According to Islamic tradition, Muslims have been put on earth by God as ambassadors and custodians. A narration of the Prophet Muhammad 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 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 an eco-friendly Muslim wedding.
- Simpler, Smaller wedding: Although this is a general rule you will hear throughout this post, here we are referring to the guest list. Fewer guests mean not only less cost but less consumption and waste. Although there is probably waste in other cultures here in developed countries, we are notorious for wasting food.
- Head for the Outdoors: Not only are you closer to nature, but you can also 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, so they along with vendors, etc. don’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.
- Try to combine events, like the Nikah and reception or valima and reception. This reduces transportation for guests and the carbon footprint of the wedding.
- Use organic and all-natural beauty and hair products. Remember cosmetics are not checked or verified by the FDA, so many contain toxic chemicals that over a lifetime can damage your skin and the environment. Use Oud, (Ithar) which is a 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 (eg silver), 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 does not to do the bling.
- Borrow, reuse, rent, or recycle: You don’t have to buy everything new. You can borrow, reuse, and anything that must be disposed of or recycled. Examples are silk flowers, linen. Suits and wedding dresses can be rented or bought used, this is not only good for the environment but also the pocket.
- Buy dresses and suits that you can wear on multiple occasions. When you’re done with them donate them. If possible buy an eco-couture wedding gown that is made from sustainable fabrics or a vintage pass-me down gown that can be altered.
- Share photos digitally, and only print the really good ones.
- Give seeds, plant trees, as a way to give back to the earth what man is eroding away as part of the wedding.
- Cater to in-season organic fruits and vegetables and use a company that uses mainly local ingredients. Yes, we Muslims love our meat, but the less meat the better. eg If you have two meat dishes that are more than enough, you don’t need it in your appetizers, then the main course then, you get the picture.
- Share leftover food 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 use recycled or treeless options.
- Use in-season, local, and organic flowers or have friends with nice gardens donate them or better yet grow them. 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, so you only get gifts you really want or need.
There are probably many hundreds of more ideas to make your Muslim wedding green. Put away the bridal magazines and take your inspiration from divine nature and the ideas will multiply. Have a green wedding and give people and the planet back from the blessings God has given us.