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“I am still very hopeful that others will continue this work and really push pilgrims to walk lightly on this earth, and use their consumer power to demand that travel agents think about climate change.” The guide uses extensive theological grounding from the Qur’an and traditions of the Prophet Muhammad to ponder the environmental destruction pilgrims may be causing, as well as offering practical guidance on how to experience a more spiritual, sustainable pilgrimage.
Others have joined Dr Ahmad on her quest to create a greener Hajj.
It’s a sorrowful sight – the antithesis to the once-in-a-lifetime spiritual experience that is Hajj.
Going green may seem the obvious choice as we continue to learn more about the effects of climate change, but for Muslims, the protection and maintenance of nature isn’t just a social responsibility – it’s also a religious one.
According to the Qur’an, every human being is a steward of the earth, responsible for the care and wellbeing of nature in all its forms, due to, in the words of environmentalist Othman Llewellyn, “humanity’s enormous ability to do both good and evil; with ability comes responsibility.” So, when approximately three million pilgrims descend upon Mecca and Medina – Islam’s most holy places – during the Hajj pilgrimage, the environmental impact is cause for concern.
Six years ago, Dr Husna Ahmad OBE, CEO of the UK-based international development NGO Global One, created the world’s first “Green Guide to Hajj” in collaboration with ARC.