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Green Deen: What Islam Teaches about Protecting the Planet Paperback – November 1, 2010
There is a newer edition of this item:
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
"How we manage waste, watts, water, and food should reinforce the moral foundations of our communities...ensure economic and social justice and create the freedom to transform our pollution-based 'gray' economy to one that...is sustainable and 'green.'" Environmental policy consultant and youth organizer Abdul-Matin shares his love of the Earth, which he describes as a mosque, in his first book, a guide to environmentalism that speaks to Muslims in their own terms. Defining a Deen as a path, the author clearly demonstrates how environmentalism fits into the goals and ethics of Islam. Abdul-Matin seamlessly intertwines personal experiences with religious doctrine and environmental information. The author focuses on several facets of human impact-waste, energy, water, and food-and includes discussions of green jobs, political systems, and greenwashing. Though topics will not be new to those who have read secular books about green or simple living, Muslims will appreciate Abdul-Matin's clarity in relating steps to Islam, often providing quotes from the Qur'an (though tips will apply equally to non-Muslims). Less a lecture than an invitation to introspection, Green Deen is a welcome hybrid, providing a glimpse into conservation through the lens of religion.
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“An important book for everyone! Muslims will be inspired by what their fellow believers are doing to be stewards of the Earth, and all people will gain a more complete and accurate picture of how Islam sees the world.”
—Imam Siraj Wahaj, Masjid Al-Taqwa, Brooklyn, New York
“Green Deen adds new thinking and allies to help solve the persistent social, energy, and infrastructure challenges that we all face as a planet, as nations, and in our own communities, every day.”
—Majora Carter, founder, The Majora Carter Group, cohost of Sundance Channel’s The Green, and host of NPR’s The Promised Land
“Green Deen connects faith to environment to social justice. It’s a guide for all of us trying to save people and the planet.”
—Rami Nashashibi, Executive Director, Inner-City Muslim Action Network
“While there are many belief systems on this planet, few have been as deeply maligned as Islam in recent years. In that context, it is a beautiful and powerful call that Ibrahim Abdul-Matin puts out to his community and to the world, crying out that within Islam are the very tenets which are needed to save the world—for Muslims and non-Muslims. It is an act of faith to be sustainable...that is the essential truth which this book teaches us all.”
—Adrienne Maree Brown, Executive Director, The Ruckus Society
“Ibrahim Abdul-Matin is one of the premier scholars and practitioners joining the green economy to Islam. His work reminds environmentalism of the spirituality in deep ecology and provides a pathway for an economic system to work within a framework of reverence.”
—Nikki Henderson, Executive Director, People’s Grocery
“Is this a Muslim book about the environment, an environmental book about Islam, or a poem and a prayer to the unity of all creation? It is all of these and more—Green Deen is a stunning hybrid creation from an extraordinary and wise new literary voice. Please welcome Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, black American and Muslim, to the pantheon of important environmental writers.”
—William Upski Wimsatt, founder, League of Young Voters, and author of Please Don’t Bomb the Suburbs
“Green Deen shows how the authentic religious values and practices of Islam should lead to a wholesome, healthy, and compassionate lifestyle that benefits all living things. Abdul-Matin writes in accessible, intelligent, and motivating language, making this an excellent book for all readers.”
—Ingrid Mattson, PhD, President, The Islamic Society of North America, and
Director, The Duncan Black Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations at Hartford Seminary
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He also presents major examples of efforts currently doing good things on this front.
After a nice forward by Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison, Abdul-Matin divides his discussion into four main parts: waste, energy, water and food. For each, he briefly outlines the environmental issues and tries to show how American Muslims are working to solve these issues by highlighting certain individuals as examples. He also sometimes refers to hadith or Qur'anic verses or in some other way tries to connect one or more of the six principles (tawhid, ayat, amana, adl, khalifah, and mizan) to solutions.
As far as the quality of this item for someone interested in following a "Green Deen", a way of life that emphasizes responsible use of resources as part of and in line with Islamic teachings, his advice and outlines are mostly rather pedestrian. The historic and scientific background information in this book tends to be drastically oversimplified. The author fails to address any scientific debate over some claims made, and he makes sweeping gestures around history, at one point seemingly suggesting that there has been one smooth arc of progress from humanity as environmental devils toward fulfillment of the Islamic ideal of humans as proper stewards of the world's resources. However, as an overview or introduction, these aspects are adequate.
The writer finally seems to catch his stride about 1/3 of the way into the book. He presents many solid, standard ideas for topics such as making a "Green Mosque" through energy audits, weatherizing, adding off-grid energy sources, avoiding use of disposable dishes and bottled water, incorporating ride-sharing plans, composting food waste, using low energy appliances, getting LEED certification on new construction, growing a community garden, and so on. He also does a fair job of describing a relationship between the modern political landscape and the unjust appropriation of natural resources by some governments and makes an impassioned argument against bottled water. He further succeeds at demonstrating through example that many American Muslims are working on environmental issues in a variety of contexts, although the book would've been well-served to have had even more such examples.
Abdul-Matin admits in his introduction to a few limitations that do affect the overall quality of the work. His attempts to tie his chosen six Islamic principles to his overall discussion are often weak. The connections are there, but insufficiently supported in the writing. He becomes extremely repetitive, beginning sections with nearly identical wording and retelling some facts and stories multiple times. The questions he ends chapters with often leave them feeling unfinished rather than bringing them to a satisfying conclusion. He excessively uses the phrase "Green Deen" as if it were a religion or mantra of its own, separate from Islam, in contradiction to his correct contention that Islam and a conservationist stance are already perfectly aligned. And, he presents some content that involves fiqh in ways that may be incorrect for some schools of thought. For example, while making a strong case for organic and free range zabiha meat, he nonetheless claims that eating meat slaughtered by People of the Book is religiously acceptable - a claim that is certainly not a unanimously held position.
As a whole, this work lacks in sophistication or nuance, but succeeds in filling a necessary niche in the available literature. A reader will find some content of worth in this effort, although may not be satisfied by the book as a whole. A youth group interested in leading its community toward more environmentally sound practices may find some inspiration and ideas in its pages and may benefit from the effort to employ an Islamic foundation, but will not find a clear, practical guide on how to accomplish its goals; the author leaves it to the reader to figure out how to put the ideals, ideas and examples into action in one's own particular context.
I strongly advise people to pick up Green Deen because it will be a life changing choice and it will be the best decision you have ever made.
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people of all backgrounds who truly care about our world.