Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dangers of Wireless Gadgets, Cell phone Towers, and Finding Alternatives


Tip of the Day
"The greater the mankind rushes towards making his life comfortable/simpler, the more problems/difficulties he is likely to invite in future."

Only switch your WLAN (WiFi) on when you need it. With laptops, in particular, it is a good idea to switch the WLAN (WiFi) off as otherwise the device will repeatedly try to connect to a network, leading to unnecessary radiation…and caution should be exercised primarily when using devices held close to the body, such as laptops, PDAs and Internet telephones"

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Achieving acceptable EMF radiation levels

Alhamdulillah in the small office where I work, I have arranged the office to minimise computer radiation for all of family:
  • Desktop CPU is on the floor next to the user's desk, as far away from the user as possible.
  • The Wired Modem is far away from everyone - at max cable stretch.
  • There is no cordless/wireless equipment (keyboard, mouse, printer, desktop  etc.) in our office. 
  • The nearest wired printer is about 75 cm (30") away from me. The computers and printers are all networked together into our (wired) office network .
  • Our internet connection is by DSL with a wired modem 
  • Wireless router, permanently switched off.
  • Use Wired Phone mostly, with little need for Cell-phone.
  • Cell phones are kept @ considerable distance, away from Child (near Stairs).
  • At night, the least used phone is kept in Aeroplane mode. The same phone in Aeroplane mode works well with Child, if she demands it.
  • No Smartphones @ home. Good for us. 
  • We use anti-glare glasses to prevent Eye Strain. See details - Anti-Glare Benefits
15 ways you can reduce cell phone radiation (#15 added March 2011)
The following list is sorted from lowest cost/easiest solution to the highest cost /hardest solution.
You should try to achieve at least a 10X reduction in cell phone Radio Frequency Radiation.
The solutions multiply, so a 2X and 5X would be reduce RF by 10X

  • Use a speaker phone. The use of a speakerphone keeps the cell phone a long way from your brain and body  
  • Alternate which ear you listen to the cell phone with.  
  • Reduce the total amount of time using the cell phone. Use wired or cordless phone for long conversations. 2X – 20XNote: Cordless phones made since about 2001 put out much less radiation
    Note: Can use call forward on virtually all cell phones:*72NumberToCall to start forwarding, *73 to stop forwarding
  • Minimize use of your cell phone where you have weak signals: possible areas include: rural, in house, in car,….
    Cell Phone power level/radiation level can be 100X stronger when you have weak signals (one bar or no bar) – the cell phone has to shout!.  
  • Change network/provider if you can determine that the new provider has a much stronger cell signal in your house -so that the cell phone will no longer have to shout.  
  • Use a headset. 5X – 20X cost $10 to $50
    Some headsets claim noise rejection. They cost $30 – $100
    you may want to use a clamp-on RF choke/ferrite bead clamped around the wire
    such as at 
  • Buy a cell phone with a very low SAR rating 2X – 10X 

RECOMMENDATION #1: Stop your cell phone from chatting when you aren't.
#2: Keep your cell away from your ear and your pocket!
#3: Disable Wireless Internet, using Ethernet cables instead.
#4: Unplug digital cordless phones and use corded instead.
#5: Be aware of external sources of radiation and keep a setback distance of at least 400 meters from a mobile phone Towers.
#6: Choose LCD TV’s over Plasma TV's

Practical Steps to Reduce Your Exposure

Microwave RadiationWarningRecommended Alternatives
Home Phonesdect cordless phone cordless phones
Cordless Phones.

The potential dangers of the ubiquitous cordless phones have been raised in the European Parliament, the German Federal Radiation Protection Agency, Salzburg, Austria, and recently in Israel as well. See studies by Leonnart Hardell which indicate that cordless phones may be harmful.
  • Digital Cordless Phones such as DECT(left):DECT phones provide continual 24/7 wireless radiation from the station itself, the moment they are plugged in.
  • Old-fashioned analog cordless phones (right) are better in that they radiate only during the call.
  • Low-EMF Cordless Phones offered by Germany, and Switzerland ("No radiation when not in use"), and the UK, may also be safer than standard DECT phones.
wired speaker phone wired phone
Wired phones.

Traditional wired phones are scarcely found these days, but are still available at online stores like amazon.com andebay.com.
  • Speaker phone can provide some hands-free ability. Note, however, that some wired phones still have some power line magnetic fields, so a little distance should still be observed. An airtube headset can be used if there is a headset jack.
  • A skype account (with a phone number) and external microphone is another alternative, provided that the internet connectivity is also wired.
Internet Connectionwi-fi
Warnings about potential health dangers from Wi-Fi have been raised in the European Parliament, European Council, German Federal government, and the public health department of Salzburg, Austria.

Wi-Fi Routers.
Wi-Fi routers provide 24/7 continual wireless radiation, even when no computer is on the network. If wired alternatives are not possible, keep the router at a considerable distance, e.g., 5-10 meters (see Distance Matters), and turn it off when not in use. One possibility is to use a timer switch that automatically turns it off at night. Another possibility is to find a router that allows for scheduling capability, as well as reduced power level, which can provide a significant reduction of radiation.

