Looking after our planet is one of our responsibilities as Muslims, as declared in the Qur’an:
“It is He who has appointed you stewards on the earth… ” (Quran 6:165).
Seeking to fulfil this duty may sound like a difficult task, but for Windsor Muslim teacher Shaymaa Zantout, the message can be explained to Muslims from young school age.
Since the start of Ramadan, the Muslim teacher at Windsor Islamic High School has launched green initiatives to connect students with nature during the holy month of fasting.
“There’s a huge emphasis on being caretakers of the land and the environment that surrounds us, because it’s seen as this trust… that we’ve been entrusted with by our creator,” Zantout told CBC News.
“And so the connection there is really significant and I think one that we’re trying to instill in the students at our school as well.”
Working with a group called Green Ummah, Zantout has developed a curriculum for students in partnership with Nature Canada.
“We had the opportunity to participate in activities, go on a field trip…out into nature. We got to write letters to our school administration asking for some changes to be made to make our school more eco-friendly,” she said.
“So we’re trying to make it very hands on, thanks to this program. And even now that that curriculum, we’ve finished studying it, we’re still incorporating some of those teachings throughout all our lessons.”
This initiative follows other similarly remarkable ones launched by many Muslims in the west.
Earlier this month, Virginia-based Muslim group Green Muslims group launched an online toolkit to raise environmental awareness and encourage activism among fasting Muslims.
In 2019, mosques across Britain banned the use of plastics during the holy month.
Muslims in the Greater Toronto Area also launched a project called #Waste Free Ramadan to protect their environment in 2017.