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Muslim Vegetarians?

By July 6, 2009

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An Islam Forum reader, righteousaiman, brings up an interesting discussion in the Forum. Should Muslims be vegetarians? He argues:
I feel that the meat industry is against the teachings of Islam and the conscience. No, Islam does not prohibit eating meat, but the Last Prophet "has placed the killing of animals without a justifiable reason as one of the major sins".
Do you agree? Can Muslims live a vegetarian lifestyle? Should Muslims live a vegetarian lifestyle, based on Islamic teachings about the rights and mercy we are to show towards animals and all living creatures? Join the discussion and share your views!
July 8, 2009 at 9:06 pm
(1) beck says:

Will all due respect, while some meat industries may be inhumane, others are not. Animals raised for consumption in the Middle East for example aren’t raised in boxes like they are in western countries.

And even in western countries one can buy meat of ‘free-range’ animals, meaning they were raised in pastures, and usually were slaughtered in a more humane fashion. The solution isn’t in dismissing all meat and becoming vegetarian, but being conscious about what kind of companies we are supporting in buying the cheapest meat available at the market.

July 10, 2009 at 5:35 am
(2) aiman says:


“Will all due respect, while some meat industries may be inhumane, others are not.”

Most, if not all, meat industries are inhumane. The very term “industry” connotes large production and supply of something — which is exactly the case. This reduces living, breathing things to the level of potato chips.

“Animals raised for consumption in the Middle East for example aren’t raised in boxes like they are in western countries.”

This doesn’t take into consideration that a lot of meat is imported from Western countries, which use factory methods. The loading and transport of animals in Muslim countries does not follow Islamic ethics either.

“And even in western countries one can buy meat of ‘free-range’ animals, meaning they were raised in pastures, and usually were slaughtered in a more humane fashion.

“The solution isn’t in dismissing all meat and becoming vegetarian, but being conscious about what kind of companies we are supporting in buying the cheapest meat available at the market.”

The solution is also to radically decrease the amount of meat we eat — by eating more vegetables. In fact, i think for a while we need to give up meat altogether and pressure the suppliers to choose the Islamic way of treating animals.

If we continue to eat the amount of meat we do now, it is impossible to expect it to come from pastures. In fact, the industry method is a direct response to man’s growing hunger and selfishness — this can only be sustained by methods which operate right now.

July 12, 2009 at 1:24 am
(3) beck says:

Cutting meat out of our diet altogether is an unreasonable and an illogical response to the situation.

It doesn’t matter if 99% of the meat is made available to us is from inhumane companies, the fact remains that there is halal meat.

Halal is not only the way it was killed, but the way in which is was raised and treated. Saying we should eat only vegetables is NOT the answer, but eating only halal meat and obeying our religion at the same time IS.

As long as halal meat is available to us, there is no reason not to eat and thank God for giving it to us.

July 16, 2009 at 11:45 pm
(4) Farrukh Saleem says:

I agree with Beck, As long as halal meat is available to us, there is no reason not to eat and thank God for giving it to us.

So to become vegetarian is not the solution but to seek suppliers who actually provide meat that is slaughtered by halal method of Islam.

July 17, 2009 at 12:44 am
(5) Nasir Shaikh says:

Dear Brothers, Each and every eatable all around the world is commercialised. Even the milk is not spared. they inject the animal for more output, We are getting used to chemical and the dosages is incresing. easy money is the culprit. HALAl eating and HALAL earning is the need.

July 17, 2009 at 10:37 am
(6) MiMo says:

As-salamu alaikum. Let’s start a Muslim farm in every community and hand-slaughter our own meat. It will be raised and slaughtered correctly (zahibah).

July 30, 2009 at 5:40 pm
(7) Jaimie says:

Been a vegetarian since 1974, and recently awakened to islam – I see no issue with being both – other than that it is very difficult for me to fast, as most vegetarian beings have to ‘graze’ (i.e. they can not stop eating for long periods like carnivores can). I fasted for 72 hours in 1974 (i.e. truly fasting…) and at the end of it in my enlightened state I decided to become a vegetarian. Now, between having performed that drastic fast, and due to the damage to my health from my lung surgery, mixed with my advanced age, I have tried but have never been able to fast during Ramadhaan.

Back to not eating meat – see 16:5 where I turn to the Qur’an for inspiration in its saying that cattle (a.k.a. domesticated animals where we enter a covenant to protect, feed, etc. in return for something from the animal – btw: killing it violates this covenant of domestication…) as existing for clothing (i.e. wool, not leather), for other advantages (i.e. horses/camels to ride, not to feed to our dogs), and to eat OF them (‘of’ being the operative word here as my english translation does not say ‘…,and to eat them’ – i.e. intended for eggs, dairy, etc., not as meat). With this guide I also see where the current horrors and evils against animals, described in some of the posting here (i.e. industrial processing, etc.) would not need to exist…

September 22, 2009 at 6:44 am
(8) nites says:

Is slaughtering ever humane? While slaughtering an animal the latter does feel pain and sorrow. If we inflict such pain to others, how can we expect that we could live in harmony and peace.
Halal or not, it is not necessary for us to be the (indirect) cause of so much animal slaughter. So many people live their whole life without feeding on animals. We can try it too.

September 28, 2009 at 11:17 am
(9) Iris says:

I’m vegetarian and recent muslim… and I love fasting! I have fasted 3 times Ramadhan till now, and I fast 2 days a week all the year long. Have never had any problems you mention.