Wi-Fi Enabled Laptops.
Most laptops today come with built-in Wi-Fi. Depending on your luck, some models are on 24/7 even when you don't use it (e.g., some eeepc's); others are on when you use it, or once per minute when you're not using it (HP laptop). Note that even if you're connected by an Ethernet cable, your computer may still be transmitting Wi-Fi. It needs to be disabled. When no other internet options are available, distance can be achieved with a USB Wi-Fi adapter on a long 10' USB extension cord, while disabling the built-in Wi-Fi on your laptop, since it is much closer to you.
wired router
Wired cable/DSL router. A wired alternative can be used in place of a wireless router, with Ethernet cables to connect to your computers. See a sample network setup here.

Be aware, however, that intermediate radio-frequencies and electric fields can be injected from a wired router or switch onto Ethernet cables. Check with a sensitive AM radio and a non-contact volt sensor. If there are pulsing intermediate frequencies or especially strong radio-frequencies from a particular wired router or switch, try one with fewer ports or a different vendor. Body voltage, if detected, can be reduced via a grounding cord connected to the metal ethernet jack. The intermediate frequencies can be reduced with distance from the device and ethernet cables.

Router vs. Switch: Note that a router should be used rather than a switch to connect to the cable or DSL modem, if more than one computer needs to use the internet. If more ports are needed, a switch can then be used to extend the connection to further computers. 
Cell phonesblackberry android iphone
Warnings about cell phones have been raised in France, Finland, Israel, Russia, India, and the European Parliament. Read the government health advisories.
  • Some Smart Phones are set up to operate 24/7.Make sure to tune your smart phone settings so that it does not transmit continually. For example, check the Wi-Fi, airplane mode settings on the iPhone or set the autosync interval to on demand on the Android. See Safer Cell Phones.
  • Beware of differences in signal modulations. For example, some scientists suggest UMTS could be more damaging than GSM and that pulsed radiation may be more dangerous than non-pulsed radiation.
  • SAR can be deceptive.. Buying a low-SAR phonecan be deceptive, because of time and spatial averaging. Furthermore, measurements are not readily comparable because they can be performed at different distances from the body.
  • Avoid Bluetooth since it's used directly at the ear.
cell phoneairplane mode
  • Stop your cell phone from chatting when you aren't: Set the Auto-sync mode to be on-demand as described in the 10 Precautions flyer.
  • Keep a distance from the head and body with an air tube headset, speaker mode, or texting.
  • Use Sparingly, even after observing distance. SeeSafer Cell Phones for reasons why.
  • Turn off your phone whenever possible, but especially in these situations:
    • When the wireless signal is low, high power is used to compensate.
    • When sleeping, use "airplane" or "flight" mode, and keep it away from your body.
    • On trains, phones may transmit frequently to handle region changes
    • In cars, trains, elevators, and other closed spaces with metal walls, the reflection off the walls can magnify signals.
  • Forward your number to a landline when possible, e.g., *72+phone number for Verizon.
Wi-Fi Enabled Deviceswi-fi enabled printer
Printer, projector, etc. with Wi-Fi Capability
Many of these radiate continually 24/7 as soon as they are plugged in.
wireless keyboard wireless mouse
Wireless keyboards and wireless mice.

iPod Touch, iPAD, Mobile WiFi, etc.: Look for software options to disable Wi-Fi. There may be occasional bursts of radiation even in standby mode, i.e., when the device is not used, as long as Wi-Fi is enabled.
wireless module
Get a Wired printer or physically remove the Wi-Fi modulefrom the Wi-Fi printer or projector. In the above photo, the Wi-Fi module was removed from the printer with the help of a Philips screwdriver. (The software option to turn off the 24/7 radiation may not always exist.)
wired mouse wired keybaord
Use a wired keyboard and mouse instead of a wireless one. A ball-corded mouse is one possibility. Note, however, that these wired devices still contain some intermediate radio-frequencies, and that USB cables may carry some digital harmonics also from the computer and its power supply.
Cell Tower/mobile phone mast

External wireless radiation
cell tower  antenna  disguised cell tower
The radiation of a cell tower is continual (24/7) and living within a 300 to 400 meter radius could be dangerous. Perform due diligence before purchasing a home or apartment, to ensure that mobile phone mast levels are low. Check with antennasearch.com and your town's zoning board to ensure that no new masts are planned in the area. Note that poor signal reception on your mobile phone may be misleading, because it may be low for one provider but high for another. Relying upon visual inspection is also difficult, since some cell towers are concealed (see the pine tree disguise at right). The best way to check is with a meter.

Neighbors next door may also contribute to your external wireless radiation, e.g., if they have a Wi-Fi router or DECT cordless station on the other side of the wall. Again, you need a meter to be sure.
microwave shielding silver curtain
In some cases, a metallic cloth can be attached to the outside of a curtain (front or back) for a significant reduction in microwave radiation.
  • Certain Metallic cloth
  • Certain Metallized Plastics
  • Certain Metallized Films
  • Low-E Windows with Metallized Coatings
See Protection for more details.

