The Shy Activist- Attain that Taqwa

If you don’t know already, Ramadan is the holiest month of the year for muslims as it’s the month that the Quran was revealed. One of the pillars of Islam is fasting and this is what we do for the whole month of Ramadan, from dawn to sunset. Fasting makes us understand the physical pain of hunger, it encourages us to carry out more good deeds, it improves our will power by abstaining from our physical wants and it is a month that helps us to attain Taqwa.

If you are muslim you will know that familiar feeling in Ramadan when you think about how you are hungry but realise that is how millions of people in poverty feel. Or when you are about to get super angry but don’t want that to jeopardise your fast being accepted. This is because we are very aware of our actions during Ramadan.

Last year I went to the light upon light conference just before Ramadan and I really enjoyed one particular lecture about how the purpose of Ramadan is to attain Taqwa.

“O You who believe! Fasting is prescribed upon you as it was prescribed on those before you so that you may attain Taqwa” Quran – [2:183]

Taqwa means to become closer to Allah and being constantly aware of the presence of Allah. 

“Taqwa is not about performing religious obligations such as prayer and fasting: it is about living a pious life. A person possessing taqwa …chooses to live a moral life.“ 

“It strengthens a Muslim’s belief and enables him to become a better human being and an even better follower of the Islamic faith.”

This lecture particularly interested me because the focus was on our actions as consumers and how we need to be more aware of the presence of Allah in everything we do. 

The speaker was Ustadh Asim Khan who discussed how in the UK we waste 200k tons of food per year and we waste a whole load of clothes too (we’ve had a blog post on this before). The next speaker Zahir Mahmoud lectured about the the Prophet (peace be upon him) and how he hardly had any possessions or money and his home was very modest. This shows the contrast between the lifestyle we’re all so used to and the one we know would be should live as close as possible to.

I think there is a very strong connection between remembering our faith in everything we do and consumerism. Because consumerism and capitalism does not encourage us to think about other people. It encourages us to think about ourselves and what we need. “The love of this world, greed, hatred or enmity towards a fellow human, pride, etc. are all examples of such traits that hurt a believer’s Taqwa.”

One of my favourite quotes from the Prophet (PBUH) is:

“The best of people are those who are most beneficial to people”

We can be beneficial to others in many ways. But we can accidentally be detrimental to people in many ways too. By remembering our faith in everything we do we know we should consider how our choices affect the planet and everything in it. Hopefully this weekly blog helps to consider the bad impact some of the most seemingly harmless things have on our environment and other people.

I hope we all attain the fruits of Ramadan and attain taqwa. Not just by doing the things we are obviously obligated to do like praying, paying zakat, being good to our family and friends etc but being honest in everything that we do. More importantly being more honest with ourselves that we are doing the best we can because that’s all we can do, the best that we can do as individuals. 

O mankind, indeed We have…made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.(49:13)

SO I will leave you with a very Oh So Ethical quote from the Quran.

“…Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves…” (Qur’an, 13:11)

BE THE CHANGE. Attain that taqwa people.

FAIR FAVOURITES

So since we break our fast everyday with dates we should definitely get dates that are the most ethical they can be!

MEDJOUL DATES

Palestinian Medjoul Dates

sources and further reading

http://www.idealmuslim.com/how-to-gain-taqwa-in-ramadan/

https://www.muslimaid.org/media-centre/blog/ramadan-and-taqwa/

https://www.al-islam.org/message-thaqalayn/vol11-n4-2011/taqwa-part-1-ayatullah-murtadha-mutahhari/taqwa-part-i#term-taqwa

Soomaiya Syeda- Child Exploitation VS Child Labour

Child labour is always exploitative…or is it. I want to explore why sometimes it isn’t considered exploitative.

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It seems obvious. If children work they miss out on a lot of things we consider to be vital; educational, physical, social and mental growth. As consumers are becoming more and more conscious about what bad business practices they are funding, calls for child labour to end have increased over the last few decades.

