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Can a muslim be a vegetarian?

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)

 

 

One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

As-salaamu-alieykum....Burhanbhai!


On the topic of slaughtering animals during Idd-ul-Adha..etc...well what if I believe in non-violence against animals? Is it a must that i have to sacrifice an animal during aqiqaa and after performing hajj?? I dont understand why i should kill an inoccent life for my sake? And what if I choose not to do it? Will it be considered a sin? Also is it true that if u dont eat meat for forty days its bad and thus not considered a muslim?Is also being a vegetarian allowed in Islam?

Please enlighten me on the above.

Thanking you.


(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)

 

Answer:

 

Can a Muslim be a Vegetarian?

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.

 

We understand and appreciate your love for the created beings of Allah Subhanah; and it is the condition of a believer to love and respect every creation of the Merciful Lord.

 

The Messenger of Allah (saws) advised the believers to have mercy on their animals, feed them appropriately, and not to over-burden them in their works.

 

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 1.712 Narrated by Asma bint Abi Bakr

The Prophet (saws) once offered the eclipse prayer. He stood for a long time and then did a prolonged bowing. He stood up straight again and kept on standing for a long time, then bowed a long bowing and then stood up straight and then prostrated a prolonged prostration and then lifted his head and prostrated a prolonged prostration. And then he stood up for a long time and then did a prolonged bowing and then stood up straight again and kept on standing for a long time. Then he bowed a long bowing and then stood up straight and then prostrated a prolonged prostration and then lifted his head and went for a prolonged prostration. On completion of the prayer, he (saws) said, "Paradise became as near to me that if I had dared, I would have plucked one of its bunches for you and Hell became so near to me that I said, 'O my Lord will I be among those people?' Then suddenly I saw a woman and a cat was lacerating her with its claws. On inquiring, it was said that the woman had imprisoned the cat till it died of starvation, and she neither fed it no freed it, so that it could feed itself."

 

Allah Subhanah punished a woman because she imprisoned a cat, and neither left it free to feed itself, nor fed the cat; until the cat died! This deed was so hated in the sight of Allah, that the women was being tormented in the Hell Fire for the evil that she did to the cat.

 

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 8.38 Narrated by Abu Huraira

 

 

Allah's Apostle (saws) said, "While a man was walking on a road, he became very thirsty. Then he came across a well, got down into it, drank (of its water) and then came out. Meanwhile he saw a dog panting and licking mud because of excessive thirst. The man said to himself "This dog is suffering from the same state of thirst as I did." So he went down the well (again) and filled his shoe (with water) and held it in his mouth and watered the dog. Allah thanked him for that deed and forgave him." The people asked, "O Messenger of Allah! Is there a reward for us in serving the animals?" He (saws) said, "(Yes) There is a reward for serving any animate (living being)."


 

Such are the teachings and guidance of mercy in Islam, that a man was forgiven all his sins and entered into the Mercy of his Lord, for giving water to a thirsty dog to quench its thirst!

 

The same Allah Subhanah who has commanded the believers to be merciful to their animals, is the Lord who has created the animals. And some of the animals were created to serve man, so that he may ride on them, some to provide clothing for them, some to provide milk for them, and while some that man may eat of their flesh, etc.

 

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 16 Surah Nahl verses 5-8:And cattle He has created for you (men): from them ye derive warmth and numerous benefits and of their (meat) ye eat.

And ye have a sense of pride and beauty in them as ye drive them home in the evening and as ye lead them forth to pasture in the morning.

And they carry your heavy loads to lands that ye could not (otherwise) reach except with souls distressed: for your Lord is indeed Most Kind Most Merciful.

And (He has created) horses mules and donkeys for you to ride and use for show; and He has created (other) things of what ye have no knowledge.

 

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 23 Surah Muminoon verse 21: And in cattle (too) ye have an instructive example: from within their bodies We produce (milk) for you to drink; there are in them (besides) numerous (other) benefits for you; and of their (meat) ye eat;

 

Thus, to eat of the animals flesh is not being unjust to animals; but is one of the very reasons of their creation and existence. If one says that eating of animals is against animal-rights, and they should not be eaten; then it is also scientifically proven today that even plants have feelings and they feel pain when broken or cut! Would that mean that human beings cannot eat plants and vegetation too?

