Challenging all Muslims around the Earth to commit to protect the environment, Islamic religious leaders worldwide are planning to deliver a Green “Khutbah,” or sermon, at the traditional Friday prayer service on April 24 to mark Earth Day. Founded in Canada in 2012, the Green Khutbah Campaign takes place to commemorate Earth Day, which is being officially celebrated on Wednesday, April 22.
Muaz Nasir, one of the founders of the Campaign, said in a recent statement, “The theme of this year’s campaign is ‘Water – A Sacred Gift.'” Nasir is also the publisher of Khaleafa.com, a Canadian environmental website with an Islamic focus on stewardship. “God states in the Qur’an,” reminded Nasir, “‘We made from water every living thing (21:30),’ and we hope, this year, to raise awareness on the immense gift of water that we’re blessed with.”
Consider the water you drink. Was it you who brought it down the rain cloud or We? If We had pleased, We could make it bitter: why then do you not give thanks?
[Quran 56: 68-70]
The Earth Day 3 C Action Plan
“The Campaign challenge,” said Muaz Nasir, “is to request all Muslims to commit to protect, care for and wisely use our water resources with the 3 C action plan: Consume wisely, Conserve responsibly and Care for our waters.” The following Green Kutbah Campaign website statements offer practical tips for for action:
● Consuming Water Wisely:
Around the world, one in nine people lack access to drinking water. While the the issue of water scarcity is not a pressing concern for many in Canada, it is a daily concern for millions in the developing world. Learning about where our water comes from is the first step towards making informed decisions about best managing its use. Issues such as the hiddens costs of water contained within our consumer goods, the debate of bottled versus tap water and the depletion of water reserves for agriculture are all contentious issues affecting our generation. Our planet is at a tipping point where wars will be fought over access to clean water. Becoming an informed and engaged citizen by learning about the issues, changing your personal habits and teaching others is key.
● Conserve Responsibly:
Water conservation is the messaging touted by municipalities for decades to ensure homeowners and businesses minimize waste and reduce costs. There are simple measures a homeowner can take to improve the efficiency of their home including investing in water efficient fixtures, adjusting their watering for outdoor irrigation, and fixing leaks before they become serious problems. On a larger scale, industries can re-invest in new technology that improves their water efficiency and government can help by offering subsidies or grants to alleviate these costs. Water conservation is the responsibility of everyone and begins with simple behavioural changes that together as a community yield significant changes.
● Care for our Waters:
Protecting sourcewater is key to ensuring access for future generations. Competing interests for water by industry and agriculture have drained groundwater tables across North America. Mountain glaciers that have recharged headwaters are now melting due to climate change and wetlands that act as filters are under threat by urban development. As a result, some jurisdictions have experienced boil water advisories, water restrictions and shortages. Taking a proactive role in the management of our waterways can be as simple as becoming involved with your local conservation authority, participating in a shoreline clean-up or learning about history of lost rivers in your area.
And We send the fecundating winds, then cause the rain to descend from the sky, therewith providing you with water (in abundance), though ye are not the guardians of its stores. And verily, it is We Who give life, and Who give death: it is We Who remain inheritors (after all else passes away).
Global Earth Day and Public Concern
Widely accepted as the beginning of America’s environmental movement, the first Earth Day was held on April 22, in 1970. More than 20 million people from all over America joined in on that day, and most have remained engaged ever since, drawing more and more people into the popular worldwide movement. Now Earth Day is the largest international civic observation, with over a billion people participating in events associated with Earth Day.
As reported by Khaleafa’s Green Khutbah Campaign, however, a GlobalScan poll surveyed public concern regarding six environmental issues. Across 18 nations, the poll found that public concern is decreasing regarding environmental issues. The poll found that public concern peaked in 2009 and has been declining for issues related to water and air pollution, diodiversity loss and natural resource depletion, and climate change in general.
Although the poll indicated that public concern about climate change is currently lower than its peak in 2009, it is still better than its low point between 1998 and 2003. Further commenting on its poll, GlobeScan Chairman Doug Miller noted that scientific reports indicate that “environmental damage is stronger than ever—but our data shows that economic crisis and a lack of political leadership mean that the public are starting to tune out.”
Corruption has appeared on the land and in the sea because of what the hands of humans have wrought. This in order that we give them a taste of the consequences of their misdeeds that perhaps they will turn to the path of right guidance.
Tuning Out is Not an Option for Muslims
GlobeScan Chairman Miller pointed out that, “those who care about mobilizing public opinion on the environment need to find new messages in order to reinvigorate a stalled debate.” Muaz Nasir of Khaleafa.com responded by reminding Muslims that environmental damage is not something followers of Islam can tune out from. He explained, “Tuning out would mean that we are disregarding our moral responsibility to God’s creation.”
“Those who violate or abuse the Trust are described in the Qur’an as those who corrupt, degrade and bring ruin on earth,” Muaz Nasir added. “The corrupters abuse the Trust and are in clear contrast to what Muslims must be – the stewards of the earth.”
Creating an extensive online resource, Nasir and his team at the Khaleafa.com ‘Green Khutbah Campaign’ is helping Muslims all over the world to stay tuned in. Examples of ways to engage in stewardship through conservation activities, and even a sample “green khutbah” is offered on the website, which has attracted the support and praise of many Islamic organizations and well-known Muslim leaders.
It is He who made you successors (Khalifa) on the earth and raises some of you above others in rank, to test you through what He gives you.
(Originally published on EdenKeeper.org)