September 29, 2009 at 9:25 pm
(10) Abdullah says:

Asalam Alakum,
I am a born muslim and having been experimenting with the idea of becoming a vegeterian. I was inspired by co-workers at my job. My main concern is to make sure I stay a good muslim even if I don’t eat the meat which God has supplied us with.

April 14, 2010 at 12:09 am
(11) kb says:

haha humane? there no such thing as when it comes to killing.

anyway theres a lot of vegetarians in india and they arnt dropping dead from weakness they are perfectly fine and have a healthy diet

July 17, 2010 at 10:51 am
(12) emmie says:

maybe becoming a vegetarian looks like its helping the animals, and not killing them, but actually you still are. You see, when farmers grow fruit and veggies they clear the land of all plants, and then plant seeds etc. and so they demolish the natural habitat of the animals and insects living there, so you anyway help in killing animals.

So I think it’s best to eat both meat, fruit and veggies in moderation.

March 3, 2011 at 3:48 am
(13) Jaime Iglesia Villanova says:

Actually halal slaughter is the most traumatising for the animal, it gets no pain relief and dies in agony for hours hanging upside down choking on its own blood, we need to move beyond pathetic religous superstions and accept that there is no god, and if there is and he created all of the univerese does he really care how you kill an animal? or what you do in the bedroom.

May 3, 2011 at 5:45 am
(14) Saurabh says:

There always be vegeterianism as there are many varites of foods out there such as frutis vegetables ect. Also the animal has to undergo pain and sorrow , i mean think about it. How would you like it if you were that cow or chicket. I mean getting your throut slit open and choking on your blood to death, not very nice is it. Allah has created many fruits and vegetables to eat. Plus I could give you many arguments for having a vegetarian diet.

July 2, 2013 at 12:17 pm
(15) Jay says:

I have been a vegetarian all my life and spent my teenage years as a successful athlete. I know that my healthy diet contributed to my recovery from a serious accident in my late teens. I am now a doctor and can confirm that a diet high in meat is not healthy. Animals were created, not simply as food and beasts of burden, but companions and living beings in their own right. NO method of slaughter is free of trauma for the victim. The psychological trauma is as every bit as cruel as the actual slaughter. Human beings are omnivores, not obligate carnivores so most of us can, if we choose, live quite healthily without an innocent creature paying the price of our greed. Listen to the Prophet (pbuh) and reflect on every action which affects another living creature.

August 17, 2013 at 10:07 am
(16) Judith leigh says:

No slaughter is ever humane. All animals struggle and fight fight for their lives like you or I would. I am vegan. I think Muslims should be vegetarian/vegan

September 12, 2013 at 12:56 am
(17) prabhat says:

Yes Muslims can be vegetarian; they should be as 4000 year ago; it was necessary to eat meat as there were little options but now we are a civilized race. Today we should think about going vegan. If Islam promotes non-veg then maybe it could be justified in Arabian context 1400 year ago but can’t be now. We should be rational, reasonable & ethical in our approach, we don’t need religion to teach that, it’s all common sense. Ask yourself is it worth to eat another animal who is conscious like you just for taste or for that extra protein which anyway causes more harm than good in long run. We have got heart & brain and now is the time to use it. Just ask your conscience before doing anything and I assure you that you will never disobey your religion, whatever you are, be it a Muslim or a christian for that matter.

February 14, 2014 at 8:01 pm
(18) Jo says:

I’m a Muslim and have been a vegan after nine months being a vegetarian (I learnt that dairy and egg industries are not cruelty-free or less than meat industry). The reason is simple, I don’t want to be accountable on the Judgement Day for inflicting cruelty to other living beings especially after learning the facts about factory farming, which is a common practice found globally these days. Halal slaughter doesn’t mean improved standards of welfare whilst the animals are still alive. I felt that I had no control in making sure the animals were treated kindly before they landed on my plate as halal meat. Muslims are allowed to eat certain meat, but they are NOT obliged to. There are so many references about vegetables and fruits in the Qur’an. From what I read, thousand of years ago when Islam first emerged, meat was considered a privilege food for the wealthy, unlike today’s diet where you could eat meat twice or three times a day – in a way this is what has driven factory farming existence (imbalance supply and demand, pressure to produce meat as cheap and as fast as possible). I don’t think by not eating meat we are considered ungrateful for the blessing of Allah. In a contrary, we are fulfilling our given intelligence to seek for knowledge, and act upon it, be compassionate towards Allah’s creations, and most importantly to keep our body healthy by avoiding antibiotics, growth hormone-induced meat. I don’t think it is justifiable to kill animals where other (more healthy/ nutritious) food is readily available.

April 20, 2014 at 8:19 am
(19) benzol says:

I became a fish eater some weeks ago and don’t eat fish daily. Probably 2 in a week. Or three. I don’t do much physical labor. More compassion towards animals is my motive. They are living entities like us (sorry for the fish) and share a cognition. They have no language as complex as ours, which does reflect the level of cognition if U may say. And few of the sorts are aware of self as we dolphins, elephants and urangutans. Industrial slaughter is cruel and halal alo: the animal is in agony as it looses grip of itself while being conscious. It’s not ‘falling asleep’ as muslims believe. It’s terrified, not doosing off. Period. And if you want to eat meat per-se then ask yourself if you can kill it with your bare hands like real animals do. Yes, you are not less an animal. It a dire circumstance you may want to kill an animal but know that once you ate it it cannot provide you anymore. What you do to the web of life you do to yourself.

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