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Book Review: Green Deen

By Meha Ahmad

The Earth is a mosque, and everything in it is sacred.” This is the first line in Ibrahim Abdul Matin’s book, “Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet,” and it’s an idea that gives the book shape, drives the author’s passionate narrative, and shows that there is a clear connection between environmentalism and faith.

green deenQuoting compelling Quranic verses and citing countless teachings of the Prophet Muhammad throughout the book, Abdul-Matin draws a beautiful picture of Islam’s view on humanity, nature, and the balance God created among it all.
But “Green Deen” is not all green pastures, flower gardens and the glory of nature. It’s an acknowledgment of how much work there is to be done. Drawing on compelling testimonies of real individuals from all over the world, “Green Deen” instead shows the reader how the earth (a trust from God to humans) was meant to be treated, what happened instead, and the aftermath of mankind’s greed. (An example of this is our over-dependency on oil and its threat to human, animal, and planet life.)

Abdul Matin quotes the Quran: “Corruption has appeared on the land and in the sea because of what the hands of humans have wrought” [Quran 30:41]. A chilling verse when one looks at recent history, not to mention the data available on current problems such as climate change, deforestation, desertification, water and air pollution, the ever-growing endangered species list, and the dwindling of resources, to name a few.

Illustrating the indespensible contributions Muslims have made in the environmental movement, “Green Deen” is a reflection of Muslim Americans’ environmental activism and offers examples of, not only what Muslims have already done, but what they can and must still do to live up to what God designated them: stewards (Khalifahs) of the planet. “A Green Deen is the choice to practice the religion of Islam while affirming the relationship between faith and the environment,” he writes.

From conserving water while making wudu and eating organic, to fighting economic injustice, “Green Deen” covers just about everything one needs to know to build a balance in one’s own life, mosque, and community.

Though environmental justice is not new to mainstream by any means, Abdul-Matin successfully and powerfully presents an interesting new perspective on environmentalism through the lens of Islam. Readers will walk away hopeful and motivated to immediately start living a Green Deen.

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