Sunday, June 26, 2011

Green Muslims Has Moved


Assalam Waalaikum,

Green Muslims has a new website!! Check us out at www.green-muslims.org

We look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pulse?



It's been a while since I wrote a post for this blog. Its also been a while since I visited "No Impact Man". I've just been carrying along with my life, making due. Confessions:

-I drive at least 30 miles everyday for work

-I've been using a TON of energy to heat my water and air...its been such a bitter, long, cold winter!!

-Yeah....I don't need anymore confessions. Driving that much is bad enough. I'm actually still not too bad in other categories.

Today I hopped over to No Impact Man's blog to see what was new with him and his efforts at sustainability. I ended up being inspired by the message of "don't give up"--even though I am forced to drive that much (no metro access, no thank you for the 1 hour +++ bus ride, no carpooling in sight), I shouldn't just give up. And boys and girls, neither should you! If you're stuck in a rut or feel like you're hybernating, have a glance at his story about the stupid frog and the smart frog. It offered a refreshing perspective--you don't always have to be the "smart one" to be the valued one. Read his "Advice from an Accidental Activist": http://noimpactman.typepad.com/

And speaking of frogs, here's what I'm enjoying in the burbs. Hope you city folk can enjoy this symphony in person, too--"spring is coming!!!!"

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Makin' it a day on, not a day off!



A group of DC Green Muslims signed up for City Year's day of service last MLK Jr. day of service. City Year put together projects to give a major make-over to the Ron Brown Middle School in Northeast, DC. The projects ranged from painting inspirational quotes such as Shakespeare's "All the World's a Stage and all the Men and Women, Merely Players," in the huge theater, to outdoor clean-up work to patching holes in the roof, to making and painting benches to decorating the school's mascot (a rocket ship) up and down the halls of the school.



Our service group was first put on bench painting and we worked together with others to coat a brand new future on their newly refurbished outdoor space. The benches were going to be used in the school's courtyard and inshaAllah will help others enjoy the fresh outdoor space for years to come. While we worked together, other service groups hauled years worth of rubble from the courtyard, while others raked away the rotting leaves and uncovered the treasure that was to become the students of Ron Brown Middle School's new play area.

It was a blessing being able to help beautify this space. When we think of service projects, often we think of hard manual labor, such as planting trees, or building a house with Habitat for Humanity. Beautification of space can be just as important. As I painted the school's halls with the rocket ship mascot, I thought about how these simple strokes of paint created a new, brighter, shinier environment for the children who attended this school.




Thanks to all those who came out, and special thanks to Rizwaan Akhtar for setting up this DC Green Muslims service event.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Profiling, at My Neighborhood Bus Stop

Rain was falling faster and it was getting late as we both sought refuge under the shelter at the bus stop that evening. I was waiting for the S2/S4 there at the corner of 16th and U, just down the street from my apartment. He was probably just there to wait out the rain under the shelter, if not make it his apartment for the night. So I was in his apartment and he was at my neighborhood bus stop. We were both sharing each other's space. In fact, we were sharing the same bench. I was on one side, he was on the other, and his overstuffed bag was in the middle.

The man, visibly drunk and in a talkative mood, was the first to say something. I was feeling quiet, but I responded. Then he asked me my name. My response changed everything. His response was to move his bag, from between the two of us to the other side of the bench. I wish it stopped there. Instead, he asked me what I was doing here?...
Whether I was going to blow him up? Why my people always blew things up? Why didn't we go back to where we came from? What was I doing here, anyway? Was I going to blow him up?
Then he grabbed his bag and crossed the street, under the rain, to the bus stop at the opposite side of the street. Talking loudly to himself all the way there. I should note that at no time during this interaction, from sharing a bench with the man to listening him berate me about "my people," did I feel threatened in any way. Though I hate to admit it, he – poor, drunk and homeless – simply was not in a position of power or dominance. I was recently asked to reflect on a time when I felt powerless, not dominant (i.e. subordinate) when interacting with someone. "What did it feel like?" they asked. This was my response:
JFK at the mouth of the jetway with the police officer holding my passport. Only my passport. "Randomly." I felt small, short of breath, nervous, self conscious and myopic. I couldn't think clearly, almost paralyzed, frozen in place. Just wanting for it to end. Biting my tongue, but wanting to scream and fight. Or simply just to walk away. To have the freedom to walk away. Or the freedom to have control over my own emotions. Not have someone else control them.
Tell me, which is scarier? An armed police officer trained to pick out my racial profile in a crowd or a homeless man with little to no vested interest in discriminating against me, but doing so anyway. Both these scenes speak volumes about how far we've let our fears (over)take us. As far as I'm concerned, the latter scene speaks much more clearly and more loudly. But what does this have to do with the environment? Nothing. And everything.

As intense as that exchange at the bus stop might sound, the homeless gentleman and I were only just scratching the surface. The questions that encounter raises, albeit implicitly, have more to do with race, gentrification, suburban sprawl, social services, poverty and health than anything else. These are all environmental issues. They are also social justice issues, without doubt. These very issues, if championed by American Muslims as I believe our faith impels us to do (and as the groups I linked to above are doing), could begin to address the sad reality of those scenes at the airport and the bus stop that I described above.

I believe in reframing false frames. The guru of how arguments are framed is George Lakoff, a cognitive linguist at UC Berkeley who wrote the book on cognitive framing. It's called "Don't think of an elephant!" Which, of course, is exactly what you think of when you hear or read that title, an elephant. Another Lakoff framing example is Richard Nixon's classic line, "I am not a crook." Sure, Dick, sure. Finally, and more to the point of this post, is the fact that Islam/Muslims/Muhammad and terror don't belong together. Not even in that sentence.

The point is to focus on what we are or stand for, not what we're against. The difference is subtle, but it makes all the difference in the world. I stand for a vision of the world that is peaceful, serene, loving, forgiving, merciful, understanding and whole. I've been there before and it is blissful. That is where I want to live. Not by myself, but with others. Not in a far off time and place, but here and now.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

30 Days of Autumn; Collection 2009


Indonesia: The Home of "Green Islam"

Muslim student girls line up for lunch at Darul Muttaqien
Islamic pesantren (boarding school) in Bogor, Aug. 1, 2007. (Dadang Tri/Reuters)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/indonesia/091111/islam-environment-indonesia-green

Article shared by Aasil Ahmad.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day 6 and 7-Community

Salams,

Welcome to days 6&7 of No Impact Week, Sat & Sun Oct 24th & 25th! The last two days are all about how we interact with our community, friends and family.

Please use the information below in addition to the No Impact Project's Manual (alongside the DC Green Muslims No Impact Manual).

Remember each day builds upon the previous one, so keep up what you have been doing today and previous days and add to it with what you do tomorrow as well.

Notes
Community and enjoining friends and neighbors to good are keystones of the Islamic faith. God speaks of knowing your neighbors, of serving others, of building a community together. These are basic tenants of our faith, and there are multiple hadith regarding how even our daily personal prayers can be heightened in reward by joining together with a fellow friend.

God speaks of the best of people being the ones who invite others to “all that is good.” In Surah Al‐Emraan this is seen clearly:

“Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity.” (3:104)

We as Muslims are not asked to practice our faith in a vacuum. We clearly are told that what we do on a daily basis has effects on the larger society in which we live. There are countless chapters in the Quran that speak about helping others less fortunate than ourselves. These are clear calls to action to better the communities we are a part of.

Islamic Inspiration:
“O mankind! Lo! We have created you from male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware.” (49:13)

Allah’s Messenger said, “The reward of the prayer offered by a person in congregation is twenty five times greater than that of the prayer offered in one’s house or in the market (alone).” ‐ Narrated by Abu Hurairah

“And worship God [alone], and do not ascribe divinity, in any way, to aught beside Him. And do good unto your parents, and near of kin, and unto orphans, and the needy, and the neighbor from among your own people, and the neighbor who is a stranger, and the friend by your side, and the wayfarer, and those whom you rightfully possess. Verily, God does not love any of those who, full of self‐conceit, act in a boastful manner” (4:36)

“Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity.” (3:104)


Dont forget to relate your experiences and thoughts and comment on the appropriate days blog post at our blog, dcgreenmuslims.blogspot.com, for a chance to win organic soaps from Mosaic Soaps (http://mosaic.azam.org/)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day 5: Water and Electricity

Welcome to day 5 of No Impact Week, Fri Oct 23rd! The fifth day is all out about the most common and ubiquitous resources available to us, that we almost never stop and think about, water & electricity.

Please use the information below in addition to the No Impact Project's Manual (alongside the DC Green Muslims No Impact Manual).

Remember each day builds upon the previous one, so keep up what you have been doing today and previous days and add to it with what you do tomorrow as well.

General Tips
  • Water Conservation:
    • Wudu is an act of purification and we can be conscious of how much water is being used, in hopes of preventing unnecessary loss of water.
    • Shorter showers, turning the faucet off when washing the dishes and brushing teeth.
  • Electricity Conservation:
    • Turn off the lights when exiting a room.
    • Unplug appliances.
    • Wear a jacket instead of turning up the heat.

Islamic Inspiration:

“And it is God who created the human being out of water.”

Water is a symbol of life. In Islam, it is also seen as an important sign of God as it is mentioned over 60 times in the Qu’ran. We are told “from water God brought everything to life.” (21:30)

“Your God is One God, there is no deity other than Him, the most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Truly in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the succession of the night and the days, and in the ships that speed through the sea with what is useful to humanity, and in the waters which
God sends down from the sky, giving life thereby to the earth after its death, and…in all of this, there are ayat for those the people who use their intelligence.”(2:163‐164)

Water is typically described as being “sent down” from the sky, comparable to how God’s scripture and mercy came from above. Some scholars have referred to water as a metaphor for a broader meaning based on mercy and knowledge being distributed widely to mankind.

God sends down water from the sky, and [once‐dry] valleys are running high, Each according to its capacity. (13:17)

God asks Muslims to pay attention the signs around us as proof of God’s bounty and mercy and as a way to become closer to Him. Once we start contemplating the natural signs all around us, we can begin to recognize the symbiotic relationship that exists between man and nature.
And when Moses asked for water for his people, We said: ‘Strike with your staff the rock.’ And there gushed forth from it twelve springs, and everyone knew his drinking place. (2:60)

The advice that Moses’ community is given in that verse is the very ethical notion of eco‐spiritual trusteeship that we also need to heed today:

“So eat and drink of God’s sustenance, and do no evil or mischief on Earth.”

In a subsequent verse of the Qur’an, we are told that the rock that the prophets strike is not just a physical rock, but rather the rock‐like hardness of our own hearts:

‘‘Then even after that, your hearts grew hard so that they were like rocks, or even harder, for indeed there are rocks from which rivers gush forth, and there are rocks which split asunder so that water flows from them, and others which sink because of the awe they have towards God. And God is not unmindful of what you do.’’(2:74)


Dont forget to relate your experiences and thoughts and comment on the appropriate days blog post at our blog, dcgreenmuslims.blogspot.com, for a chance to win organic soaps from Mosaic Soaps (http://mosaic.azam.org/)