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Should Muslims become Vegetarian?

An interesting article by Joseph Mayton on The Guardian has created some debate -  Eating less meat is more Islamic .  Is it? Mayton cites P...

An interesting article by Joseph Mayton on The Guardian has created some debate - Eating less meat is more Islamic. Is it? Mayton cites Prophet Muhammad  as not being an advocater of 'daily meat eating', as well as the respected Sheikh Hamza Yusuf:
 "Meat is not a necessity in shariah, and in the old days most Muslims used to eat meat – if they were wealthy, like middle class – once a week on Friday. If they were poor – on the Eids."
This is mostly a social product. European Muslims eat their fish, poultry and creatures with four legs daily along with salads and pastas, and in the Asiatic continent meat eating for many Muslims is reserved to special occasions, but that is a result of cost. During the Prophet's  time, poverty was imposed; remember that the Companions broke their fasts with water and dates, as we Muslims do today. They were sanctioned from markets and business which forbade them from even the basic foods. Later as wealth generated, the Prophet's  wisdom was to prevent obesity, to prevent any illness and this is why he encouraged eating less meat to avoid a love for it, opting for living a wholesome, healthy and cleaner digestive system. “Beware of meat. It has addictiveness like the addictiveness of wine” (Malik).

The Qur'an's guidelines on healthy eating are clear: "O mankind: Eat of what is lawful and good on earth" (Quran 2:168). The message is eat the halal and eat balanced. Animals are a source of energy for people, used as transportation, in agriculture and as food. I for one as an eco Muslim stand in the middle ground that if you are able to eat to your social status do so, but do not order an extra double cheese burger as dessert when there's a population of hungry in your country. 

Muslim vegetarians are on the rise for good reasons. In his article, Mayton interviewed Gamal al-Banna, a prominent Islamic scholar who said that being a vegetarian and Muslim does not break any tradition and is in no way un-Islamic. "When someone becomes vegetarian they do so for a number of reasons: compassion, environment and health reasons." Eating meat is not an Islamic stipulation but rather a blessing that God provides humanity. So should Muslims become vegetarian for the greater good?
The London Muslim thinks not - 
'While there are health benefits for those with high cholesterol avoiding red meat Islam does not advocate vegetarianism... My initial suspicion is the animal lobby seem to now be equating Muslims as a problem in terms of our meat consumption and appear to be attempting to establish an Islamic argument - where none exists for the advocacy of Vegetarianism.'
Perhaps the best conclusion can be drawn from the Eco Prophet  himself in his words when he saw a man with a slightly pot-belly-like stomach and a slimmer man, pointing at the larger man with a smile 'that (your fuller stomach) could be on him!' And to our vegetarian Muslims - stay green people. Represent!

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  1. For much more information about the *many* benefits of vegetarianism, please visit (and share) Eco-Eating at www.brook.com/veg and the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians at serv-online.org

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  2. I'm so happy other muslims are embracing vegetarianism! I'm currently weening back on a Low Fat Raw Vegan diet and I feel my best on it :). I must admit I do struggle sometimes with my faith when it comes to vegetarianism..like why would Allah permit us to kill animals n such..etc, but I'm making peace with the fact that He is the creator and knows best. I look at vegetarianism as a necessity for this time and age, in terms of health, longevity, environmental pollution and world hunger. Things are just to out of control nowadays to eat meat, especially excessively.

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  3. Questioning the reasons is the first step to recognising that while Islam is a 'meat-eating' lifestyle, less-meat, no red meat, vegetarian/vegans are acceptable alternatives. Prophet Muhammad ate less and encouraged others to choose a life of less consumption; all we have to be weary of is condemning a meat-eating Muslim. Animal rights shouldn't be infringed on either way.


    You might like this video Madiha: http://www.theecomuslim.com/2011/07/video-mercy-halals-islamic-slaughter.html

    ReplyDelete
  4. "The London Muslim thinks not - 'While
    there are health benefits for those with high cholesterol avoiding red
    meat Islam does not advocate vegetarianism... My initial suspicion is
    the animal lobby seem to now be equating Muslims as a problem in terms
    of our meat consumption and appear to be attempting to establish an
    Islamic argument - where none exists for the advocacy of Vegetarianism.'"I agree. What's not from the Holy Shariah and Sunnah are optional as long as it causes no harm- this was the Prophets teachings. Euro Christian forest savers love to go to poor countries to "protect" forests and prevent progress whereas the Christians are the largest community destroying the world- oh and progressing. Rip buildings apart and create forests in Europe, the Americas? A radical answer to a radical mission. It's politics, and so is the Vegeterianism at times. Radical.

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  5. Shortly, no, Muslims are not vegetarians because the Prophet ate meat.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I wrote the book: Zeeva: the Art of Wellness the True Story of How Z Got Well Again and You
    Can Too. I spent nearly a year living in a sustainable ecovillage, which was built primarily upon the design principles of permaculture.
    I know that I have renewed energy toward this goal.


    My site :: permaculture design training

    ReplyDelete

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