Archive for the ‘Environmental Projects Using Islam’ Category

Muslim Green Team – Islam and the Environment

April 4, 2010

Allah (swt) created humans to be stewards on this Earth. This stewardship entails upholding and spreading the message of Islam – the noblest and heaviest trust (amanah) given to humans. Allah (swt) included in this stewardship another trust – that of the Earth. Allah (swt) tells us that he has subjugated the world for our use:

It is God Who hath created the heavens and the earth and sendeth down rain from the skies, and with it bringeth out fruits wherewith to feed you; it is He Who hath made the ships subject to you, that they may sail through the sea by His command; and the rivers (also) hath He made subject to you. And He hath made subject to you the sun and the moon, both diligently pursuing their courses; and the night and the day hath he (also) made subject to you. And He giveth you of all that ye ask for. But if ye count the favours of God, never will ye be able to number them. Verily, man is given up to injustice and ingratitude. (The Holy Quran 14:32-34)

But in Islam, every right is balanced by a responsibility. Human beings do not own the Earth. It is trust given to them by its Master and Owner. Therefore, we are responsible for taking care of it in a responsible manner.

With increasingly frequent and extreme abnormal natural phenomena, the world’s attention has shifted towards climate change and humans’ role in the rapid destruction of our environment. As Muslims, we have been charged by Allah (swt) with the leadership of humankind. We have a religious and moral duty to be at the forefront of promoting environmentally sustainable practices.

This piece is taken from the website of the Muslim Green Team.

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Muslim Green Team – About

April 4, 2010

Muslim Green Team is a campaign of the Service Corps department of the Muslim American Society (MAS). It began in 2008 in the Bay Area chapter of MAS. MAS believes that living a “greener” lifestyle is not only healthier and socially responsible, but an essential and mandatory component of a Muslim’s life.

To this end, MAS Service Corps established Muslim Green Team. It is a comprehensive, grassroots (pun intended!), environmental campaign, promoting environmentally conscious and sustainable practices in all spheres of human activity.
The primary objectives of Muslim Green Team are:

  • To fulfill our duty to Allah (swt) in adopting environmentally friendly practices.
  • To contribute to the increasingly global effort to reverse the effects of environmentally-irresponsible practices.
  • To raise awareness about environmental issues within the Muslim community.
  • To demonstrate the environmental message of Islam.
  • To contribute the unique, Islamic perspective of the environment to the national and global environmental conversation.

We intend to deliver education, training and materials to address many categories of environmental concern, including:

  • Garbage/waste
  • Water
  • Air
  • Home gardening practices
  • Agricultural practices
  • Energy
  • Transportation
  • Nutrition
  • Animals
  • The Muslim Green Team holds an annual Eco-fair to draw attention to all these matters and educated the community on how they can participate in taking up environmentally responsible practices, and in a fun and informal manner.

    In addition, Muslim Green Team organizes a project every year targeting a particular area of concern. These projects are intended to rally the community behind a specific cause to have a larger environmental impact, and so that the particular positive change can become part of the culture of the community. The entire community supports each other in making permanent, productive changes.

    Finally, we would like to humbly remind ourselves and others that consciousness about the environment is an essential component of the comprehensive Muslim personality. While a Muslim may have special interests in particular aspects of Islam and life, she should be aware of all the components that Islam is comprised and that should be implemented in every Muslim’s life, even if just a little!

    ‘Aisha (radiAllahu anha) narrated, that the Prophet was asked: “What deeds are loved most by Allah?” He said, “The most regular constant deeds even though they may be few.” He added, “Don’t take upon yourselves, except the deeds which are within your ability.” [Sahih al-Bukhari, 8:76:472]

    This piece is taken from the website of the Muslim Green Team.

UK: World’s First Centre for Islam and Ecology Announced for Welsh University

April 3, 2010

In a major new development, the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) and the University of Wales, Lampeter, are founding a Centre for Islam and Ecology at the University to further theological and practical work by Muslim communities in the UK and world–wide.

There is a pressing need for such a centre. Islam has profound insights into the nature of our relationship with Creation but many of these are not well known even to Muslims themselves. The joint project will produce theological and legal handbooks, educational resources, will train Muslim leaders in practical ecology, and seek to raise the profile of Islamic action on the environment world wide.

It is a first in Islamic studies and is viewed by ARC as a major new step in our working relationship with the world’s second largest faith.

ARC is working in collaboration with the Islamic scholar Dr. Mawil Izzi Dien, of the Centre of Islamic Studies in the University of Wales, Lampeter, author of a number of studies on Islam and ecology.

This piece is taken from the Website of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation.

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Philippines: Mindanao State University Adopts Islamic Environmental Sourcebook

March 28, 2010

06/03/2008 –

The pioneering sourcebook on environment management – the result of the collective efforts of scholars, clerics and local government officials in Muslim Mindanao – is well on the way to becoming a standard training and learning tool in the region.

