Books and Documents

Books and Documents (18 Aug 2015 NewAgeIslam.Com)

What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet

By Nigar Ataulla, New Age Islam

18 August 2015

Green Deen—What Islam Teaches About Protecting The Planet

By Ibrahim Abdul Matin

Published by: Kube Publishing Ltd, Markfield, Leicestershire, UK

Email: info@kubepublishing.com

Pages: 236 pages

Year: 2012

ISBN: 978-1847740403


Reading Green Deen not only awakens our sensitivity to our usage of  water, watts  and food, but also makes us reflect on how we as individuals are treating the environment—the earth, the animals, birds, trees---and our own consumption choices

Muslims praise their Creator, pray, fast and give charity. All of these are, as is well-known, stressed in Islam. But what is not as widely-known as it should be is that there are deep connections between Islamic teachings and environmental protection. Concern for the environment is not just a modern concern. Drawing on Islamic sources and interviews with Muslim environmental activists, this path-breaking book highlights Islam’s profound dedication to humankind’s collective role as stewards of the Earth. It offers dozens of examples of how Muslims can follow a ‘green’ understanding of the Deen’, an environmentally-friendly understanding of Islam.

Author Abdul Matin is a well-known environmental activist. He spearheads the  Green Deen Movement, established the Brooklyn Academy of Science and Environment in the USA, and was instrumental in the national ‘Green Jobs Now’ campaign. He is a policy advisor in the New York City Mayor’s Office on issues of long term planning and sustainability. 

In his foreword, US Congressman Keith Ellison states that “Green Deen brings faith communities into the environmental movement by changing the conversation from the facts of global warming to the fact that we all live and work here together and have a collective responsibility to keep this place clean and safe for everyone. Ibrahim Abdul Matin is a man of faith, as many Americans are. In Green Deen, he talks to Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, environmentalists and many others.”

The book is divided into four parts, each dealing with one of today’s major environmental problems: waste, watts (energy) water and food. Each section presents the problem, offers solutions in the form of individual stories of Muslims who are living a ‘green’ approach to the Deen and includes verses from the Quran and Hadith that support this environmentally-sound approach understanding of Islam. The core purpose of the book is to help build a movement that brings together spiritual practices with protection of the environment, which the author recognizes is not possible without a reversal of over-consumption and our fixation with “things,” which generate a system of waste and toxicity that is devastating the planet. 

“I am a foodie,” confesses Abdul Matin in the chapter on “Food”, adding “It is often said, ‘You are what you eat’,  which implies that the cleaner, healthier and more natural your food, the cleaner, healthier and natural you are”.  He narrates a fascinating breakfast interview with Qaid Hassan, a vegetarian who operates a farmer’s market in Chicago and who stresses that, “vegetarian eating really allows us to know more about the land and the food. A diet heavy in meat goes against the principle of living in balance with nature (Mizan). Getting meat and poultry to our plates requires so much energy that is not really returned to the Earth. Muslims need to consume more fruits and vegetables!”

 In the last few chapters, Abdul Matin takes us through the journey of Halal meat, giving examples from Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) guidance on treating animals with kindness and respect.

Abdul Matin deserves our heart-felt congratulations for seeking to reach out to Muslims, and people of other faiths too, to realise that protecting the planet is deeply embedded in the Muslim tradition from a variety of perspectives.  As a collection of thoughts, stories, analyses and practical bits of advice to help anyone looking to further their ‘green’ understanding of the Deen, this book is a treasure. It is a very useful tool for those seeking to live out their faith in a manner that takes into account the Islamic mandate of care for the environment.

This is no mere academic treatise. It is a passionate appeal for us to recognize our religious responsibility of taking care of the planet that we inhabit. Reading Green Deen not only awakens our sensitivity to our usage of  water, watts  and food, but also makes us reflect on how we as individuals are treating the environment—the earth, the animals, birds, trees---and our own consumption choices, all of which have consequences for the environment.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/books-and-documents/nigar-ataulla,-new-age-islam/what-islam-teaches-about-protecting-the-planet/d/104305


  • theconversation.com/



    By rs - 8/21/2015 12:36:36 AM

  • thank you nati, tinki and ghulam sharkoo for your kind words. god bless you.
    By niggy - 8/20/2015 3:35:47 AM

  • thank you nigar ji....i am sure this book is very helpful....maybe someone can think of translating it, or portions of it, into urdu.
    By nati - 8/19/2015 3:29:52 AM

  • Excellent topic and timely!

    Some Muslims seem unconcerned with the preservation of the Earth planet, stating that the dunya (this world) is temporary and is destined to be doomed and destructed in the end,

    A Hadith (Prophetic saying) is often quoted to support this notion that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “I am in this world like a rider who halts in the shade of a tree for a short time, and after taking some rest, resumes his journey leaving the tree behind." [Ahmad, Tirmidhi]

    But does this Hadith tell us that this world is irrelevant, useless or worthless? If the world is like a tree in the desert under which we shelter for a bit and then move on, then surely, we do not intend to live under it forever. But a tree is a resting place, offering shade to the traveler. Shade is one of the many benefits trees offer. Shade itself is referred to in another well-known Hadith in which Prophet Muhammad describes seven types of people who earn the most needed shade on the Day of Judgment.

    Shade is clearly both symbolic of and an actual expression of the mercy of Allah the Almighty. Hence the parable of the Duny (world)  as a tree under which we stop to rest for a while, does not imply that it is worthless. 

    By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi - 8/19/2015 3:12:01 AM

  • thanks nigar! ballakey yoosful book it seems!
    By tinki - 8/18/2015 8:24:49 PM

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