Archive for the ‘Muslim Environmental Organizations’ Category

Islamic Relief Environment Policy

April 4, 2010

“Mischief has appeared on the land and sea because of (the greed) that the hands of

man have earned” (Ar-Rum/ The Romans [30] 41)


Many poor people in developing countries live in ecologically vulnerable environments. This

affects both their livelihoods and their safety. As their farm lands erode, deserts advance and

forests disappear, they are finding it increasingly difficult to ensure a sufficient and sustainable

income. As increasing numbers of people are forced to live in precarious locations such as steep

hills, slums and unstable coastal areas continues to rise, natural hazards such as earthquakes and

hurricanes are increasingly likely to cost lives.

Poverty accelerates environmental destruction, as survival often requires an overexploitation of

natural surroundings. Relatively infertile land is quickly depleted and prone to erosion. The

quest for survival leads to levels of hunting, fishing, grazing, and wood-gathering that surpass

the environment’s carrying capacity. It is difficult to escape from this downward spiral, in which

poverty and environmental destruction reinforce each other.

Climate change is exacerbating this situation. It is likely to annihilate the poverty reduction gains

of the recent past, and may render the Millennium Development Goals unachievable. In sub-

Saharan Africa alone, 182 million people could die of diseases directly attributable to climate

change by the end of the century.

increased suffering and lower life expectancy as a consequence of climate-induced floods,

famine, drought and conflict. The number of weather-related disasters a year – including

droughts, windstorms and floods – has more than doubled since 1996.

1 Throughout the world, many millions more are facing2·

negative, particularly in the poorest communities, which have contributed least to

greenhouse gas emissions.

Overall […] the health effects of a rapidly changing climate are likely to be overwhelmingly3·

annual 2 million premature deaths around the world.

Air pollution causes respiratory infections, heart disease, and lung cancer. This causes an4·

availability, stability, access and utilisation. This is expected to lead to decreased food

security and increased vulnerability of poor rural farmers, especially in the arid and semiarid

tropics and Asian and African mega-deltas.

Changes in water quantity and quality due to climate change are expected to affect food5·

billion in the 1990s. Virtually all victims live in developing countries.

The number of people affected by disasters increased from 740 million in the 1970s to 26·


land, are becoming increasingly frequent.

In the course of the last three decades, land area stricken by serious drought more than7 Wars and civil strife over increasingly scarce resources, such as water and fertile1

WHO guidance on the health impacts of air pollutants,

World Disasters Report 2005, IFRC3

Climate and Health fact sheet, World Health Organisation,


WHO guidance on the health impacts of air pollutants,


Climate Change and Water, IPCC Technical Paper VI, June 2008,

Financial Initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), http://www.unepfi.org7

Atmospheric Research, NCAR, 10 January 2005;

Drought’s Growing Reach: NCAR Study Points to Global Warming as Key Factor, US National Center for February 2009 4


water-related stress due to climate change.

affected by serious water shortages.

By 2020, between 75 and 250 million people in Africa will be exposed to an increase in8 By 2025, more than 3 billion people could be9·

environmental refugees by 2050.

The UN expects 50 million environmental refugees by 2010,10 and 150 million11Compromising the environment for the benefit of short term development means a transfer of

poverty and suffering from one generation to all subsequent generations. The reality of climate

change requires adaptation, but adaptation alone will not be sufficient to cope with all the everincreasing

effects of climate change.

12Environment and poverty

Almost a quarter of all illnesses in developing countries are related to the environment.

Environmental damage aggravates poverty as it depletes natural resources on which poor people

in particular depend. Rapid deforestation and the depletion or even extinction of species deprive

people of valuable products such as firewood, food and medicinal substances (often necessitated

to pay off international debts, see IR debt policy). The health of millions of people is affected by

polluted drinking water, sanitation that is insufficiently hygienic because of water shortages, and

air pollution. Although economic growth in developing countries is crucial for poverty

reduction, it can also easily contribute to further damage to the environment, especially under

the current international trade system (see IR trade policy).

Biodiversity benefits people through more than just its contribution to material welfare and

livelihoods. Biodiversity contributes to security, resilience (to climate variability and market

fluctuations as they are less dependent on one or a few products and dependent on selling for

living, they live off what they have in nature), social relations (damage to ecosystems, highly

valued for their aesthetic, recreational, or spiritual values can damage social relations, both by

reducing the bonding value of shared experience as well as by causing resentment toward

groups that profit from their damage), health, and freedom of choices and actions (less

resources, less opportunities)

the past 50 years than at any time in human history. The Millennium Assessment

the dynamics that cause biodiversity loss continue unabated, and may well increase in intensity,

13. The reduction of the world’s biodiversity has been more rapid in14 predicts that8

International Governmental Panel on Climate Change, 6 April 2007,

Chatham House/BOND, 23 February 2006,


Development Beyond Aid, Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for International Development, 5th White Paper Speech,

50m environmental refugees by end of decade, UN warns, 12 October 2005, The Guardian;,,1589898,00.html


auspices of the UN, estimates this, due mainly to the effects of coastal flooding, shoreline erosion and agricultural

disruption. See Living Space for Environmental Refugees,

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which advises the world’s governments under the

International Governmental Panel on Climate Change, 6 April 2007,

translates to a loss in control over the local fish stock and a livelihood they have been pursuing for many generations

and that they value. Another example is high-diversity agricultural systems. These systems normally produce less

cash than monoculture cash crops, but farmers have some control over their entitlements because of spreading risk

through diversity. High diversity of genotypes, populations, species, functional types, and spatial patches decreases

the negative effects of pests and pathogens on crops and keeps open possibilities for agrarian communities to develop

crops suited to future environmental challenges and to increase their resilience to climate variability and market


For example, local fishers depend on mangroves as breeding grounds for local fish populations. Loss of mangroves14

Resources Institute, Washington, DC,

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Biodiversity Synthesis. World February 2009 5

meaning the foundation that people live on also continues to erode unabated risking more and

more to poverty.

