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Green Deen: What Islam Teaches about Protecting the Planet - A Book Review

Today we're proud to share a book review by Sherine Aboelezz, an activist, English teacher, journalist, and writer.  

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Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, author of "Green Deen: What Islam Teaches about Protecting the Planet," uses narratives, research, and scripture to show a long standing connection between Islam and active environmentalism. In his book, Abdul-Matin creates a step by step guide for American Muslims looking to green their everyday lives. He emphasizes that living a “Green Deen means understanding that God created us directly from the Earth and that we must do all that we can to take care of it, protect it, and manage all of its bounty in a sustainable way” (p. 6).  Abdul-Mattin takes this a step further by outlining four ways in which an American Muslim can attain living a "green deen": "waste, watts (energy), water, and food." 

The interesting thing about reading a book called "Green Deen" is that it makes a religious individual, of any creed, realize the intimate connection between being a steward of the earth and worshipping God. "Green Deen" is not a book that preaches about the greatness of Islam or any other religion, but rather encourages people of all religions to partake in a green movement i.e. to understand that taking care of our planet is a religious obligation.  

The book is ground breaking in its nature because it asserts that our similarities do not stem  from our understandings of what God is or is not, but rather of our collective connection to the Earth (p.16).  It is for this reason that a green movement is the best of its kind for bringing about interfaith dialogue and action. The author poses a compelling argument for bridging the gap between spirituality and environmentalism.  

Abdul-Mattin’s style is informative and engaging. His use of honest narratives makes his approach to greening the planet more relatable and applicable.  Overall, "Green Deen: What Islam Teaches about Protecting the Planet" is a great read for anyone looking to incorporate "Green Living" into their religious and spiritual outlook of the world.  

Sherine Aboelezz received her master's degree from Teachers College, Columbia University and is married with two wonderful kids, ages 5 and 6.