The Hajj is the largest annual pilgrimage for Muslims, and going on Hajj to Makkah in Saudi Arabia at least once in your life is an important part of being a devout Muslim. Yet as the world gets richer, increasing numbers of people are going to Makkah almost every year, and the desert ecosystem is under pressure. This important pilgrimage is also a strong opportunity for people from all over the Islamic world to learn how important the environmental message is to Islam, and to remember their own responsibility and choices.
A meeting on greening the Hajj is planned for Malaysia next February. Meanwhile, The Green Guide for Hajj, written by Dr Husna Ahmad, has now been translated into Arabic, Hausa and Bahasa Indonesia. Indonesia sends more pilgrims to the Hajj than any other Muslim country. This year 168,000 Indonesian pilgrims went to Makkah. (This year quotas have been reduced because of the work going on at the site)
Working with Universitas Nasional in Indonesia, our colleague, Fachruddin Mangunjaya, has produced a touring road show with an exhibition on Greening the Hajj explaining the steps pilgrims can take towards greening their pilgrimage, from minimizing the use of plastics to planting trees. The first road show started in North Sumatra in early September and was shown to pilgrims and Hajj and Umrah travel agents during the Hajj season departure. In Jakarta, it was shown to over 5,000 Hajj participants before they left for Makkah. In October it moved to Majelis Zikr Azzikra in Bogor where 10,000 people saw the exhibition in a 24-hour period.
Fachruddin has created a Green Hajj Facebook page and photostream for pilgrims from Malaysia and Indonesia.