Vegetarianism In Islam

“Meat is not a necessity in Shari’ah (Islamic Law), 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 (on days of celebration).”

“So traditionally Muslims were semi-vegetarians. The Prophet was, I mean, technically, the Prophet (SAWS) was in that category. He was not a meat-eater. Most of his meals did not have meat in them. And the proof of that is clearly in the Book of Muwatta—when Umar His disciple says, ‘Beware of meat, because it has an addiction like the addiction of wine.’ And the other narration in the Muwatta—there is a chapter called ‘Bab al-Laham,’ the chapter of laham, the chapter of meat. Both are from the disciple of the Prophet Umar. And Umar, during his rule, prohibited people from eating meat two days in a row. He only allowed them to eat [it] every other day. And the Ruler (Caliph) has that right to do that. He did not let people eat meat every day. One day he saw one man eating meat every day, and he said to him, ‘Every time you get hungry you go out and buy meat? Right? In other words, every time your lust wants meat, you go out and buy it?’ He said, ‘Yeah, dear leader, ana qaram,’ which in Arabic, ‘qaram’ means ‘I love meat’—he’s a carnivore, he loves meat. And Sayyidina Umar said, ‘It would be better for you to roll up your tummy a little bit so that other people can eat.'”

If you study the modern meat industry, you will find out that a lot of the famine in the world is a direct result of the overconsumption of meat in countries like the United States and Canada and Europe, because the amount of grain needed to produce 1 pound of meat, right, is much greater than the amount you need to produce grain itself. And beef in particular—I really recommend Rifkin’s book Beyond Beef. It’s an extraordinary book. And it’s interesting ‘Baqara’ is also a chapter of the Qur’an (‘kill the cow’), because beef-eating societies just have massive impact on the environment, on natural resources, on all these things. And traditionally the Muslims were not cow-eaters, they were sheep and lamb [-eaters] when they did eat meat.”

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