Most recent action against child labour was taken by Apple who discovered that their cobalt supplier Huayou employed children and suspended their operation. The Netherlands made human rights due diligence for the first time to cut child labour. They will be looking at suppliers and ensuring there is no human rights violation further down the supply chain.

Whilst it is a welcomed change that capitalist corporations are now trying to run their businesses more ethically, it does feel a little like greenwashing the situation. Greenwashing is when a company appears to be more ‘green’ but fails to truly minimise the environmental impact. In this instance it would be to understand why children have to work, rather than just cutting off their only source of income.

Child labour in the UK was reduced in 1880 with the Education Act which made education compulsory for children up to the age of 10. This age was raised to 15 in 1944, 16 in 1973 and then 17 in 2013. So the UK’s stance on education has dramatically changed only very recently. The policy that someone must be educated until 16 years of age is younger than my mum!

As the UK, a 1st world country, is still trying to understand what the best age to be educated until is, we have to consider that this is not going to be what is best for children in other countries.

We all know the history of colonisation and the whitewashing of cultures all over the world. This could be described as a way of whitewashing and greenwashing cultures that need us to understand them in order to better help, rather than forcing them to become like us, which could lead to more hardship.

In an interesting podcast the Guardian held with various people including those who work in charities, previous child workers (now adults) and government workers, child labour is explored in a different way. We see how child labour is an important role within a family. As a part of the family children must contribute to the wellbeing of the everyone. They may even work for their family business, or as described by an ex child worker, sell “jellies, I worked on mini vans opening the doors, charging the clients. Also in construction, I carried bricks, washed dishes, all kinds of work [that] I could find.” I can’t imagine that if a child’s income is vital to the family’s essential needs, they’ll have much chance of being able to afford an education. Therefore banning child labour could potentially lead to worse outcomes.

There is also line between child exploitation and child labour here. Another interviewee explains that the difference lies in the type of work for example child prostitution vs child labour in the ways mentioned before.

In 2013 Bolivia revised the code protecting the rights of children and adolescents to raise the age of children working to 14. This caused children to protest because this directly affected their livelihood and the government had to reduce to the age to 10.

This says a lot about the priorities of people in Bolivia, whether children or adults. They may agree that education is the best way forward for future generations so that they can avoid the hard work and physical toil, and increase chances of making better a better living. But this isn’t a reality that can be implemented today or even tomorrow.

In India educational policies have increased child literacy however children are increasingly dropping out of school to work for their families.

30% of people in India live below the poverty line and they have no contingency plans of what happens in cases of illness, poverty, death or other unexpected costs. As a debt adviser in East London I see the way unemployed and employed people in the UK have no contingency plans and are living day to day. I see clients who live on food bank vouchers or regularly have to borrow from friends and family. The difference is if they are capable to seek advice there is help out there in the form of debt and money advice charity services. Just living day to day becomes a job in itself.

Child exploitation is unacceptable but I am weary of trying to change a country/cultures social system by just suspended our operations. Although it is a good way to send the message to the company, the corporations should use their economic leverage for a better attempt at having a good impact. I also think we must consider and accept that how we believe is the right way to live can be completely different in a different place. In Bolivia they have their own child care act where they diagnose if a working place is suitable and necessary for a child but without funding they cannot implement this act. They cannot just put laws in place to resolve a situation.

We can think learn about this grey area between child labour and child exploitation to understand how to have a better impact on the world with our consumer power as well as any other super powers. For example; pressurising companies like Apple to do more than just suspend operations. They CAN do something about ensuring working conditions are better, like Bolivia intended to.

