21 Jun 2013

Islam, Sufism & the Permaculture Approach: @ LondonPermacultureFestival: Sun 14th July 2013

Wisdom In Nature invites you to:


A workshop at the London Permaculture Festival

Date: Sunday 14th July 2013
Time: Workshop: 3pm-3.50pm; London Permaculture Festival: 11am-7pm
Venue: Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent's Park Rd, Camden , London, NW1 7AY. Getting there/Map: Click here 

Much could be said about the relationship between these three perspectives. This short workshop will be but a little dip! While we may adapt according to numbers of people and our sense of what is needed, the intended theme will be: 'Relationship', and how this is at the heart of Islam, Sufism and Permaculture. We hope to also include some Sufi chanting (optional participation), and sharing.

Workshop Facilitators: Shumaisa Khan (WIN) & Muzammal Hussain (WIN)

Also a chance to find out more about the work of Wisdom In Nature and ways of collaborating.

Cost:  £5 / £4 concs (u18's free) entrance to the Permaculture Festival: No additional cost for the Workshop!
About Permaculture: Permaculture is as a practical system for sustainable living, based on observing principles and patterns in nature. Rather than seeing living systems as disconnected parts, permaculture helps us to see them as a whole and aims to maximise the relationships between things. Permaculture has empowered people worldwide to develop projects that work with nature, rather than against it.

WIN will also have a stall at the festival. Come speak with us!

About the London Permaculture Festival:

The London Permaculture Festival  is a non-profit grassroots event and is one of the largest permaculture events in the country.
With Workshops, Storytelling, Music, Kids Dome & more.

Topics include: Islam, Sufism & Permaculture; Introduction to Permaculture; Surviving climate change; Our own body ecology and health; Systems, Patterns and Principles in Permaculture Design; Sustainability and parenting; Multi-stakeholder co-ops and community share issues; How to grow food in containers; Create a worm composter; Keeping chickens; Natural beekeeping; Growing plants from seed; and others...

Festival Website/More info:

17 Jun 2013

Start a Regional WIN Group

We are open to new regional Wisdom In Nature  (WIN) groups. If you (or you network) has a sincere interest in developing a WIN group for your region, this is what you will need to do:

  • Firstly, have a scan of our website, and in particular a careful read of the core strands & who are we page.
  • Reflect on whether WIN's ethos and approach fits in with your own.
  • If it does, great! Email us to get the dialogue going. 

13 Jun 2013

Process Focus – Relationships in Allah's Interconnected Creation

In the first of a series of reflections upon process-centred ecological and community activism for SISTERS Magazine, Elizabeth reflected upon relationship-building with Suratul Fatiha

Have We not made the earth (as a place) to draw together? (The Qur'an 77:25)

Suratul Fatiha And Facilitating The Creation Of A Group Mind

Usually when you meet with other people, do you feel aware of the diverse interconnections between individuals and groups that Allah SWT has created within His interconnected ecology? Is space made for creativity and compassion to flourish?

When WIN come together for meetings and workshops, we open and close our gatherings with recitation of Suratul Fatiha followed by space for du'a, dhikr, reflection and focusing during a few moments of silence.

Allah the Exalted had said: I have divided the prayer into two halves between me and my servant, and my servant will receive what he asks. When the servant says: Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the universe, Allah the Most High says: my servant has praised me. And when he (the servant) says: The Most Compassionate, the Merciful, Allah the Most High says: my servant has lauded me. (Excerpt about Suratul Fatiha from Muslim Book 4, Hadith 775)

When we pray to Allah SWT with Suratul Fatiha, we have a dialogue with Allah SWT which facilitates a deep connection between Him and our self, one of surrender to Him SWT.

And when he (the worshipper) says: Thee do we worship and of Thee do we ask help, He (Allah) says: This is between me and my servant, and my servant will receive what he asks for.
(Another excerpt about the special dialogue with Allah SWT that Suratul Fatiha facilitates, as reported in Muslim Book 4, Hadith 775)

When we pray in congregation we make a relationship between ourselves and Allah SWT on a personal and a community level. And the connection feels more powerful, don't you find?

Alhamdulillah, at WIN we have found that by beginning and ending group meetings with reciting Suratul Fatiha, we integrate a group surrender to Allah SWT, and we become mindful of interacting with each other with the gifts of compassion and mercy from The Most Compassionate, the Merciful, with whom we have connected.

