How can we fulfill our roles as the vicegerents of Allah on earth by remaining ignorant of the impact our actions have on nature? Simply put, we can’t. Below we have outlined books to read, movies to watch, and small actions we can all take that will not go unnoticed by Allah.
We were beginning to think we’d never see it again, that crickets and fireflies and delicate honey suckle blossoms were ghosts from the past. Let’s face it: the snowstorms of February 2010 had us desperate for spring. Even the snow-lovers amongst us were tired of being buried under mountains of snow. Praise be to God, spring in the DC area made a steady and delicate appearance. It began with the murmuring of spring peepers in the distance, and then continued with gentler breezes, more sun, and a few young buds bursting through the dull ground. Spring is finally here (the first official day was March 20th)!
Like bears rising up from hibernation, many of us are venturing out to enjoy the fresh air. While you’re out there, think of the glory around you. The warmth has already coaxed more bright green leaves to open, casting a greenish tint to the light. Our backyard feels like a secret garden from my window seat. After all the cold and darkness, there is life bursting forward from every direction, fresh and exuberant as though there was never anything to hold it back or threaten its very existence. And then the rain: gray showers that wash away the clouds of pollen already settling on everything, quenching thirst and inviting more growth. Subhan’Allah for this radiant display:
“…And the signs of Our power should be the dead land: We gave it life and brought out from it grains and fruits which they eat. And we made in the earth vine-yards and palm groves and we caused fountains to gush forth therein, that they may eat the fruits of it that their hands had no share in producing. Are they not supposed to express their gratitude for the bounties of Allah?” (36:33-35)
One of the ways we can show our gratitude to our Lord is through awareness. How can we fulfill our roles as the vicegerents of Allah on earth by remaining ignorant of the impact our actions have on nature? Simply put, we can’t. Below we have outlined books to read, movies to watch, and small actions we can all take that will not go unnoticed by Allah.
Top Five Media Resources
- In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan
- The Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Secret Behind What You Eat by Michael Pollan
- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
- Food, Inc. (2008)
Getting Ready to Eat
One of the reasons I previously brought up the industrial food chain that we now have is because we all eat everyday. Few of us can afford to only eat locally grown and organic food, but we can all choose a handful of items to be aware of. As consumers, every time we buy something, we are essentially voting for that item and how it was produced. So, each of the items highlighted below make a difference, especially if you work with the intention of pleasing Allah.
- Start your own little garden (Tips: http://www.veggiegardeningtips.com/top-5-gardening-tips/)
- Try buying a share from a CSA (community sponsored agriculture that is grown nearby: the groceries you buy from them can either be delivered near your home or picked up)
- Shop at the Farmer’s Market once a month (http://www.animalvegetablemiracle.com/Resources2.html#Loc)
- Choose eggs from cage-free chickens fed a vegetarian diet
- Choose organic dairy products that are free of extra hormones and antibiotics
- Choose ONE produce that you normally buy, and replace it with an organic version, such as berries, apples, or tomatoes
- Find or establish organic Zabiha meat in your area (examples: Green Zabiha and Mukit Hussein, a local Virginian)
Replenishing the Earth
- Plant a tree
- Take out your bike and use it for your next errand (or walk)
- Find companies that plant trees in exchange for the ones they harvest
- Try non-toxic cleaners that don’t dump unnecessary phosphates into water systems (especially important if you live near a major body of water, like the Chesapeake Bay on the East Coast or the San Pablo and San Francisco Bays of the West Coast)
- More tips here
We don’t need to be granola-eating, Birkenstock-wearing hippies to do any of this. We’re not doing this to be hip yuppies shopping at expensive grocery stores. All we need to do is be aware Muslims with good intentions, open minds, and willing hands. See which of these actions you are able to do before Earth Day (April 22). You’ll be proud of good work and forming a new connection to the earth and nature that Allah reveres in the Holy Qur’an, and by extension, will be expressing your gratitude to Allah for everything given to us, including the beauty of Spring. So spring into action!