FAIR FAVOURITES

Mirembe Makes sells jewellery made in Uganda from recycled paper beads aswell as jewellery made in the UK from recycled glass beads from Ghana. All chains used in the jewellery made in the UK are sourced from charity shops and are then upcycled when they are combined with the beautiful colourful beads from Krobo, Ghana. Each of the pieces made in the UK are unique and no two are the same. To find out more about Mirembe Makes you can find them on instagram; @MirembeMakes or visit their website; www.mirembemakes.bigcartel.com

Mirembe Makes £10

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Mirembe Makes £13

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Mirembe Makes £15
 

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Mirembe Makes £15

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Mirembe Makes £10

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Mirembe Makes £15

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I got my information from these sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/feb/24/is-child-labour-always-wrong-the-view-from-bolivia-podcast-transcript

https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/03/03/netherlandss-plan-cut-child-labor-out-products

http://news.trust.org/item/20170227145130-br2gz/

http://news.sky.com/story/child-miners-firm-refuses-to-apologise-over-cobalt-sourcing-10785313

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_labour#The_Industrial_Revolution

https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/child-labour

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/how-effective-are-social-security-and-welfare-in-india/article6823320.ece

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Social_Assistance_Scheme

Soomaiya Saturday- Eggs

In the UK we consume 12 billion eggs a year, and only 2% of these are organic. What is the difference between free range and organic?

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When I started to work at the farm I noticed that there were some chickens who looked like they were bullied by the other chickens. They are bald in areas and looked skinny and generally quite strange compared to the healthy looking chickens. I found out that these were rescued from battery farms. 

There is a very clear visible difference between the happy healthy chickens and the battery farm chickens and it’s really sad to see that difference. In the farm’s blog they describe how the battery chickens didn’t go outside for 2 weeks on their own without encouragement, showing a clear psychological impact from being at a battery farm. You can read about the chicken’s at the farm on the farms blog post.

So why do the organic chickens look so different from battery farm chickens, and how do free range chickens compare?

The egg farmer from Wirrebee South argues that it would be impossible to cater to the demand which will double by 2050, with organic farming- ‘farmers had moved to caged eggs in the 60s because of consumer demand for a cheaper, cleaner product.’

Like the exploitation in the garment industry, consumers can be seen as the force driving it. By creating a demand we are pushing for cheaper and faster products.

If you eat eggs and you want to be a conscious consumer you can look for the soil association logo when buying your eggs. The farm I work at is certified by the soil association and I can see how they live, with room to roam and to follow their natural behaviours. Let’s change that 2% to 100%. We are the change we want to see.

Fair Favourites

This weeks favourites are from Arthouse Meath. 

‘ARTHOUSE Meath presents the skills and talents of men and women living with complex epilepsy, learning and physical difficulties. With high quality artwork and products ARTHOUSE Meath aims to create a platform of positive change in attitude towards people who are often marginalised. 100% of sales revenue goes towards sustaining the enterprise, helping it to grow and evolve.’

Swim with Whales Forever Weekend Bag

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Beach Hut Snug Pyjama Set

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Keep Wildlife Wonderful Jug

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Birds Apron

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I got my information from the following sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/30/free-range-eggs-con-ethical

https://www.soilassociation.org/blogs/2017/february/organic-vs-free-range-eggs-whats-the-difference/

http://www.bhwt.org.uk/free-range-free-range-egg/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/19/-sp-inside-the-battery-hen-shed

http://stepneycityfarm.org/are-our-hens-happy/

https://www.riverford.co.uk/blog/2016/08/18/ethical-eggs-organic-vs-free-range/

Soomaiya Saturday- Every Penny Counts

Note- This is not a money saving guide

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We all like to give to charity regularly. We might have a monthly direct debit set up or give to the homeless. In Islam we give 2.5% of our wealth as it is a pillar of our faith. 

We do this because we want to help people who are less fortunate. We want to make a difference to someone’s life. We want to improve someone’s situation. In Islam we believe that you can’t lose anything from giving.

But what if every penny you spent had a positive impact on someone’s life. What if you offered Trade and not Aid. (I’m not suggesting we stop giving to charity).

