Vegetarianism in Islam: Contradictory or Compatible?

Door of vegetarian eating establishment in Malaysia

 Hello Butter Kittens!

This is your favorite balding, Muslim hipster, Urbndervish. I was asked to do a write up on Islam and vegetarianism. As you may know (or if you read our “About Me” page), Eternitysojourner and I are on a plant based diet and have been for a long time. Of course, this elicits many responses from our well-meaning Muslim community. “What do you mean you don’t eat no meat?! The Prophet Muhammad ate meat!” “Why do you make haraam (prohibited) what Allah has made halaal (permissible)?!” “Not eating meat is haraam!” etc.

Before we address this, we would like to address some cursory issues related to the topic at hand. First, it must be understood that our decision to refrain from meat and subsequently, animal products, is not based upon a moral principle that doing such is wrong in and of itself. The difference between us and some vegetarians/vegans who hold to that is that our actions are governed by what we believe to be Divine Revelation as taught in Islam. This presupposes that our moral system and structure is well-defined through the lens of our way of life, as revealed by God to the heart of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him and his family, over 1400 years ago. That withstanding, the issue (at least, to us) is not one of “absolute” morality. By “absolute” we mean an ethic that transcends time and space. Consequently, we can say with absolute certainty that the modern industries related to meat, dairy, etc. are immoral! One only needs to peruse modern factory farms and slaughterhouses to see how unethical and atrocious one creature’s treatment of another could be! However, to apply that to a simply pastoral existence in 7th century Arabia would be unjust and unfair. Similarly, it would be unintelligent to do the converse; that is, to assume that the cuisine of someone in the 7th century Arabian desert justifies the industry of packaged meats in a 20th century urban context. 

Second, it must also be kept in mind that the aversion to vegetarianism amongst Muslims can more than likely be based upon cultural context. In many eastern societies, Muslims have historically been at variance with Eastern religions/philosophies that eschew meat consumption. For example, in India, the Muslims were at odds with their Hindu/Jain neighbors and one of the principle points of conflict was meat. The Hindus and Jains promoted (semi)vegetarianism and any leaning towards vegetarianism amongst Muslims was seen as a type of solidarity with the enemy. Therefore, the most voracious opponents of vegetarianism (in our experience) are typically Muslims from the Subcontinent of India, Pakistan, etc.

It is also worth noting that amongst Muslims, vegetarianism has historically been a sign of heterodoxy. Many “Sufi” groups and proto-Muslim sects have advocated vegetarianism amongst their followers. One example is the heretical Qarmatian sect of the early centuries who were known to be vegetarians. All of that withstanding, the thought of vegetarianism in the traditional Muslim world typically leaves a bad taste in the mouth (pardon the pun)!

We thought that addressing the common concerns and questions that we encounter will help to clarify our position to those who are interested in clarity. Instead of addressing the common questions posed to non-Muslim vegetarians by non-vegetarians, we chose to deal with those questions and comments from a religious perspective. We apologize for the seeming exclusivity of this post! We typically try to make our posts inclusive. We will endeavor to explain the religious terminology and concepts to our non-Muslim readers who may not be familiar with such.  

1.   “The Prophet Muhammad ate meat. He said that anyone who doesn’t like his way is not of him!”

——————————————–

It is narrated in the books of recorded traditions and history that the Prophet, peace be upon him and his family, ate meat. However, to justify the daily eating of meat by stating that it is the “Sunnah” (or the Prophet’s consistent practice) would be incorrect. It is well-known that the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and his family, did not eat meat consistently, nor did he eat it on a daily basis. There are other foods that he ate more consistently and regularly, such as barley bread, dates, pumpkin, and other vegetarian foods. Interestingly enough, no one invokes the “Sunnah” when it comes to these foods! 

He is recorded as loving to eat the shoulder of lamb. He is also narrated to have eaten chicken and a type of bustard. We know not of any narration in which he was said to eat beef, camel, fish, or any other meat. If the Sunnah denotes a consistent practice of the Prophet, it would be incorrect for one to say that eating meat is the Sunnah. Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him and his family, did not eat it normally, nor did he generally eat all types of meats.

Regarding the narrated statement of the Prophet: “Whoever dislikes my way (Sunnah) is not of me”, the context must be understood. The aforementioned reference is a part of a larger narration in which a group of the Prophet’s Companions came to him and some said: “We will not marry!” Another group said: “We will not eat meat!” Another group said: “We will not sleep on pillows/cushions!” Yet another group said: “We will fast and never break our fast!” When the news reached God’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, he said: “What are with these people that they say such?! I pray, I sleep, I fast, I eat, and I marry women. Whoever dislikes my way is not of me!”