Warning: Conductive materials, while blocking microwave frequencies, may potentially spread electrical field exposure. Thus, it is best to turn off circuit breakers and unplug wires affecting the area to be shielded.
Wireless Smart Meterwireless smart meter
Many next-generation electrical meters are using wireless frequencies to transmit electrical usage information, in contrast to older analog meters, which require meter readers to check the electricity level. Unfortunately, many of these wireless meters are reportedly transmitting frequently (sometimes every few seconds) at levels up to 10 or 100 times higher than a cell phone. They have reportedly resulted in health, security, and privacy issues, as well as fire risk and rate hikes.
analog meter
The analog meter(which looks almost the same, except that it has dials instead of digits) is preferrable. Some areas in California have a delay list for smart meters, and opt-out options are being considered. Advocates say that a wireless smart meter with a radio-off option will not solve the "dirty electricity" resulting from the switching-mode power supply. For more information, see Smart Meters.
Microwave Ovenmicrowave oven
The microwaves that leak out of the microwave oven are very strong, and power line magnetic fields are also high, although the microwave radiation is only for the short duration when you are actually using it. Stand back at least 10 meters if possible. Microwaves can also alter the chemical composition of your food.Some of the newer microwaves may have energy-saving features that add to the EMF.
portable oven
Use a portable oven instead to heat your food. It may take 3 times as long, e.g., 9 minutes instead of 3 minutes.
E-book Readersamazon kindle
The Amazon KindleTM uses wireless communications by default. The wireless transmissions can be disabled, however, and the USB cable which is built into the 2-piece power cable can be used as an alternative method of transfer. Distance is still advised, even with the wireless functions disabled, since the graphite Kindle eInk readers still contain intermediate frequencies, in standby mode, as well as during page turns. These frequencies can be detected with a Radio Shack $15 radio in AM mode at the lower frequency setting.

The iPad uses LCD and so it may have digital harmonic frequencies. The iPad may also use Wi-Fi and/or 3G, which should be disabled on the iPad, when not in use. 
sony ebook
Although eInk technology is generally expected to use less power and fewer digital harmonics frequencies than LCD, additional electronics may be added on top of eInk technology, which add to these frequencies.

The Sony pocket reader (shown above), which uses a wired USB cable, may be a safer choice, from an EMF point of view.
Wireless Baby Monitorwireless baby monitor
Digital wireless baby monitors (in particular, DECT baby monitors) have been observed to cause more problemsfor babies than the analog wireless baby monitors.
An analog monitor may be a better alternative, or else a wired system can be used, e.g., using a web camera. However, keep it a distance away and make sure not to run the wires near the crib, as the electrical field can be problematic as well.

Now below is particularly for Asian countries like India, Pakistan, particularly Metro cities like Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, having cellphone towers on Top of houses and Shops.
Does radiation from cellphone towers cause cancer?

Yes, said the Kasliwals, two of who have been diagnosed with brain cancer after three towers were installed next to their upscale C-scheme neighbourhood in Jaipur. Since then, illnesses, both minor and major, have become a part of related stories

They brought mobile towers down their lives and the lives of the 50 other families in their neighbourhood.
“Last year, both my younger brother Pramod and I were diagnosed with brain cancer. Pramod is critical,” said Sanjay Kasliwal, who belongs to a family of prominent jewellers in Jaipur. The Kasliwals have no family history of cancer.
Experts agreed. “Being exposed to a mobile tower located within 50m of your home or workplace is like being in a microwave oven for 24 hours,” said Prof. Girish Kumar, department of electrical engineering, IIT Bombay, who submitted a report on cell tower radiation to the department of telecommunications in December 2010.

“Following that, in January 2011, a report by an inter-ministerial committee made recommendations to reduce the exposure to 450 mw/sq m. It has not been implemented yet,” said Kumar.

Cancer happens in extreme cases, with almost everyone living close to mobile towers reporting disorders such as sleep disturbances, headaches, fatigue, joint pains, among others.


“Even with cellphone use, benign swelling in the brain and head, hearing disorders, headaches and anxiety neurosis are well established,” said Dr Sameer Kaul, cancer surgeon, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi.
The impact is higher in children, who have smaller and thinner skulls.

Although radiation exposed by a person during a mobile phone call is 10 times higher than the exposure from a cell tower, mere standing in a wi-fi enabled area is equal to talking on your mobile for 20 minutes.

If cell phone service providers set up their towers on the terrace of a nearby building the high level of radiation transmitted by the towers is a potential health hazard. A single tower can emit several different patterns of relatively intense signals to homes, schools and businesses within hundreds of feet from the tower. A French study conducted among people living within 300 metres of cell phone towers shows an increased incidence of tiredness within 300 metres; of headache, sleep disturbance, and discomfort within 200 metres; and of irritability, depression, loss of memory, dizziness, and libido decrease among others within 100 metres.

