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Are Islam and veganism compatible?

Are Islam and veganism compatible?

Islam is a religion of moderation, advocating a balanced approach in all aspects of life, including diet. While there’s a growing trend towards veganism, often equated with being humane to animals, Islam does not prohibit the consumption of animals. Instead, it emphasizes moderation and ethical treatment.

Islam teaches that we should not overconsume meat, but it also does not make it haram (forbidden).

Humans are naturally omnivores, as reflected in our physical makeup. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) sometimes ate meat and sometimes did not, illustrating a balanced approach. Thus, following the Sunnah means incorporating meat into our diet, but not excessively.

As the Quran says, “Eat of the good things which We have provided for you” (Al Baqarah, 2:172). This includes both plant-based foods and meat, indicating that a balanced diet is endorsed.

Furthermore, Islam mandates that we take care of our health. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“وَإِنَّ لِجَسَدِكَ عَلَيْكَ حَقًّا”

“Verily, your body has rights over you.”

A balanced diet, which includes a variety of foods, aligns with this principle. Extreme dietary practices are discouraged in favor of moderation. This ensures we fulfill our religious obligations while maintaining our health and well-being. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “The best of affairs are those which are moderate” (Ahmad).

Additionally, we cannot make something haram for ourselves that God did not prohibit. As stated in the Quran, “O you who have believed, do not prohibit the good things which Allah has made lawful to you and do not transgress. Indeed, Allah does not like transgressors” (Quran 5:87). Therefore, if one chooses to be vegetarian, for health reasons or personal preference it is still advisable to occasionally eat meat to align with the balance that Islam prescribes. This approach respects both individual choices and religious teachings.

By adhering to these principles, we can maintain a diet that is healthy, ethical, and in harmony with Islamic teachings.

Avoid the over consumption of meat

At least half of all greenhouse gases come from animal rearing. The prime cause (91%!) of the deforestation of the rainforest is to graze animals – more than all cars, planes, buildings, industry and power plants combined.

There are approximately 30 farmed animals for every human on the planet;  and in 2018, more than 99% of the animals eaten in America were raised on factory farms. Of course I am not saying eating meat is haram but be considerate in your consumption, but we need to find a balance.

Qurbani

Eid ul Adha marks the completion of Hajj, the annual pilgrimage, and again, it comes with the concept of sharing with those less fortunate by sacrificing an animal and sharing its meat with the poor, many of whom will not have eaten meat for a very long time.

Qurbani, the act of animal sacrifice during Eid al-Adha, holds significant importance in Islam as it symbolises obedience to Allah and compassion for the needy. As Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stated,

“مَا عَمِلَ ابْنُ آدَمَ يَوْمَ النَّحْرِ عَمَلًا أَحَبَّ إِلَى اللَّهِ مِنْ إِهْرَاقِ الدَّمِ وَإِنَّهُ لَيَأْتِي يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ بِقُرُونِهَا وَأَشْعَارِهَا وَأَظْلَافِهَا وَإِنَّ الدَّمَ لَيَقَعُ مِنَ اللَّهِ بِمَكَانٍ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَقَعَ بِالْأَرْضِ فَطِيبُوا بِهَا نَفْسًا” (الترمذي).

The son of Adam does not do any action on the day of sacrifice which is dearer to Allah than the shedding of blood. It will come on the Day of Resurrection with its horns, its hair, and its hooves. The blood falls from Allah in a place before it falls on the ground, so be content when you do it. (Tirmidhi)

This practice underscores the permissibility of eating meat within Islamic tradition, aligning with dietary laws that consider it a source of sustenance and a means of sharing blessings with others.

Can the meat be distributed among non-Muslims?

Yes, particularly if they are relatives or neighbours.

Can Muslims give money to the poor instead of sacrificing an animal?

Though there is a trend to attack animal slaughter due to vegan and vegetarian and environmental movements, it is not right for us to change the sunnah. Halal and haram is prescribed by Allah.

If people in the community do not need meat but need money, it would be possible to give them the equivalent money in place of meat. However, this should not be the norm. If a family has multiple sacrifices to make, they can opt to give some of it as money, and the rest as meat.


Based on the teaching of Shaykh Haytham Tamim

Here are the links to various food-related blogs on the Utrujj website that might be useful for your blog:

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Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.