According to the context of the narrated tradition of the Prophet, he was countering the mistaken concepts of his Companions that spirituality can be achieved by refraining from marriage, meat, etc. However, he assured them that he engaged in all of the things that they said that they would refrain from, yet no one was closer to God than he. It is noteworthy that the Prophet Muhammad didn’t say: “I eat meat” in response to the Companions. Consequently, he didn’t state that eating meat was his way (sunnah).

2.   “Why do you make prohibited what Allah has made permissible?!”

——————————————

No doubt that this objection is a direct reference to the verse of the Holy Qur’an in which Almighty God addressed the Prophet: {O Prophet, why do you make prohibited what Allah has made lawful for you?!} (Holy Qur’an 66:1). Anti-vegetarian Muslims use the import of this verse as a proof that Muslim vegetarians shouldn’t refrain from meat because it is religiously permissible.

The Holy Qur’an itself does not give us the details of what the Prophet prohibited himself from. For that, we consult the books of Qur’anic exegesis known as tafseer. In one of these texts, an incident is mentioned where some of the wives of the Prophet Muhammad were jealous of another and they sought to conspire against her. One of his wives was known to make a honey drink that he enjoyed. Two of the wives knew that and to prevent him from that honey drink, they agreed to tell him that his breath stunk after drinking it. When he came to each of the two wives, they did just that. After which, he said: “I swear by Allah that I will never drink of this honey again!” It is then that the verse was revealed to him {O Prophet, why do you make prohibited what Allah has made lawful for you?! Do you seek the pleasure of your wives?!}. According to this narrated tradition, the Prophet was censured for vowing by Allah to never drink honey again.

This, in no way, can be compared to a conscientious decision to refrain from meat or other animal products! One is not making an oath or the like by Allah when one decides to not eat meat! This is not the import of the holy verse! This is further emphasized by the fact that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny, refrained from eating certain foods that were otherwise permitted for him. For example, he never ate lizard or onions; yet he was not censured for doing so! This shows us that refraining from a certain food is not the same as prohibiting it.            

3.   “There is a narrated statement from the Prophet Muhammad in which he is recorded to have said: ‘The master of foods among the people of this world and the people of Paradise is meat.’”

———————————————-

Muslims who argue against vegetarianism cite this tradition in support of their thesis. However, those familiar with the sciences of narrated traditions from the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him and his family, should refer to those scholars whose specialty is scrutinizing the narrated traditions. One would readily see that the traditionalists include this narration amongst the list of concocted reports falsely attributed to Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. For example, a well-known traditionalist named Ibn al-Jawzi included this tradition as well as others with similar wording in his book entitled: Al Mawdu’at (Tr. “Fabricated Traditions”).

4. “Muslims are commanded to eat meat during the Hajj pilgrimage. Allah says: {…so that they may witness the benefits for them and mention the Name of Allah on known days for what He has provided for them of cattle. So eat of them and feed the miserable and poor} (Holy Qur’an 22:28).

———————————————-

The Muslim opponents argue from this verse that Muslims are commanded to eat meat during the Pilgrimage season with the words {eat of them}. Therefore, a Muslim cannot be a vegetarian.

We reply by saying that according to the classical and medieval exegetes of the Holy Qur’an, the statement {eat of them} is not a command, rather it is a permission. A well-known traditionalist and Qur’an commentator named Ibn Katheer stated in his exegesis of this verse:

“There are those that use this verse as a proof that eating the sacrificial meat is religiously obligatory. However, this is a strange statement! The vast majority says that it [i.e. eating the sacrificial meat] is either permissible or a recommendation.”

Some of the early exegetes such as Mujahid, ‘Ata, and Ibrahim said:

“It is permission. If one wants to eat it, they can. If one doesn’t want to eat of it, they don’t have to.”

Therefore, this is not a proof that a Muslim cannot refrain from eating meat.

**********************************************************************

All-in-all, from an Islamic perspective, one is free to eat or refrain from eating those foods deemed permissible. There’s no disagreement amongst our scholars concerning that. However, the most pressing question and concern would be “Which foods are most beneficial for us in this present age?”

According to the Muslim cosmology, we hold the past as an ideal but yet are not stagnated to the point that we are oblivious to technological or scientific advances. This is the reason why our past civilizations led the world in scientific/technological development but yet held the words of our ancestors and sages to be of highest benefit. We are not Luddites who confine our appreciation of the earliest generations to simply mimicking them superficially. We hold their simplicity and values to be our ideals as we move towards the future.