At Oh So Ethical we believe that one of the biggest powers individuals have is their consumer power. We have to spend to survive- housing, food, clothes, other essentials.

What if every time you needed something you looked into the best option. Not just the best option for you as the customer but the best option for it’s impact on everything behind the item. Think about the environment, the person who made the goods, what the company believes in. Become a conscious shopper and not a zombie-like consumer.

When I started to think about spending ethically I started with the basics that I would always buy. Items such as soap, shower gels, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste (find them in the OSE directory). It feels good to know I am regularly contributing to businesses that are having a good impact on the world.

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I always think of it this way- if your friend and your enemy were selling the same thing, who would you buy it from?

In Islam we believe in attaching blessings to everything we do- “And spend of your substance in the cause of Allah, and make not your own hands contribute to destruction; but do good; for Allah loveth those who do good.” (2:195) It’s our mission to have a positive impact with every choice we make. Let’s use our choices to make people happy!

Soomaiya Saturday- “The Plurality of my Strangeness” (Kieran Yates-The Good Immigrant)

I’ve been inspired to write about race and prejudice after I started reading The Good Immigrant.

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Between Brown and British

To celebrate New Years I learned how to play ‘My Dear Acquaintance, A Happy New Year’. This is a Peggy Lee song, covered by Regina Spektor and now it’s been covered by me. I love old songs. I love the “golden age” of Hollywood. I love Postcolonial and 19th Century literature. I love period dramas. I love 80’s John Hughes teenage movies and artistic Ingmar Bergman films.

People often tell me I was born in the wrong era. I agree except for the fact that being brown, if I had been born in any of the previous era’s I would not have had the privilege to enjoy the art I enjoy now. It often occurs to me that it might be strange seeing a brown girl sing such an old, frankly put, white culture song. To be so passionate about art that doesn’t represent my ethnicity, culture or religion.

I mean imagine Ashwarya Rai singing “Tonight, you belong to me”. I can’t imagine it. I’m still getting used to Priyanka Chopra on Jimmy Fallon and having her own music video with Pitbull (eurgh). And I’ve never even seen a Priyanka Chopra movie so what do I even know. Don’t get me wrong, having more South Asian representation in mainstream pop culture is important. But the strangeness of these two cultures coming together has just been ingrained into my mind.

I wish that they could retain and almost exaggerate their South Asian roots rather than camouflaging into the Hollywood standards. Then I feel guilty that I am not Bengali enough myself.

Btw the autocorrect tried to change Ashwarya to ashtray and Priyanka to praying. Let’s try my name- Someday, Somalia, Someway. It sounds like a lovely name for a novel or movie.

I often have to confront the fact that I am so Western when I am around Bengali people. Many incidents decorated my life experience growing up that forced me to hide in the wilderness of my bengali culture. My mum tells me that I was fluent in Bengali until I went to school. Now when I visit my family, whether in Bangladesh or in London, I find it difficult to hold conversations in Bengali. I don’t know exactly when I started becoming so shy about speaking Bengali. I don’t think there was a defining moment.

I would say one thing that contributed to it was that we all speak English at home, except for my dad. I stopped being close with my dad from the age of about three. When I visited family I would always obviously spend time with those of my age who were born and brought up in London so we would speak English. I never formed close relationships with people who I would have spoken to in Bengali like my grandmothers, aunts and uncles. I was close to my grandfather but unfortunately he passed away when I was 10. If he had stuck around longer I might have had a better closer relationship with my Bengali culture.

I think when I started to get a bit older and adults started to really want to have conversations with me in Bengali I realised how inept I was. I had lost out on important Bangladeshi education during my childhood.

Every conversation I have is in question and answer form. I never ask the question.

I just say ji? Ji-oy. Ji-na.
Pardon? Yes. No.

And then after a few questions I get one of these two reactions:
A blank face and sigh from giving up on talking to me
Laughing about how I don’t know how to speak Bengali well

And then some moaning about how my parents failed.

