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More Conscious, More Sustainable is Hard: Intention Matters

More Conscious, More Sustainable is Hard: Intention Matters

Assalamualaikum w rahmatullahi w barakatu dear sisters,

Buying ethical and sustainable in today’s fashion world seems hopeless! It’s so easy to feel absolutely overwhelmed as you try to understand the different steps in manufacturing, who’s paid what, how items are made and disposed of. It can feel impossible to figure out. I mean, what’s the difference between biodegradable and recyclable? Or an ethical wage and a living wage?

I get it. I’ve been there!

This is where the beauty of Allah (swt)’s mercy comes in. Our intention in this process matters.

It is a journey, and the only final destination is in the hereafter. If you think of being more conscious and more sustainable as a journey, rather than a destination or end point – it becomes much easier to process and take the first step.

There’s a lot of push on individual consumers when it comes to “doing better” but at the end of the day, until there is a major overhaul to the commercial industry in general and the fashion industry specifically, our efforts will have limited impact.

Does this mean we should stop?

No. Because intention matters. Allah (swt) is the only being in the world that, as grown adults, rewards us based on our intentions and not the outcome. So, by choosing no plastic bags or skipping the plastic straw we are making a positive difference even if the impact is immeasurable.

The Prophet Muhammad (s) said:

إِنَّ خَيْرَ الْعَمَلِ أَدْوَمُهُ وَإِنْ قَلَّ

“The best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few.”

When starting this journey, the small steps can encourage us to make greater change. We all have different capabilities, and it is important to recognize this, just because I have the capacity to make certain changes does not mean others do. But the following ideas are ways we can start moving towards a more conscious and sustainable existence to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our home (planet Earth).

  1. Switch out some of the plastic like reusable bags at grocery stores or refillable mugs at coffee shops.
  2. Go for bulk items at the grocery store instead of individually packaged when convenient.
  3. Take a little time to learn what you can recycle and what you can’t. The EPA has a good starting resource here
  4. Look into one or two of your favorite clothing brands and learn about their standards and efforts.
  5. Give a few dollars to an organization that makes this process easier for you whether they work directly with brands and businesses or work on legislation.

Pay attention to the italicized words, they are intentional. Start with what you can do, meet yourself where you are at.

It may feel like an impossible task or for some of us it sometimes feels like it’s too late. But it’s not. As Muslims, we are reminded to plant a seedling even as the Day of Judgement (literally the end of our time) begins.

The Prophet Muhammad (s) said:

إِنْ قَامَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَفِي يَدِ أَحَدِكُمْ فَسِيلَةٌ، فَإِنِ اسْتَطَاعَ أَنْ لاَ تَقُومَ حَتَّى يَغْرِسَهَا فَلْيَغْرِسْهَا‏

“If the Hour starts to happen and in the hand of one of you is a palm shoot or seedling; then if he’s able to plant it before the Hour happens, then let him plant it”.  [AlAdab AlMufrad].

The journey towards being more conscious and more sustainable starts with all of us. We hope you join the movement (and our mailing list!).


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