In the last century, some people have benefited from the conversion of natural ecosystems to

human-dominated ecosystems and from the exploitation of biodiversity. However, these gains

have been achieved at growing costs in the form of losses in biodiversity, degradation of many

ecosystem services, and the exacerbation of poverty for the majority of the world’s population.

The impact of climate change, and of more direct man-made environmental destruction such as

unsustainable logging and unregulated dumping, falls disproportionately upon developing

countries. Within these countries, the poor are affected most severely, as they tend to live in

ecologically vulnerable environments. They are the ones who tend to depend on rain fed

agriculture, and thus the ones most affected by variations in precipitation levels and an

increased frequency of extreme weather conditions. As rain fall drops, farm lands are eroded,

deserts advance and forests disappear, with each new generation finding it harder to ensure a

livelihood. This exacerbates inequities in health status and access to adequate food, clean water

and other resources.

15In turn, their poverty accelerates environmental destruction, as their survival requires an

overexploitation of their natural surroundings. Their relatively infertile land is farmed too

intensively, and soil erosion accelerates as a consequence. In their quest for survival, the poor

are often forced into practices that surpass the environment’s carrying capacity such as

overhunting, overfishing, overgrazing, and wood-gathering. This downward spiral, in which

poverty and environmental destruction reinforce each other, is difficult to escape. Climate

change consolidates the link. It is likely to annihilate the poverty reduction gains of the recent

past, and renders the millennium and other development goals unachievable.

The principle of intergenerational equity (‘neighbours in time’) requires that all members of

each generation of human beings inherit a natural and cultural patrimony from past generations,

both as beneficiaries and as custodians under the duty to pass on this heritage to future

generations. This right is inseparably coupled with the obligation to use this heritage in such a

manner that it can be passed on to future generations in no worse condition than it was received.

Saving people now at the expense of future generations is not solving the problem.

Environment and Islam

There are five major aims (


degradation will end the opportunity to live, to own property, to beget offspring, and to be

religious (how?).

Shariah. This is illustrated by some 750 verses in the Qur’an that exhort believers to reflect on

nature, to study the relationship between living organisms and their environment, to make the

maqasid) of the Shariah16: protection of religion (‘deen’), lifenafs’), mind (‘aql’), offspring (‘nasl’), and property (‘ma’al’). Ultimately, environmental17 Environmental protection is thus necessary in order to achieve the aims of the15

Third Assessment Report (TAR) ‘Climate Change 2001’,

Creator. It is the yearning deep within to seek the Lord and the Master that the Shariah translates into steps, concrete

and specific, on the pathways of life.

Shariah literally means a ‘clear path’. It is the path that man, in Islam, must walk as he toils and strives to reach his17

for grazing purposes) which can be applied for nature conservation within the Islamic law.

Practically, Shariah has clear instructions such as harim (preserved natural environments) and hima (protected landUpdated February 2009 6

best use of reason and to maintain the balance and proportion God has built into the Creation.

18In brief, the Islamic view on the environmental balance is illustrated by the following guiding



Tawheed (Unity of Creation):“Say: He is Allah the One and Only; Allah the Eternal Absolute; He begets not nor is He

begotten; And there is none like unto Him.” (Al-Baqarah/ The Cow [112] 1-4). Tawheed of

Lordship in Arabic means ‘

The Owner, In charge of every affair, Creator. So, Tawheed of Rububiyyah means testification

that Allah is the Creator of all creation, the One Who gives them death and life. Not looking

after the rest of Creation is thus neglecting part of what we ourselves as humans form part of.

The Qur’an has several other verses referring to the oneness of Creation; that we are but a small

part of this creation by God Almighty: “Surely the creation of the heavens and the earth is

greater than the creation of man; but most people know not” (Q [40] 57).

The world is not ours to abuse. Generations after us have as many rights (and duties) as we do.

Tawheed is the fundamental confirmation of the oneness of the Creator; of the unity of all

creation; and of the interdependence of the natural order of which humanity is an intrinsic part.

Rububiyah‘ – it is derived from the root word of ‘Rabb’ which means2) Humanity’s relation to God:

“Allah’s guidance is the [only] guidance and we have been directed to submit ourselves to the

Lord of the worlds. To establish regular prayers and to fear Allah; for it is to Him that we shall

be gathered together. It is He who created the heavens and the earth in true [proportions]: the

day He says “Be” Behold! It is. His Word is the truth. His will be the dominion the day the

trumpet will be blown. He knows the Unseen as well as that which is open. For He is the Wise

well acquainted [with all things]. (Al-Anam/ The Livestock [6] 71-3) On the Day of Judgment

we will be held accountable for how we have absolved ourselves of duties put on us by Allah,

which includes taking care of the environment. Not looking after the environment will affect our

record on Day of Judgment negatively.

3) To Allah belongs the earth and the heavens:

“To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. And enough is Allah as a Disposer of

affairs.” (An-Nisa/ The Women [4] 171);

“To Him belongs all that dwells or lurks in the night and the day. For He is the One Who hears

and knows all things.” (Al-Anam/ The Livestock [6] 13);

“To Him belongs what is in the heavens and on earth and all between them and all beneath the

soil.” (Ta-Ha/ Ta-Ha [20] 6);

“To Him belong all [creatures] in the heavens and on earth: even those who are in His [very]

Presence are not too proud to serve Him nor are they [ever] weary [of His service)].” (Al-

Anbiya/ The Prophets [21] 19)


Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Based on article by Dr. Hasan Zillur Rahim, Ecology in Islam: Protection of the Web of Life a Duty for Muslims,, October 1991, Page 65; February 2009 7

As is obvious from the above sample verses, Allah makes it clear that what is in the earth (and

the heavens) is not ours. If is not ours, then it is not our right to choose to destroy it. Especially

in ‘developed’ countries we are destroying parts of Creation by living beyond the environmental

capacity (e.g. if everyone lives like the average person in the UK, we would need three planets

to sustain this lifestyle), thus going into ‘ecological debt’, a debt on Allah’s Creation which we

will be asked to pay on Day of Judgment, unless we look after the environment as caretaker, not


4) Humanity and Khalifa (Guardian of Creation):

