Saarah Yasmin Latif serves on the Interfaith Coordinator Team of NIA Masjid & Community Center in Newark, NJ.
As a Muslim, she believes that we are placed on earth to take care of each other and the environment. In the Holy Qur’an, God states, “Recall when your Creator and Sustainer said to the Angels: I shall indeed place on earth a trustee” (Qur’an, 2:30). She takes much inspiration from her faith and believes that nature should be used to better know, serve, and worship God.
Saarah is passionate about interfaith dialogue and environmental education, and she expresses these commitments by organizing workshops for her local community focused on ways to limit single use plastic, and to support composting and gardening. She is a part of the GreenFaith Fellowship Program, an interfaith coalition of global members working towards bettering the environment, and she recently completed a five-month internship at Sprout by Design, an organization in New York City focused on urban farming education and design. She has a Master’s degree in Sustainability and Leadership from Montclair State University.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by Muslims from around the world. It’s a month consisting of fasting, prayer, personal reflections and community. However, more Muslims are using this blessed time to reflect on their relationship with the environment as well. In the Qur’an, God tells us that He has placed humanity as successors on Earth with the role of protecting, caring and respecting all of His creations.
In this article, Saarah talks about how this past Ramadan was not only unique due to Covid-19, but also in the way in which some members of the community reconnected with the environment. This is an opportune moment in time to make great strides in reconnecting with His creations and implementing those good habits throughout the rest of the year. In this article, there are several ways in which Muslims are implementing a Green Ramadan. Despite our various faith traditions, we should take a look at our personal connection with nature and ask ourselves the question of: What steps are we taking as individuals and as a community to better the Earth?
In this 15 minute interview, Ben Yosua-Davis (host of the Reports from the Spiritual Frontier podcast) talks with Saarah about her commitments to Islam, environmentalism, and interfaith relationships.