A Zero Waste Covid-19 Iftar. Let's Do This.

Ramadan 2020 has us looking out the windows waiting for Judgement Day. Our priorities might not be ethical fasting or recycled Eid present...

Ramadan 2020 has us looking out the windows waiting for Judgement Day. Our priorities might not be ethical fasting or recycled Eid presents this year, so let's bring back the green spirit of Ramadan insha-Allah. Bring back the healthy Sunnah and the clean practises of Islam; let Ramadan uplift your house.

Before I share these tips it's always vital to understand what Allah and his Prophet have taught us about not being wasteful.

Allah says:
"...And be not excessive [Tus'rifu]. Indeed, He does not like those who commit excess."
Qur'an, (6:141)
Excess. In this context excess applied to donations and hoarding on the day of harvest. The Arabic word Tus'rifu (تُسرِفوا) means to be extravagant, whether in expenditure or arrogantly discarding whatever you don't use. Allah says again in Surah al-Araaf to,
"...Eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He does not like those who commit excess." (Qur'an, 7:31)
Ramadan is a month of the Qur'an but it's slipped into becoming a month of the kitchen. To become a better steward of Allah's earth think, about all the places you could reduce your consumption and start on a small action this month to continue afterwards.

Zero-Waste Iftars. Let's do this!
Choose one area of your Iftar to begin waste-free actions. Or go full-out for a true ethical adventure!

Say, it could be the energy used to prepare for Iftar. Do you normally watch TV during Iftar? Turn it off 30mins prior to Maghrib prayer. Swap gas for electricity, time how long your electric appliances are running and switch off when done. Instead of frying food, bake, and instead of cooking altogether make a salad sandwich!

If you choose to reduce waste in your food and drink, swap 2-3 store-bought items for something inclined towards the sunnah: like a honey-date-barley milkshake (it's lush), or a salad with figs and pomegranate seeds.

These are all Sunnah foods and if you have the intention to emulate Prophet Muhammad during your meal, it's not only rewarding for your soul, it's going to be naturally better for your body. Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, never ate unhealthy food.

"Mention the Name of Allah and eat with your right hand, and eat of the dish what is nearer to you." - Sahih al-Bukhari
Stores will be stocked with melons and pineapples now which are hydrating for the hotter fasts. Check out which vegetables were produced by local farms and travelled the least from field-to-table. Meaning, check the labels of those mangoes, peaches and strawberries. Did they create a large footprint to feed your family?

Other vegetables and fruit this season include asparagus, fava beans, carrots, rhubarb and avocado.

There are bound to be some food parts not edible during preparation. Our grandparents taught us a golden rule: nothing goes to waste. I mean nothing. Whether it's veg peelings, chicken skin, herb stems or mash potato, it's going to be repurposed either as another meal or another function.

To this day we save the date stones to be ground to powder for medicine, or dried and strung whole for supercool homemade Tasbeehs.

IDEAS: PEELINGS can be used for added flavour. Lemon peel boiled in water makes a cleaning solution mixed with vinegar (let it cool) or a lovely citrusy fragrance when added to rice cooking with broccoli.

ROAST carrot and potato peelings with a spicy rub for DIY veggie crisps. Chicken skins can be roasted too, and its carcass is the best base for a soup another day.

Left-over mash? Make toddler-tots. Any meaty bones? Makes a broth. Herb stems, carrots tops, unused fennel and garlic shoots can all be added to a stock or meal for loads of nutrition and flavour.

In the famous Ihya collection by Imam Ghazali, Book 11 talks about the etiquette and relationship we should have with our food. He focuses on Prophet Muhamamad's advice about spirituality before we even contemplate eating.
"The first [rule of conduct]: that the food be lawful both in itself and in the means by which it was acquired; that it shall be in accordance with the Sunna and with piety.
It should not have been gained through anything contrary to canonical law, nor through some evil inclination, not deceit relating to debt (pg. 3)

GROW MORE FOOD by planting the seeds from tomatoes, beans, strawberries. Just dry them out for a day, plant into compost using an old egg carton and cover. It'll take a couple of weeks but you will grow something. I have!

Ditch plastic plates al-to-geth-er. Don't even get paper, it's still going in the bin. Use your dishware at home, real plates, real glasses, and very importantly - real NAPKINS (serviettes). I have a stash of random fabric napkins which we use for spills and wiping hands instead of kitchen roll. It saves a lot of cost, rubbish and they can be thrown into the washing machine.

We tend to handle our dishes with care and have more respect for them over disposable.

You don't even need to buy fancy napkins since with the lockdown measures in place, no online ordering is necessary. You'll probably have old towels or muslin cloths at home-use them. Cut into squares and hem the edges. Voila! Quirky, cool, napkins.

If you do want to use an alternative, try wooden cutlery from Pretty Little Party Shop, which are ideal for garden Iftars.

"A believer eats in one intestine (is satisfied with a little food)." - Sahih al-Bukhari
Covid-19 has us washing our hands fifty times a day and that's a lot of water. Change how you and your family perform Wudu and wash up. This applies to turning taps off when brushing your teeth, using a Siwak over replacing toothbrushes, showers over baths and washing your car.

Fill a bucket with water outside or near your sink, you could use a bowl. Use another jug to pour water and wash as normal. You will use less water, you're not gushing the tap (faucet) pressure nor impacting your water bill. Teaching this to your children will instil this value for their entire lives.

Any water remaining? Well done, water your plants with it. Allah bless you.

Peace + eco-jihad.

+ Our Green Iftar In Huddersfield, UK
+ Top 10 Hydrating Fruit for Ramadan
+ Keeping Your Home Clean in Ramadan


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