“It is He who has made you [His] agents inheritors of the earth: He has raised you in ranks some

above others: that He may

punishment: yet He is indeed Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful.” (Al-Anam/ The Livestock [6] 165)

It is impermissible in Islam to abuse one’s rights as

faith” underpins Islamic law. The planet was inherited by all humankind and all its posterity

from generation to generation. No one generation has the right to pollute the planet or consume

its natural resources in a manner that leaves for posterity a planet that is denuded of its resources

or polluted.

try you in the gifts He has given you: for your Lord is quick inkhalifa, because the notion of acting in “good5) Mizaan (Balance):

“[Allah] Most Gracious! It is He Who has taught the Qur’an. He has created man: He has

taught him speech [and Intelligence]. The sun and the moon follow courses [exactly] computed;

And the herbs and the trees – both [alike] bow in adoration. And the firmament has He raised

high and He has set up the balance [of Justice] In order that ye may not transgress [due] balance.

So establish weight with justice and fall not short in the balance. It is He Who has spread out the

earth for [His] creatures: Therein is fruit and date-palms producing spathes [enclosing dates]:

Also corn with [its] leaves and stalk for fodder and sweet-smelling plants. Then which of the

favours of your Lord will ye deny? (Ar-Rahman/ The Merciful [55] 1-13). When using

resources that Allah has created (e.g. biodiversity) we should bear in mind the ‘carrying

capacity’ of an area, the use that a resource can handle and replenish, bearing in mind that those

after us have just as much right to resources as we do, so we should ensure balanced use

throughout our lives.

6) Justice:

recommends and helps an evil cause shares in its burden: and Allah has power over all things.”

(An-Nisa/ The Women [4] 85). This concept of justice encompasses intergenerational justice.

When faced with challenges (e.g. our beneficiaries are getting poorer due to desertification) it is

important to know the source. Dealing only with the symptoms (such as distributing new seeds

after reserves were lost in a drought), means we will continue dealing with them for a very long

time. But if we get to the bottom, we can deal with the cause and support our beneficiaries in a

more lasting and sustainable way.

Whoever recommends and helps a good cause becomes a partner therein: and whoever7) Use but do not abuse:

“O children of Adam! … eat and drink: but waste not by excess for Allah loves not the wasters.”

(Al-Araf/ The Heights [7] 31)

Updated February 2009 8

The earth’s resources land, water, air, minerals, forests are available for our use, but these gifts

come from God with certain ethical restraints imposed on them. We may use them to meet our

needs, but only in a way that does not upset ecological balance and that does not compromise

the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

8) Fitra (natural state):

“So set your face steadily and truly to the Faith: [Establish] Allah’s handiwork according to the

pattern on which He has made mankind: no change [let there be] in the work [wrought] by

Allah: that is the standard Religion: but most among mankind understand not.” (Ar-Rum/ The

Romans [30] 30). The natural state is to live in harmony with our surroundings, not to

overexploit it as is often the case. At the other, repairing the natural state is not a question about

saving trees, but a question of equity and justice.

9) Amanah (trust)

:“We offered the trust unto the heavens and the earth and the hills, but they shrank from bearing

it and were afraid of it and man assumed it. He is a tyrant and fool.” (Al-Ahzab/ The Clans [33]


Within this contract, the bestower of the trust (Allah SWT) is giving a responsibility to the

trustee (humanity). In other words, the guardian of the trust has a high degree of freedom and

accompanying responsibility in its use (or misuse). If humanity did not have the power to either

use or misuse this trust given to it by God, then the whole idea of offering the trust, in the first

place, would be futile: “there is no trust if the trustee has no power, and the trust implies that the

giver of the trust believes and expects that the trustee would use it according to the wishes of the

creator of the trust, and not otherwise.”

Qur’an by the frequent recounting of the histories of the people of Ad and Thamud.

implications of these stories for contemporary times are grave, and clear.

19 The consequence of violating the trust is attested in the20 TheIslamic Relief’s Environment Policy

Islamic Relief is inspired by the teachings of Islam in all of its work. Islam’s environmental

worldview is a holistic one. It assumes a fundamental link and interdependency between all

natural elements and bases its teachings on the premise that if humanity abuses or exhausts one

element, the natural world as a whole will suffer direct consequences. Ultimately, none of the

five major aims (

property) can be sustained if the world’s environment – God’s Creation – does not allow for


Islamic Relief recognises that poverty and environmental degradation need to be tackled

simultaneously to achieve long-term alleviation of the suffering of the world’s poorest people

and to be true to the Muslim faith. Although Islamic Relief will not by itself be able to solve

global environmental issues, it does have a duty to do what it can, and recognises that, through

its programmes and through its organisational behaviour, much can be achieved.

maqasid) of the Shariah (protection of religion, life, mind, offspring and19

Ali, A.Y. The Holy Qur’an; Text, Translation and Commentary. Maryland; Amana Corporation. 1989. pg. 108020

Thamud were “settled firmly on earth” – but they arrogantly abused the power given to them by Allah, and were

destroyed by an environmental cataclysm.

Both were powerful tribes in their respective times and lands – Ad were “endowed abundantly with power” andUpdated February 2009 9

Islamic Relief is a humanitarian relief and development organisation. The vast majority of its

income is dedicated to helping poor people escape poverty and suffering through relief and

sustainable development programmes. The organisation’s efforts to increase awareness and to

avoid environmental degradation in general and reduce its carbon emissions in particular,

reinforce this core purpose.

Islamic Relief believes that humankind has the responsibility to maintain the balance and

proportion that God has built into the Creation. Islamic Relief also believes that much suffering

is being caused by disruption of that balance and proportion.

Islamic Relief believes that a rich biological heritage, a stable climate and clean water are as

important to communities as their material needs. Furthermore, Islamic Relief believes that

environmental conservation, socio-economic development, and even relief activities go hand in

hand in all but the most extreme of circumstances.

