This blog on faith and climate action is part of a collaboration with Islamic Relief. It was written by Alaa’ Al-Samarrai, the Islamic Relief UK Campaigns and Public Affairs Coordinator. You can also read the blog we wrote for their website here.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “The world is beautiful and green, and verily God has made you His stewards in it, and He sees how you acquit yourselves”. This is but one of many Islamic teachings on justice and stewardship of the Earth that Islamic Relief takes inspiration from, and this blog will lay out the work we are leading on to tackle the climate crisis
At Islamic Relief we believe that climate change is one of the greatest issues humanity faces. Its wide-ranging impact on the most vulnerable people around the globe make this one of the issues that most starkly impacts our rightsholders. As such, we take seriously our duty to protect our planet whilst serving these communities.
Islamic Relief is a faith-inspired humanitarian and development agency working to save and transform the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Established in 1984, we have since saved and transformed the lives of over 120 million people. In addition to providing disaster and emergency response, we also promote sustainable economic and social development by working with local communities – regardless of race, religion or gender.
The climate crisis continues to have a huge impact on the humanitarian sector, with increasing demands for emergency relief in response to natural disasters such as floods and droughts, but also in responding to the challenges of a changing climate – food insecurity, water scarcity, increased poverty, and forced displacements heightening the risk of violent conflict.
The latest record breaking floods in Pakistan have left a third of the country immersed in water, affecting 33 million people and devastating millions of homes. Islamic Relief has been on the frontline providing emergency relief to those impacted by the floods, but we have also worked with communities in Pakistan – and others in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and India – for decades to help them make climate change adaptations.
We’re responding at home too – from flooding in the north of England to fires in London. We are campaigning for stronger action by governments and business, reducing our own carbon footprint and raising awareness of how Muslim communities in Britain can take their own climate actions.
Working with our partners, we are proud to have participated in coalition campaigns such as the Great Big Green Week, and coordinated a response from the Muslim community to COP26 through a range of events and activities. Most notably, Islamic Relief funded the solarisation of Scotland’s largest mosque – Glasgow Central Mosque – in a pioneering move that saw 130 solar panels installed with the aim of cutting out an estimated 18,000kg per year of CO2 emissions. We are looking forward to working closely with other mosques in the UK to help them implement similar greening initiatives; be it tree-planting, managing their energy and water usage, or optimising their space.
Our mosques are uniquely placed institutions which can make significant strides in the fight for our climate, and community leaders have already demonstrated great leadership in engaging and advocating for local climate action. Working with other faith communities, we can increase the impact and extend our message, drawing on our shared values and aspirations for the future of our planet.
There is much more to be done, and for many young Muslims, the threat of climate change is an imminent issue of great importance. To join Islamic Relief’s campaigning efforts you can get in touch, and help us grow this movement.
Islamic Relief is providing life-saving aid in flood-affected communities across Pakistan. Support our relief efforts: donate to our Pakistan Floods Appeal now.