a Muslim until they promote and practise green lifestyle, not only in Ramadan but also throughout their lifetime.

Also, according to some Islamic scholars, Ramadan simply means purifying individual self, taking care of one’s body, soul, people, surrounding and, of course, ecosystems that is supporting us. Hence, if this is the case, then it would be ideal to say that for a Muslim to perfect their fasting in Ramadan, they must go green; as going green calls for improvement of one’s quality of life in order to achieve sustainable development.

Remember also that abstaining from eating and drinking in Ramadan from sunrise to sunset is meant to boost physical and mental endurance and to understand the hardships faced by the poor and needy who do not have enough resources to satisfy their basic necessities. It is a month divinely designed for Muslims to re-plan their lives for the better. It is also a month Muslims are expected to live a more ‘green lifestyle’ that is environmental-friendly, non-polluting, non-wasteful and aim toward saving of natural resources.

So, specifically, how can we have a green Ramadan?


Plan carefully and prudently for Ramadan

Muslims are encouraged to begin Ramadan fasting with right intentions with more realistic goals for individual self and their community. We must never be egocentric in our planning for Ramadan. We should be more hygienic with ourselves and our environment.

Fatimah bint Muhammad reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The worst of my nation are those who are nourished by pleasure, eating a variety of foods, wearing a variety of clothes, and being pompous in their speech.” [Kitāb Dhamm al-Ghībah 12]

Mu`adh (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet warned, “Beware of the three acts that cause you to be cursed: relieving yourselves in shaded places (that people utilize), in a walkway or in a watering place.” [Ranked sound, hasan, by Al-Albani]


Reduce carbon emission and be more environmentally friendly

Drive less during Ramadan by keeping yourself busy with the recitation of the Qur’an and reading of Qur’anic commentaries and pondering, with sincerity, on the Quranic verses. Likewise, for some who prefer to pay multiple visits to masjid, join your family member or neighbour and carpool to reduce emissions that harm our environment and health in your majid is too far from home; and take a walk to masjid, and increasing the zikr/tasbish (remembrance of Allah) while walking. If possible, spend more time there, rather than moving in and out to attend to some unnecessary worldly affairs. Az-Zuhri said:“A Tasbihah in Ramadan is better than a thousand Tasbihah in other that it.”

Narrated Ibn `Umar: “The Prophet (PBUH) used to go to the Quba’ mosque, sometimes walking, sometimes riding.”

In addition, save yourself and people around you from get infected or affected as a result of your unhealthy lackadaisical attitude. Always remember these sayings: Mu`adh (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet warned, “Beware of the three acts that cause you to be cursed: relieving yourselves in shaded places (that people utilize), in a walkway or in a watering place.” (Ranked sound, hasan, by Al-Albani). Additionally, Abu Zarr Al-Ghafari (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Removing harmful things from the road is an act of charity (sadaqah).” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)

Moreover, regularly water your garden and cultivate the habit of planting three in your environment. Remember that Prophet Muhammad also enjoined us to do this act of going green, thus: Anas also reported that the Prophet said, “If a Muslim plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, it is regarded as a charitable gift (sadaqah) for him.” (Bukhari)

 

Conserve Energy and Water

Another way to enhance our worship is to be diligent when making ablution. Do not be wasteful and open the taps full on. Water is becoming scarce, and the way we make ablution is not of the Prophet (PBUH).

Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah: “The Prophet (PBUH) used to take a bath with a sa’ (of water) and perform ablution with a mudd (of water).” [A mudd is roughly two handfuls of water]

Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Al-`Aas (May Allah be pleased with him)  reported that the Prophet (PBUH)  passed one day by Sa`d ibn Abi Waqas (May Allah be pleased with him) while he was performing ablution. The Prophet (PBUH) asked Sa`d, “Why is this wastage?” Sa`d replied “Is there wastage in wudu also?” The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Yes, even if you are at a flowing river

Consider conserving more water when making wudu. Conserve electricity by shutting off the TV and computer, and opening the Holy book.