Pregnant women and children are in greater danger from cell phone towers than the normal population. Developing organs of fetus or child are most sensitive to any possible effects of EMR exposure. The thinner skulls of kids and rapid growth rates make children more susceptible to the tower's waves [22]. A recent study on pregnant women with heavy cell phone use found behavior problems in their children. According to Dr. Om Gandhi, an eminent scientist in the area of bioelectromagnetics, cell phone radiation makes children more susceptible to DNA breakage, genetic damage, and incidence of cancer. It reduces their life span. It is very unfortunate to see huge cell towers thronging the rooftops in and around schools or educational institutions and this has become more or less a common sight in cities across India and elsewhere. This is largely because the managements at schools or educational institutions see a definite upside of income from cell towers and lease their property to cell tower companies ignoring the health risks that these towers pose on their students who in turn are prone to prolonged exposure to electromagnetic radiation. The parents associations should be very watchful and play more active role in reigning on the school boards and prevent siting of cell phone towers within or around the schools premises.


More links

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Materialism, Excessive Consumption vs Conservation of natural resources

Respected Brothers / Sisters! 
Peace be upon you
An excellent topic, must be taken for Friday Sermon, and pasted on Masjid walls, and floating of flyers.

Climate change is a far greater threat to the world than international terrorism - (Sir David King)

"In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations."- From The Great Law of The Iroquois Confederacy

"For the Muslim, humankind's role on earth is that of a Khalifah - vicegerent or trustee of Allah. We are Allah's stewards and agents on Earth. We are not masters of this Earth; it does not belong to us to do what we wish. It belongs to Allah and He has entrusted us with its safekeeping." His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Omar Naseef

As the world moves into the umpteenth generation of technological progress, and globalization converts the entire planet into one big market, the gap between those who possess wealth and riches, and those who suffer illness and death due to lack of basic needs widens. Today, the richest 20 percent account for three quarters of the income in the world; the poorest 40 percent make do with only 5 percent. At least 80 percent of people live on less than $10 a day. And 22,000 children die every day due to poverty alone.
Poverty is not a state of life that is God-given. God has provided more than enough resources to his creations to enable them live comfortably. And most of His creations do use the resources they need in just the amount necessary. It is only human beings who consume in excess, over and above their requirements. They not only use far more than what is their due share, they also waste much of it – leaving little or nothing at all for others, and thus usurping their rights. The poor are thus made poorer because the rich get richer. Resource distribution in the world becomes even more inequitable, and paradoxically, economic and financial institutions and policies that claim to work for poverty reduction actually manage to increase both the incidence and depth of poverty.
Institutional and public failure to reduce poverty owes its roots to degradation of moral and ethical values. And none more so than the tendency to accumulate wealth, spend and “show off” worldly and material goods to society. Unfortunately, despite the fact that Islam calls upon its followers to spend wisely and in moderation, Muslims are one of the most afflicted by the evil of excessive consumption. Even to satiate may be considered overly indulging oneself. God has warned against the accumulation of wealth in the Qur’ān. Real wealth is the good that human beings do towards others, and the love for God and the purity of spirit.
Yet, throughout the world in developing countries that house the world’s poorest populations, Muslim rulers, the so called elite, business groups and rich billionaires and millionaires live in ostentatious palaces, change new makes of cars every few months, collect jewels and ornaments, and spend a fortune on their wardrobes and perfumes. The lavish lifestyles of Muslims in South and East Asia and the Middle East would shame the most spendthrift of royalty in the west.
In an article published in London in 2012, it was reported that the weeks leading up to Ramadān saw millionaires and billionaires flock to London from across the Middle East. They came to relax, party and show off their wealth with a change of the most expensive of cars for each shopping destination, thousands of pounds of shopping at each shop, even buying and furnishing flats worth millions of pounds.
Compared with the average British shopper who spends £120 during a trip to the West End of London and an American £550, an average Arab spends £1,900. In the month before Ramadān, the amount spent by Middle Eastern visitors will be double that in other months!
This is not unique to the Middle East. The rich in Pakistan go to Dubai to shop for a wedding, spending amounts that would be enough to keep hundreds of families in comfort for their whole lives. Rulers are known to possess wealth and assets worth millions of dollars, even wearing personal ornaments that range in the millions. The greed for more feeds on itself, and the desire to show off is an evil that has taken over society almost completely. There is little attention to obtaining sound education, and spending time and effort on research, thought and reflection and invention. Both men and women are bent upon obtaining material wealth. The race never seems to end.   
The excessive consumption of the rich in the world has taken away from the poor what they need for basic survival, and has further robbed the earth of its valuable resources that God had provided so plentifully. Water that was so abundantly available has been extracted to levels where it is no longer possible to recharge dried up soils and the burden has fallen upon the poor who depend on agriculture and livestock. Scarce energy resources are exploited wastefully by those who care little for conservation. Forests are cut to benefit the timber mafia, and corporate farming is carried out at the cost of poor and small farmers. The feudal landlord system continues to prove to be a stranglehold on landless farmers who work as labourers, often bonded on the farms that they till, in exchange for a little food and terrible living conditions.
If Muslims could understand that they will be accountable in front of God for every piece of additional resource they consumed above their need or wasted, and for every additional personal expenditure that they incur, they are trespassing on someone else’s right, perhaps Muslim societies could be more fair and just, and perhaps God would be inclined to improve their lot.   
@the heart of Environment abuse is an economic system that's predicated on unlimited growth (through Automation/GMO/Harmones), while encouraging unimaginable waste (due to Cheap prices and High Incomes).Question to ask Will we meet our doom by exhausting our available resources or suffocating in our waste?"