We also use facilitation tools like adhering to 'ground rules' that include listening with compassion to each other to maintain a trusting environment. In this environment we feel at ease to offer all ideas without fear of judgement by others. The sharing and bouncing of ideas leads to developing a sense of group mind from which ideas emerge that are better for our purpose than any of the individual ones we had. This creativity could not be achieved without taking care to design and sustain both the group's relationship of group surrender to Allah SWT and the relationships between ourselves through using facilitation tools.

By putting in place processes that make more and more space for compassionate relationships, aren't we slowly bringing about the transformation of the social and wider ecology as well insha Allah?

Suggested introductory reading about permaculture:

'The Permaculture Way' by Graham Bell

'Permaculture: A Beginners Guide' by Graham Burnett

This article was published in SISTERS Magazine in April 2013

A Perspective on Islam and Permaculture

You may have noticed that quite a few of WIN's activities of late are around permaculture, and that our new strapline includes permaculture.  If you're wondering what the heck it is and what does it have to do with Islam, then you might find this blog post helpful!

Permaculture - A Brief Intro

Permaculture is a design system for meeting human needs, one which integrates various components to achieve a functional and self-regulating whole. Inherent to this is understanding the connections and relationships among the components. Relationships occur at different levels - the relationships between the various components that contribute to soil; the relationships between the soil, water, flora and fauna, etc.; and the relationship between human economic, physical, cultural, and social needs and ways of meeting them, which of course connect to the non-human elements of the wider ecosystem. Permaculture is about maximising beneficial relationships among the various components.

According to Bill Mollison, the 'father of permaculture', it emerged as a response to perceived social problems amidst the oil crisis in the 1970s. He recognised that the ecological problems were connected to social problems, and both the ecological and social problems were the result of the economic system in place.

Permaculture and Islam

What does all this have to do with Islam? Islam, in a sense, is a whole system in which the economic, social, ecological, and spiritual are integrated, which is the antithesis of contemporary society. The norm is people working at increasingly sedentary jobs in an industrial economic system that is based on money that has very little value – its value comes from the belief in it rather than tangible value. This system is characterised by compartmentalisation and disconnectedness – they keep the system going.

For example, most people would not tolerate sweatshop labour to take place in their neighbourhood because there would likely be face-to-face interaction with local people. It would be difficult to live with oppression in such proximity. But globalisation has made this an unlikely scenario – we are extremely disconnected in real terms, despite being more connected than ever in other ways. Real disconnectedness is associated with an excessive waste of energy – including human energy – and of natural resources, and of course contributes to ill health of both humans and other species. Related to this is one of the principles of permaculture - integrate, rather than segregate.

Muslims are not immune from the fragmentation I have just described.   Practising Islam seems to have become confined to certain religious acts - such as salat and zakat, while reflection and contemplation - which the Qur'an makes significantly more references to - have been relegated to the periphery. For Muslims then, permaculture offers a design system that can help us apply the whole system approach that Islam is, which can be quite transformative and powerful.  One need only remember what Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, accomplished in Mecca.  In fact, we can draw parallels between the avarice and social inequality we see today and Meccan society at that time.  A similar transformation needs to happen now - without which all the outer economic, social, and ecological activism will fail.

Permaculture offers a useful set of tools which we can apply to practice a broader and deeper Islam, but permaculture is simply a design system, so Muslims, through the whole system approach of  Islam, can enrich permaculture.   We at Wisdom in Nature are keen to develop our theoretical and experiential knowledge of permaculture and share and apply this with other Muslims, but one of the challenges we face is the lack of demand.  Most people tend to confine activism to signing petitions, buying some ethical products, single issue campaigns, etc., all of which may have a place but tend to address symptoms of a diseased world rather than the cause of the disease.

See our website for more information about workshops on permaculture and other areas that Wisdom in Nature can deliver.

A version of this article which was written by Shumaisa Khan was printed in SISTERS Magazine in April 2013. 

WIN at 'Ecology & Faith' Participative Forum: Bath: Thur 27th June 2013

A Participative Forum on Ecology & Faith
A NUS-funded Religions & Beliefs Forum event 
Date: Thursday 27 June 2013
Time: 6:45pm - 9.30pm
Venue: Friends' Meeting House (Downstairs section), York Street, Bath. BA1 1NG.

Muzammal Hussain, of Wisdom In Nature (see will lead an Ecology & Faith participative forum, to engage all in interacting with the diverse amount of themes that 'ecology' incorporates. The workshop will aim to explore how far faith groups/communities, and Faith in general, can help or hinder a more sustainable world.

Paul Reid-Bowen, senior lecturer in the Study of Religions and Philosophy and Ethics at Bath Spa University, will lead a talk on the world ecological crisis, setting out the basic problems in the world and the immensity of the task that the world community has for responding to the situation.

