Virtual Conference Inspires New Generation of Eco-conscious Muslims

From an Islamic perspective, environmental activism is grounded in honoring the relationship between oneself, Allah, and Allah’s creation. 

Allah says in the Qur’an, It is He who has appointed you vicegerent on the Earth … (Qur’an, 6:165)

Hoping to inspire the new generation of eco-conscious Muslims, dozens of Canadian Muslims joined a virtual conference this week organized by a Windsor Muslim community group.

The two-day event, organized by Green Ummah, a new grassroots community group in Windsor, offered participants the opportunity “to start the conversation about what we as Muslims can do to engage with the environment and help build a healthier planet,” said Mariam Rajabali, a board member for the group, CBC reported.

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The conference was a success as some 50 people showed up and engaged in the sessions.

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“There’s so many people that we heard from in our networking sessions that said ‘we do these things at home and we feel alone. We don’t get an opportunity to really voice this with our family and friends’,”  Rajabali said.

“And this is a space where they can share ideas … whether it’s taking reusable grocery bags to the grocery store, leaving them in your car before you get there, or … using cleaner cleaning supplies so that they’re not polluting the earth,” she said.

Engaging Community

Attendants at the conference discussed how the Muslim community can cooperate with indigenous community to raised awareness about environment.

One of the events they hope to launch in September is a “curriculum project” targeting youth.

“In order for us to make it sustainable change, we need to start looking at people at a young age, and we need to start building some of these behaviors and patterns within our everyday life. So we’re hoping that by influencing the younger generation, we can get more people on board with the environmental movement,” Rajabali said.

Historically, Muslim scholars coupled their study of nature to their understanding of Allah (God). The Qur’an articulates how eco-consciousness permeates every aspect of life and explains nature as a complete, complex, interconnected and interdependent system. It highlights the importance of recognizing and preserving the mizan, or balance.

Verily, We have created everything in equal proportion and measure … (Qur’an, 54:49).

The natural world manifests many of Allah’s attributes, including beauty, patience and mercy. Reflecting and connecting with the Earth fosters deeper understanding of Allah and the truth. Honouring and protecting the Earth becomes an act of worship.

We did not create the heavens and the Earth, and what lies between them except with Truth … (Qur’an, 15:85).

Several Qur’anic chapters such as the “Bee,” “Fig” and “Sun” make the conversation between nature and scripture explicit. The Qur’an explains the Earth as a sacred responsibility entrusted by Allah on humans.