I’m as excited and giddy as a child at the mere thought of celebrating yet another beautiful Eid. Just like many of us, I’m busy with the last minute getting-ready details, the cooking, the shopping and decorating as well as all other things that must be done before the day rolls in.
So lately, as I thought about the various activities that go on around the world upon the celebration of Eid; from buying new clothes, to cooking elaborate traditional foods, visiting families and neighbours, offering gifts and money, arranging big Eid parties and feasts and hosting picnics in public parks and beaches, It occurred to me to take my environmental activism a little further by challenging us to make this Eid greener and more sustainable in our own little ways. After all, aren’t we stewards of the beautiful earth that Allah has blessed us with? What better way to show more gratitude than to be more eco for the holidays – to have a greener and more sustainable Eid.
“The world is sweet and green (alluring) and verily Allah is going to install you as vicegerent in it in order to see how you act.” (Muslim)
You may be thinking “There she goes again! What has Eid got to do with this?” But the bitter truth is that Eid celebrations these days are often extravagant and contribute greatly to the pollution of the environment. For example, there is usually a lot of waste generated from cooking large quantities of food and community parks are always left with a lot of litter and tons of waste. Many people also buy lots of clothes that they do not really need.
A 2015 report reveals that authorities in Cairo Zoo lifted 50 tons of garbage after Eid – ul – Fitr celebrations. And according to the Greater Amman Municipality, Sanitation workers in Amman collected over 15,000 tons of household waste during the Eid – ul – Fitr holidays in 2014. On this, you will agree with me that Eid celebrations are becoming an occasion of blatant consumerism and over – consumption that create environmental pollution and waste.
“O! children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer. Eat and drink, but waste not by excess, for Allah does not love the wasters.” [Noble Qur’an, 7:31]
So now is the time to make new vows, to reduce our environmental footprint by consuming less, reusing, recycling and avoiding over-consumption. Now is the time to embrace the idea of a greener and more sustainable Eid with the hope that this responsible environmental choice will be a catalyst for change all year round. Need I say that there are quite a number of interesting ways to incorporate green ideas into Eid celebrations? And many businesses support the Idea of being green. So here are seven awesome tips for celebrating a greener and more sustainable Eid.
TIPS FOR CELEBRATING A GREENER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE EID
It is very important that while planning for the upcoming Eid, we think twice before buying food, clothing and other items in excess. Islam warns against unnecessary consumerism and encourages us to acquire only what we need and live lightly. Because we are described in the Qur’an as those who “walk on the earth with humility”, [Noble Quran , 25:63], we should strive to fulfill this expectation of us by shifting away from extravagance and reducing waste to the barest minimum. Save your expenses and make less food for Eid. Notice the watchword ‘LESS’. Also, look out for the Prophetic 3/3 rule. Eat to fill one-third of your belly, drink to fill another 0ne-third and leave the last third to breathe.
SHOP ORGANIC AND FAIRTRADE
While doing your Eid shopping, do your part by opting for organic and fair-trade products. If your food is not home grown, why not purchase organic food from local farmers or nearby farmers’ market. This also goes for meat and poultry products. There are quite a number of farms all over the world that produce a wide range of halal and organic meat. All you need to do is ask the butchers where they got their meat from and whether the animals were well fed and treated humanely. You can also take it a step further by choosing to buy an Eco-friendly Eid outfit from a Fairtrade store. Shukr is well known for producing modest, ethical and Fair trade clothes with a broad range of gorgeous designs you can choose from. You can also support local businesses within your area that make hand crafted modest clothes. Alternatively, you can make your own clothes, or look into swapping one item of clothing for hijab friendly ethical outfits. You can win on both sides; care for the earth and still look fabulous.
GO PLASTIC FREE
Yes! You heard me right. This is a good time to avoid the use of deadly plastic cutlery, plates, napkins and tissue papers in the name of “DISPOSABLES”. As green Muslims, we should rather be keener on stocking “REUSABLES”. This also includes the strict avoidance of throwing polythene and plastic thrash around. Our world is under the stress of pollution largely due to these substances so let’s do our best to avoid them.
DONATE TO CHARITY
A rich culture of elaborate cooking and ornate clothing prevails in Asian and gulf countries as well as my own African heritage. So instead of cooking so elaborately, why not donate some of the food items to charitable organizations or refugee camps. Also, you can go one band lower by purchasing clothes with cheaper prices and donate the rest to charity. You can also implement the Sunnah by wearing your new cloth for Eid and giving it away thereafter. There are so many regional clothes bank around the world that ship clean clothes to the less privileged and disaster stricken. So why not give it a go.
HAVE SIMPLE DECORATIONS
It’s very common for most of us to want to decorate our homes in anticipation of the upcoming Eid. It’s a very beautiful and fantastic Idea to do so as it creates a warmer atmosphere for every member of the family towards enjoying the holidays. But while doing so, it is highly encouraged to opt for simpler decorations with a wonderful modern flair. You can go for paper crafts done with 100% recyclable paper. There are a great number of paper craft décor businesses that use clean, modern and eco-friendly materials. Some of them even give part of what they earn to charity. And what more, Simplicity is class. Simple decorations turn out to be the most gorgeous.
REDUCE TRAFFIC POLLUTION
In most cases, governments and local authorities are expected to play a bigger role in encouraging the people towards environment-friendly behaviours such as reducing traffic pollution. However, you need not wait for the authorities to make selfless choices aimed at reducing carbon footprint. This Eid, implement this behaviour by walking to Eid, cycling or encouraging the use of public transportation to Eid prayer grounds to reduce traffic pollution. If none of these options is convenient for you, a good alternative is for you to invite one or two of your neighbours to join you in your car, thereby cutting down on the number of cars transporting people to Eid prayer grounds. Community mosques can also do their part by offering buses for free transit from the mosques to Eid prayer grounds.
HAVE A GREEN TALK
This one here makes a massive difference. While hosting a green Eid party or picnic or visiting family and friends, seize the opportunity to have a green talk. It’s a perfect time to educate people on the impact of their everyday choices on the wellbeing of our environment. You can also encourage your guests or family members to make one green resolution and stick to it throughout the year.
So let us make this Eid different by changing our attitude and observing this festival in the right spirit of environmental ethics. May we always celebrate a greener and more sustainable Eid.