The sourcebook titled Al Khalifa (The Steward) went through a series of consultations and workshops, with the religious leaders in Western Mindanao playing the key role, and was positively welcomed by local government units in the region. It seeks “to enable Muslims to be involved in environmental governance through a clearer understanding and better appreciation of their responsibilities and accountabilities as prescribed by Islam.”

Al Khalifa was developed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Philippine Environmental Governance (EcoGov) Project, working with Muslim community leaders, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, educators, and Qur’anic experts from Western Mindanao.

In a workshop hosted by Cotabato City, DENR-ARMM and EcoGov on May 21, representatives of academe, ARMM LGUs, and development projects agreed to work for the adoption of Al Khalifa as a standard guide for all environmental governance initiatives.

One of the recommendations of the group was to draft an executive order for the ARMM Governor which will direct the regional offices of DENR, DA/BFAR, DepEd, Bureau of Madaris, and local government units to integrate Al Khalifa principles and teachings in their work. It was also recommended that a similar EO be issued by the Mayor of Cotabato City.

The Act for Peace, a Mindanao-based project, will integrate environment concerns in their training modules for peace advocates, guided by the book. The Cotabato-based Action Against Hunger committed to use Al Kahilfa teachings in their IEC campaign.

Other workshop participants included the Mindanao State University (MSU), Accelerated Teachers Education Program (ATEP) of Notre Dame University in Cotabato City, and the Philippine Muslim Women Council from Marawi City.

In an earlier meeting on May 14, the MSU core group discussed the development of syllabi and modules based on the Al Khalifa sourcebook, to be used by students, mentors, and religious leaders. The materials will be translated to various languages and replicated in all MSU campuses in Mindanao. MSU is expected to play a crucial role as service provider for local governments in the field of environmental management, where it can propound both technical aspects and moral principles in leadership and governance.

The EcoGov Project is helping LGUs in ecologically critical areas in Mindanao manage their forest and coastal resources, and their solid waste and wastewater. With Al Khalifa providing guidance, they hope that environmental programs will be carried out more effectively in Muslim communities.

This piece is taken from the website of the Philippine Environmental Governance Project.

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Islamic Fishing Laws – Tanzania

March 20, 2010

TANZANIA: Fishermen say no to dynamite – using Islamic environmental principles

In 2000 the Muslim fishing communities of Pemba and Misali islands in Tanzania pledged to conserve Misali Island. Behind this Sacred Gift – given by both the Government of Zanzibar (as land manager and owner of all land and sea in Zanzibar), and the Misali fishing community (as traditional owners, managers and users of the area) – was an extraordinary story.

Misali Island is one of the most important turtle nesting sites in the Zanzibar archipelago and home to some of the most magnificent coral slopes in the western Indian Ocean. In the 1990s it was under severe threat from dynamite-fishing.

For the 1,600 or so fishermen who were traditional owners of the area, dynamite fishing seemed a blessing. Suddenly, instead of having to waste time looking for fish sites, they just dropped some explosives and there was plenty to eat.

What they did not know (and did not think was their business) was the terrible destruction they were doing, not just to the fragile reef ecosystem but also to their own long-term survival. Dynamite takes out young fish along with the mature ones, while traditional fishing leaves the young to slip through the nets and breed later. The explosion also destroys the very environment within which the fish live. In the long run, nobody benefits.

The question became how to help the fishermen understand the problems they were causing, and then stop them. It was the kind of environmental problem that many governments around the world are trying to address.

At first, the government and environmental agencies launched an education program. But few fishermen paid attention to government leaflets. Then dynamite fishing was officially banned. Despite the threat of gunboats the communities refused to accept the ban.

Then a startlingly simple solution was developed. The fishing villages of the East African coast are mostly Muslim, organized under a religious leadership of sheiks who have enormous authority in the communities. The basis of these fishing families’ lives is Islam, with its Qur’an, Shariah laws, and the traditions and customs of the faith.

In 1998, in a joint venture with ARC, CARE International, WWF International and the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Science, the sheiks on Masali island came together to explore Islamic teachings about the appropriate use of God’s creation. From these studies the sheiks drew the conclusion that dynamite fishing was illegal according to Islam. They used Qur’anic texts such as “O children of Adam! … eat and drink: but waste not by excess for Allah loveth not the wasters” (Surah 7:31) or Sura 6:141: “…it is He [Allah] who produces gardens, both cultivated and wild…. Eat of their fruits when they bear fruit and pay their dues on the day of their harvest, and do not be profligate. He does not love the profligate.”

This Sacred Gift has already become a model for other Islamic fishing communities around the world.

This piece is taken from the website of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC).

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