Imam, Writer & Lecturer, Leicester Central Mosque
We do live in a world where we advocate change all the time - political, social and even spiritual - but we do not take any steps ourselves. Allah informs us that He will not change a community until they change themselves
(Quran, 13: 11)
How have you been changing your lifestyle to move towards a more climate-friendly way of life, in one or several of the three areas of transportation, diet, and home energy use? Without a doubt, my family and I are certainly moving towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle. In terms of transportation, we have a hybrid car that we know is making a significant change to the environment around us. My parents’ house has a solar-energy panel installed on the roof, something I am considering for my own home too. Diet is one area where change has been most difficult. Having said that, my daughter Aisha (12) - who is very vocal on environmental concerns - is always reminding us of the need to recycle, cut out waste and make purchases that consider the environment, too. I think I have always been environmentally-conscious. My family loves nothing more than a drive in the Derbyshire Dales or a day at Rutland Water. As a Muslim Imam, I appreciate the wonderful guidance given to us on green affairs from our religion. Yet I happily admit that the talk delivered by Karman Shehzad (of the Bahu Trust UK, a partner of Living the Change- editors note) in 2019 in Leicester made a huge difference to how I viewed the issue. Whereas before my knowledge was largely theoretical, Kamran wonderfully highlighted the practical aspects of green choices on transport, food, energy, water consumption, food waste, packaging and how we can make a direct and immediate change.
How has this experience of personal change been a journey, and what have been both the joys and the difficulties on your path? This journey has been a wonderful one, not least because it leads to inner peace and contentment. I cannot think of any negatives at all. We do live in a world where we advocate change all the time - political, social and even spiritual - but we do not take any steps ourselves. Allah informs us that He will not change a community until they change themselves (Quran, 13: 11). In my opinion, environmental affairs is one area where it is futile to desire change globally, without one taking steps at home to make a difference.
How have your faith and spirituality been supportive of your journey of change? Prince Charles once commented that throughout the world, people are more likely to take environmental concerns seriously if they see it as a religious responsibility, too. He added that no religion promotes green affairs better than Islam. We as Muslims know that feeding an animal is a religious act that leads to reward from our Lord (in the same way that harming animals leads to His displeasure). Through daily ablution, we have a regular link with water. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) talked in particular about the importance and superiority of planting trees. He was vehemently against waste. He loved green scenery and found joy in watching flowing water. Each and every day, I am learning more about how faith and spirituality supports one’s love for the environment.What are others doing?