I probably shouldn’t draw attention to this huge flaw of mine but it is relevant.

The thing is, I do know how to speak Bengali quite a bit. I am not amazing at it and I can’t read it, but I can speak it. It’s just that I’m so terrified of sounding stupid that I just stick to what I definitely know. The fear didn’t come from being crap at being or speaking Bengali, but the rigid line I had to walk between being too Bengali or being too Western, and that sometimes they accidentally overlapped. As Kieran Yates describes in her essay “The plurality of my strangeness”.

In one half of my family there was a clash between generations.  This clash was conceived with my mother who was the first of her siblings to be born in London. Her older sisters grew up in Bangladesh, her younger siblings in London. I was quite young when he died, but from what I can tell their father was the epitome of a strong breadwinner and enforced that stereotypical strict asian discipline…until he brought his second wife to London. At which point I believe he let the ball drop trying to juggle his two lives and his influence weakened. That may be why my older aunts are so different from their younger siblings. My time spent with this half of my family was soundtracked by Garage, R’n’B, Pop and some Bhangra. Hardly any Bollywood and we never spoke Bengali.

One particular moment that haunts me so often is when I had just arrived to my nan’s house after mosque. I forgot to take my scarf off. By the time I realised it was still on my head I couldn’t be bothered to take it off. Someone said ‘You don’t have to wear that here’ and everyone laughed. I felt really embarrassed because I knew that no one here was muslim and in fact they quite disliked Islam. I was a child at that point and I didn’t have a strong religious stance. I just wanted to be liked.

We still did Iftar at Ramadan and visited each other on Eid. We ate Mcdonalds but avoided pork and alcohol. We did Secret Santa at Christmas and visited Tower Hill on New Years Eve. In comparison, my dad’s side of the family never celebrated anything apart from Eid and were very traditional.
I grew up balancing on a tight rope between being called a kufar for playing guitar and being made fun of for choosing not to eat haram food anymore. Although we are talking about race I feel like religion is interwoven. So often I have felt that people assume I am not religious because I am not very cultural.

(I would like to point out that majority of the people who provided deliciously painful memories like these have completely changed their mindset and aren’t quite such dicks. I guess they were also navigating their way through two cultures too.)

I was recently part of my cousin’s wedding. I’ve never been part of anyone’s wedding before. I had to help make decorative food presentations called Taals and I enjoyed it! I felt so in touch with my Bengali heritage (although the Spock side of my brain doesn’t quite understand Taals). On the wedding day lovely Indian music played, I dressed in a blue lengha (my favourite style of asian clothes) and carried the Taal into the hall with the rest of my family. It was really beautiful and I had seen this happen so many times in other weddings. But I had never done it myself and it felt so alien. I felt like I was acting.

In the summer I went as a plus one to a white wedding. It was the total opposite of a traditional, Bengali, Muslim wedding and I felt much more myself there. I feel a bit guilty to admit that because I feel like maybe I NEED to be more Bengali, or I’m letting my side down.

I live in what used to be a predominantly Bengali populated building until very recently when redevelopment moved majority of my neighbours to brand new housing 5 minutes away. Now my neighbours are mostly white and black people.

My mum has told me about the racism she has faced growing up here. Children setting their dogs on her and her siblings on Commercial road in the 70’s, teenagers intimidating her on Poplar high street while she was pregnant in the 90’s, racist slurs in arguments on a bus in Hackney in the noughties.

There was recently a documentary on BBC2 about skinhead culture and the racism that took over it. This documentary sort of illustrated what my mum was telling me about. A clip taken from the old archives will never leave my mind where the white skinheads explain that they like black people but they hate ‘Paki’s’.

In The Good Immigrant Vera Chok talks about how racism towards Chinese people is ignored in the UK despite being the highest occurrence. Racism really works in strange ways with its own sort of hierarchy. Even within ethnic groups racism is highly prevalent.

