Our Deen is Green: Green Eating

deen is green

Being green is not a trendy choice, a temporary fashion or an eccentric hobby. Being green is our duty as Muslims, because we are Allah’s (swt) representatives on the Earth – His Khalifa – and we have a responsibility over the planet He has entrusted us with. Our Deen Islam is green, as several verses from the Quran and numerous Ahadeeth of our Prophet (sa) remind us. But what does it mean to be green? How can we make our lives more eco-friendly? And does it mean that we have to give up all comforts and become ascetics? Actually, making wise, environment-friendly choices can enrich our lives and positively affect our health. So where shall we start?

“And eat of the things which Allah has provided for you, lawful and good, and fear Allah in Whom you believe.” (Al-Maidah 5:88)

Modern food is visually appealing, relatively cheap and does not spoil easily, but is it good? Not really. A majority of convenience foods are packed with artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. Their production pollutes the environment and packaging litters our streets, lawns and forests. What is more, with so much food readily available, a lot gets wasted, while there are people, who go hungry on a daily basis. Even more, processed food is not good for our health either! It might be easy to reach for packed snacks to satisfy our hunger, but just think of the hidden consequences of your choice. Let’s eat green, first of all, for the pleasure of Allah (swt), and also for the cleaner greener planet, for less wastage, more equal food distribution and for our own health and satisfaction. Here are a few tips how:

Cook from scratch

This way you will always be sure to know what is on your plate. Cooking at home is healthier, more environment-friendly and cheaper, too! Why? First of all, cooking all your food yourself from simple ingredients means that you are avoiding most of the artificial additives found in ready-to-eat foods. You can make sure all the ingredients are good and fresh by choosing them yourself. When baking biscuits at home, you are more likely to use better quality butter, than the one used in the cookies produced commercially. Cooking at home, instead of buying food from outside, also means less packaging and less rubbish, and as we all know, in most Pakistani cities there is no proper arrangement for rubbish collection or recycling; thus, the less waste, the better. And all the wrappers and packaging come with a price, too. So if you cook at home, you will get better quality food at lower overall cost.

Do not waste

Cooking just the right amount of food each time may be a bit tricky, but there are ways to make sure nothing gets wasted. You can store your food in fridge or freezer for later or transform it into an altogether another dish, like making egg-fried rice from leftover cooked white rice. Also, you will find plenty of people in need, so if you are sure no one will fancy today’s dinner tomorrow, give it away, while it is still fresh! When eating out, it is always a better idea to place an order for your meal, instead of going for a buffet. We are more likely to waste the content of our plates, if there is too much food available. And the restaurants, which offer buffet lunches and dinners, waste huge amounts of food! For an eco-Muslim, it is a no-no! Better order what you really feel like having. Two people can usually share one large helping. If you are unable to finish, ask to have it packed for home. Leftovers can be given to the hungry on the road, too.

Do not buy ready-made snacks

When I first came to Pakistan, I was astonished by the natural beauty of its Northern territories. However, at the same time, I was very disappointed that much of this beauty was spoiled by the litter. Walking around the parks or hiking in the mountains and seeing countless wrappers scattered on the ground made me think how beautiful these places must have been, before people started producing packed snacks. Out of these musings came a resolution not to buy wrapped snacks at all or at least seriously reduce their consumption. Chips, jellies and candies are full of artificial flavours and colours, have no real nutritional value and produce huge amounts of waste. I was convinced, but what about my children? What is a trip to a park without a snack? Alhumdulillah, in Pakistan, we can actually find healthy snacks like roasted or spiced corn on the cob, popcorn, roasted chickpeas and dry fruit. Dates are great replacement for candies, and my children are already used to having them instead. They also love nibbling on raisins and figs. I am happy that I can give them something healthy, which at the same time reduces my negative impact on the environment.

Avoid anything artificial

If you look at the warnings about artificial additives in foods, you get seriously concerned. For example, artificial yellow food colour carries the message: “Excessive use of this additive may have adverse effect on children’s behaviour.” And this warning is actually printed on the packets of yellow jellies and some candies! For me, it is enough of a reason not to buy them. I looked up the most dangerous artificial additives and the ones to avoid are aspartame (artificial sweetener), which can actually cause damage to brain; monosodium glutamate also known as Chinese salt, can possibly cause depression, eye damage, and headaches. Common food colours have been found to reduce intelligence and have been banned in certain countries! Let us go back to basics and eat good natural food that Allah (swt) has blessed us with, instead of going for harmful, man-made inventions.