Islamic Relief will not be able to single-handedly change the world’s economic system and

modes of production. However, Islamic Relief

programmes do not place more than a minimum additional burden on the environment. In

addition, Islamic Relief may, in some cases, be able to restore the environmental balance and

proportion. In the past years, a number of the Islamic Relief Field Partners have shown that it is

possible to take into account consciously the longer term sustainability of our interventions, and

have already developed replicable examples of projects that reverse environmental degradation.

This will be made possible by:

will be able to ensure that its own actions and·

environmentally conscious. Starting at the Islamic Relief Worldwide and then expanding to

Partner Organisations and Implementing Partners, Islamic Relief will adopt a range of

feasible and affordable measures which will reduce Islamic Relief’s ecological footprint

Making its staff more environmentally aware and its office operations moreand

switching off equipment, utilising alternatives to air travel); system development (e.g.

separating garbage, recharging cartridges); and environmentally conscious procurement

(including office procurement and procurement for field operations and of relief items).

save Islamic Relief donors’ money. These measures include behavioural changes (e.g.,·

Islamic Relief’s project preparation process and include environmental impact in


Introducing environmental impact assessments as a meaningful and standard component of·

and environmental regeneration.

Islamic Relief aims to be conscious of its ‘ecological footprint’ and to minimise any negative

effects that may arise from its work. As an organisation that is conscious of its duty to Allah’s

Creation, Islamic Relief should be in the position to play a leadership role within the wider

Muslim community by 2010, and more generally a leadership voice by 2015 (deadline for


In the longer term, to contribute to the Islamic Relief’s vision of creating a caring world where

the basic requirements of people in need are fulfilled, Islamic Relief’s organisational aims

evolve to accommodate the rapid changes that today’s world is undergoing. In view of the

Initiating and expanding projects that create sustainable livelihoods through conservationUpdated February 2009 10

poverty and suffering that environmental degradation is causing, and will cause in the future,

Islamic Relief’s mission and organisational aims will be reviewed, to incorporate: 1) the

imperative to minimise negative consequences of Islamic Relief’s work on the environment; 2)

the commitment to reverse, where possible, environmental degradation; and 3) the commitment

to enhance communities’ ability to cope with environmental change.

Updated February 2009 11

Published by Islamic Relief Worldwide

19 Rea Street South


B5 6LB

United Kingdom



© Islamic Relief Worldwide 2009

This article is taken from the website of Islamic Relief Worldwide.

See on-line at:

Islamic Relief Worldwide – IN DEPTH ANALYSIS / Policy and Research: Overview

April 4, 2010


Poverty and environmental degradation are closely linked. The causes of environmental degradation disproportionately affect the poor, while poverty also accelerates environmental destruction.  

Poor communities often rely on agriculture, fisheries and natural resources in order to make a living but the depletion of fertile grazing land, forests and water sources is leaving them with no way to feed or support themselves. This means they are forced into a cycle of ever-deepening poverty.

In addition, global climate change and local environmental degradation have caused more natural disasters such as droughts, floods and storms. Those most vulnerable are the poorest communities who do not have the resources to protect themselves, with the consequence that there are increasing numbers of ‘environmental refugees.’ 

As natural resources are depleted, poor communities are forced through necessity to overexploit the resources that remain, leading to yet further environmental destruction. Land is over-cultivated, eroded and reserves of wood or grass are used up. Unfortunately as natural resources such as water, that are essential for human life, are used up conflicts between individuals, communities and even countries will become more frequent. Many of the conflicts we see today can be traced to disagreements over access to and use of diminishing natural resources. Islamic Relief is a humanitarian relief and development organisation that works with some of the world’s poorest people. If we are to fulfil our commitment to provide support to these communities we must work to ensuring environmental sustainability.
If the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are to be met by 2015 it is integral that there are significant steps towards environmental sustainability. At present around 10 million children die every year before their fifth birthday, most as the result of diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea and also malnutrition, such diseases will become more widespread as a result of climate change. If the world wide community is to meet the commitments of the MDGs, then it is essential that we act now on climate change.
Our values
Islamic Relief is an organisation inspired by the teachings of Islam. The Islamic environmental worldview is a holistic one and is based on the five aims of Shariah which aim to protect religion, life, mind, offspring and property. Yet these are all directly or indirectly threatened by environmental degradation.

In Islam, Muslims are encouraged to reflect on the relationship between living organisms and their environment and to maintain the balance created by God. Mankind is the guardian of the earth and as such has a duty to protect it and also to ensure its posterity for future generations in the spirit of inter-generational equity.
Islamic Relief believes that we all have a responsibility to maintain the balance of the earth, especially as disruption of this balance is causing widespread suffering amongst the world’s poorest people. Protection of the environment is therefore crucial to Islamic Relief both as one of the Islamic principles on which we are founded, and also because of its importance for poverty reduction.

Our response
Islamic Relief believes that a stable climate and a rich environmental heritage are as important to communities as their material needs. We also believe that environmental conservation, socioeconomic development and emergency relief are interlinked and these links should be reflected in our activities.

Islamic Relief’s interventions to promote environmental sustainability focus on four areas:

  • integrating the principles of sustainable development into all projects
  • preventing or reversing the loss of environmental resources
  • ensuring Islamic Relief’s own internal policies and practices are environmentally sound 
  • advocating for global change to protect the environment.

Project work
Development projects

  • Islamic Relief conducts meaningful environmental impact assessments as a standard part of every project preparation process.
  • Islamic Relief implements many projects aimed at creating sustainable livelihoods through environmental protection and regeneration and promoting environmentally sound practices.
  • We are expanding our projects to meet challenges posed by climate change including increasing natural disasters.

Emergency relief
There is a strong link between environmental degradation and the frequency of natural and man-made disasters. Despite this, in an emergency situation relief workers are often unable to prioritise environmental issues.

  • To help us respond to environmental needs during an emergency Islamic Relief will incorporate viable elements of Rapid Environmental Impact Assessments into our disaster response operations and our disaster response training programmes.

Internal environmental challenges
Islamic Relief is committed to ensuring that all our offices are environmentally sound. This will reduce the organisation’s collective ‘carbon footprint’, reduce costs and also lend us credibility required to advocate on environmental matters. Measures include:

  • Staff behavioural changes such as ensuring all equipment is switched off when not in use, not undertaking unnecessary printing, etc.
  • System development such as recycling all rubbish.
  • The development of an environmentally conscious procurement policy, including the procurement of office items, items for field offices and emergency relief supplies.
  • Limiting the frequency of international air travel and offsetting our carbon emissions.

Islamic Relief is a member of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition as well as various local environmental networks through our various field offices in Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa.

This piece is taken from the website of the Islamic Relief Worldwide.

See on-line at:

Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Studies – Green Mosques: Educate the Congregation

April 3, 2010
Muslim Green Guide
The Muslim Green Guide to Reducing Climate Change is a 20-page guide explaining the impact of climate change using Islamic references and encourages Muslims conserve water, heating, electricity, and consider public transport. The guide also promotes recycling and offers tips on the environmental impact of food products.

The guide can also be downloaded Download Green Guide

Give khutbahs using khutbah notes on sustainable living, reducing waste etc. in a Toolkit for Imams showing what was done in Tower Hamlets.

[Link to download this document]

Listen to Khutbahs by Hisham al-Awadi and others at JIMAS: Healing the Fragile EarthA khutba from the US on Islam & Environment by Dr. Awadh Binhazim

Traffic Links to documents, powerpoint presentations and
other IFEES publications

Leaflets in English, Somali and Bengali:

  • The Balance of Creation
  • Do not be wasteful
Organize traffic reduction measures by:

  • Promoting public transport: pin up a large bus map
  • Facilitating car-sharing: mark routes people take using wool and pins on map and a list of who uses which. Organize pick-up points.
  • [Mini]bus to collect madrasa children and take them home – end the school run!
  • Subsidised local and accessible parking.
  • Staggering mosque prayer times to avoid rush hour traffic.
  • Providing refreshments between Zuhr, the midday prayers, and Asr, the afternoon prayers – in winter.
  • Lifestyle seminars and walk to the Mosque days, where walking is actively encouraged.
    ‘There is a reward for every step you take towards the mosque’   (Hadith)
  • Working with local authorities on traffic calming measures.
  • Instigating a one-way traffic flow system near mosque.
Waste Useful Links


Page 1: Is your mosque an eco-mosque?
Page 2: Educate the Congregation
Page 3: How we used to live
Page 4: The Prophets (pbuh) Eco-mosque

Organize waste reduction measures by:

  • Arranging lectures by the Imam on waste
  • Get a sustainability audit done on the mosque and train young people to do Sustainability Audits.
  • Ask the local Council to provide recycling banks at the mosque.
  • Recycle clothes in banks provided by charities like Islamic Relief
  • Turn down the water taps – at the mains if possible. The Prophet (pbuh) forbade wastefulness in the use of water and used only half a litre to do wudu (ablution). A trickle from a tap is enough.
    God’s Messenger, Muhammad (pbuh)appeared while Saad was taking the ablutions. When he saw that Saad was using a lot of water, he intervened saying: ‘What is this? You are wasting water.’ Saad replied asking: ‘Can there be wastefulness while making the ablutions?’ To which God’s Messenger replied: ‘Yes, even if you make them on the bank of a rushing river.’ Extravagance is to use water without any benefit, like washing the parts more than three times.
    (Hadith: Ibn Majah)
  • Install renewable energy or switch to a renewable energy tariff.

This piece is taken from the website of the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Studies.

See on-line at:

Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Studies – Green Mosques: Is Your Mosque An Eco Mosque?

April 3, 2010


In Singapore, the country’s first eco friendly mosque was constructed in May 2009. Green perks include energy-saving solar tubes that are also skylights, a garden rooftop, motion sensor lights, and low-flow fixtures. It also has a ‘greenwall’ – injecting a sense of serenity and calm into the prayer halls. Other features include motion sensor lights and taps fitted with water-flow-regulating devices.

For these efforts, the mosque received the Green Mark certification from Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority. The mosque also features family-oriented spaces – including child-friendly toilets, a reading and play area as well as a function hall.


In June 2008, Levenshulme in Manchester UK built an eco-mosque fitted out with solar panels, under-floor heating, low-energy light bulbs, wood from renewable sources, and reclaimed stone.

Abu Dhabi

In Abu Dhabi, students have designed a sustainable template for “mosques of the future in the UAE.” According to Khaleej Times Online, 38 students of the School of Architecture at the American University of Sharjah have designed a mosque that taps no electricity from the grid. Instead, it uses solar panels, wind towers, geothermal cooling, shading devices, wind turbines, and natural ventilation.

“We decided to focus on mosques because of the number of mosques that are in the UAE, the cultural significance associated with it, and the fact that it is pedagogically reasonable to design a green mosque,”
says Dr Ahmed Mokhtar, Associate Professor of Architecture at the school.

To read more about Abu Dhabi’s green mosque visit:

These are inspirational big-money projects but…

What can WE do in our own mosques to make them more eco-friendly and do our bit to save the Earth Allah created?

This piece is taken from the website of the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Studies.

See on-line at:

Wisdom in Nature – Action: Projects

April 3, 2010
We are involved in the following ongoing projects and campaigns:
RESOURCE CYCLE: Giving & Receiving with Human-ness
Where? This takes place usually at open forums.
What & How!?
We offer a couple of minutes for participants to announce (up to 3) items they don’t need, and would like to give away for free with no strings attached. If anyone else in the forum might have use for that item, the two can make arrangements for the item to be passed on.

Alternatively, any participant can announce something they don’t have, but would like. If anyone has that item and is willing to pass it on with no strings attached and no charge, that can be arranged too.

Background: The concept arose in August 2007 at a WIN Meeting. Here, there was a clear collective sense that the development of stronger local communities was a fundamental quality we would like to see in the world around us. The concept of Resource Cycle came up as a vehicle through which WIN could contribute to this process whilst helping reduce waste and the ‘consumption’ of new goods. It is also a step towards a more real economy. An additional quality that Resource Cycle offers is the face-to-face interaction that takes place between potential givers and receivers. This offers a more human quality, something that is tending to be eroded in our ‘modern’ world, yet is central to many of LINE’s projects.

A concept that recognises the essential need for personal, community and economic transformation in engaging with the ecological challenge. It includes the use of fasting and attempts to engage people with their hearts, minds and bodies. Initiated by WIN in 2007/2008, Fast for the Planet allows for two kinds of movements. A movement towards, and a movement away from. This will now be explained:

Moving away from: Through Fast for the Planet, we are expressing an intention to move away from our collective submission to:

i) corporate domination; ii) consumerism; iii) the dominant, interest-based and fictitious monetary-system; and of course, iv) our dependence on fossil fuels.

Moving towards: Simultaneously we are strengthening an intention that moves us towards:

i) activating more of our inner resources and human potential; ii) towards simplicity, sharing and community building; iii) towards economic systems that are nurturing to life, soul and community; iv) towards non-polluting energy, and sustainable use of the earth’s resources.

More info:

Available for venues/events:


WIN has produced an exhibition comprising a selection of high quality photographs which capture the changing climate in different parts of the globe, including in a number of predominately Muslim countries. There are also visual ideas on climate change solutions, and an exploration of what Islam says about the pressing challenge that is with us. Already displayed at the Mile End Fair, the London Muslim Centre and at a large gathering in Trafalgar Square, this production can be exhibited at a variety of events, with WIN representatives at hand to talk about the issues raised.  

If you would like to discuss having this exhibition displayed at your event/venue such as a mosque or community event, for example, then please feel free contact us. 

Please note, that there may be a small charge to cover expenses, and appropriate display boards will need to be provided.

Campaign against Climate Change (CCC)
Campaigning for an effective international agreement to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. CCC are particularly skilled at organising and mobilising for mass demonstrations.

This piece is taken from the website of Wisdom in nature.

See on-line at:

Wisdom in Nature – History of Wisdom In Nature and Islamic Environmentalism in the UK

April 3, 2010

by Muzammal Hussain, Founder of WIN

Before the Paradigm Shift

In the 1990’s, there were very few people who were actively promoting awareness of environmental ethics amongst Muslim communities in the UK. There was the occasional public talk at which after a bit of listening, the nodding of heads, questions and answers and momentary inspiration, the audience would return home and re-immerse themselves into their normal routine. Of course, whilst seeds would have been sown, the dispersed and rare nature of enthusiastic environmentalists in Muslim communities meant that any progress would confine itself to a small sphere of possibilities. For real progress to be made, it was clear that the paradigm in which Islamic environmentalism existed in the UK would need to transform.

Over the years, I began to hear more and more Muslims voice their frustration that they had not come across other Muslims, who like them, were interested in environmentalism. Whenever I came across such people, they were always shocked to hear that as well as myself, I knew others who shared their passion. “I thought I was the only one” became a mantra that I began to hear frequently. The signs were encouraging, and the path seemed obvious: People had to meet up regularly, get to know one another, and thus be empowered to build their own networks within which they could work together and thus engage more creatively and effectively in their local communities. The paradigm shift was now ready to take place.

As one of a few Muslims who would speak on the environment at events and write an occasional letter to MP’s, Ministers and various organisations, it was in recognising the above, coupled with my involvement in local group activism in Brighton, that I then reflected on the possibility of starting local Islamic environmental groups in the UK. I then discussed this with several people, and felt this could really work.

In Autumn 2003 I was invited to speak on GM foods at a conference on ‘Islam and the Environment’ in Reading. After gaining the green light from the organisers, Imaad and IMASE, I used my talk at this delightful event as an opportunity to encourage the more committed audience members to get together with the aim of focussing on starting a local Islamic environmental group in Reading. Afterwards, a small number of people did successfully meet up on one occasion with myself also present. Whilst the potential and enthusiasm seemed strong, the effort within the group was not sustained long enough for the group to properly form at that time. However, several years later, in 2009, the seeds that were sown began to bear fruit as RITE (Reading Islamic Trustees for the Environment) was initiated.

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The Birth of WIN

Several months later in early 2004, I used an Islamic environmental elist I had developed over the years (later called Ecobites) as a vehicle to publicise my intention to form a network in London, which is where I felt there would be greatest potential, even though I was then living in Brighton. The first meeting of just three people took place on January 10th 2004 in my parents home, and with sustained effort the group became established. Eight months later on September 5th 2004, this new group decided on an official name: the London Islamic Network for the Environment, or LINE.

It should be added that whilst I was working with IFEES when I started LINE, LINE has always been autonomous. At the same time, with experience in local group activism lacking within IFEES, the foundation and soul of the group were instead inspired and nurtured by a diverse range of other sources without which I do not feel that the project would have stood much chance of success. For instance, the idea to set up a local environmental group at all was influenced by my experience with the highly competent ‘World Development Movement’ (WDM) in Brighton, an impressive group that I was actively involved with. I also discussed ideas and drew on the experience of other activists mostly from Brighton, in an attempt to consider what might work and what wouldn’t, in the context of a group comprising of mostly Muslims. The lengthy conversations with these and other individuals continue to this day, as part of the ongoing process of drawing on expertise and sharing experiences from a wide range of sources for a constantly evolving network.

For a group to be empowered and established within a grassroots ideological basis, it is necessary for as many voices as possible to be heard within it, the quieter ones as well as the louder ones, and from the beginning, I had always felt it important for the committed members of LINE to also develop their awareness of group processes and thus be in a better position to facilitate the input and integration of these voices. This led me to look at group psychology and development as well as meeting facilitation skills and consensus decision making. I attended workshops and looked into literature on the web, such as on the Seeds for Change website, which offers resources that continue to benefit the group as it evolves. Also particularly useful was the Gaia Education book ‘Beyond You and Me’. As recogniition of the need for a healthy process seeped into the group, in the summer of 2005, we particpated in our first formal group development trainingwhich was organised with ‘Seeds for Change’.

In terms of my personal influences, awareness of social movmements and social change particularly through Mandela’s inspiring autobiography, Gandhi’s ‘The Story of my Experiments with Truth’, and the life of Abdul Ghaffar Khan influenced my early vision, as did Islamic teachings and Islamic history through reflection on their relevance to effective ecolgoical activism and social change now.