I myself had not experienced direct racism until very recently. When a white working class family (think as annoying as Vicky Pollard from Little Britain) moved in next door, they decided to mark every Asian household door with a handprint. “Paki house” was written on the palm of each hand. That palm was a metaphorical smack in the face right on my doorstep. When I cut my hair short the neighbours decided I was Shabnam from Eastenders. I don’t mind being Shabnam, she’s beautiful. But they didn’t mean it as a compliment.

Another time when I was walking home a white man in a cab (driven by a bengali man) shouted to my family that the newly built housing is for immigrants like us. I’m an immigrant? I was born here.

It forced me to wonder what it would be like if I went back to ‘where I belong’- Bangladesh. Well that seems alien to me. Sure the hot weather would be welcomed, but even when I spent two wonderful weeks in the Palestine sunshine I longed for the chilly bite of London air, my home. And more than that…I wasn’t from Bangladesh. I was from Britain.

It is scary to be in certain places or around certain people for fear of being a victim of racism. I might be quite religiously and ethnically ambiguous and perhaps that is why I can usually avoid these attacks. But I am still afraid. It still happens. At times I can feel the tension of being the only person of colour in the room.

I am uneasy when the room is empty of people of colour (I can’t help but be reminded of my otherness with terrible pronunciations of my name) and when there are too many Bengali’s around (whose banter I will never understand). I don’t fit into a category. It doesn’t help that I hate social situations and give myself a migraine trying not to look like an idiot. Whilst I understand that no one fits into a category, as a person who suffers social anxiety I find these situations exhausting.

Malcolm X noted that when he went to Mecca he saw that everyone treated each other equally but they still stayed with their own ethnic groups. It makes sense to be naturally drawn to the people who share the same language, foods and habits. As much as I like being alone, when in the company of others I agree that we gravitate towards those that are similar to us. But I am such a mix that it’s hard to identify where I draw the line with each side. Where am I welcome? Where do I fit in?

Despite the painful memories of wondering why I don’t fit in, I realised that over time I have subconsciously decided to stand strong about the different parts of my identity.

I love the female empowerment and dance in Devdas. I love the noughties songs from RDB. I have enjoyed the poetry of Tagore. I have watched and loved Kuch Kuch Hota Hai like every brown person in the world.

London is home. I am a living and breathing noughties emo. I sort of enjoy smooth jazz…I look forward to the Christmas atmosphere every year.  

I’m a little bit of this and that. I am constantly in the process of building a world from two cultures. Trying to make it okay to be just the way I am.

Aside from culture and ethnicity there are some other things that I consider just as important if not more. For instance; I am passionate about my religion; I am passionate about music; I am passionate about having a positive impact on the world. These things matter the most to me and as long as I can touch base with each of these things I feel the best version of me.

Between brown and British.

So this is a snapshot into my perspective on being an unapologetic ‘good immigrant’; although, I’m not an immigrant.

If you identify with anything I have said you should read The Good Immigrant, you’ll love it. If you don’t identify, you definitely need to read The Good Immigrant.

I think my Best Nine 2016 perfectly illustrates that I love Islam and that I enjoy both Western and Bengali culture.

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New Year New Ethical You- Be Effortlessly Ethical

So lot’s of people make fun of the idea that you should become a different person in the new year. It is true that we should always strive to become better people but hey sometimes we need starting point. If new years is yours then that’s fine! Just take that first step!

So we have put together a few extremely easy ethical lifestyle tips. These are designed to make your soul and the planet better. The best thing? It’s not difficult and you feel the great results.

So here goes…

1. Animal Welfare

Animal welfare is very important. The effects of fast food, supermarkets, cheap meals are bad for the planet and for animals. We are stewards of Earth. We have power but that power is being abused. Factory farming is churning out chemical ridden produce while billions of people are consuming it, without giving a second thought to what they are actually doing. Before it was food, it was a living creature. Why don’t we have the same compassion for them as we do with pets? They feel pain too. Our planet is also suffering. You can click here to find out 11 facts about factory farming and the environment.