All are invited to this conference, irrespective of faith/non-faith background. It is planned also for representatives from all faith communities in and around Bath to attend.

It is a free event, but a donation bucket will go around the room to cover costs for hiring the room.

Please invite friends, share this event, and print/share the poster freely.

6 Jun 2013

Sat 8th June 2013: Hunger Action!: Away from corporate control, towards Food Sovereignty

"He who sleeps on a full stomach whilst his neighbour goes hungry is not one of us."
Saying of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
On Sat 8th June, in the lead up to the G8, David Cameron is hosting an international hunger summit in London. On this day, various actions by grassroot networks are planned.
BEYOND 'IF': Wisdom In Nature (WIN) appreciates that a number of NGO's, including some Muslim ones, are supporting the big IF campaign, and that the IF campaign has some good points (such as, tax transparency, action on land grabs and biofuels, for example). WIN also believes that the IF campaign has a fundamental gap - it remains weak on the issue of 'power'. There is no clear demand to take away corporate control from food and farming and give it back to people - and it thus seems to leave food and farming open to further control by GM companies. Additionally, we would like to see support for the already developing Food Sovereignty movement that arose over many years through small scale farmers around the world.
Image via:
"Food sovereignty proposes an alternative food system that creates practical, sustainable and democratic solutions to the failed industrialised food model. It is an approach developed by smallscale food producers in the global South that has become a global movement....
It is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems."
Approximately a billion people in the world are 'hungry'. We feel that real solutions to hunger must facilitate communities to define their own food and agricultural systems, and not to be prescribed to by large corporations.
Thus, after consideration within, Wisdom In Nature has chosen to give its support to Food Sovereignty events on Sat June 8th: the events are direct: they involve creating community gardens as a demonstration that food is a right for everyone!
**To find out how you can join in Food Sovereignty Events in the UK on Sat 8th June: See below!!**
Other info>>
'Beyond Expectation: Participating in Radical Food Movement Event' (Food Sovereignty in UK)
Blog post by WIN Rep, Muzammal Hussain
"This was not my first event on food justice - I had been to dozens. Yet... walking through woodland that happened to be slippery, slopey and still, I weaved my way to Organiclea, a workers food growing cooperative on the edge of London, to attend a food justice event that went far beyond expectation..." Read full post>>>
Why 'War On Want' won't join the IF Campaign
Saturday 8 June 2013, London and across the UK

Actions to stop the corporate takeover of the world food system.

Where: London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Bristol, Stroud
When: Sat 8 June
2013Meeting place in London: Meet at 9.30am outside The Blackfriars pub, 174 Queen Victoria St, London EC4V 4EG. (Nearest tube: Blackfriars. Take the Blackfriars Bridge exit and the pub is on your right as you exit the station.) From there we will move as a group to a nearby location for the action.
Theme: Create a pop up community garden in central London (and other cities across the UK)
More information: Email to find out more or check facebook event

Things to bring for London: Wheelbarrows, tools, plants to plant, seeds, soil, banners, and anything else to make a community garden flourish.

Organised by the UK food sovereignty movement

On 8 June, in the lead up to the G8, David Cameron is hosting a hunger summit in London. This summit is a meeting where some of the biggest corporations (including Monsanto, Cargill, Vodafone and Unilever) in the world are going to pledge millions to “stop” world hunger.

This is part of what is called the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (launched at the G8 last year). In actual fact, this New Alliance is going to be the vehicle to spread land grabbing and GM across the African agricultural economy. African countries are going to be signed up to aid conditionalities that will open them up for private takeover of their land and seeds and further resource extraction. Civil society organisations in Africa are not being consulted; their demands are to put power into the hands of small producers not large corporations.

A few weeks ago, a group of community gardeners, radical NGOs and anti-corporate activists met in London to make sure an alternative voice goes out on the 8 June.

With the IF campaign not doing enough to criticise the New Alliance, the hunger summit is set to give David Cameron his ‘Make Poverty History’ moment at the same time as signing away African people’s rights. There must be action now to delegitimise this hunger summit and call for the real solutions to the food system set out in food sovereignty.

This is why you must spread the word and come and join us to take action on 8th.

The idea is to plant a community garden outside the venue of the hunger summit. This will demonstrate that food is a right for everyone not a commodity to make profit from. So bring your barrows, bring your plants, bring some soil and bring some seeds and show the world that food is for people not for profit.

To find out more about the location and target for the protest send us an email to:

Critiques of the G8 New Alliance:
For more details of the Edinburgh action:
For more details of the Stroud action: