Book Review: Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting the Planet, By Abdul Matin
Islam, in popular notion in America, is associated with suicide bombers and similar acts. But there is more to Islam than suicide bombers and painting the USA as the Great Satan, as brought out by Ibrahim Abdul-Matin in his book Green Deen: What Islam Teaches about Protecting the Planet.
Abdul-Matin is an Afro-American whose parents converted to Islam. Thus, Abdul grew up as a Muslim. He has now written a book to highlight that Islam is concerned about protecting the planet.
Abdul has written this book with an idea to change the perception of American thinking toward Islam. In the book, Abdul offers his interpretation of the Koran and Islam and highlights that Islam was always concerned about protecting the planet.
Abdul Matin also writes on many contentious subjects and links the monotheism (Tawhid or oneness) of Islam as an essential ingredient toward saving the planet. This interpretation of Abdu’sl is seriously flawed because Islam is a monotheist religion, but in no way it has a prerogative on saving the planet. In fact, Matin does not comment on the fact that the Koran mentions Jihad or holy war 44 times and hardly mentions anything about protecting the planet.
Abdul-Matin’s book has four parts. They are: Waste, Watts, Water, and Food. These chapters are self explanatory and “watts” refer to energy. In the four sections of the book, Matin links up with verses from the Koran, but one can see that it is a labored citation and Abdul tries his best to link the verses, when in reality they were meant for something else.
Abdul, however, does offer sane advice that needs to be understood. He points out the bad effect of waste and the misuse of the energy in the world. He also talks of conservation of water resources and food and how to avoid waste and feed the people.
Abdul talks of “Deen,” which in effect means a path or philosophy. But his contention that Islam with its monotheist outlook integrates with saving the planet may not be accepted by many readers.
Matin writes with fervor and belief and shows that he has good command of English language. Throughout the book the author profiles several American Muslims, who are committed to the environment. This gives an excellent insight into what many Muslims are doing to save the planet.
Abdul-Matin wrote this book from the perspective of changing the Americans’ perception about Islam. He writes with the zeal of a convert and does manage to convey his message. But overall, the book would have been better off without the references to the Koran verses, which look contrived.