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Make your Ramadan an Eco-Ramadan

Ramadan is an important spiritual month for Muslims. In this month we reflect on how much food nourishes and sustains us, and how it unites us in community and tradition. 

Fasting gives us the opportunity to empathise with those less fortunate, who often must go without, and consider the amount of food we consume. 

However, this connection to food also raises a concerning alarm over the increasing amount of food waste that takes place in Ramadan, which is not only inconsistent with the teachings of Islam but is also a significant contributor to climate change.

That’s not to mention the other forms of waste that take place in this period of increased spending, and increased consumption.

As Muslims, we’ve been instructed to look after the Earth by Allah (SWT). In the Holy Qur’an, He tells us:

Eat and drink from the provision of Allah, and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption. (Qur’an 2:60)

Sadly, our increased consumption is having the opposite effect of what Allah (SWT) requested. We’re destroying the planet and worsening the impact of climate change.We all have a responsibility to look after Allah’s beautiful Creation – the plants, animals and each other. So this Ramadan, let’s think about how we can better care for the planet.

Here are our 9 ways to have an environmentally-friendly Ramadan this year; an Eco-Ramadan.


1. Waste less, save more!

When we throw away food and drink unnecessarily, we waste nutrients, time and money. Not to mention the fact that the food has often travelled from field, to aeroplane or lorry, to a shop and then to our table… that’s a lot of air miles for something to just be discarded.

So we’re also committing to not buying new unnecessary produce – it just creates further carbon emissions. Think of the transport of goods, the packaging, the chemicals used in these processes and so on.

Allah (SWT) tells us in the Holy Qur’an:

“O Children of Adam, take your adornment at every place of prayer, eat and drink, but be not excessive – Indeed Allah likes not those who commit excess”. (7:31)

So this Ramadan, let’s be mindful of our consumption:

  • Shop and plan sensibly: Don’t buy too much food! By planning your meals (and therefore your shopping list) carefully, you’ll make things a lot easier when your energy levels are low. You’ll know what you’re cooking, when you’ll be making it and exactly how much of it you need. You’ll therefore be ensuring that you’re not preparing too much food and that as little food as possible goes to waste
  • Re-use and reheat leftovers: By keeping leftovers out of the bin and in your fridge, you’ll save cooking time and the planet. Remember: leftovers make a very quick suhur when we’re tired and it’s very early in the morning!
  • Compost natural waste: Anything you can’t make into another dish or stock, add to a homemade compost heap in your garden and let nature do the hard work. If you don’t have a garden, make sure that you are signed up to your local Council’s composting scheme. You’ll reap the blessed rewards!

During Ramadan in particular, we’re short on time and energy for cooking, shopping and preparing meals. So, by following these tips you’ll be able to save both time and energy for yourself and your family and help look after the planet! 

2. Decorate your home eco-style 

We all love the spirit of Ramadan and for many of us that includes decorating our homes for the holy month. Balloons, banners and paper bunting are all favourites – especially among children.

However, many of the decorations we buy contain plastic or glitter and contribute to environmental damage. It’s therefore important to be mindful of what we’re using to decorate our homes with.

Here’s how you can decorate your home for Ramadan with as little impact on the planet as possible:

  • Avoid plastic: Whatever you do, PLEASE do not go out and buy balloons and plastic decorations. By using items you already have at home (see below), you can make your own great decorations – simple!
  • Recycle tins: Make your own special Ramadan lanterns using recycled tin cans and string to hang them. Paint your own designs or stick on paper decorations to add a personal touch!
  • Re-use paper and card: Instead of buying paper bunting, why not make your own? Dig out scrap paper from the office and with a pair of scissors, some string and glue stick, the only limit is your imagination!

Why not test your crafting skills and give these ideas a go?- You’ll add to the Ramadan spirit in no time!

3. Cut your use of plastics

Plastic bags, packaged food, children’s toys – plastic is everywhere. And it’s an environmental threat, harming humans and wildlife.

Scientists estimate that every year, eight million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans. As a result, plastic has been discovered in 100% of sea turtle species and 60% of all seabirds.

To put this into perspective, scientists estimate that by 2050, there’ll be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish. When we eat fish, we’re consuming plastic, whilst land-based animals who consume plastic can even die.

. This Ramadan try these simple tips to reduce your use of plastics:

  • Shopping: Take your own bags to avoid plastic bags at the till. When buying fresh fruit and veg, bring your own fabric bags so you don’t have to use individual plastic bags when bagging items. Where possible buy loose items or goods in tins or glass containers, rather than plastic packaging
  • Toiletries: Switch to plastic-free alternatives such as soap bars and re-use any plastic bottles/tubs that you currently have by using them to store home-made toiletries. There are also toilet roll suppliers who don’t use plastic to wrap their rolls – try using them too

By making small changes, you can make a big difference and help protect the planet.

4. Don’t splash out!

Water is such a precious gift from Allah (SWT). It’s the source of all life and a commodity that we must not waste.

As Prophet Muhammad (SAW) taught:

“Do not waste even if performing ablution on the bank of a fast flowing large river”. (Tirmidhi)

In our day-to-day life with washing, cleaning and cooking, there are all kinds of opportunities where if we’re not careful we may waste water. However, during Ramadan in particular when we’re performing extra prayers, it’s critical to make sure that we’re not using excess water for wudhu and ghusl.

Here’s how to be more mindful about the water we use:

  • Switch to tap: When it comes to drinking water, please use tap water and avoid bottles – if needs be, use a filter and store water in the fridge. Don’t leave the tap running when doing other tasks (such as brushing your teeth) and only take what you need
  • Follow the Sunnah: Don’t waste water when making wudhu and ghusl. For wudhu especially, make sure the tap is not left running and cup the water in your hands
  • Simply use less: Prioritise showers over baths and ensure that you don’t leave the shower running when you don’t need to
  • Be a conscious cook: Don’t waste boiled water. For example, if you’ve boiled vegetables, keep the water for a stock or re-use it for boiling other items such as potatoes.

With the global water crisis, our impact on the planet is costing livelihoods, homes and even lives.

The increasing impact of climate-induced drought, along with flooding which displaces communities, means that growing numbers of people are in need of safe sources of food and water.

A staggering 785 million people go thirsty each and every day. These people sadly don’t have access to a safe clean source of water.

So please, be mindful of the water you’re using this Ramadan.

5. Reduce our meat consumption

We all know how much meat we eat during Ramadan – especially at iftar time. Lamb samosas, chicken tikka, kebab – yep, it’s meat, meat, meat!

As Muslims especially, we’re at the top of the meat-eating scales.

British Muslims make up 5% of the population in the UK yet we actually account for 20% of meat consumption. That’s astonishing, and not in a good way!

Did you know that eating meat is one of the biggest ways we’re polluting the planet? In fact, meat and dairy products today account for 15% of global carbon emissions.

The reality is: the more meat we eat, the more we’re polluting the planet. And during Ramadan, this problem only gets worse…

But – you can turn this around!

By reducing your intake of meat, you’ll be reducing carbon emissions and protecting Allah’s great earth. Start small by introducing a meat-free day every week, and build up from there. Introducing more vegetables in your diet brings great health benefits too!

6. Get active!

We all know what it’s like when we’re tired, hungry and thirsty… It’s a lot easier to pop to the shops in the car than walk when you’re fasting.

But: if we really want to reap the rewards of Ramadan, let’s not forget our responsibility to Allah’s Creation. With cars come pollution.

Here in the UK, 18% of carbon emissions come from cars. So, by switching to cycling or even a good old-fashioned walk, we can get some exercise and keep healthy and protect the environment at the same time.

Try a walk to the shops earlier on in the day when you’ve got more energy. It’s a great form of exercise and a good way to break up your routine too!

7. Become energy savvy

Ramadan is often a time of long hours awake and little sleep. From praying tahajjud and getting up early for suhur, to perhaps even staying up all night from maghreb to fajr.

Whatever our habits, for most of us, our normal sleeping patterns change. And this is something to be mindful of when it comes to the environment.

Imagine all the extra lighting we’re using when we’re staying up and sleeping less. Picture the extra hours of TV when we’re tuning into Makkah live before maghreb time and then when we leave the TV when we rush for iftar.

Yes, it all makes a difference. It all adds up and contributes to our carbon footprint.

So, why not switch to a more environmentally friendly energy supplier? Find out more here about how to make the switch.

Lastly, please make sure you’re not keeping TVs, computers, and other electrical devices on standby or plugged into the mains when the battery is already full. This really does drain energy and is harmful to the environment.

Here in the UK, 8% of electricity usage actually comes from appliances left in standby mode. When you leave an appliance in standby mode, it uses up 90% of normal power usage.

So, when you’re not using a device, please switch it off at the mains. You’ll be helping the planet. Plus, think what you’ll save on electricity bills!

8. Switch to dairy-free

In addition to cutting down on the amount of meat we eat, another  way we can stem the tide of climate change is by cutting down on dairy productsNow for some, this may sound rather daunting. But, it’s easier than you think.

With many dairy alternatives out there and other foods we can use instead of dairy/dairy-substitutes, there’s nothing to worry about!

Try these small switches to make a huge environmental difference:

  • Milk: Switch to oat, almond, coconut or hazelnut milk for your tea, coffee, cereal and porridge needs You can even switch to black tea with fresh lemon, sugar (keep it minimal!) or honey
  • Ice cream: Try deliciously tangy frozen sorbets to add to fruits for dessert instead of eating ice-cream – and cut calories at the same time!
  • Cheese and butter: If you’re a fan of butter or cheese on your toast for suhur, use veggie spreads, Marmite or extra virgin olive oil instead. Likewise, hummus is another dip for bread along with Za’atar, whilst butter on vegetables can easily be switched for extra virgin olive oil

There are plenty of ways to create tasty drinks and meals without the need for dairy products. Remember herbs and spices in your cooking/preparation and be inventive – rose water and honey make great seasonings/toppings.

This is your chance to switch things up a bit and try new flavours/recipes!

9. Welcome wildlife

SubhanAllah Allah’s Creation is so beautiful and what better way to give thanks for this than by ensuring that your local park or garden is wildlife-friendly?

There are lots of ways to welcome wildlife and help protect the plants and animals in your local area:

  • Feed hungry mouths: If you’ve got a garden, install a bird feeder and also leave a few peanuts for local squirrels. Alternatively, why not visit your local park and feed the ducks? No bread please! It’s bad for the water and their tummies. Try peas and sweetcorn instead. Why not also make friends with the local squirrels and share some peanuts? It’s a great family activity that children will love!
  • Plant trees: Add some oxygen-producing trees or bushes to your garden to help restore the ecological balance. Why not also set up your own neighbourhood association/”friends of a park” initiative and plant your own in your local area?
  • Add a water feature: By adding a pond or water feature in your garden, you can keep fish and frogs and also attract beautiful dragonflies. If you don’t have much space, or you don’t have a garden, you can use something as simple as a bowl on a balcony or window ledge. Find out more here

Let’s plant more and pollute less this Ramadan!

Ramadan is such a beautiful month and a critical time for self-reflection and giving.

We owe the Earth our love and care as a matter of urgency, as highlighted by this beautiful hadith:

“If the Hour (the Day of Resurrection) is about to be established and one of you were holding a palm shoot, let him… plant it”. (Ahmad)

So give back to the environment and help preserve Allah’s wonderful Creation.

By following these top 9 tips, you really can make a difference.

Wishing you all a wonderful Ramadan from the Islamic Relief team.

Ramadan Mubarak!

If you would like to be involved in campaigning against climate change with Islamic Relief, please email: [email protected].

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