Pack your lunch and do not forget the water-bottle

Do you know that producing bottled water takes twice the amount of water in production? This means that for every litre of bottled water, two litres are wasted. Huge producers take over public water supplies, and plastic bottles end up on the ground, leaving a negative impact on the environment. Besides, tap water in most of our homes is actually perfectly safe to drink. If you are not convinced, take a sample of your tap water to laboratory for check-up. In Islamabad, the most comprehensive analysis is offered by Prime Minister’s National Health Complex. So instead of buying a bottle of water every time we are out, it is better to invest in a reusable water bottle and a nice lunchbox for our home-cooked food to take along on the trips! For other cities, filtered tap water can be used, which is more environment friendly and an economical choice, too.

Eat less meat

Sacrificing an animal is a serious business! Excessive consumption of meat drives industrial breeding, which for the sake of quantity often compromises the quality of meat. Chickens bred on industrial farms do not know any life outside the cage, and their meat is notorious for containing drugs. We do not really need meat every day. It is better to eat it occasionally, but to have good quality meat. It will be better for our health and better for the environment. We are told that the Prophet (sa) had meat for flavouring as today we eat pickles (Achar) – in less quantity and less frequently. But some of us cannot begin and end our day if we do not serve and consume meat at every mealtime on a daily basis.

Brain Cutlets



  1. 1 Brain (goat)
  2. 1 onion
  3. 1 green chilli
  4. 2 oz flour
  5. Salt to taste
  6. Pepper to taste
  7. 1 slice of bread
  8. Bread crumbs to coat.


  1. Clean the brain, wash it and boil it in water.
  2. Soak the slice of bread into water.
  3. Finely chop the onion and chill.
  4. Now remove the bread from the water and squeeze out all the water.
  5. Mix this bread into the brain.
  6. Then add the onion and chill.
  7. Now add the flour to combine the mixture together.
  8. Lastly add in the salt and pepper according to taste.
  9. Add an egg to the mixture only if you feel the mixture is not sticky enough.
  10. Take the mixture into the palm of your hands and form cutlets.
  11. Then coat these cutlets with bread crumbs and beaten eggs (salt and red chilli added).
  12. Now deep fry the cutlets and serve with ketchup.

Chicken-Potato Sticks


What you need

  • Chicken (boiled and cubed) – 2 cups
  • Potatoes (boiled and mashed) – ½ kg
  • Mustard – 1 tbsp
  • Chicken cubes (melted) – 2
  • Salt and pepper – 1 tsp each
  • Butter or margarine (melted) – 4 tbsp
  • Ice-cream sticks or soup sticks – as needed
  • Eggs (beaten) – 2
  • Bread crumbs – 2 cups

What you do

  1. Mix chicken, potatoes, mustard, cubes, salt, pepper and butter/margarine.
  2. Cover half of the soup / ice-cream sticks with the mixture.
  3. Dip in beaten egg and bread crumbs.
  4. Put in a fridge for half an hour.
  5. Take out and fry till golden brown.
  6. Serve with garlic sauce.

Image courtesy: http://www.kitchendaily.com

Throwing an Eid Party

eid party

Eid is the time for celebration and delight, showing our gratitude to Allah, meeting relatives and friends, and sharing with the needy. As parents, we would like our children to have a meaningful time on this most joyous of occasions. So, why not make your kids’ Eid memorable and filled with fun by throwing a party for them and their friends? Here are a few ideas for creating an enthralling Eid party.

Eid Related Party Decorations

  • Put up posters of Eid greetings in 3-4 different languages, such as Arabic, Urdu, English, etc. This will be a good conversation starter.
  • If budget allows, create an Arabian Peninsula look with a tent in the corner, date trees, etc.
  • Put up colourful lights in the party area.
  • Hang little paper-made crescents with buntings and tinsels.

