15 August 2010

Seeing green in Durban

for Ramadan.co.za :

I have been fortunate (in a sense) to spend the first few days of Ramadan in Durban - its been many years since I spent Ramadan in this place, and its good and bad seems to be well intact!
Taraweehs with Mufti Menk are an interesting experience and a must for anyone in the city. I also tried out Riverside which was pretty much what can be expected from the local experience - its not often that I get to sample other Musallahs as I'm usually stationed on one specific one myself.

But being in Durban also gave me the opportunity to break iftar on the beach - a remarkably spiritual experience, as is always, with the cool sea breeze, the salty air and the sound of the waves. Coupled with a presentation of relevant sea verses from the Quran, it brought back good memories of the 'good ol days'.

Being here though has meant that I have been eating more meat than I have grown used to in the past few years. Last year I was mainly in Grahamstown, where we had our little tyre garden, bought regular fresh produce from local farmers and almost eliminated meat from our diets - for ethical reasons (I have written about some of it here).

But when I moved to Doha this year, I realised that resonsible consumption was not only about not eating meat - eating vegetables that were grown half way across the world, or that were 'manufactured' rather than grown, or that were grown or stolen land, etc, etc was not much better! That made me raise some questions in this blog post.

Following discussions with the 'old crew' over the past few days, I think the message I need to keep, and share with others, is simple - we need to have critical minds.

Whether being critical leads you to becoming a vegetarian, becoming a 'green' muslim/activitst, shopping with more thought and having a stronger conscience, curbing your consumption, being aware of unnecassary wastage, better planning your life so that you less pressed to rely on convenient-but-irresponsible options, etc - its up to you.

I will try to put together some tips about becoming 'greener' Muslim this Ramadan - after all, as they say - "Green was the Prophets favourite colour" (citation needed). But I'm sure as hell that its not 'profits' most favourite idea.

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