TORONTO - Muslims across North America commemorated the Earth Day with a major campaign that saw imams deliver religious sermons to raise awareness on the environmental challenges facing humanity.
"The Think Green Khutbah Campaign' has been launched to challenge Muslims to become stewards of the Earth and its environment by making changes to their daily routines, Muaz Nasir, the publisher of the Canadian environmental website, Khaleafa.com and one of the organizers of the campaign, told OnIslam.net.
"We are encouraging mosques, schools, universities and Islamic Institutions in North America to devote their Friday Khutbah to celebrate the blessings, graces and beauty of all of Allah's creation and to raise awareness on the environmental challenges facing humanity, Nasir added.
An extensive online resource has been created by Khaleafa.com (www.Khaleafa.com/greenkhutbah) to support the campaign and Islamic organizations and well-known leaders are throwing their support behind the initiative.
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) has also urged imams to join the Think Green Khutbah Campaign' and asked Muslims across the continent to make small changes in their lives.
We do not have to take drastic action, every little bit helps, ISNA states in a press release.
"Let's take this day to reflect on new ways we can "go green" this year to help reduce waste and protect our planet."
Professor Tariq Ramadan, currently on a US lecture tour, told OnIslam.net that he endorses the campaign and commended the organizers for coordinating Muslims across the continent to speak out on the environmental crisis facing humanity.
In support of the campaign, the popular women's publication, Azizah Magazine, is asking North American Muslims to take the How Green are you survey on its website. (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Azizah_Green).
"Azizah is taking this opportunity to raise awareness about our responsibility to the Earth and its environment, states Azizah Magazine.
"This survey will show how diligent we are about that responsibility.
Marked on April 22, Earth Day aims to increase awareness and appreciation of the Earth's natural environment.
The Day is coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year.
As part of the campaign, Muslims will be asked to consider their current lifestyles and to make changes.
This year's Think Green Khutbah Campaign' challenge is to request all Muslims to live according to the 3 S plan: live a simple life, live a sustainable life and live as stewards of the environment, said Muaz Nasir, Publisher of Khaleafa.com.
Imams across the continent, from Los Angeles to Boston, New York, Washington DC, to Toronto and Ottawa will be delivering a message that will remind their congregations of the Qur'anic message to be stewards of the earth and its environment.
"The Qur'an describes the believing men and women as those who walk on the Earth in humility', stated ISNA in its press release.
The Earth and all its bounties are a gift from God and many scholars have interpreted this verse to mean that respect for and preservation of the earth is not only the obligation of Muslims but is also a way for us to show humility and respect towards God for His many blessings, ISNA added.
Meanwhile, many groups across North America will mark Earth Day by taking part in recycling projects, clean-up days, and tree planting initiatives.
One such group is CivicMuslims (http://www.civicmuslims.ca/event/tree-planting/) in the Toronto suburb of Mississauga which will be joining the city in its tree planting effort on Saturday, April 21.