Theme-Based Eid Parties

Older kids (7-12 years old) can have an Eid party around a special theme:

  • Islamic attire theme. Children could come wearing clothes from different Islamic countries. You can also ask them to come in special Islamic head coverings, such as Topis, turbans or Arab headgear for boys and pretty scarves for girls.
  • Muslim country theme. Ask the kids to bring along something related to any Muslim country of their choice (a flag, a book, crafts, photographs, etc.) They can paste the country’s name on the objects and display them during the party.
  • Theme of foods mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah. Serve honey, pomegranates, dates, olives, olive oil, etc. Posters, wax replicas, and paper cutouts of the fruits and vegetables can be used as decorations.
  • Sharing the joy of Eid theme. Mothers and older children can have an Eid party at the local hospital or orphanage. They can take some eatables and gifts for the needy kids.

Gaming Zone

What’s a kids’ party without games? You can mould some of the games to give them an Islamic colour.

Games for younger and older kids:

  • Quiz between 2 teams on Islamic knowledge. Ask simple, age-appropriate questions about Muslim countries, Islamic practices, simple Duas, etc.
  • Story time. Read a story on any of the prophets or companions.
  • Passing the pillow. Short questions about the likes and dislikes of the Prophet Muhammad (sa), about his family and more.
  • Lemon in a spoon race.
  • Treasure hunt.
  • Memory game. Place objects in a tray and show to each child for 10 seconds. Later, ask them to write down the items they can remember.
  • Drawing competition. Topics can be: what you did on Eid, what you ate on Eid, making an Eid card for your parents, grandparents, or best friend.

Games for mothers and kids together:

  • Draw four pictures of Islamic objects on large sheets of paper, for example, a Masjid, a prayer mat, a Hijab, Kabah. Get four parents to hold up a picture in each corner of the room (if the place is small, in different rooms – make sure hallways are clear). Stand in the centre and call out one of the names – children then should run as fast as they can to that corner. You can also use Arabic names or draw sites of Islamic importance, such as the sacred mosques. Keep the game short and fast.
  • Charades. Each mom will have to act out a word to make her team guess what the word is. For instance, the word ‘Wudhu’ can be demonstrated by doing the actions of the ablution.
  • Gifts for the poor. A table can be laid out with some fruits, small packs of biscuits or chips, toys etc. With mom’s help, each child can pack a small goody bag and take it home for giving to the servants, who work in their house. This will apprise the child with a sense of sharing and caring for the deprived ones.

Ideas for Goody Bags or Give-Aways

Kids always love taking home a reminder of the party. According to your pocket, you can prepare the goody bags matching the Eid mood of the party.

Big budget

  • CD of “Sound Vision”
  • Audiotape of “Sound Vision”
  • Some religious activity book e.g. flowers of Islam series
  • Stationary set
  • Toys
  • Chocolates
  • Biscuits

Economical budget

  • Stickers (I love Allah, etc.)
  • A set of 3 religious activity sheets
  • Some other religious souvenir (key chain)
  • Stationary items
  • Balloons
  • Chocolates
  • Biscuits

Want More Ideas?

  • Play children’s Islamic songs in the background.
  • At the prayer time, offer Salah in congregation. (Moms and children together.)
  • Children can have a camel ride, if it can be arranged.

Story Time with a Difference

Beforehand, prepare a simple story with 4 main characters or objects – for example, a boy’s name, a prayer hat, a Masjid, the Quran. Build a story around them. Draw or write each character / object on a card. The more children you have for this game, the better, so that there are 3 or 5 ‘Masjids’, 3 or 4 ‘prayer hats,’ etc. Get the children to sit on chairs in a circle with spaces between the chairs. Begin to tell the story. As the children hear their card name mentioned, they have to get up, run around the circle, and sit back down again.

(Courtesy: http://www.islamichomeeducation.co.uk/)

Yummy Foods

Here are ideas to satisfy those growling tummies:

Finger food for 3-6 years olds

  • Mini pizzas
  • French fries
  • Nuggets
  • Sandwiches
  • Boiled sweet potatoes
  • Seasonal fruits

Kids food for 7-9 and 10-12 years olds

  • Kebabs
  • Burgers or bun kebabs
  • Rolls
  • Cholay
  • Samosas