A Woman Who Made a Difference

Ideologies take some time to root in people’s minds, and even more, time to become a culture. Zaheen Fatima, 39, a mother and a group leader from Karachi, is making the culture of eco-friendly pilgrimage common. As a woman group leader, she has been organizing private pilgrimage groups for Iraq, since 2017. Presently, her group usually consists of 100 pilgrims.

‘ When I watched that viral video that talked about the plastic threat in Karbala, I immediately decided to do something about it. I used the funds to offer reusable cutlery and bottles for all my pilgrims. Which they carried. I did to send blessings to my parent’s souls.’, shares Zaheen Fatima.

Initially, she tried to raise funds for practicing the green pilgrimage concept, and everyone shunned the idea away as being ‘the impossible whims of a woman.’ Zaheen, however, continued to tirelessly work while ignoring the rejection. She visited wholesale markets, searching for plastic alternates online, and learning about eco-friendly travel ideas on the internet. 

She did not stop until she had acquired for every person on the caravan, a cup, plate, and spoons which could be washed and reused to reduce the use of plastic. And, due to limited funds, she, with the help of her mother, cut and sewed green scarves to be distributed amongst her caravan as a substitute for tags or plastic bags, scarves which could be reused and were multipurpose as they made all her pilgrims stand out in the crowd.  Refillable bottles too were provided to all the pilgrims, all these changes were made because as Zaheen says,

 ‘One should have a preserving attitude, rather than a disposing one, for, with every use of a pollutant, you are disposing away Karbala as well, and while there may be substitutes to plastic, there is no substitute for Haram-e-Imam Hussein,’ adds Zaheen.

She also believes that Arbaeen is a perfect opportunity to highlight this cause. 

 ‘Mashi-e-Arbaeen is the best time for planning for the reappearance of imam-e-Zamana,’ for the imam will bring a system of justice, both amongst the people and the environment, and since Arbaeen, with its global magnetism attracts everyone, irrespective of social backgrounds and is the best time to form the foundation of for the revolution of imam Mehdi, by following the teachings of the Ahlulbait (a), which greatly include the care of our eco-system,’, she concludes.

Even if one person is determined to affect change, they succeed, the example being ‘green pilgrims’ itself that works on the idea of one woman who set out to change the world, her ideology inspiring many, Zaheen Fatima being one of them, and you, dear reader if you have reached this far, become a part of this revolution as well, your Imam(ATF) once again calls for you, this time to form a resolution to heed the plea of our environment.