Wardah Abbas invites us to something that adds more value to our lives – joining the green bandwagon
Staring at the keyboard for what seemed like a very long time, my mind travelled into my past in order to locate the starting point of a journey that has brought me here, to where I invite you to travel.
Joining the green bandwagon did not start in a day. I remember the days when I couldn’t stand the horror of seeing victims of environmental disasters on BBC news, and the times when the CNN cover stories about environmental refugees struck an arrow in my heart. The sad tales of earthquakes, wildfires, floods, hurricanes and cyclones around the world drove me into eco-consciousness and I discovered that the problems we had with our earth came directly from us.
Allah did not create us in isolation. It is natural that our existence on the surface of this earth depends on the good condition of the earth itself. Allah has made us the captains of the earth. By our very position, the power to steer the affairs of the earth lies in our hands.
Abu Sa’id Khudri reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: “The world is sweet and green (alluring) and verily Allah is going to install you as vicegerent in it in order to see how you act.”
Muslim, Book 36, Hadith Number 6606
Isn’t it so sad that, even though our earth has served us diligently, we have done nothing but trample upon it for hundreds of years, building nothing more than a parasitic relationship with it? This reminds me of an adage my dad echoes all the time: The tapeworm is happy with the great suffering it has caused the dog, little does it know that it’s life comes to an end the moment the dog dies.
We have hurt our environment so much and now we are facing the consequences. We have expanded the earth by the reclamation of swampy areas around oceans and seas; we have wiped out trees in the forests in order to build more industries; we have diverted chemical and toxic wastes into the rivers and atmosphere; we have turned vast lands into waste-dumping grounds; we have wasted resources without consideration for sustainable development and we continue to do other vain acts. Acts which not only bring unprecedented hardship to us but also constitute the breach of an important amanah (trust) bestowed on us by our Creator, which we are surely going to account for on the day of Qiyamah (Judgement).
Corruption has appeared throughout the land and sea by [reason of] what the hands of people have earned so He may let them taste part of [the consequence of] what they have done that perhaps they will return [to righteousness].
The Qur’an, Surah Ar-Rum (Chapter of the Romans) 30:41
Realising this marked the starting point of my journey to being green. I was guilty of some of these acts and I felt bad at being a contributor to the problems we have caused ourselves. So I decided to make a U-turn, and, trust me, there is nothing like developing a special love for the environment which itself is a creature of Allah. Bringing out the green ‘You’ may seem uneasy in the beginning, especially if you find it a bit difficult to adapt to changes. But since, as Muslimahs, we are all focussing on pleasing Allah in every way possible, we should try to march into the green world, and we can make it as easy and interesting as we want it to be. Here are a few things to bear in mind on your way to becoming green:
BE EXPRESSIVE IN YOUR LOVE FOR ALLAH
Let us reflect on the blessings of our environment. Allah has created everything for us: a vast variety of foods, fruits and flowers; lovely creatures and landscapes in which we take pleasure; and all other things from the sun to water, from the air we breathe to the vitamins we need. If truly we love Allah and hold Him in awe, then shouldn’t we let that love out in the way we handle His creatures?
Think about someone you love: probably your Mother. Think about what happens when she gives you a gift. The most likely thing is that you hold the gift very dear and handle it with great care and value. Now ask yourself what just happened. The answer is not far away: the love you have for your mother who is the source of the gift has made you place value on the gift which you now love very much. This is just how it works. Our environment is Allah’s gift to us so let us express the love we have for our Creator by loving our environment and handling it with great care.
SEE THE NATURAL WORLD AS A LIFE-SUPPORT SYSTEM
The mere fact that we cannot thrive without our environment is enough to bring out the green-consciousness in us. What can we ever do in life without air? Block the air-ways in your body to see what will happen to you. Moreover, imagine a day without water. The realisation that our environment serves as a life-support system for us is enough to inspire us to hold it very dear. By bearing in mind that when we destroy our environment, we destroy ourselves, and that when the environment is not at peace, we are not at peace, we find ways of attaching an immeasurable value and importance to our environment.
I was guilty of some of these acts and I felt bad at being a contributor to the problems we have caused ourselves. So I decided to make a U-turn, and, trust me, there is nothing like developing a special love for the environment which itself is a creature of Allah.
BEWARE OF THE DOUBLE P – C – F
The acronym “double P – C – F” stands for “PROXIMITY WITHOUT PRESENCE”, “CONTIGUITY WITHOUT CONTACT” and “FAMILIARITY WITHOUT FEELINGS”. Your environment is very near to you but you don’t feel its presence and neither do you have close contact with it. You’re very familiar with it but you have developed no feelings for it. It is worth taking note of this.
If you are setting out on a journey to being green for the sake of Allah, then you do not only need to feel the environment around you, but also be in close contact with it and love it all the same. One of the many ways of doing this is by planting trees around you, especially where you live, or caring for plants in your room. Maybe you’ll love an orchard, a vegetable garden, or a pot-herbary. You can also develop eco-love by rearing pets such as parrots, cats, pigeons, chicks and other animals which are halal for us to keep. You may also beautify your surroundings with flowers such as the rose and the lily and build a water fountain. Doing one, two or even all of these things may help you fall head-over-heels in love with nature.
Is it the gentle, fresh breeze coming from the orchard, or the rhythmic sounds of the birds and chicks at dawn, the sweet scents coming from the flower garden or the splash of water from the fountain? These are beautiful gifts that Allah has blessed us with; we shouldn’t deprive ourselves of them.
The need to revive our eco-consciousness is more important than ever, not only to sustain our existence, but also to fulfil an important aspect of the deen (religious path) to obtain the pleasure of our Creator.
Take your first step and travel on this beautiful path with me.
Guide us to the straight path – the path of those upon whom You have bestowed favour, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.
Wardah Abbas is a twenty something year-old Eco-Muslimah who is quick to express her feelings. She gives priority to creating a friendly environment and likes to enjoy herself to the fullest. When Wardah is not writing, volunteering at an event, or hanging out with friends, she can be found in front of the mirror trying out new make-up techniques. Wardah Abbas is the Earth Care staff writer for YMM so you can look forward to more articles from her inshaAllah. Find her blogging at: http://therosespen.wordpress.com/