All of that withstanding, we are to research into the most efficient and resourceful ways to live our lives. We are not held captive by parochialism at the expense of the planet. Rather, our way of life encourages us to be just stewards of the earth and seek to preserve it. Is our desire for meat and other animal byproducts contributing to the destruction of our ecosystem? Much research and studies suggest that it is. If this is the case, then it is our religious duty to rectify this situation by eliminating or greatly reducing our animal intake.

Even if one were to look at the personal benefits of a plant-based diet, it should be reason enough to consider it. The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him and his progeny, is recorded to have said: “The strong believer is better than the weak believer” or something to that effect.  The personal health benefits of a plant-based diet are many. Consistent animal consumption has been linked to everything from aggravating diabetes to osteoporosis to cancers. Do yourself a favor and watch the documentary “Forks over Knives.”  

From a personal perspective, I can testify to the benefits of a plant-based diet. I feel better and look better! I no longer wake up almost choking on mucus due to dairy consumption. I have more energy! I feel lighter! My palate has become more attuned to international fare and flavors. I won’t have to worry about high blood pressure or high cholesterol. I feel like a “strong believer.” All praises due to Allah!

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Vegetarianism in Islam: Contradictory or Compatible?

  1. Asalamu aliakum!
    I enjoyed reading this post. Some very interesting points were covered mashaAllah. I do think that it is not just a matter of a plant vs. meat based diet though. Yes, industrial meat is horrendous, but it is not the only option when it comes to raising animals, as I’m sure you already know. There are many sustainable farms popping up in the States and elsewhere, such as Polyface Farm (www.polyfacefarms.com) who state as some of their principles:

    “For context, please understand that we don’t do anything conventionally. We haven’t bought a bag of chemical fertilizer in half a century, never planted a seed, own no plow or disk or silo—we call those bankruptcy tubes. We practice mob stocking herbivorous solar conversion lignified carbon sequestration fertlization with the cattle. The Eggmobiles follow them, mimicking egrets on the rhinos’ nose. The laying hens scratch through the dung, eat out the fly larvae, scatter the nutrients into the soil, and give thousands of dollars worth of eggs as a byproduct of pasture sanitation. Pastured broilers in floorless pasture schooners move every day to a fresh paddock salad bar. Pigs aerate compost and finish on acorns in forest glens. It’s all a symbiotic, multi-speciated synergistic relationship-dense production model that yields far more per acre than industrial models. And it’s all aromatically and aesthetically romantic.”
    The halal meat company Green Zabiha get some of their meat from this sustainable farm. And it would be wonderful if more and more meat eaters would demand that their meat come from these sorts of establishments as opposed to industrial farms.

    There is also a good amount of solid research that many of today’s diseases are from polyunsaturated fats and food that is barely recognizable as food, and not necessarily meat (at least not non-industrial meat). See www. westonaprice.org for more info on the research.

    As someone who grew up as a vegetarian (from ages 7-16), after watching a film on how industrial cows were treated, I have to say, I feel much healthier now, having gone back to a more traditional diet (soaked grains, no polyunsaturated fats, cod liver oil, veggies from our garden, occasional meat from sustainable farms, eggs from our own chickens, butter from grass fed cows, and inshaAllah sometime in the near future, milk from our own miniature cow). Meat does have some amazing nutrients including zinc, B12, cholesterol, omega-3 fatty acids, trace minerals, saturated fat and complete protein. Raw milk, kefir, yogurt, etc is also very nutritious:
    “Once you understand how modern milk is produced and processed, it seems logical to just avoid it altogether. But Real Milk–full-fat, unprocessed milk from pasture-fed cows–contains vital nutrients like fat-soluble vitamins A and D, calcium, vitamin B6, B12, and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid, a fatty acid naturally occurring in grass-fed beef and milk that reduces body fat and protects against cancer). Real milk is a source of complete protein and is loaded with enzymes. Raw milk contains beneficial bacteria that protects against pathogens and contributes to a healthy flora in the intestines. Culturing milk greatly enhances its probiotic and enzyme content, making it a therapeutic food for our digestive system and overall health.”
    http://www.westonaprice.org/making-it-practical/milk-it-does-a-body-good

    All of this to say, that there are also benefits to a balanced/traditional diet that also contains meat/dairy/eggs. I don’t disagree with your diet, but I also know from experience that it was not the best diet for my nutritional needs, even though my parents were very diligent in making sure I had a balanced diet.

