According to Islamic tradition, Muslims have been put on earth by God as ambassadors and custodians. A narration of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says: “The world is sweet and green and verily, God is going to install you as a deputy in it in order to see how you act.” This means we have a moral obligation to take care of not only our fellow human beings, but mother earth.
We have been placed on earth for the purpose of taking care of it. Anything we can do to avoid wasting money, natural resources, and producing pollutants like carbon dioxide are things that we need to encourage. Green was the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) favorite color. It is the color of Islam and in that tradition Muslims can have “green” weddings that are good, not only for the pocket, but the planet. Below are some ideas for having a eco-friendly Muslim wedding.
- Simpler, Smaller Wedding. Although this is a general rule, as you will read throughout this site. Here we are referring to the guest list. Less guests means not only less cost but less consumption and waste. Although there is probably waste in other cultures, but here in developed countries, we are notorious for wasting food.
- Head for the Outdoors. Not only are you closer to nature, you can, through the city or municipality, get great deals in a park or other venue.
- Centrally-Located Place. Think about where most of your guests will be coming from and try to select a place that is centrally-located. This way, they, along with vendors, won’t pollute the environment.
- Invitations. Go paperless with online invites or use recycled paper. Avoid toxic inks. Announce the program instead of printing it or put just one on each table.
- Do Away with Favors. Although they look cute, most end up in the garbage. If you must have them use sugared almonds or Fair-Trade chocolates.
- Combine Events. Try combining the nikah and reception or valima and reception. This reduces transportation for guests and the carbon footprint of the wedding.
- Use Organic/Natural Beauty Products. Remember cosmetics are not checked or verified by the FDA, so many contain toxic chemicals that over a life time can damage your skin and the environment. Use Oud (Ithar) which is natural perfume and hand-made soaps. Use organic henna/mehndi free from chemicals.
- Wedding Rings. Although due to cultural diffusion engagement and wedding rings are becoming accepted practice at Muslim weddings, they don’t have to be. A simple ring or one that is pre-owned are alternatives. If you really want a ring and a rock, then avoid conflict-free blood diamonds. Men as a reminder in Islam are not permitted to wear gold, so one more reason not to do the bling.
- Borrow/Reuse/Recycle. You don’t have to buy everything new. You can borrow, reuse and anything that must be disposed or recycled. Examples are silk flowers and linen. Suits and wedding dresses can be rented or bought used. This is not only good for the environment, but also the pocket. If possible, buy a eco-couture wedding gown that is made from sustainable fabrics or a vintage pass-me down gown that can be altered.
- Share Photos Digitally. Only print the really good photos.
- Give Seed to Plant Trees. You can try doing this as a wedding favor. It would be a great way to give back to our beautiful earth.
- Share. Left-overs? Share amongst guests as well as those in need.
- Use Non-disposable Plates and Utensils. Especially if you are having the event outside. If you must use them, however, use recycled or treeless options.
- Use Local and Organic Flowers. You could either have friends with nice gardens donate them or better yet, grow them yourself. If not, use silk or dried flowers. Instead of cut-flowers in vases use potted-flowers and plants which at the end of the reception can be given as gifts. Remember less is more.
- Cash is King, for Gifts. If you are not posting the proverbial, “no packaged gifts,” then the next best option is to have a registry. This way you only get gifts you really want or need.
There are probably many more ideas to make your Muslim wedding eco-friendly. Put away the bridal magazines and take your inspiration from divine nature and the ideas will multiply. Have a green wedding and truly appreciate the blessings God has given us.