Indonesia's Green Islam is a religion-based environmental movement

Story by  ATV | Posted by  Aasha Khosa | Date 29-04-2024
Grand Mufti Of ishtiaq mosque Iman Nasaruddin Umar.
Grand Mufti Of ishtiaq mosque Iman Nasaruddin Umar.


Mansooruddin Faridi/New Delhi 

Green Islam of Indonesia is aimed at waking up the world to rapid environmental changes. The mission is to awaken Muslims based on their religion and make them respect nature and respond to environmental changes. 

Three forces are mentioned in the context of this green movement. The first one is Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world. The second is the Istiqlal Mosque is the largest and most modern mosque in Jakarta, while the third is Grand Imam of the grandiose mosque Nasaruddin Umar.

Imam Nasaruddin Umar is leading the movement single-handedly and using religious texts to invoke peoples' interest and participation in checking pollution of the air, water, and soil and mitigation the impact of global warming.

Imam Nasaruddin Umar explains to Muslims what is otherwise considered inexplicable. He teaches them why respect for nature is important. If the world is to be kept safe and human life is not to be made hell, then what should be done and what should not be done

"Our greatest shortcoming as human beings is that we consider the earth as just an object, whereas the more greedy we are towards nature, the sooner the doomsday will come," is one of his sermons.

Indonesian men and women cleaning the river that had turned into a nullah

He tells Muslims to protect the earth as religiously as they do fasting during the month of Ramadan.

"Planting a tree should be a habit like praying five times a day - environment protection should be a habit like giving charity. Because Allah says in the Holy Qur'an:

Due to the evil deeds of people in Dakhi and Teri, riots spread. Because Allah Ta'ala will make them taste the fruits of some of their deeds, it is (very) possible that they will stop. Surah Rum 4 1," the Grand Mufti Umer says.

Nasareddin Umar is the grand imam of the Istiqlal State Mosque in Indonesia and head of the University of Quranic Sciences in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is a professor of Islam at the State Islamic University of Sharif Hidayatullah Jakarta and founder of Indonesia's Interfaith Organization Partnership. 

He also served as Indonesia's Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs. Umar is the author of 12 books.

istiqlal Mosque with solar panels

Indonesia, the country with the largest population of Muslims in the world, is also facing a climate crisis due to global warming. In a country with a population of 27 million, religion is seen as a source of hope to deal with environmental challenges. 

Indonesia started the Green Islam movement in 2022 when a group of Muslims tried to create awareness about environmental changes on social media. Today, it has become a formal movement headed by Imam Nasaruddin Umar of Masjid Istiqlal.

In his sermons, Maulana Nasaruddin speaks on topics that Muslims generally tend to ignore or don't think are important enough for their attention. One of them is climate or environmental change especially global warming and its impact on a thickly populated country like Indonesia.

Imam Nasruddin Umar is leading the people towards environmental duty on a religious basis as he considers one-fourth of the world's Muslim population to be the most important for the environment. They say that they are merely following the instructions of the Prophet of Islam that Muslims should take care of nature.

Masjid Istiqlal is a monument to Indonesia's independence from the Netherlands. It was built as a symbol of independence and its construction began in 1961 and it was completed in 1975.

Plantation drive under Green Islam

It should be noted that this largest mosque in the Islamic country is a unique architectural building, it can accommodate 2 lakh people for Namaz. Itss minaret is 90 meters high while its central building consists of two large domes.

Imam Nasaruddin Umar launched this campaign at that time when the river on the side of the mosque had turned into a garbage dump. He started by engaging people in cleaning it. During this phase, Istiqlal Masjid was equipped with solar panels and a water recycling system – taps that soften the flow of water and control wastage were installed.

These changes earned this mosque the honor of green building from the World Bank. It became the first religious place to receive the honor.

The campaign of Green Islam in Indonesia is proof that when leaders fail to create awareness among the people on crucial issues like environmental degradation, religious leaders could be of help. "Some people may not care about the laws of the country but they do listen to the religious leaders who tell them that they might be able to dodge the law of the land but they would never be able to escape the laws set by the Almighty.

Imam Nasaruddin Umar

Indonesia is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases. Supporters of the Green Islam movement say that change can be brought about by educating 20 million Muslims. This is why Imam Nasaruddin Umar says that as the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, we need a Muslim society. The Green Islam movement has reached far and wide in Indonesia as well as in other countries.

Imam Nasaruddin Umar says that he is only following the instructions of Prophet Muhammad that Muslims should take care of nature. He is trying to create environmental awareness in light of the basic principles of Islam. he and some some other prominent Islamic scholars have issued fatwas on dealing with climate change. 

It is worth noting that the fatwas issued by the Council do not have legal status, but are morally challenging for all believers. All the surveys conducted show that people are now aware that it is wrong to fell trees, as these activities are prohibited in fatwas.

In the light of the Indonesian experience, what can the Indian Muslims learn? How can mosques be made environment friendly and how can awareness be created for plantation? 

Maulana Zaheer Abbas Rizvi, a prominent scholar of the country, says that Green Islam is a beautiful initiative. "It is included in the basic principles of Islam that we respect and protect nature. The protection of the environment is emphasized because it is very important for the life of not only humans but every living being. The movement of Green Islam will certainly attract every Muslim in the world. It will create awareness about the basic principles and teachings of Islam," he told awaz-the voice.

According to Maulana Zaheer Abbas Rizvi. A year after the Hijra, the Prophet of Islam enacted a law that no tree or agricultural land should be harmed during or after a war. This shows the importance given to the environment in Islam.

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Syed Salman Chishti,  the custodian of Dargah Ajmer Sharif, says what Green Islam is doing is enshrined in Islam. According to a hadith. If it's the end time of a person and he gets a chance he must plant a plant. This saying of the Prophet tells us the importance of afforestation in Islam. "Undoubtedly, this movement is giving a message to the Muslims of every country and reminds them of the teachings of Islam. We should also take such initiatives individually and collectively," he said.