    Wow, I’m hesitant to post this comment…it’s a lot longer than I intended. I hope that I did not offend you in any way, that was/is not my intention. And please forgive my somewhat scattered thoughts.

    Wa alaikum as salaam
    Roxanne

  2. as salaamu alaykum sis!

    It’s always a pleasure to hear from you! And no, we are in no way offended! We appreciate your comments and feedback. You made some interesting points.

    I do believe that a more ecological option for meat-eaters would be these sustainable farms you mentioned. I’m sure that there are environmentally-minded individuals who are looking for better ways to eat animal products without harming the ecosystem. But my point is, why choose that option if it is unnecessary. In other words, what would be even more environmentally secure than the sustainable farms used to raise animals? Not utilizing animal at all.

    These sustainable farms follow the natural circular process of allowing animals to freely graze and leave their traces on the land which–in turn–fertilizes the land so that more grass could grow so that the animals can graze on it. It is a wholistic system based on the natural progression. It is definitely an ideal!

    Hypothetically, if we would like the whole world to adopt these type of farms, I’m curious to know if it would be possible to sustain these sustainable farming practices. In other words, the ecological alternative would have to eventually succumb to industry. The land used for free-grazing would have to be sectioned off due to various competing companies owning sectors of land. The cattle and chickens would not be able to freely roam and graze because they may graze on the land of another. Therefore, their grazing space would be limited and they will be confined. This would, of course, lead to a host of diseases that would require antibiotics. Their grazing land would not have time to be replenished due to lack of space, which means that they could no longer graze and would have to be fed. All of this would eventually lead us back to the inhumane factory farm scenario! The sustainable farms seemingly works as long as it remains small-scale.

    This is not the case with vegetable farming.

    Regarding the nutrients that one gets from meat, it is equally possible to get these nutrients from their plant counterparts. Much research has been done to demonstrate this, which resulted in health organizations and institutions (like the FDA and other bodies) to declare that one can easily reach one’s nutritional and dietary needs from a varied vegan diet. Even the ever-pervasive “complete protein” argument doesn’t hold much weight anymore because there are plant foods that contain all amino acids to be considered “complete.” For example, plant foods, such as soy, quinoa, buckwheat, and hemp provide complete proteins. Even in the case of “incomplete” proteins, one can combine plant foods with complementary amino acids and it doesn’t even have to be combined in the same meal! Some doctors and dieticians even doubt the whole theory of combining proteins!

    If you felt that a vegetarian/vegan diet didn’t work for you and you feel better with the occasional animal byproduct, this is fine. The most important thing is that you are healthy! Alhamdulillah! However, if I were to advocate for a diet that is better for the body and environment, I would have to say that although a little animal by-products are better than a lot, no animal products are better than a little.

    Thanks again for your contributions!

    yours,

    the raggamuslims

    • Wa alaikum as salaams,

      Not using animals at all? We are a ppl of the middle way, but that idea seems to have gone all the way in one direction. Animals are a blessing from Allah, and if they were so bad for us and did not provide important nutrients, Allah would not have made them halal for us to eat. When the FDA first began to tell ppl that too many eggs were not good for them and they should only have them once a week, they did that research by separating the yolk (actually using dried yolk) from the whites. Since then they have retracted this theory after realizing that the yolk and the egg together are very beneficial and negate any negative effects that they viewed when the parts were separated. Allah has made so many things in the this world perfectly amazing, Yes, even things that come from animals! mashaAllah.

      I felt a bit taken aback by your statement:
      “However, if I were to advocate for a diet that is better for the body and environment, I would have to say that although a little animal by-products are better than a lot, no animal products are better than a little. ”

      How do you feel when Muslims tell you that you should be eating meat? I’m having a hard time understanding how you would then turn around and do the same to someone else, by saying that it would be better if I (and society) at large, ate NO meat. If this were indeed the best and ONLY way, then it would have been told to us by Allah and his prophets. I don’t think not eating meat is somehow bad, like some other Muslims. When our beloved prophet (saw) did not like something he just did not eat it. He did not say anything bad about it, or tell the other person that he didn’t like it. We should try to do the same. Not condemn each other for our personal eating habits. The prophet did not condemn meat eaters or veggie eaters. There are benefit in both mashaAllah….

