For the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community, preserving and enhancing the environment are core values of their faith. Islam emphasises conservation and protecting the natural environment and the creatures that dwell within it. The earth and its resources, as the Holy Quran teaches, are bounties from the Almighty, and safeguarding them for future generations is considered a responsibility that falls upon every individual. The Prophet Mohammed states: ‘All of Creation is a family dependent upon Allah, the most beloved to Him, therefore, is the one who benefits His family the most.’
The wastage of resources, pollution of water bodies and unnecessary felling of trees are prohibited in Islamic tenets. Even drinking water, the Prophet taught, should be consumed slowly, consciously, and with gratitude—guiding one to value, and therefore conserve, natural resources.
Inspired by this Islamic philosophy, the Dawoodi Bohras advocate for environmental responsibility and action. The community’s environmental awareness arm, Burhani Foundation (India), has initiated programs that work towards a greener, cleaner earth since it was founded by the late His Holiness Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin in 1992, at a time when the conversations about the environment had yet to gain the momentum they have today. The foundation seeks to catalyze the environmental efforts of the Dawoodi Bohra community and make a lasting impact in five key streams: water conservation, renewable energy, green cover, zero waste and sustainability, cleanups. Among other milestones, the foundation distributed a record breaking 52,000 sparrow feeders on the occasion of the late His Holiness’ 100th birthday in 2011.
Project Rise, the umbrella organization for the Dawoodi Bohras’ philanthropic initiatives, also includes a wide spectrum of activities focused on environmental responsibility and nature conservation in addition to its contributions in healthcare, food and water security and nutrition, and sanitation.
Under Project Rise, the Bohra community strives to address pressing issues such as providing water and food relief to those facing environmental crises induced by climate change, initiating water conservation projects such as rainwater harvesting and sustainable farming, along with planting thousands of trees across the world.
Project Rise volunteers around the world undertake regular cleanup drives, such as tidying and removing trash from streets, beaches, local parks and water bodies. With the world’s oceans increasingly polluted by plastic waste, the Bohra community recognised the immediate need for individuals and collectives across the globe to join forces in the fight against plastic pollution. Partnering with UN Champion of the Earth, Advocate Afroz Shah, Project Rise implemented a water body cleanup movement called Turning the Tide Against Plastic Pollution.
Furthermore, Dawoodi Bohras are making an effort to adopt sustainable lifestyles, contribute to creating a circular economy and raise awareness to help combat global hunger and poverty in conjunction with UN Sustainable Development Goals. In addition to eliminating food wastage, the community endeavours to minimise plastic waste, initiating zero-waste practices at community events worldwide, setting a world record for the largest zero-waste religious event in Indore in 2018. Programmes such as Happy Nests also work to recycle and upcycle existing plastic products and waste.
The Dawoodi Bohra community remains committed to protecting the environment and raising awareness among the wider community of the need for environmental responsibility and sustainable development. There is “Only One Earth”, and Dawoodi Bohras across the globe pledge to contribute in various capacities—big and small—to make the earth a better, greener, and healthier place to live.