There is a weekly opportunity, the Friday prayer, to address the public. In a field survey in AmmanJordan63.5% believed that the imam of a mosque should have an important role in environmental education and public awareness. The Fiqr for conservation of natural resources must be global and interactive and include all stakeholders, religious, political and informal community leaders . In member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council it was concluded that conservation of natural resources is a principal component of Islamic teaching, & media and the educational system must include this. There is a specific religious legal opinion, that environmental education is wajeb(obligatory )  that must be followed by all Muslims. 
Natural conservation efforts involve all people and behavioural changes are required. It involves effort and cost. It requires the full cooperation and integration of efforts of all . Therefore, scattered activities will not achieve tangible results.

The relationship between man and the environment should be as sincere and upright as practical and rightly poised. Any deviation from this sensible and middle-path philosophy will invariably result in pushing man to the extremes on either side, all of which, however, are resolutely rejected by Islam. Not only does this doctrine apply to man's relationship with the environment, but also to everything else related to each and every segment of his existence. This is so because Islam as a universal code of life, and with it the whole Islamic community (Ummah), is made justly balanced, "that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves." (al-Baqarah 2:143)

Man must respect the environment in that he is dependent on it. As God subjected it to his use, so did He make it an indispensable field of the vicegerency activities entrusted to man. To put it in a nutshell, man cannot but coexist with the environment, giving away and receiving in return proportionally to what he offered. From this partnership, man is bound to attain either peace, happiness and prosperity in this world, plus salvation in the Hereafter, or frustration, disgrace and chastisement in both worlds. For this reason will it be apt to depict this world as a plantation, or a farm (mazra'ah), which must be diligently taken care of, should its owner harbor any hope of an abounding harvest on the Day of Judgment. The Qur'an proclaims: "But seek, with the (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on thee, the Home of the Hereafter, nor forget thy portion in this world: but do thou good, as Allah has been good to thee, and seek not (occasions for) mischief in the land: for Allah loves not those who do mischief." (al-Qasas 28:77)

Man's rights over nature are rights of sustainable use based on moderation, balance and conservation. Nature's rights over man, on the other hand, are that it be safe from every misuse, mistreatment and destructionGreed, extravagance and waste are considered a tyranny against nature and a transgression of those rights. Ali b. Abi Talib, the forth Muslim caliph, once told a man who had developed and reclaimed abandoned land: "Partake of it gladly, so long as you are a benefactor, not a despoiler; a cultivator, not a destroyer."

The creation of nature and its perfect equilibrium preceded the creation of man. Nonetheless, no sooner had man come into existence than he became an integral part thereof. The guardianship of nature, besides, became placed in his care, constituting the essence of his vicegerency assignment. Inasmuch as he is endowed with the power of free will and the other outstanding capacities, such as intelligence and knowledge, man is capable of steering his own bark. Provided he uses his abilities and talent rightly, man furthermore puts himself in a position to attain, to some extent, mastery over the forces of nature and subdue them to his servicesIf the perfectly executed environmental equilibrium is sustained, man should be commended for that, for he lived up to the demands of his reputation as the vicegerent and custodian of the earth. But if the same becomes disturbed and damaged, it is man again who must be held responsible for the disorder, in that he committed a breach of the sacred trust put on him. The state of the earth is a testimony of man's either success or failure while on it.
In most cases, however, it is they who rebelled against God and His will that rebel against, and ill-treat, the environment and the flawless forces that govern it. They thus intend to satisfy their personal delirious greed and secure some societal short-term gains at the expense of the long-term vision and objectives of the whole of mankind. When consequently Allah's wrath descends on such men, and when the favorable position in which Allah has placed them, changes, there is no turning back. Only a substantial change in their conduct and attitude may give those men a reasonable hope of God's clemency, and a possible turnaround in their fortunes. The Holy Qur'an is pretty clear about this: "Mischief has appeared on land and sea because of (the meed) that the hand of men have earned, that (Allah) may give them a taste of some of their deeds: in order that they may turn back (from evil)." (al-Rum 30:41)
"If the people of the towns had but believed and feared Allah, We should indeed have opened out to them (all kinds of) blessings from heaven and earth; but they rejected (the truth), and We brought them to book for their misdeeds." (al-A'raf 7:96)

"Allah sets forth a parable: a city enjoying security and quite, abundantly supplied with sustenance from every place: yet was it ungrateful for the favors of Allah: so Allah made it taste of hunger and terror (in extremes) (closing in on it) like a garment (from every side), because of the (evil) which (its people) wrought." (al-Nahl 16:112)

"And remember! your Lord caused to be declared (publicly): "If ye are grateful, I will add more (favors) unto you; but if ye show ingratitude, truly My punishment is terrible indeed." (Ibrahim 14:7)

"...Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves." (al-Ra'd 13:11)

Isma'il Raji al-Faruqi, while discoursing on the theme of "the principle of the economic order", concluded that Islamic responsibility demands that no damage occurs to nature in the process of man's utilization of it. He said: "Islam teaches that nature's materials and forces are gifts granted by God to us. The gift, however, is not transfer of title. It is a permission to use for the given purpose. The owner is and always remains Allah (SWT). As the Mesopotamian used to say: 'He is the Lord of the manor, and man is merely the servant.' This attitude is perfectly Islamic as well. The gift then must be returned to the Creator at our death or retirement, improved and increased through our production. At the very least, it must be returned intact, as it was when received. The Qur'an has emphatically reiterated that to Allah (SWT) everything in creation returns."

