Last Updated on 7th April 2023
Lubna Junaid, Environmental Science student, Suriname
The act of fasting in Islam is defined as abstaining from food, drink and marital relations from dawn to sunset. Islam follows the lunar calendar, which means that Ramadan occurs approximately 11 days earlier each year than the previous year according to the solar calendar.
In Islam, the practice of fasting is not only a physical exercise, but also a spiritual one. The ultimate goal is to order God’s life according to his ordinances. In the Holy Quran, Muslims are reminded that fasting is not a new institution or burden; It is the most ancient institution;
“O you who believe! Fasting is commanded for you, as it was commanded before you, that you may be justified. (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.184)
Unless someone later converted to Islam, Muslims begin fasting at the age of health for them, often this is the age of puberty. Patience is the first test, knowing that the Muslims want to deprive themselves of food. Happy Ramadan month pushing for equality and social piety.
On the first day, we learn what it feels like to be hungry, but as the days pass, we learn what it really means to live without food. A little self-deprivation inspires great compassion for the truly hungry people of the world. The social barrier between the rich and the poor dissolves, when the rich suffer and suffer hunger no differently than their poorer neighbors. Fasting also teaches moral discipline. The pursuit of blessings available to us in Ramadan comes from a sincere desire to please our Creator. During the month, with greater intensity, Muslims focus on prayers, reciting and studying the Holy Quran, serving humanity and remembering Allah.
As Muslims around the world fast during Ramadan, many will do so, as climate change conditions become increasingly harsh. Across Asia, Africa and the Middle East, millions are fasting despite displacement from extreme weather, water shortages caused by drought and heat waves, and food prices inflated by crop failures. Five out of 10 countries are hit by the most severe climate crisis, according to the Notre-Dame Global Initiative (“ND-GAME COUNTRY INDEX”); https://gain.nd.edu) and Germanwatch on the Climate Risk Index, they have large Muslim populations: Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Niger, Somalia and Sudan. Although the challenges vary according to the geography of each country, many of them are the hardest in the remote, rural communities of developing countries, where governments have limited resources to deal with rapid changes. (“The 10 Countries Most Affected by Climate Change”); www.concernusa.org)
Ramadan provides us with a great opportunity to make a positive change in our attitude towards the environment. The opportunity must therefore be seized to change the way of life to be more environmentally friendly. This is important as we learn more about the effects of climate change, diminishing resources and decreasing access to fresh water around the world, which is also a growing concern in many Muslim communities and countries. A Muslim’s responsible attitude during Ramadan is very important for correctness and acceptance of their fast. This is the time for us to be more aware of the universal compassion, mercy and respect for the Earth that our faith teaches. Allah has called us to protect, nurture, care, and observe the earth and all of God’s creatures. This argument also resonated in the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa.
We can follow basic tips, especially during Ramadan
1. The purpose of food intake with proper nutrition, supporting and using local produce and practicing sustainable practices in daily routines. We try to follow the Holy Prophet Muhammad’ssa they advise the Muslims to fill only a third of their stomachs with food, with a third reserved for liquid and a third for air (to make breathing easy), minimizing the amount we consume. (Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-at’imahHadith 3349
Food waste is a widespread problem all over the world. Second Food Waste Index Report 2012, published by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), a third of all food produced is lost or wasted – about 1.3 thousand tons of wheat – costing the global economy nearly $940 billion every year. 10% of global greenhouse gases come from food that is produced but not eaten. (“UNEP Food Waste Index Report 2011”, www.unep.org)
Muslims are advised not to live in solitude, as luxury and complacency suggests. Cooking food and cooking only as much as needed is a great way to avoid wasting food. Leftovers can also be effectively stored in the fridge and used the next day, rather than starting from scratch each evening. Also, keep an eye on the expiration date to make sure you use the food before it expires. It’s also worth finding your nearest food bank so you can donate whatever you have left to the unwanted forces.
2. Generate less amount of waste while also emphasizing reusing and recycling. Minimize or eliminate the use of single-use plastics. Promptly eliminate plates, hardware, cups, dishes, etc. If needed, use dirty paper plates and cups to serve food and drink.
3. Reduce the use of water, especially in daily use, such as showering, brushing teeth or during the day wudu (ablution). Make sure that the sound is not blocked when the water is not used, making a conscious effort to remove every drop and save the precious water, which is a very common theme in Islamic teaching.
It is narrated that the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa once he saw a man performing ablution and said: “Do not be prodigal, do not be prodigal.” [in using water].'” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-taharah wa sunanuha, Hadith 424) Although Islam teaches the importance of cleanliness, we are also advised not to exceed the boundaries or waste. We are taught to use enough and no more.
4. Turn off appliances after use, such as lights, ACs, fans, heaters, etc. This should be a habit among us, not only in our homes, but also in the mosque or Jamaat center. Be aware of energy consumption, and make an effort to live eco-friendly by dimming lights and fans when leaving or building a hall.
5. Declutter the living space. By the time we clean our minds and bodies, it makes sense to clean our seats at the same time. Just as waste is excess food, it’s likely that we have material things we no longer use or use better. Ramadan is the month of generous charity. Holy Prophetsa He was a very generous man, and he was very generous in Ramadan.Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-manaqaibHadith 3554. According to the excellent example of the prophet MuhammadsaWe intend to give and donate as much as we can.
According to research by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), faith-based institutions can have an immense impact on sustainable development. Director of the UNEP Faith for the Earth Initiative, he adds that faith diversity, all united in a single moral responsibility, can play a huge role in bringing about behavioral change in our production and consumption patterns. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been defined by the UN, including clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities, zero hunger and quality education. The report also lists examples of how faith-based organizations are helping to achieve these goals. (“Religion” plays a “big” role in climate change, says UN); www.euronews.com)
According to the report, 16 congregations of Dominican Sisters across the United States have given $46 million in seed capital for an investment fund that aims to improve access to clean energy in India and sub-Saharan Africa. The project highlights the power and wealth of religions and their contribution to sustainable financing. Another example hails from Peru, where A Rocha Peru, an organization of the Christian faith, planted 26,000 Huarango trees over three years. These trees are well suited to survive the climate of Southern Peru and are important for the agricultural tradition to thrive on the Peruvian coast. Various Sikh communities around the world have planted 1 million trees in 1,820 different locations. It’s a project driven by a group called Ecosikh, whose goal is to increase reforestation and encourage people to connect with nature. (“Faith-based organizations can help drive sustainable development, new report says” www.unep.org)
An amazing example from our community is the pledge by Lajna Imaillah UK to plant 100,000 trees across the UK, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of our auxiliary organisation. (“Lajna Ima’illah: Sustainability and Justice”. https://voiceofbritishmuslimwomen.co.uk) This initiative represents growth and concern for posterity, which is integral to our principles.
Let the Muslims, especially the Ahmadi Muslims, lead by example and make ourselves and the generations to follow in a better and healthier way.
Ramadan presents the perfect opportunity to recharge our spiritual batteries for the year. It is time to ask for forgiveness for our disbelief and to recall the signs of Allah’s creation. As Muslims, we have a duty as stewards of this planet, and it is our responsibility to ensure that nature’s resources are maintained in a sustainable manner. Now is the time to encourage ourselves and those around us to be the best possible stewards of the earth and individuals who are compassionate and respectful of the diverse and beautiful aspects of God’s creation.