Why would a Muslim start homesteading? Our most cherished values are easily expressed through homesteading. Homesteading can increase our appreciation for Allah’s gifts and even awaken the spiritual being within us. Homesteading is a very practical use of time, it helps us meet our essential needs and benefits people and the planet we share.
Reason #1 – Gratitude to our Creator
And the earth – We have spread it out, and set thereon mountains standing firm, and produced therein every kind of beautiful growth (in pairs).
To be observed and commemorated by every devotee turning (to Allah).
Homesteading can open the door to intimate reflection on Allah’s creation. Being outdoors, hands in the soil, observing the biotic life therein and learning about their functions will certainly deepen your appreciation of its Creator. Daily we pray, “You alone we worship, and upon You alone, we seek help.” Homesteading brings out the beauty of these sacred words by seeking help from the means Allah has directly provided us.
Reason #2 – Preserving Health and Well-being
O ye people! eat of what is on earth lawful and good, and do not follow the footsteps of the evil one for he is to you an avowed enemy.
Growing your food produces the most nutrient dense food you can find. Most fruits and vegetables are harvested before it’s ripe. Prematurely harvested, supermarket produce ripen in transit, not on the plant. This practice brings ripe looking produce to market but with fewer nutrients than if you had grown and harvested yourself.
Reason #3 – Reflecting on Creation
No creature is there crawling on the earth, no bird flying with its wings, but they are nations like unto yourselves. We have neglected nothing in the Book; then to their Lord they shall be mustered.
The modern Muslim, like everyone else, suffers from nature-deficit disorder. Homesteading is a way to introduce nature back into modern life. Growing food, raising chickens, keeping bees, observing the life cycles of plants and animals, attuning to seasons, reflecting on the creation and cultivating gratitude for all these gifts.
Reason #4 – Environmental Stewardship
Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea on account of what the hands of men have wrought, that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, so that they may return.
Modern human activity is responsible for pollution of our soils and oceans, climate change, and species extinction. Driven by our unsustainable economic pursuits, we must begin taking personal responsibility for what we produce and what we consume if for no other reason than to prevent our faith from being reduced to cultural and ritual acts.
Reason #5 – Building Family Bonds
Believers, save yourselves and your families from the fire which is fueled by people and stones and is guarded by stern angels who do not disobey God’s commands and do whatever they are ordered to do.
Homesteading can offer your family many opportunities to spend time together, learning from each other, enjoying each others company, building strong family bonds. Working together, starting seeds, gathering eggs, harvesting and preserving God’s bounty. All cultivates an environment of experiencing Allah’s beauty and mercy as a family.
Reason #6 – Moderation in Consumption
“Moderation in spending is half of livelihood…”
Have you ever shopped in the produce section of Whole Foods or Market of Choice? Quality produce is expensive, and as economic and environmental problems increase, so will the cost of produce. Growing some of your own vegetables cost pennies per pound, and that will save you significant money over time.
Reason #7 – Protecting Family
A man is a guardian over his household and he is responsible for those in his care. A woman is a guardian over her husband’s household and she is responsible for those in her care.
Let’s face it, we live in uncertain times. Radical change is in the air, protests are increasing. New laws are constantly redefining the citizen’s relationship to the State. And although on a daily basis we feel mostly secure, we also feel that the future will look very different. Homesteading skills in this context can act as an insurance policy. If a time came where you could not buy what you needed for your family, having the skills to produce what your family needs could make a significant difference.
Reason #8 – Halal Livelihood
No one has ever eaten any food that is better than eating what his hands have earned. And indeed the Prophet of Allah, Dawud, would eat from the earnings of his hands.
You are not likely to replace your present work with homesteading, but you can certainly reduce your spending making your earnings last longer. One can also start hobby farming, which can supplement your current income, and with increasing skill and experience provide at least a part-time income. But the most important aspect is that what you produce and earn is halal.
Reason #9 – Giving Charity
The one who looks after a widow or a poor person is like a Mujahid who fights for Allah’s Cause, or like him who performs prayers all the night and fasts all the day.
A benefit of homesteading is the giving of some of the bounty of what you have produced to those who need it most. Imagine taking homegrown herbs, vegetables, fruits, eggs, milk, cheese, bread and other homestead goods to your local food pantry or directly to someone you know who needs it. Knowing that your gift is free from the riba of money especially makes it worth it.
Reason #10 – Establishing Peace
When he turns his back, His aim everywhere is to spread mischief through the earth and destroy crops and cattle. But Allah loveth not mischief.
Modern consumption is rife with the oppression of people and the exploitation of the planet. Although we don’t see it at the point of purchase (retail outlets), the goods we buy often come from supply chains that pollute the natural world’s water, air, and land. The workers who produce these goods are often subjected to human rights abuses including slavery. Homesteading is a practical way to reduce your family’s contribution to oppression and exploitation.
In traditional societies, homesteading was the norm. Modern humans access to cheap energy has made homesteading all but nearly lost. As we continue to witness and experience the harmful effects of this modern phenomenon, people are beginning to see the limits of nature, and are finding solace in reviving traditional skills and ways of living. These skills and ways of living are worth preserving because inherent in these skills we rediscover what it is to be human, which is the thing we risk losing most.