Tuesday, August 30, 2011
We’re not done with Islamic banking, but events keep getting in the way of completing the series. In my estimation it’s better to flow with current events than to stick dogmatically to a series. You can’t just ignore the end of Ramadan in a blog like this one. I will, of course, get back to the banking issue, probably in the next blog or so, if no other events intervene again. I can already see that current renewed violence in my former home town, Jos, Nigeria, needs attention.
Todd on Ramadan Greening
Some of these posts address both Muslims and Christians; some, either one but not primarily both, though both are of course always welcome to sit in. This one is especially to inform Christian readers of developments within the Muslim community, while my Muslims friends should feel free to read and participate in the discussion. In fact, at the end of this post they are invited to join Christians in joint ecological efforts.
One new emphasis in Ramadan observance this year is increasing awareness of the need to apply eco-friendly measures to the entire month. Muslims are not immune to changes taking place around them. They face the same eco problems the rest of us face. Douglas Todd of the Vancouver Sun wrote an article entitled “The Greening of Ramadan, the Reducing of Waste” (August 29, 2011), in which he wrote the following: “During an era in which humans are growing more concerned about over-using the planet’s resources, more and more Muslims are reframing Ramadan as a time of eco-responsibility, guided by the Muslim principles of moderation and ethical treatment of animals.” Again, “Environmentalism is becoming big in many Muslim circles.”
The Christian Record
Muslims are undergoing the same eco-transformation that started stirring Christians some decades ago. Though the Christian Bible contains much that should have led them to environmental concerns much, much earlier, like so many religionists, their vision was shaped more by the culture of which they were a part than by the Bible. But when the destructive forces the culture unleashed became too severe to ignore any longer, Christians, along with their fellow citizens, became aware of what was/is happening. At that time, their spiritual eyes also opened to the eco messages embedded in Scripture, messages they should have recognized much earlier, and they began to participate in the eco movement, sometimes together with others, sometimes within the church context. They began to preach and teach eco issues; they published books and magazine articles; they conducted classes in their churches and developed environmental departments in their colleges and universities. One of my own pastors got her undergraduate degree in ecology. In short, Christians jumped on the eco bandwagon, eventually with considerable vigour. So, along with everyone else, they participated in the destruction and now, along with everyone else, they participate in eco-saving movements. It would be interesting to explore why they were so blind before. Those who know me well from my books or from my other blogs, can probably already guess where I would go with this (see post 44 in my blog < Worldly Christianity.blogspot.com >), but that’s for another post.
Muslim Eco Developments
Canadian Muslims participate in Canadian life and are influenced by it. Perhaps more than some people would expect. They, too, are worried about the environment and are beginning to recognize and apply Qur’anic passages that, like Christians, they should have recognized long ago, but were too embedded in their culture to notice. But they’re now coming aboard and applying them to Ramadan observances. They are beginning to object to “the mountains of styrofoam food containers” that are produced by their “giant communal potluck feasts” at Ramadan celebrations. Todd gives various examples of how Muslims and their institutions are starting to pay attention and making arrangements for reduced wasteful consumption as well as for reduced mountains of Styrofoam. They are now creating websites dealing with the issues, many of them, according to Todd. There is < Khalafa: A Sacred Trust > run by Muaz Nazir, a conservation officer with the city of Toronto, and < BeyondHalal > that teaches greater compassion for animals and reduced eating of meat.
Congratulations and Invitation
Now that Muslims have completed another Ramadan celebration, it is fitting for their Christian neighbours to congratulate them for this strenuous achievement and to invite them aboard in joint ecological efforts so that we can all respond together to God’s call for responsible living and stop the spiral of destruction we have together unleashed.
Todd, thank you. Muslims, God bless.