      Interesting that you do not discuss the industrial farming practices of vegetables. Many ppl around the world cannot grow veggies year round, and even if they could, still depend on a system that sucks the land of any real nutrients and instead uses toxic pesticides, which further poisons the land. These veggies, grown en mass, on single crop farms, using excessive amounts of water pumped from our earth (as opposed to storing and using more rain water – a renewable source) are then transported by semi truck to processing facilities for packaging, then shipped hundreds of miles in every direction to land in your local grocery. Not only that, but now we have genetically modified seeds infiltrating a tradition of heirloom veggies. Ppl around the world have become so accustomed to having out of season/tropical veggies and fruit all year long, that it would be a tough to try to get everyone to eat local and in season. Even so, there is a growing movement for this. alhudulillah.

      I would also like to note that every human does not assimilate their nutrients the exact same way. Some are lactose intolerant or gluten intolerant, for example, which has a lot to do with their genetic background. In my previous reply I did not go into detail as to why the vegetarian diet did not work for me. But now I feel I must tell you….Everytime I ate a big raw salad, I would have serious digestive issues, to the point of having to go to the ER several times. The majority of my veggies have to be cooked at least a bit for me to be able to digest them. When I later had a session with an amazing Muslim MD/Natropath, he told me (without me discussing any issues with him) that I was not able to properly assimilate some nutrients from raw veggies! With more research I found that some ppl of Scottish decent (among others), like myself, lack the gene to assimilate protein or iron from plant sources. You see , in certain parts of the world, ppl could/can not get veggies for a good part of the year. With more research into traditional diets, I began to see that many healthy ppl who were still using their traditional diet ate very different things from each other, but were healthy all the same. The media would have us believe that everyone in the world should eat the same things to be healthy. But notice that the Prophet (SAW) did not say that one diet was better than another. What we do know is what is haram, and that we should not overindulge. Other than that there is so much room mashaAllah, for ppl to follow their traditional diets and still be within what is Islamically allowable mashaAllah.

      “In a previous era, before the age of modern transportation, cultures were isolated and peoples’ metabolic makeup and corresponding dietary needs were very clear. But in today’s day and age, due to extensive intermingling of cultures, we’ve become a true “genetic melting pot.” In the U.S. in particular, most of us have many different ethnic and hereditary influences. As a result, few of us have a distinct ancestral heritage or readily identifiable dietary needs.

      Fortunately, however, through the research that has been done over the past 25 years, there is available a systematic, testable, repeatable and verifiable advanced nutritional technology that enables people to discover their own unique dietary needs with a very high degree of precision. This technology is known as Metabolic Typing. Through metabolic typing those often mysterious, seemingly unanswerable questions become perfectly clear and answerable indeed.”
      http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2002/12/18/metabolic-typing-part-one.aspx

      There’s more that could be said, but I feel I have said too much already, but I really did feel uneasy by the notion that all the world should follow one diet. Allah has made us into various cultures and those cultures had different things available to them dependent upon location. If there were one perfect diet for all, surely we would have been made aware of it over 1400 years ago by our beloved Prophet.

      Again please forgive me if I have come across as curt or prideful in any way. JazakAllah kheir again for your post. May Allah give you success on your vegan/raw foods journey!

      Ma’salaama,
      Roxanne

      • as salaamu alaykum sis!

        We pray that all is well with you and your family! Thanks again for your responses and feedback!

        I agree that we are the people of the middle way. However, what defines “the middle way” is completely subjective. For example, i could see vegetarianism as the middle way between fruitarianism (sp?) and meat eating, just as someone could see occasional meat eating as the middle way between vegetarianism and excessive meat-eating.

        Let me clarify that I in no way condemn meat-eating or the use of animal products, per se. The main purpose of the original article was to point out from a religious perspective, a Muslim can and should consider a vegetarian diet. I also wanted to emphasize that simply stating that the Prophets, upon whom be peace, ate meat is not a justification for one to commend doing so in these days and times where the industry of producing meat and animal byproducts have greatly contributed to the decimation of the eco-system and individual health.

        I also agree with you that human biology does not operate off of a one-diet-fits-all paradigm. This is, as you pointed out, dependent upon one’s geography, genetic makeup, and the like. However, I could say with all certainty that if the vast majority of the world ate a vegetarian diet, it would be beneficial to both body and environment. The article I referenced from the UN’s environment study should be sufficient in proving this.

        I think that the root of the misunderstanding is that my stating that A is a better option than B is not the same as condemning B. It’s probable that I didn’t convey this in an understandable way. If you were to refer back to the original article, this is why I prefer the term “Muslim on a plant-based diet” over “vegan.” I have no authority to condemn anything that our blessed and infallible Prophets, peace be upon them, did. I simply wanted to demonstrate that given the available information and research, a Muslim conscientiously refraining from meat/animal byproducts is a good thing and not a bad thing.