From the Islamic perspective, man's treatment of the environment is closely related to his faith. The more is he attached to the normative teachings of Islam in carrying out his daily acts, the healthier is his relationship with the environment. Similarly, whenever a person distances himself from Islam and its beliefs and value system, his behavior degenerates. This deeply affects his surroundings - comprising all animate and inanimate beings - and his fellow human beings. So significant is man's relationship with the environment in Islam that in some instances the same is capable of taking precedence over the other deeds of a person, placing him then on the highest, or dragging him to the lowest, point of existence. For example, under certain circumstances certain noble environmental acts can obliterate a person's past misdeeds and ensure him Paradise, whereas some atrocious environmental acts of a person under certain circumstances can make his past good deeds gain naught, promising him nothing in return in the Hereafter but Hellfire. On the subject of animals, for example,
 the Prophet (pbuh) once said: "A woman was sent to the Fire because of a cat. She imprisoned her and neither fed her nor set her free to feed upon the rodents of the earth."

The Prophet (pbuh) also related the story of a woman from among the Children of Israel guilty of fornication, who found a dog near a well panting with thirst. She took of a shoe, tied it with her veil, and then managed to collect some water for the dog which it drunk. The dog quenched its thirst, and, as a result, God forgave the woman her sin.

Dr. Spahic Omer, a Bosnian currently residing in Malaysia, is an Associate Professor at the Kulliyyah of Architecture and Environmental Design, International Islamic University Malaysia. He studied in Bosnia, Egypt and Malaysia. His research interests cover Islamic history, culture and civilization, as well as the history and philosophy of the Islamic built environment. He can be reached at spahicoyahoo.com; his blog is at www.medinanet.org

Muslims have many scriptural imperatives that demand we work for the preservation and health of our environment. As we enter an era where the prospect of environmental catastrophe is perhaps greater than the prospect of disaster from any other source, it is especially important that we make environmental protection one of our most pressing priorities. 
In a talk I gave at the London School of Economics on Islam and the environment, I said that when one considers the dismal record of the Muslim nation-states in dealing with environmental issues, and the virtual lack of any significant grassroots environmental organizations in those countries, one may find it strange that a Muslim should speak about this topic.
This sentiment is only reinforced by the fact that the various Islamic movements, which have become the main opponents of the regimes governing those states, lack even the semblance of an environmental agenda. However, the informed Muslim can easily speak on Islam and the environment for a number of reasons. First of all, Islam is described in the Qur'an as the religion of nature. God declares: "Therefore, orient yourself, with all due sincerity and uprightness towards the natural religion; this is consistent with the nature He (God) has created in humankind. Never will there be any change in that nature, this is the straight way. However, most of humanity realizes it not." (30:30)
Having created us, and then through the institution of religion oriented us towards Him, our Creator then situated us in a delicate, intricate system where our success, and indeed the perpetuation of that system, rests in maintaining a balance between all things. He says in the Qur'an: 
"The Merciful. He has taught the Qur'an. He has created the human being. He has taught him elocution. The sun and moon flow along in their established orbits. The stars and trees recline themselves humbly in prostration. He has raised aloft the firmament of the sky and established the balance. Therefore, cheat not in maintaining the balance. Establish just measure and do not fall short in maintaining the balance." (54:1-9)
In this group of verses, God enumerates some of His Blessings to humanity. He starts by mentioning the Majestic Qur'an. As Muslims, we believe that the Qur'an contains the enduring message of God to humanity. Its guidance defines the worldview of the conscientious believer. God reminds us: "Remember the blessing of God upon you, and the Scripture and Wisdom that He has revealed unto you, by way of admonition. Be mindful of God, and be assured that He knows all things." (2:231)
He then mentions His creation of the human being. This creation is mentioned after His teaching the Qur'an. In other words, God has facilitated our success before our actual creation. From this we should understand that God desires that we succeed in this life. This is consistent with His saying: "God has made faith beloved to you, and adorned it in your hearts. And He has caused you to hate disbelief, corruption, and sin." (49:7) 
"We have raised aloft the firmament of the sky and established the balance...
 "Therefore, cheat not in maintaining the balance." 
 "If you give thanks [for My blessings], I shall increase you in them, and if you refuse [to thank Me], you should know that my punishment is quite severe." (7:167)

In the past, Muslims were among the leaders in utilizing earth, wind, sun, water and shade to develop ecologically friendly systems of air conditioning, refrigeration, heating, energy generation, farming and construction.
The protection of natural habitat, the well-being of forests and animals, and related responsibilities were often overseen by appointed officials. For example, Imam Taj al-Din al-Subki, in his instruction manual to the appointed officials advises "The person entrusted with stuccoing the walls must first ascertain that no animals are living in them. Otherwise, he might inadvertently cause the death of animals that he has no right to kill, small birds and the like. Were he to do so, he would betray God by killing those animals.......Among the rights owed to these beasts is that you are sincere in serving them. You must exercise the trust you have concerning them fully. They have no tongues with which to complain to you [concerning abuses], they can only complain to God."

This careful attitude towards the environment is countered contemporarily by one of avarice, greed and neglect facilitated by a global economic climate that allows gross corporate ecological irresponsibility. This shift has led to unimaginable abuse of the Earth's resources and people. At the heart of this abuse is an economic system that is predicated on unlimited growth, while encouraging unimaginable waste. Our planet's finite resource base and limited absorption capacity cannot long endure such a scheme. Unless we change, perhaps the only question left for us to answer will be, "Will we meet our doom by exhausting our available resources or suffocating in our waste?"

Muslims, especially here in the West, have an important part to play in addressing the growing ecological crisis. As we know, the overarching objectives of Islamic Law (Maqasid ash-Shari'ah) determine that religion has been instituted to preserve six things: religion itself, life, intellect, wealth, lineage and honor. If the environment that sustains our life and is the primary source of our wealth, is destroyed, then religion is effectively voided as there would be no life, lineage, or wealth left for it to safeguard. Even if we were to limp along, barely surviving in a toxic, ecologically ravaged wasteland, we would have lost our honor, with our wealth and lives likely to follow in short order.
How can we change? First of all, as Muslims, we must realize that our religious teachings provide us with a valuable source of meaningful ecological consciousness. Our rich history provides us with many brilliant models, which can serve as the basis for significant strategies in developing alternative energy sources, organizing holistic communities, as well as significant direction in other vital areas. 
Secondly, we should know that it isn't necessary for us to "reinvent the wheel." There are many non-Muslim groups that are active in addressing a large variety of environmental issues. We can both learn from their experiences and join with them to augment their strength. 
If we act now, we can help to avert many looming disasters, such as global warming and the associated climate changes, which are already beginning to wreak havoc on our world. If we fail to act, we are only hastening our collective doom.

Imam Zaid Shakir is amongst the most respected and influential Islamic scholars in the West. As an American Muslim who came of age during the civil rights struggles, he has brought both sensitivity about race and poverty issues and scholarly discipline to his faith-based work.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Lessons Learnt from Recent Hurricanes and Climate Change

Respected Brothers / Sisters! 

Peace be upon you
Hope this post finds you in happy times.  Please share/distribute the flyer and post with your friends.

He has created man; He has taught him intelligent speech. The sun and the moon follow courses exactly computed; and the plants and the trees, bow in adoration. The Firmament has He raised high, and He has set up the Balance, in order that you may not transgress due balance.” Holy Qur’an: (55: 3-8)

We all are living in a situation of chaos / confusion and different interpretations of Catastrophes occurring around us. And when it comes to look into our own lifestyles, we all find excuses.
Islam is about basics like :- More Giving, less Spending, Zero wastage. Islam says don't waste Food or Water. But what about the natural resources like Petrol / Coal / Electricity which we are consuming beyond needs unknowingly, and that is leading to Severe Climate Change around us, which ultimately would possibly come to haunt us in one form or the other. Look at the most modern city "New York" flooded and still waiting for restoration of Power and Transport?
Qur'an commands believers to maintain balance in society and environment, and to not indulge in breaking the balance. Qur'an also commands us to endure or be content with changes in situations / weatherQur'an also commands us to look to the inferiors, before aspiring something Big. Yet after knowing all of these
  • We break balance in society by hoarding wealth, depriving poor of their fair share.
  • We break balance in Environment by wasting Natural resources like Coal-powered Electricity, Cooking gas, Petrol etc
  • We are least endurant to weather changes and simply resorts to Air Conditioners or heaters, while Allah has given us alternatives like Sweaters for winters and Fans for Summers.
  • We are a Man in haste. The moment our business is settled, we look for Buying New Cars and Costly Big Homes on Loans, Not content with the alternatives provided to us. ( like Option of Public transport/Buying Old Cars/Renting apartment near Masjid etc)
If We remember, 10 years back we used to use manual means for everything, which kept us busy and healthy like
  • Going on Bicycles or On-foot, 
  • using manual Floor sweepers, 
  • Washing Clothes by hands, 
  • Using Sun to dry clothes etc.

"Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind"
What's the use of a fine house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?"- Henry David Thoreau
 "Civilization is a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities."- Mark Twain
"The amount of sunshine energy that hits the surface of the Earth every minute is greater than the total amount of energy that the world's human population consumes in a year!(Home Power Magazine)
"Man did not weave the web of life - he is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself." Chief Seattle (full text of his 1854 treaty oration)
"In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations."- From The Great Law of The Iroquois Confederacy
"In the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create, but by what we refuse to destroy." John C. Sawhill
Saving electricity doesn't just save money, it also saves the environment. This is news to a lot of people. After all, when you plug something into the wall, it seems clean enough -- you don't see or smell any pollution, like you do with your car. But the pollution is there -- it just happens at the power plant. Most electricity is generated by burning coal and other fossil fuels. Every time you turn on the lights, you create a little pollution.  In fact, the average home pollutes more than the average car! . So saving electricity doesn't just put money in your pocket, it helps keep the air and water clean, too.
The legendary James Hansen, one of the first scientists to sound the alarm about global warming way back in the 80's, recently said that the real key to preventing climate change is reducing home energy use. That's because, as he says, we can't stop the oil from being burned for transport, since if we don't use it, another country will. But we can certainly stop burning our own country's coal. And the quickest way to reduce coal emissions by 50%, is to reduce our electricity consumption by 50%. 
Electric power plants are a major source of greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide. The temperature increases caused by green house gas build up in the atmosphere have the potential of damaging life in the sea, increasing the strength and frequency of storms and coastal flooding
Smart driving habits reduces your car's emissions.
Driving less doesn't mean you have to stay home. Try combining driving with alternative modes of transportation:
1. Carpool.
2. Walk or ride a bicycle.
3. Shop by phone or mail.
4. Ride public transit.
5. Telecommute.
Driving smart keeps pollution at a minimum. *
6. Accelerate gradually. 7. Use cruise control on the highway. 8. Obey the speed limit. 9. Combine your errands into one trip. 10. Keep your car tuned and support the smog check program. 11. Don't top off at the gas pumps. 12. Replace your car's air filter. 13. Keep your tires properly inflated. 14. What about smoking vehicles? Contact the EPA's Office of Air Quality Planning & Standards.
* What you do when you are stuck in traffic and not "driving" can be very important as well. Consider turning your engine off if you will be idling for long periods of time. ....
15. When shopping for your next car, look for the most efficient, lowest polluting model--or even use either a non-polluting car or zero emission vehicle. 
16. Select products that are water-based or have low amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
17. Use water-based paints. Look for paints labeled "zero-VOC."
18. Paint with a brush, not a sprayer.
19. Store solvents in air-tight containers.
20. Use a push or electric lawn mower.
 21. Start your barbecue briquettes with an electric probe, or use a propane or natural gas barbecue.
Save Energy
Saving energy helps reduce air pollution. Whenever you burn fossil fuel, you pollute the air. Use less gasoline, natural gas, and electricity (power plants burn fossil fuels to generate electricity):
22. Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
23. Replace energy hungry incandescent lights with fluorescent lighting. 
24. Check with your utility company for energy conservation tips, like purchasing energy saving appliances.
25. Use a thermostat that automatically turns off the air conditioner or heater when you don't need them.
26. Add insulation to your home.
27. Use a fan instead of air conditioning.
 28. Use an EPA-approved wood burning stove or fireplace insert.
 29. Heat small meals in a microwave oven.
 30. Insulate your water heater.
 31. Install low flow showerheads.
32. Dry your clothes on a clothesline.
Waste Not
It takes energy to make and sell the products we use. Here are ways to cut energy use, reduce air pollution, and save money.
33. Choose recycled products. 
34. Choose products with recyclable packaging.
35. Reuse paper bags. 
36. Recycle paper, plastics, and metals.
37. Print and photocopy on both sides of the paper.
Watch Out For The Small Stuff
When you breathe, very small particles -- such as dust, soot, and acid droplets -- can slip past your lung's natural defense system. These particles get stuck deep in your lungs and may cause problems -- more asthma attacks, bronchitis and other lung diseases, decreased resistance to infections, and even premature death for the elderly or sick. Here are a few things you can do to reduce particulate matter pollution and protect yourself:
38. Don't use your wood stove or fireplace on days with unhealthy air.
39. Avoid using leaf blowers and other types of equipment that raise a lot of dust. Use a rake or broom instead.
40. Drive slowly on unpaved roads.
 41. Drive less, particularly on days with unhealthy air.
42. Avoid vigorous physical activity on days with unhealthy air.
Know The Inside Story
Air pollution is a problem indoors and out. Most people spend at least 80 percent of their lives indoors. Here are some ways you can reduce pollution in your home, office or school:
43. Don't smoke. Send smokers outside.
44. Products such as cleaning agents, paints, and glues often contain harmful chemicals. Use them outdoors or with plenty of ventilation indoors.
45. Use safer products, such as baking soda instead of harsher chemical cleaners.
46. Don't heat your home with a gas cooking stove.
47. Have your gas appliances and heater regularly inspected and maintained.
48. Clean frequently to remove dust and molds.
Visit the EPA's Indoor Air Quality Home Page for more information.
Speak Up For Clean Air
Do what you can to reduce air pollution. It will make a difference. Use your civic influence to improve regional and national air pollution standards:
49. Write to your local newspaper. Support action for healthy air. 50. Let your elected representative know you support action for clean air.