The Ninth ISNA Green Ramadan

As we gather for post-Covid Ramadan events, let’s remember our role as our planet’s stewards 

By The ISNA Green Initiative Team

March/April 2023

“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn self-restraint” (2:183).

As Muslims, we are aware of Ramadan’s significance, the blessed month during which Angel Gabriel relayed God’s words to Muhammad, “Recite in the name of your Lord who created, created man [humanity] from a clinging substance. Recite, and your Lord is the most Generous – Who taught by the pen, taught man [humanity] that which he [it] did not know” (96:1-5), thereby bestowing upon him both prophethood and the first verses of the Quranic revelation. 

Not only are we obliged to fast during it, but we are also encouraged to use it as a time of spiritual contemplation, self-improvement, increased devotion and worship, as well as to practice self-restraint, sacrifice, empathy for the less fortunate and to abandon wasteful practices. 

Unfortunately, it’s a global tradition among Muslims to consume excessive amounts of food and drinks, a great deal of which aren’t recycled. This happens despite, “For it is He who has brought into being gardens — [both] the cultivated ones and those growing wild — and the date-palm, and fields bearing multiform produce, and the olive tree, and the pomegranate: [all] resembling one another and yet so different. Eat of their fruit when it comes to fruition and give [unto the poor] their due on harvest day, and do not waste [God’s bounties]. Verily, He does not love the wasteful” (6:141).

The Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “The son of Adam cannot fill a vessel worse than his stomach, as it is enough for him to take a few bites to straighten his back. If he cannot do it, then he may fill it with a third of his food, a third of his drink, and a third of his breath” (“Sunan al-Tirmidhi,” 2380 ) and “Never waste water even if you are at a running stream” (“Sunan Ibn Majah,” 425).

As God’s stewards and protectors of this planet, let’s abandon wasteful practices from this month onward and become more ecofriendly communities and individuals. Our team has spent the last eight years promoting education, awareness and stewardship of the environment; green advocacy; and Green Ramadan campaigns. 

This is our team’s ninth ISNA Green Ramadan campaign, through which we seek to enlist mosques, as well as our centers, schools and homes, to adopt environmentally friendly practices. We urge you to celebrate this Ramadan in a more environmentally conscious and socially responsible way and to show compassion to those around you. 

In addition, ISNA encourages the leaderships of these institutions to form a community green initiative team that can guide their members toward observing a communitywide Green Ramadan. This team can be instrumental in creating awareness and informing and educating members about the significance of observing such a Ramadan and getting our youth actively involved in planning, organizing and supporting of these efforts. After all, they are our future.

Ramadan is also a time for remembering our responsibility of caring for and protecting Earth, which, by the grace of God, provides the food we need to sustain a healthy life and deepen our community spirit. Interacting mindfully with our environment and within our ecosystem is a manifestation of faith. As we fast, let’s reaffirm our sense of self-restraint, ethic of conservation and accountability to make this Ramadan both spiritually and practically better. 

We can do this by doing all or some of the following actions:

• Reduce food waste; don’t eat so much; and eat more fruit and vegetables and less meat. Remember that the Prophet ate mostly grains, dates, water, milk, honey, vegetables and fruit. Take only what you can finish, eat moderately and think about having leftovers for the next day’s iftar so that excess food isn’t thrown away. 

• Reduce, reuse, recycle and repair. Recycle material, especially plastic water bottles, for plastics, which take a very long time to decompose, now make up 25-30% of our landfills. Avoid all Styrofoam® products, for they are nonrecyclable and nonbiodegradable.

• Bring your own reusable bottle to all iftar and tarawih events. Avoid using plastic disposable bottles, as an estimated 80% of them are not recycled. 

• Replace light bulbs with energy-saver LED bulbs and schedule your facility for an energy-efficiency audit. Consider installing solar panels, using light sensors and carpooling to work.

• Reduce water use; use low flow, Energy-Star plumbing fixtures; install water fixture sensors; conserve water even while making wudu’ and use warm to cold water for laundry. 

• Consider planting trees and vegetable gardens at home and at the mosque or building a vegetable garden (soil or hydroponics). “Any Muslim who plants a tree or sows seeds and then a bird or a person or an animal eats from it is regarded as having given a charitable gift” (“Sahih al-Bukhari,” Book 41, Hadith 1). 

• Strive for a healthy mind, body and spirit. Read about what medicines the Prophet recommended, buy fair trade products, get daily Vitamin D from daylight, drink more water and eat healthy and less. Avoid foods with a high concentration of preservatives, sugars, oils and salt.

• Reconnect with nature and inhale the beauty of God’s creation while reminding ourselves to walk gently on earth.

• Celebrate this month by joining civic activities, volunteering at homeless shelters, collecting food for food pantries, joining community social projects, inviting non-Muslims to community and home dinners and taking care of Muslim inmates. Find ways for children and youth to participate in age-appropriate Ramadan activities (e.g., acting as Green Ambassadors during community dinners). 

• Ask your imam to deliver at least one Friday khutba on conserving and protecting the environment and contributing to the greater social good.

Our team has held numerous webinars on such topics at

Three years ago, ISNA Green Initiative introduced a Home Guide rubric as a quantitative tool to self-measure the greening of Ramadan through praising God via tasbih, tahmid and takbir. We encourage you to download it at Following the rubric daily, one can measure the amount of progress that has been made. In recognition of this effort, ISNA Green Initiative Team, through the courtesy of Pen and Ink Pot Foundation, will plant a tree on your behalf at a place needing trees. In addition, your Islamic center and/or mosque will receive a certificate of achievement. After Ramadan ends, email your contact information and a brief description of your efforts to:

Let’s be the change we want to see in the world by turning ecofriendly practices into habits that will allow us to live in a more merciful, compassionate and caring way, to “walk upon the earth gently” (25:63) from now on. 

ISNA’s Green Initiative Team comprises Huda Alkaff, Saffet Catovic, Nana Firman, Uzma Mirza and Saiyid Masroor Shah (chair).

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