Sustainable Ramadan Part 1: Fasting With Purpose

Sustainable Ramadan Part 1: Fasting With Purpose

A Guide to a Sustainable Ramadan 


Hey all and Salaams! If you’ve been keeping up with me on Instagram, you’re aware that I’ve been sharing a series on Sustainable Ramadan for the past couple of years. However, this year, I’ve opted to switch things up and create blog posts instead. But wait it’s not Ramadan yet Shabana, I hear you say. And yes I know I’m a week or so early but I thought why not start preparing for a sustainable Ramadan before it starts, just like how we prepare for it spiritually and (ahem) by making our savouries!

For those who don’t know what Ramadan is or what it means to Muslims, here’s a short intro:

It was in the month of Ramadan that the Qur’an was revealed as guidance for mankind, clear messages giving guidance and distinguishing between right and wrong. So any one of you who is present that month should fast… (Qur’an 2:185)

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, refraining from food and drink. We begin our fast with Suhoor, a meal early in the morning before dawn, and break our fast with a meal called Iftar at sunset. It's not just about fasting; it's a time for extra prayers, acts of kindness, and charity. So let’s get down to business and find out how you can be more sustainable this Ramadan. Here are a few tips for you:

Eat Less Meat:
Ramadan witnesses an overconsumption of meat, whether that be in savouries (eg samosas, pastries), starters or main dishes. Did you know eating meat is one of the biggest ways in which we're polluting the planet? Meat and dairy products account for at least 15% of global gas emissions and 60% of all greenhouse gasses from food production!! By reducing the amount of meat we eat, we can help to reduce carbon emissions and help to protect the planet.

Try going meat free for a week (or two!) and then treat yourself to a meaty meal on Friday at Iftaar. Or challenge yourself to a meat-free Ramadan. If that's too much, start off with one day of no meat eg Meatless Monday. Consider cutting down on eating meat and poultry, eg instead of chicken tikka substitute it with grilled halloumi instead! 😋

Eat more plant based meals. Now I'm not telling you to become vegetarian or vegan but definitely become a semi-vegetarian or a flexitarian. The traditional Islamic diet was semi-vegetarian, our Prophet (SAW) was a semi-vegetarian! So make an intention to follow the diet of our Prophet (SAW) this Ramadan insha Allah.

Making plant based meals is not that difficult at all. If you are unsure on where to start, maybe start off with buying veg meal boxes from Riverford or Abel & Cole. They are so simple and easy to make and turn out very tasty. We've used them both in the past and love them both!

Waste Less Food:
On the topic of food, let’s also talk about food waste. Food waste is a massive problem worldwide. In the UK alone, 9.5 million tonnes of food is wasted per year which totals to costs of over £19 billion each year! Food waste is really heartbreaking when there are so many people in the world struggling to eat! Not to mention the carbon emissions created from firstly the food arriving to your table and secondly when the garbage truck comes round. 

When we waste food, we also waste all the energy and water it takes to grow, harvest, transport, and package it. Furthermore, the decomposition of food in landfills produces methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide. Eliminating food waste has the potential to reduce human-caused greenhouse gas emissions by about 6-8%. So let's try to be mindful of our consumption this Ramadan.

Plan your meals and shop accordingly. Planning your meals will help to reduce your waste. Waste can be in the form of buying too many ingredients that expire quickly or cooking too much food that doesn't get eaten. Give food to your neighbours, remember you will be rewarded for feeding a fasting person! Eat your leftovers first or freeze a batch to use another day. Compost any kitchen scraps or any fruit/veg that's past it's time. These are just some of the things we can do to reduce our waste during Ramadan.

Reduce the Use of Single-Use Plastics:
Hands up who makes (or buys in) savouries such as samosas and pastries as part of their Ramadan preps? And how many of you are sat there thinking, why is it always packaged in plastic freezer bags? Have you thought about using silicone bags? They are amazing! After use, wash them and reuse! Very handy for freezing meat and veg as well!

Plastic is everywhere! In the UK it is estimated that five million tonnes of plastic is used every year. A report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation suggests that unless we take action to reduce this, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050!

So this Ramadan try to make just a few small changes to reduce your plastic footprint. Try taking your own shopping bag when you’re out doing your grocery shopping to avoid buying plastic bags at the till. 

Did you know that in the UK alone, 256 million plastic toothbrushes are thrown away every year? Switch over to using bamboo toothbrushes or even a miswaak. Using a miswaak is not only a Sunnah but also plastic free, so why not revive a Sunnah whilst also helping the environment this Ramadan. 

Plastic straws end up in our oceans, where they damage ecosystems and harm marine creatures! They are not biodegradable and can take up to 200 years to break down! As an alternative use metal, bamboo or paper straws.

So, let’s make this Ramadan extra special by going green! By embracing a mindset of sustainability during Ramadan, we can contribute to positive changes for our planet. As we embark on this conscious journey, let our actions reflect a commitment to both spiritual reflection and environmental stewardship, making Ramadan a time of not only personal growth but also a collective effort towards a more sustainable and mindful existence.

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