So how do we combat this?

Becoming a vegetarian could be a way to show your stance against factory farming and unethical practices. You may find that becoming a vegetarian isn’t your thing. But cutting down on the amount of meat you eat still has an effect. You will definitely come to realise that you do not need to have meat for up to 3 meals a day. You’ll feel lighter and healthier. Once you realise that you don’t need to eat meat you won’t miss it! I think it’s a psychological thing- if there is a rule, you’re more inclined to want to break it! So don’t limit yourself completely but treat yourself here and there. Just keep in mind where the animal came from. A factory farm, pumped with drugs, filled with illnesses, killed within weeks and living in unsanitary conditions. Take this quote-

Devote thyself single-mindedly to the Faith, and thus follow the nature designed by Allah, the nature according to which He has fashioned mankind. There is no altering the creation of Allah.
(Surah 30:30)

Are we not altering nature to suit our greedy consumerist society? 

Just because we are human and they are animals, doesn’t mean they do not deserve respect. There are places that produce ethically raised meats and this is what we need to see more of.

“Eat and drink from the provision of Allaah, and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption.“ (Qur’an, 2:60)

Everything we have should be in moderation. The Prophet PBUH lived in a time when meat was a luxury and emphasised the importance of caring for our animals with great compassion.

So maybe this year you can only purchase ethically raised meat and cut down on it too. Let us know how it goes!

2. Shopping ethically- Fashion

We tirelessly post pictures of all the beautiful clothes we find in second hand shops and swapshops.

Behind all the cheap and even expensive clothes is a person struggling to pay for food and a home. Garment workers spend most of their time at work and have little to show for it. 

“And give full measure when you measure out, and weigh with a true balance; this is fair and better in the end.” (Quran 17:35)

Maybe next time you go shopping you can really take a look at the item of clothing you want to buy and see that perhaps the person who made this was involved in the Rana Plaza collapse. Try not to contribute to fast fashion culture and venture out to all the alternatives! So many wonderful fair trade products that benefit society. So many second hand clothes that have plenty of wear left in them. And your own clothes. Make the most of them! Get creative. Or share it with your family. We don’t need to be in fashion, what do we have to prove?

Give a charity shop or a fair trade shop a chance. 

3. Shopping ethically- Groceries

It might seem impossible but you can be a more ethical consumer when it comes to food. There are some supermarkets to avoid that support injustice. If you give them your money you are telling them that their behaviour is okay. You will be part of their immoral profit making scheme. Make shopping more fun by scouting out ethical alternatives! Learn where your food comes from and appreciate the work that goes into making it. We have advanced so far that we don’t care where anything came from! 

Going to the local supermarket is easy. Doing the right thing, and finding an ethical alternative is hard. But what a small change it would be in your life and what a great impact it would have. We need less Kardashian information and more where did this milk come from, where did this meat come from, where did these vegetables come from. 

These tips are so simple. All it requires is giving a second thought to every choice your make. This is a great place to start- with the basics. 

Not only will you benefitting your own health and wellbeing but can also contribute to a society and stand up against injustice.

We’ll leave you with a few quotes to remind you that we all are compassionate beings. We’re all brothers and sisters and we need to care for each other and all the things we have in our posession. Somehow we have forgotten that but it’s never too late to love.

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)

If there is but one tree of flowers and fruit within a village, that place is worthy of your respect.
(Mahabharata)

“When God created the first human beings, God led them around the Garden of Eden and said: “Look at my works! See how beautiful they are—how excellent! For your sake I created them all. See to it that you do not spoil and destroy My world; for if you do, there will be no one else to repair it.” (Midrash Kohelet Rabbah, 1 on Ecclesiastes 7:13)