Despite the low priority given to the environment amongst Muslims and the low level of experience in local activism amongst many newcomers to the network, LINE nonetheless beat the odds and established itself as a competent, creative and self-aware activist group which has demonstrated that it can deliver.

Whilst LINE was succesful in its aims, we were aware that our emphasis on process, our holistic approach that was wider than the environment and included the social and spiritual, and our inclusion of those who were not Muslim meant that our name was not quite congruent with our focus and means even though these had not changed. We were also finding that in describing our work, we began to use the term ‘ecological’ (which implies interconnectedness and gives value to relationship ) more, and the term ‘environmental’ less. In November 2009, after discussions that included a consensus-decision-making process, we unanimously agreed on a change of name and became Wisdom In Nature . We continue as an Islamic group and hope that our new name captures more of the essence of our work.

Many thanks must go to all the sources mentioned above, for their invaluable support which helped WIN to become established in the solid form that it now takes as well as early members who helped support the group to get off the ground. Also, people of other faiths and beliefs gradually began to join in our forums, some of whom have now become regular, and too, have given valuable support and encouragement.

The journey for WIN has been challenging but fun, and truly rewarding. Its success has shown what is possible, and shortly after it’s formation, it inspired effort from other individuals to also get together to form other local Islamic environmental networks in their own areas in the UK.

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UK-Wide Groups

There had been a couple of attempts at starting an Islamic environmental group in Birmingham that didn’t quite take off. On the 11th June 2004, I introduced the idea to an audience at an event organised by the Birmingham City Circle. People were clearly interested but a meeting was yet to happen.

Next year, Fazlun Khalid, the director of IFEES and well known for his writings and Islamic environmental ethics workshops was now based back in Birmingham following some time abroad. Having heard about LINE, he was keen to try to set up a similar group in Birmingham. He thus organised a meeting which took place on Sunday 20th Feb 2005 at which I also presented my experience in setting up LINE. A number of keen people attended this event including a couple from the Birmingham City Circle meeting, and the possibility of a Midlands Islamic environmental group opened up. The efforts that followed were spear-headed by Rianne ten Veen who thus initiated MINE.

That Birmingham meeting was also attended by Nadeem Shah, who reported back to his home town, Sheffield, and with the leadership of Kate Fryer, a Sheffield Islamic environmental group, called ShINE, began.

Simultaneously, around the same period, a small number of individuals were also looking at the possibility of a group in Wales and had been communicating this to me via my elist, Ecobites. Masood Yousef took the idea forward with the support of Omer Williams and on June 5th 2005, WELCOME was initiated.

I had the honour of being invited to speak at the launch of both WELCOME and ShINE and was encouraged to see many enthusiastic people wanting to come together to take things forward.

Later, RITE formed in Reading in 2009, initated by Summreen Sheikh.

Of course, whilst enthusiasm is often there at the start, the development of a strong group also depends on a number of other ingredients such as the following through of mundane tasks, having the tools to work through challenges that come up, open and sincere communication, as well as consistency. The ongoing development of one’s own inner state and inner resources is also crucial as a means to remain centred and to prevent burn-out. It is my prayer that these networks can develop and become strong. The potential exists for amazing things to happen. Given the scale of the ecological challenge, the alternative is far too painful to even contemplate.

This piece is taken from the website of Wisdom in Nature.

See on-line at:

Wisdom in Nature – Who Are We

April 3, 2010

WIN Official Positions


Elizabeth Chawdhary
Muzammal Hussain
Shumaisa Khan
Wasi Daniju

In addition: Support to Chair: Shumaisa Khan ; Chair: Muzammal Hussain

These are responsible positions that are assumed on a voluntary basis

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Set up a Islamic Ecological Community Group

WIN is the first such group in the UK, and was established through the hard work of a small number of committed individuals. Having pioneered local Islamic ecological activism in the UK and developed a thorough grounding in group processes in a range of settings, WIN thus has considerable experience and expertise that we also offer to support newer groups. If you would like some general advice, or would like to draw on our more in depth experience and support, then please contact us. Workshops are also offered.

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Is WIN a subsidiary of any other group or organisation?

WIN is an autonomous group. This is supported by the fact that our day-to-day work is funded entirely by donations from individuals, allowing us to be independent of corporations and government.

Coupled with openness, this independence allows WIN to work as a team with other networks, both inside and outside Muslim communities, whilst retaining a fluid and creative nature.

Is WIN affiliated to any political party?

No. Whilst WIN believes that just like any relationship learning can take place both ways, thus WIN also believes that politicians can learn from us, and we can learn from them. Simultaneously, we are not affiliated to any political party. This does not however prevent any WIN member from also being a member of a political party of their own choosing, if they so wish. This however is neither formally encouraged nor discouraged.

What kind of organisations does WIN work with?

WIN has built links and has worked with numerous organisations in a variety of ways. These include, (in alphabetical order): BTCV, Campaign against Climate Change, Climate Camp, The Corner House, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Hilfield Project, Rising Tide, St Ethelburga’s Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, Tawhid Mosque, WELCOME & WDM (World Development Movement).

Why an ‘Islamic’ ecological group?

Islamic teachings offer profound principles that work in a holistic system which recognises the interactions between the diverse areas of life and society such as economics, health, peace and conflict for example and within which environmental care is also integrated. It also emphasises amongst a number of factors, the importance of spiritual development, on the journey through which our relationship with the world is affected, allowing us to recognise with increasing clarity that ultimately everything comes from one source, and is connected. The development of this experience presents a profound basis to ecological activism.

In this, as well as other regards, there are some similarities between Islamic ecological activism and other ideologies, and the beauty of these meeting points amongst ideologies is that they allow different groups to work together. Hence, being an Islamic group does not negate the probability of working with others that are not labelled Islamic. Indeed often there are far more similarities than differences. In addition an Islamic basis to ecological activism also touches people of the Islamic faith in an intimate way and offers them a realisation of the depth to their faith that they may not have had. This encourages motivation and opens up a greater human potential to meet the huge scale of the ecological challenge that humanity collectively faces.

