Ramadan is a time to reflect on all the blessing we have been given by Allah (SWT), and what greater blessing is there than this beautiful, green planet we live on? Yet our daily lives are filled with consumption and waste, harming the Earth with almost every action. #WasteFreeRamadan is a campaign that is making sure we do not take the blessing of our Earth for granted. Their mission? Eliminating disposable water bottles from Masjids.
We spoke to #WasteFreeRamadan founder Tariq Syed and asked him what first inspired him to create this campaign. He explains, “Throughout my travels to different countries and exploring Muslim places of worship, I couldn’t help but notice that Mosques become trashed with disposable plastic waste – particularly during Ramadan. After fasting the full day, it’s understandable Muslims want to keep hydrated between prayers, but there are so many problems with using disposable bottles. Disposable bottles are rarely recycled, and are often left at Mosques for staff to clean up.”
The irony of producing so much waste during a month of spiritual cleansing is striking, and Br. Tariq and the team at TorontoMuslims decided to take action against it. This year, they started a Greening Initiative aiming to reduce plastic water bottle usage across masjids in the GTA. “10,000 Eco-Friendly reusable bottles are already being distributed across the Mosques as we speak now,” according to Br. Tariq. If you see these reusable bottles around at your local Masjid, know that you’re seeing the beginning of a greener Muslim community!
But why does this matter? Why should we as Muslims care about the environment? As Br. Tariq puts it: “Our beautiful religion is about increasing positive work around us and helping one another live a fulfilling, God-conscious life. During the holy month of Ramadan, Ajar can be increased in many ways. For example: charity, fasting, prayer; we can always include preserving our beautiful Earth and its resources. Environmentalism and Islam are closely connected, as Quran says “Eat and drink from the provision of Allah; and do not commit abuse on the earth”- 2:60. Allah has bestowed the Earth as Amanah (trust) upon humanity. It should be preserved, and its resources must be respected!”
So how can young Muslims get involved in the cause? Use the hashtag #WasteFreeRamadan on social media and share how you plan to make your Ramadan 2017 more Eco-conscious. You can pledge against disposable bottles and pick up your reusable bottle at an Eco-Conscious Mosque partner. If you are able to, donate to the cause at WasteFreeRamadan.com. Remember, every dollar counts towards bringing free water to fasting individuals!
What’s next for #WasteFreeRamadan? “The goal is to help our Muslim community make its mark in the fight against global warming and carbon emissions. I originally wanted to start small by introducing this concept to GTA Mosques. But looking at the kind of response we received from all over the city, we plan to take this initiative to other cities next year. We’ve been blown away by the positive response and massive success of #WasteFreeRamadan. I sincerely hope our community can adopt awareness on beating environmental degradation and increasing sustainable practices (for example, reducing, reusing and recycling). In this process, we’ve also learned so much. Now more than ever, we’re so excited to launch a bigger environmental campaign next year!”
Check out the campaign at WasteFreeRamadan.com