        With all due respect, I don’t think that the factory farming of meat can be compared to (even the industrial) farming of vegetables. Granted, the farming of veggies should be sustainably done, but even if they aren’t, this does not change the statistics when compared to the production of meat.

        Also, never ever feel that you have to justify your choices to me or anyone else for that matter! I’m confident that any choices that you have made are based upon your own research, deliberation, and prayer. If eating veggies exclusively didn’t work for you, then it didn’t work for you. Fine.

        We pray that Allah places us on the path most pleasing to Him and that our choices benefit us in this world and the next!

        yours,

        the raggamuslims

  3. Salaam alaikum,

    The sura Al Baqarah, verse 173, states:

    “He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah . But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], there is no sin upon him. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”

    Which “dead animals” does this verse apply to? A sheep is a dead animal. However much meat was hung and drained, there would probably always be a little blood left. Some muslims I have met are vegetarians just to avoid the risk of eating blood.

    • wa alaykum as salaam!

      We pray that this finds you in good health and iman! We apologize for the delay in replying!

      Regarding your question, the term “dead meat” in the verse is mayta in Arabic. According to the scholars of language and our jurists, this term is used for an animal that has not been slaughtered according to Islamic law. In the Lane’s Lexicon of Arabic and English, he says regarding this word: “Mayta signifies that which has not been slaughtered in the manner prescribed by the law (i.e. carrion) or that which the life has departed without slaughter. So in the classical language and in the language of practical law, all such is unlawful to be eaten, except fish and locusts which are lawful by universal consent of the Muslims.”

      Therefore, this term isn’t general to all meats (because techically all such meat is from dead animals). However, the word in the verse is specific to those animals unlawful to eat because of how they were slaughtered.

      The blood must be drained from the animal as the verse clearly prohibits the consumption of blood.

      Hope this helped! And Allah knows best!

      yours,

      Raggamuslims

  4. Pingback: Renewing my Vegan Vows | Raggamuslims' Weblog

  5. Pingback: Diet Makeover Tip#3: Minus the Meat | MCV Magazine

  6. Assalaam alaykum!

    I am so glad to have found this article and your blog. I have just adopted a vegan diet (as that is the term Westerners use for strict vegetarianism) about 3 months ago due to environmental and ethical reasons. It’s quite a change for someone who has grown up in a culture where meat is consumed every day!

    I find it difficult to explain why I choose to not eat animal products to fellow Muslims, more so than to non-Muslims. But I know that like what you have mentioned in this article that the current situation, what with industrialisation, factory farming and hormonal injections to animals, is not the same as in the past and so we have to assess our actions. Halal meat now may not actually be halal after all!

    I would like to know your opinion on honey. As you may know, the bee industry is full of injustice as well. Sure they are necessary for pollination but that does not mean it is necessary for humans to exploit them. But the Quran has a verse saying that it is ‘a healing for people’ [16:69]. I tried googling for a vegan point of view on this but I can’t find any. Would ignoring that verse i.e. not consuming honey means that I am depriving myself of its benefit? Does the verse only suggest it to be an option for healing in certain dire situation and not as leisurely consumption?

    Thank you for writing your experiences and vegan recipes! I will surely peruse your blog further. Keep it up!

    Sincerely

    Diyana

    • Wa alaykum as salaam wa rahmatullah!

      We pray this finds you well and in the best of faith- ameen!

      As you pointed out, there are a lot of conditions and circumstances that blemish the stated benefit of a food. The ethics, production, and handling of a food item can make the halal become haram. Here’s a great article on the topic: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-khalid-latif/ramadan-reflection-day-12_b_5575863.html

      Because our reasons for adopting a plant-based diet were primarily motivated by health and environmental concerns, we personally don’t see the harm in consuming honey as long as it is ethically sourced. We occasionally purchase raw, local honey and only use it when we are ill for the antibiotic properties. There are many alternative sweeteners, so we don’t use it liberally as we would maple syrup, date syrup, etc.

      Evaluating the best food choices for yourself is a very personal matter. One has to consider the principles, options, circumstances, and motivations for their choices and not fear reevaluating them when necessary, nor fear the removal of a vegan or vegetarian label or club membership.

      May Allah reward you for your concern for His creation and desire to avoid what is doubtful and harmful- ameen!

      Compassionately,
      the raggamuslims

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s