Sept. 6, 2022

EP 59: The Power of Faith in Environmentalism (PT1)

EP 59: The Power of Faith in Environmentalism (PT1)

In this first episode of a two part series, we will hear from Afnan Khairullah and Sofia Gilani, who are volunteers with Green Muslims. Green Muslims is an organization that works to connect Muslims everywhere to nature and environmental activism. Their mission is to serve as a source in the Muslim community for spiritually-inspired environmental education, action, and reflection. 

Afnan and Sofia share with us about the role nature played in their life and how they are using their religion, Islam, to educate and connect fellow Muslims to nature. They both see their religion closely connected to environmentalism. 

According to Afnan and Sofia, all creatures are important, and our responsibility is to treat everything that the Creator has given us with kindness, compassion and respect. It is important to be humble and respectful of others. 



Episode Highlights

  • Environmentalism in Islam is an obligation. 
  • Our interpretation of the scriptures and God’s will, may take us down the rabbit hole. Instead of using the resources to live better, we are overusing them. 
  • We are tested by what God gives us. Do we use this great wealth He gives us to improve other people’s lives, or do we live lavishly? 
  • We’re advocating for this planet, for the entire creation. Any good work we do here in Virginia, can benefit outside these made-up borders. 
  • Being able to connect Islam and education does a whole lot. Starting on kids young and get them in that thought process, but also adults who may not have been thinking about that.
  • It is important to maintain the balance in our environment by preserving, protecting and not altering our habitats to our convenience.
  • We should all ask ourselves what our priorities are. Why are we here? Why are we chasing all this materialism and lifestyles?


Contact information and other Resources:

Afnan is a New Jersey native who moved to Northern Virginia in 2020 to start a career in federal government. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies and a MS in Sustainability Science with a concentration in sustainability leadership. Throughout her life she has been drawn to the outdoors and is happiest hiking, bouldering, or exploring Washington, DC. 

Time and again Afnan has found herself drawing parallels with faith and eco stewardship, so working with Green Muslims was a natural fit to address environmental stewardship in the Muslim community while also promoting environmental awareness. She hopes that more people will one day share the same affinity for the well-being of the Earth. 


Sofia Gilani (she/hers) is the Climate Action Advocate for Green Muslims. Born and raised in Northern Virginia, Sofia spent much of her youth outdoors with her family & later traveled to her parent’s home countries of Pakistan and Nicaragua. This travel experience shaped her view of an interconnected world that influenced her passion for environmental and social justice. She holds a BS in Environmental Science from George Mason University where she was involved with the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition and Mason Environmental Justice Alliance (MEJA). During her participation with these two organizations she was a collaborator for events to address activist burnout, conflict resolution discussions, prepare for marches, and organize clean-ups. Sofia has a strong passion for education and advocacy that she utilizes in her work with Green Muslims to help involve the Muslim community in environmental advocacy. Professionally, Sofia has worked in environmental compliance for solid waste, as well as construction. In her spare time outside of work and advocacy, Sofia enjoys kayaking, biking, boxing, and hanging out with her cat.

Here's a link to a video that created by Peter Toscano of the Citizens Climate Lobby for the “Religious Communities and the Planetary Crisis” hosted by the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network, the Hartford Seminary, and CT Interfaith Power and Light.

https://www.facebook.com/528075872/videos/10158758547730873/ 


Follow Afnan: 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/afn%C3%A1n-khairullah-78aab910a/

USGS: https://www.usgs.gov/staff-profiles/afnan-khairullah 


Follow Sofia

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thegreengilani/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thegreengilani


Green Muslims: https://www.greenmuslims.org/