I had an amazing Iftar experience recently, I attended an Eco Iftar, hosted by islamic relief. At this Iftar we learnt so much about how to be more ethical in an innovative and fun way. There was storytelling by a muslim theatre company. Fair trade, organic and ethically sourced honey, dates, chocolate, olive oil and much more was available to buy. There I discovered that in Oxford we have a halal, ethical and organic farm! I even had fun making my own smoothie by riding a (stationary) bike. We had a 3 course organic meal, including kebabs, rice, chicken curry and even an organic cake!
My favourite part of the Iftar was the the storytelling, the sisters who told us the stories were so good, they kept the audience captivated and I honestly hoped they would tell us more stories!
The story I will share with you was about how we are treating the animals in the world. This story was originally written 1000 years ago. She told us how some people got shipwrecked on an uninhabited island and discovered all the wildlife and lush green trees and plants. But eventually they got greedy and started working the animals so hard that they were dying, they began hunting and killing all the animals. So the animals went to the king of jinns to seek justice. So the king gathered the people and the animals and they both gave their side. After justice was given to the animals the king explained that we need to live in balance with the animals. He then gave signs in which we can see whether we are in fact living in balance with the animals. Just keeping in mind this story was written 1000 years ago it was just amazing to hear the signs. The first sign was that the animals will disappear one by one, the second was the water that we drink from streams and rain will become undrinkable, the third sign was the air in your settlements will become dangerous to breathe and the fourth sign was the sky will weaken so that the earth will become exposed to the sun. These were the warnings given so that when we see them we will know that we are not striking the balance. I loved how the sister told the story, she kept is captivated and explained such an important issue in an easy to understand way. We need to learn to care for the animals and treat them properly.
The prophet (saw) said: There is none amongst the Muslims who plants a tree or sows seeds and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it but it is regarded as a charitable gift for him. (Bukhari)
Then the brother who started his own ethical, organic farm explained a it about how they run the farm. It’s a family business and they are so conscious about being ethical that even their home is built from the local natural resources, the walls are built from clay from the farm and even the roof is built. From straw which is locally sourced. All the energy is sustainable, they use solar, wind etc. Alhamdulillah not only do they treat the animals justly they also live in an ethical way.
He then left us with some important questions to reflect on;
1. Where is your food coming from?
2. Where do you get your energy from?
3. Where is your building materials/clothes from?
Allah says: Eat and drink from the provision of God and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption. Quran (2:60)
We had sister Lotifa Begum explain how the way we live here, in the UK has a global impact. How the choices we make here affects climate change but it affects people half way across the world. An example she gave was how people who are already living in poverty in Bangladesh have had their homes flooded several times due to the climate change. Most of the climate change is a result of men. She advised us to do our part and make a conscious effort to be more ethical in our choices, to recycle more for example. As these drastic climate changes are causing disasters and from that even more poverty around the world.
We all need to keep in mind that the climate change and the polluting of the earth is also a disaster but it isn’t one that we’re used to seeing like an earthquake so we think it isn’t. Believe me it is most certainly a disaster.
Allah says: Do not pollute the earth after it has been so wholesomely set in order. Quran (7:56)
The prophet (saw) taught us about looking after the earth and being just with the animals. You can see this from the way he lived his life and taught his companions to live. Allah has explained to us in the Quran the the same concept. There are hundreds of ayahs in the Quran talking about the environment and how we should be on the earth. There are many Hadiths also explaining this.
The prophet (saw) said: The world is green and beautiful and Allah has left you in charge of it, so be careful of how you conduct yourselves (Muslim)