 

Have a healthy Ramadan through a proper diet

Muslims are advised to implement a more prophetic diet in Ramadan. Some people be lieve that since we fast all day, we must consequently fill our stomach with enough food during iftar. Doing this is, however, against the divine instruction and tradition of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Miqdam bin Ma’dikarib said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH)  saying: ‘The human does not fill any container that is worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat what will support his back. If this is not possible, then a third for food, a third for drink, and third for his breath.”

We eat till we can’t move, and this impacts our tharaweeh prayers and standing before Allah (SWT). Ramadan is meant to be the opposite of this; it is a time to be humble, not extravagant. Allah (SWT) says: “O children of Adam! Attend to your embellishments at every time of prayer and eat and drink and be not extravagant; surely He does not love the extravagant.” [Surah A’raf; 31]

Ramadan is a time to detox ourselves: mind, body and soul. Add more vegetarian options, do not over-eat, and use locally sourced foods. Avoid fizzy drinks, or anything high in sugar content – as an alternative use honey. Avoid deep-fried foods or enjoy in moderation (like once a week). Start and end your fast with green or herbal tea to cleanse the stomach after a day of fasting in order to help flush the toxins out.

Muslims are also advised to avoid preparing food that is more than what they could possibly consume; because the leftovers would be at risk of being thrown into the trash.  Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “With regard to bread, meat and other kinds of food, it is not permissible to throw them in the dumpster; rather they should be given to those who need them, or they should be put in a visible place where they will not be mistreated, in the hope that someone who needs them for his animals will take them, or they will be eaten by some animals or birds.”

Hence, start and break your fast with food recommended by the Prophet (SAW), such as date, honey, milk, vinegar, olives, figs, grapes and the likes, as they contain nutrients like vitamin-A, dietary fiber, potassium, calcium, and vitamin-B6 that help strengthening the stomach and revive fatigued muscles.

 

Commit random acts of kindness

Ramadan is a month of compassion. Hence, Muslims are advised to resolve to be compassionate to not only humans, but also other living creatures of Allah (SWT). We are advised to spreading salaam (peace) to everyone around us by smiling at people that pass by, greet them, or just words of gratitude to those doing good around you. More so, we are admonished to volunteer our time and little energy we have for community services

Abdullah ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet said, “The believer is not he who eats his fill while his neighbor is hungry.” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet said, “A man felt very thirsty while he was on the way, there he came across a well. He went down the well, quenched his thirst and came out. Meanwhile he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. He said to himself, “This dog is suffering from thirst as I did.” So, he went down the well again, filled his shoe with water, held it with his mouth and watered the dog. Allah appreciated him for that deed and forgave him.” 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).

 

Stop a bad habit

Part of going green in Ramadan is to give yourself rest of mind by reviewing and eliminating all your bad habits. Remember that Ramadan is meant to help you perfect your character and lifestyle, as in it’s time to say bye to sugar or nicotine addiction, watch less TV, give up vague words, and strengthen your relationship with your Lord and fellow creatures.

In conclusion, Being a Muslim is not just preparing for the Hereafter but also to live a healthy and happy lifestyle in this world. Health is one of the greatest blessings from Allah Almighty that He bestowed on mankind. In Holy Quran, there are many verses which promote the eating of healthy food and also eating in moderation. Allah (SWT) stated in Noble Quran: “And He enforced the balance. That you exceed not the bounds; but observe the balance strictly, and fall not short thereof.” (Quran, 55:7-9)

In another verse of Holy Quran, Allah Almighty described the moderate eating. Allah (SWT) says: “Eat and drink but avoid excess” (Quran, 20:81). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)) stated in one of his hadith about the overindulgence and wasting of food in these words: No human being has ever filled a container worse than his own stomach. The son of Adam needs no more than a few morsels of food to keep up his strength, doing so he should consider that a third of his stomach is for food, a third for drink and a third for breathing.” [Ibn Maja]

While many starve around the world, it is not uncommon to see how much food is wasted or consumed in excess and with extravagance in parts of the world where civilisations are more affluent. Inevitably, many health concerns such as obesity are also associated with such choices such as over indulgence.

Let us seize this opportunity provided by Ramadan and offer a model for a green and responsible behavior that addresses the urgent environmental issues.

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