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During Ramadan, a time for charity, prayer, reflection — and being green

Ramadan comes to a close Friday, after a full month of fasting for Muslims around the world every day, from dawn until sunset.

Here in Washington, D.C., that meant more than 16 hours of no food and no drink — no, not even water.

But the month is also meant to be a time of extra charity, prayer, reflection and community. For many young Muslim Americans living away from family, it’s a time to seek out their own communities, especially when breaking the fast, or iftar, every evening.

One of those communities is Green Muslims, a spiritually-inspired environmental group based in D.C. One of their annual events during Ramadan is a “leftar” — a community iftar potluck, where attendees are encouraged to bring a leftover dish to share, plus their own plates, utensils and water bottles to minimize trash and waste.

“I hadn’t been previously aware of how much food is wasted in Ramadan,” said Omar Bagnied, one of the organizers of the leftar. “Especially in the Muslim community — how much Styrofoam is used, how much plastic water bottles are used?”

“To see 60 or so people come out and choose to be more green during this month is beautiful,” said Asma Mahdi, another organizer. “It’s absolutely humbling to know that there are people that care about the environment on a very personal and spiritual level.”

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