 

Just as not eating plants and vegetation is taking things to the extreme; so is the taking of eating the halaal animals taking the concept of mercy towards the animals to the extreme! And extremism is not part of the deen of Islam! To have mercy, feed and take good care of animals is good and appreciated in Islam; but at all times, one must always take a balanced view in all aspects of life.

 

Your question: On the topic of slaughtering animals during Idd-ul-Adha..etc...well what if I believe in non-violence against animals?

Well, this belief of non-violence against animals is a belief in line with the teachings of Islam; but Islam takes a well-balanced approach towards it. Only the animals which are poisonous and a threat to the individual may be killed; and the animals that are to be consumed by human beings may be slaughtered and subsequently consumed by them. Other than that, Islam does not allow one to kill animals at random or without purpose.

 

Your question: Is it a must that i have to sacrifice an animal during aqiqaa and after performing hajj??

Performing the sacrifice during aqeeqa is a Sunnah, not obligatory. But it is one of the manasiks or rites of the Hajj pilgrimage that the one who performs the pilgrimage must sacrifice an animal; this sacrifice is obligatory for the believers performing Hajj.

 

Your question: I dont understand why i should kill an inoccent life for my sake?

If a human being has mercy in his/her heart for the created beings of Allah Subhanah; they must also realize that the One Who is the Owner of all Mercy is the also the Most Merciful of all those who show mercy! And it is the same Merciful Lord who has commanded that the believers offer Him a sacrifice as one of the rites of Hajj.

 

By offering this sacrifice, the intention of the believers is to follow the Sunnah of the father of the Messengers, Hadrat Abraham (a.s.); and confirm with their act of sacrifice that they too are willing to sacrifice everything that they own for the Pleasure of their Lord. The philosophy and wisdom behind the sacrifice is that one has gratitude in his heart for all the favors that the Merciful Lord has bestowed upon him; and by offering this sacrifice in the name of Allah, one shows by action what his heart feels by way of gratitude.

 

Thus the sacrifice is not done for the sake of the person doing the sacrifice; but rather the intention should be to make a sacrifice for the sake and pleasure of Allah Subhanah.

 

Your question: And what if I choose not to do it? Will it be considered a sin?

If one does not intentionally offer the sacrifice during ones pilgrimage of Hajj, then obviously one has missed one of the rites of Hajj; and that will definitely be considered a sin.

 

And if one does not offer the sacrifice, because one feels that offering a sacrifice is affecting the rights of the animal, or because one is against the killing of animals, or because one has so much mercy for the animals that they would rather give the animals its right; whether or not Allahs rights are fulfilled it would indeed be a grave sin and against the teachings and principles of Islam!

 

A believer is one who has sincerely, of his own free will, submitted his/her will to that of their Creator! They have no opinion or say of their own; but rather they submit as slaves to the Will of their Creator.

 

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 33 Surah Ahzaab verse 36:It does not behove a believing man and a believing woman that when Allah and His Messenger have given their decision in a matter, they should exercise an option in that matter of theirs. For whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, has indeed strayed into manifest error.

Your question: Also is it true that if u dont eat meat for forty days its bad and thus not considered a muslim?

There is no such injunction of 40 days, or 40 months, or 40 years, etc. regarding the eating of meat to be considered a muslim!

 

Your question: Is also being a vegetarian allowed in Islam?

One may choose not to eat any meat for all his life, because he prefers to eat vegetation, or because he does not like the taste of meat, or for any other reason. There is no harm and no sin in that.

 

But if one does not eat meat because he/she believes that the eating of meat should be forbidden, or because it is cruelty to animals when their meat is consumed by humans, etc. then that would be against the guidance and teachings of Islam. To believe such a thing, and thereby abstaining from eating a halaal food ordained by Allah would definitely be considered a sin.

 

It all depends on the intention of the person for not eating the meat or any of the halaal food.

 

Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

 

Your Brother in Islam,

 

 

Burhan


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