Is there a formal membership structure to WIN?

Yes and No. There is a loose group of regular, committed volunteers who decide on key issues related to the running of the group, whilst taking into account the views of the wider network. This usually takes place at review meetings. Within this group is a Chair and Support to Chair, whose role is fundamentally to ensure the group stays within its own ethos.

Essentially anyone who regularly attends WIN forums and who believes and works within its ethos, Muslim or of another belief, can consider themselves to be an informal member of the group. On the other hand, attending review meetings requires a particularly strong commitment to WIN and resonance with its ethos. It also requires a certain amount of time for the review meetings. Please discuss with the Chair, if you are interested in attending.

Do I have to pay to participate in the group?

No. A sincere commitment to the processes and aims of the group is perhaps most important. An understanding of these can be achieved through this website, and experientially, through participating in the group’s activities.

I don’t have time to attend forums and events. Can I still help?

Quite possibly. Get in touch with us and we can have a chat. If you would like to help financially, you may like to visit our donate page. We also suggest joining the WINnotices elist, if you haven’t already done so.

How can I find out more?

Please explore this website or feel free to contact us directly.

This piece is taken from the website of Wisdom in Nature.

See on-line at:

Wisdom in Nature – Introductory Guiding Principles: Spring 2008

April 3, 2010

LINE: .The London Islamic Network for the Environment.






A) Relationship with Islam/Faith

i. We strive for an approach that is centred in the

extend outwardly with inclusiveness to those of other faiths and beliefs.

ii. We do not represent and we do not have a monopoly on religion. Instead we represent a range of viewpoints, which will converge in some areas, to then be held with lesser or greater firmness.

iii. We are not a sect of Islam and are open to people of all faiths, sects and beliefs who are able to engage

within our ethos.

iv. Our approach is which we do not have full knowledge.



essence and unifying principles of Islam, allowing us toall Muslims, nor the Islamic perspective (nor do we represent all environmentalists),non-prescriptive. We recognise that each individual has choice, and is on a life path of

B) Transformational Activism (Individual, Group, & Societal)

a) Decision-making & Dialogue

i. We view activism, and we recognise the value in allowing insights to emerge through them.Deep Dialogue and Reflection/Contemplation (Tafakkur) as important processes that inform our prescriptiveiii. Whilst technology has value, in an increasingly technology-driven age, we are mindful that




ii. We recognise the importance of creating space, both psychological and in time, to share and understand perspectives. This encourages a deeper dialogue through which the appreciation of others is enhanced, a 

approach becomes less likely, and transformation becomes possible.face-to-face

dialogue offers a quality and presence that can be missing through remote means.

iv. We aim to be 

transparent whilst allowing space for growth.

b) Development & Transformation


i. We look transformation is a crucial contribution to societal transformation ~ developing ourselves such that the consciousness and processes within the group mirror that of the world we wish to live in.within as well as outside of the group, understanding that our personal and collectivespirituality/inner work, and our personal spiritual/inner development.facilitating, conflict resolution and developing mindfulness.means is a fundamental contribution to the end we seek.

c) Egoism & Image


ii. We recognise the importance of

iii. We reflect on the natural world (which includes the human), and our place in it.

iv. We take opportunities to develop skills that will help the group to develop, for example skills in


v. We recognise that our  

i. We recognise the existence of

than attempts to push with a constricted world-view.

ii. Whilst through a collective identity we believe in the possibility of better fulfilling a higher purpose, we

consider our

iii. We focus on

not arise. We are also conscious of the importance of the truth being asserted.

iv. We value



egoism and take precautions to ensure that ego serves higher values, ratherpurpose to ultimately be of greater value than our identity.substance in our work, which we value more than an image or impression that may or mayquality over quantity.





A) Our group purpose is to facilitate:

natural world, of which we are a part, thus honouring the principle of Oneness

process of community building and nurturing the social ecology.


B) In order to achieve this purpose we utilise the following methods:


a) Development of Knowledge


. In recognising the interconnectedness of the world, we strive to develop our own understanding of human

and societal spheres of knowledge, as well as the .environmental.. We recognise that economics, peace,

conflict, human ecology and social movements are realities that are interwoven with the struggle for

environmental justice. We also aim to develop our understanding of Islamic perspectives on these areas, as

well as perspectives from other traditions that may not be labelled .Islamic. (where doing so supports the

purpose of the group). Simultaneously, we allow space for our own insights to form.

ii. We also assume the role of a catalyst in order to stimulate questioning, reflection, dialogue and

understanding of the above within wider society.

The vehicles that we might use include talks, workshops, the arts and various forms of media, as appropriate.



the transformation of society to live justly in harmony with the diverse(Tawhid). Integral to this is the i


b) Connecting with Nature


We consider sensing, connecting with, and reflecting on the natural world as a potential vehicle for spiritual

development, as well as a means to develop a deeper understanding of ecology. Hence outings in which we

explore or work in nature form a component of our activism. We may also encourage such activities to be

initiated in communities, where this is appropriate.


c) Deep Dialogue


Whilst communication enables us to understand one another, other factors are relevant to its



quality: the state

we are in, the quality of

fundamentally affect the extent to which both the process and eventual outcome are infused with

Hence we aim to create conditions inwardly and outwardly that are conducive to such dialogue

process is




facilitation (which we regard as a collective responsibility) and the setting, canwholeness.. Integral to this listening with compassion, as well as reflection and taking precaution against the influence of







d) Networking


We network with a diverse range of groups and individuals (both inside and outside Muslim communities),

whilst also recognising that the quality of relationship is more important than quantity of contacts.


e) Campaigning/Outward Activism

In asserting justice, there are likely to be times when we exert direct pressure outwardly. Our work may

include taking campaigns, where appropriate, to businesses, political structures and other institutions, for

example. In so doing, we are simultaneously mindful of our principles and values, in particular recognising

that the




means we use is a fundamental contribution to the end we seek (see Transformational Activism

This piece is taken from the website of Wisdom in Nature.

See on-line at: