carbon fast for Ramadan

A Carbon Fast For Ramadan?

 Planet Earth with a fever, held in hands

Around the world, Muslims participate each year in the holy month of Ramadan. This is a time when Muslims fast during daylight.

But like many other faiths, this time is more than just not eating or drinking.

It is a time for refraining from all sorts of things, a time for total commitment to the spirit of fasting. According to Huda, it is a time to ‘practice self-restraint; a time to cleanse the body and soul from impurities and re-focus one’s self on the worship of God.’

Refraining from things that damage the Earth – and that therefore that damage the Earth’s ability to sustain us – is a wonderful way to worship the Creator as well as honor all that sustains us.

And what better way to practice self-restraint and focus on the important things in life than to undertake a carbon fast?

In March-April this year, during Lent (the Christian equivalent of Ramadan), I wrote several posts about carbon fasting and included links to some helpful resources put together by Christians to support a carbon fast.

In preparation for this post, I looked for Islamic resources focussed on carbon fasting.

However, this proved much harder than finding resources compiled by Christians.

I found some resources to help Muslims reduce greenhouse gas emissions:

  • In the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, A World of Green Muslimssuggested an oil fast.  The idea and supporting guide for the one-day oil fast came from Operation Noah, a UK-based ‘ecumenical Christian charity providing leadership, focus and inspiration in response to the growing threat of catastrophic climate change.’
  • A little more recently, the Green Guide for the Hajj contains a chapter with some excellent suggestions for reducing your carbon footprint.
  • An excellent, comprehensive Islamic Climate Action Kit (as well as Climate Action Kits for other faiths :) ) is available from the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change.  These kits provide practical advice and information to turn concern for climate change into action.

And while the Eco Muslim has some delicious tips for reducing the carbon footprint of food (not that Muslims care much about food during Ramadan! ;) ), the blog reflects that Muslims – like so many people generally – are now much more aware of their impact on the Earth:

This Ramadan, many Muslims are looking at a new dimension of the month: our impact on the earth. This is particularly important as we learn more about the effects of climate change, dwindling resources and, most importantly, decreasing access to fresh water around the world, which is a growing concern in many Muslim communities and countries.

But I could not find a guide to carbon fasting with a Muslim focus. (Well, maybe I could have if I’d spent a lot more time researching… ;) )

So…if you wish to undertake a carbon fast during Ramadan, I suggest you make use of the carbon fast resources developed by Christians for Lent and adapt them for Ramadan and learn from my my experience in posts such as those herehereherehere and here– so much more efficient than starting from scratch!

by Gill King


See also the page on Green Ramadan on the website of the South African Faith Communities' Environment Institute (SAFCEI).

“The world is green and delightful and Allah has made you a custodian over it and is observing carefully how you deal with it” (Hadith)