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Being green

It's not easy being green, as Kermit the frog told us so long ago.

Being green has different meanings like; being different from others, being naive, being environmental friendly or just plain green as a frog or grass.
I would like to talk about two of those meanings, being different and being environmental friendly. Sometimes these two go hand in hand and some people even think that being naive comes into play as well.
As a Muslim we are obligated to take care of our planet, we are the Vicegerent of Allah.
According to the dictionary Vicegerent means;
"An officer appointed as deputy by and to a sovereign or supreme chief"
in this case that is Allah.
We can find this in the Quor'an:

I have Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I will create a vicegerent on earth. They said: "Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood? Whilst we do celebrate Thy praise and glorify Thy holy (name)?" He said, "I know what ye know not" ( 2:30).

Ever since I was a child and conscious about the earth and all its habitants, I was concerned about it, about all the pollution of the oceans as well as the lands and the maltreatment of people and animals by other people. As a child that made me very very angry. It even came to a point where I didn't like people anymore, to put it mildly.
I had these fantasies about a world without people, how beautiful that must be, but I also realised (later) that nobody would be there to see that beauty. So that was a bit puzzling. No people meant no pollution, but no people also meant that nobody could enjoy it.
But then again I thought if sacrificing all people on the earth (including myself) would mean that it would be a beautiful place, I would gladly leave this life knowing that it would be so.

I became a vegetarian at a young age because I saw images of the bio industry. I didn't want to eat meat when that animal was slaughtered without ever been outside in the sun.
I was a member of almost every animal cruelty free movement that was active in those days. You name it: I was a member.
Same with recycling, I remember there was an experiment in our hometown (that must have been in the early 1970's), where you could separate your waste into different coloured plastic bags. I loved it but my mother just found it too time consuming. That experiment did not succeed; it was probably way ahead of its time. But later it came back big as we know it today.

I am a recycle freak; I separate every little piece of garbage; even take the paper wrappers from the cans and put paper with paper and the cans in the blue bags.
I have a big problem with throwing out food though, I just can't. I feel so bad when I know that so many people are hungry. I prefer to eat the same thing for days in a row than to throw out leftovers.

"….. Eat and drink but do not be wasteful: God does not like wasteful people" (7:31).

And then there is one special thing I do that I would like to tell you about.
Did you see "Happy feet"? The movie. If yes, do you remember the character Lovelace, with Robin William's voice, the penguin with the plastic six-pack ring around his neck?
Already before I saw the movie I used to cut any plastic that is ring shaped and has a potential for getting stuck around necks or extremities of animals, big or small that are exposed to our garbage.
Because the thought of an animal stuck with plastic around his neck slowly dying from hunger or being suffocated by it, gives me sleepless nights. So every ring shaped piece of plastic gets cut before I throw it out. Please do try this at home.

I considered myself green long before I became a Muslim, I haven't changed my ways since, but I did change some of my views.
Allah has created the heavens and the earth, and when we die, He will raise us up again and make us anew. Everything that people destroy can be created again by Allah without any difficulty. But that doesn't mean we can go ahead and make a mess of it.
Still I am a vegetarian and always try to buy animal cruelty free products I feel that it makes a difference.
Being a Muslim and being eco friendly is not contradicting, it can go hand in hand and should go hand in hand.
Being a Muslim is in a way being green, in the sense of being different, but not naive. We know there is a lot of bad in this world, but we (as Muslims) should be an example to others by showing that we care about the environment and all the living creatures and that we are taking our task as Vicegerents of Allah very serious because in the end we will be held accountable for our actions.

And destroying the earth that we have will harm us while we are still here.
Look at all the problems that evolve because of this, we have so many environmental related diseases, poisonous fish and meat, unhealthy air, allergies etc. It will all come back to harm us:

"Corruption has appeared on land and sea because of the evil which men's hands have done: and so He will make them taste the fruits of some of their doings, so that they may turn back from evil" (30:41)

I still mourn for all the destruction and waste and maltreatment, but this situation is temporary, there will be an end to this world and then all the beauty and much more will be found again in Paradise.
Allah made this earth beautiful for us, so we can marvel His creation.
So an earth without people, however peaceful and pure, has no meaning.

"…. Do not waste anything; He does not love the wasteful" (6:141).

Some tips for Being Green:
  • Recycle;
  • Eat less meat, there are so many tasty alternatives;
  • Eat less and waste less;
  • Buy local and organic;
  • Take an empty garbage bag with you in your car, just in case you see some rubbish lying around and dispose of it at home.