Tayyab Journal / ENG

Islam and Vegetarianism

Let's start from afar. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: (As for) the superiority of ‘Aisha over women, then, verily, it is like the superiority of tharid over other types of food.

Reading this hadith, a vegetarian might wonder why the Prophet himself (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) raised the meat dish to such a rank.

On the other hand, there is a hadeeth, Umar ibn al-Khattab said: "Beware of meat, as one is accustomed to it in the same way as to wine." From this hadith, it follows that meat does not have such a high position, but rather refers to those products that should not be consumed. So, how do Muslims feel about vegetarianism? Should we take this position, or should one only eat meat? Maybe one should include both vegetables and meat in their diet?

In favor of meat, it is worth noting that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ate meat and approved of it, and also that Allah ordered that animal sacrifice be performed during Eid al-Adha.

Modern science claims that eating meat leads to heart disease and obesity; it also takes longer to digest and increases the toxic load on the body. This view is held by many to this day. What's happening here, is it better to become a vegetarian? Let's look at this issue both from the perspective of science and from the perspective of religion.

1) Scientific evidence tells us that a moderate intake of all beneficial nutrients is a must. Despite all the drawbacks that were listed above, meat is the only source that contains enough vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Vegetarians may be deficient in vitamins. An article in Prevention magazine asked if we were going back to red meat. No, in moderate doses, meat can benefit the body.

The main dissatisfaction of vegans and vegetarians is more directed towards meat eaters than towards people who do not eat meat so often. Dr. Susan Kleiner, owner of High-Performance Nutrition in Mercer Island, says: "People are reading reports that red meat causes cancer and heart disease, so they think they should stop eating meat. They don't realize that the people in these studies are consuming more than ten ounces a day. Eating three to five ounces a day is quite healthy."

It is worth noting that vegetarians lack vitamin B-12, which is practically absent in plant foods but is found in sufficient quantities in red meat.

What conclusion can be drawn based on the scientific evidence? Eat meat, but do not overeat. Add vegetables to the diet, for example, spinach, which contains iron as well as meat, although it is many times less. Let's move on to the religious background.

2) The scientific opinion coincides with the Qur'an: "... Eat and drink, but do not waste. Surely He does not like the wasteful."

Jabir ibn ‘Abdallah narrates: "Once ‘Umar saw me when I was carrying meat. He asked, "O Jabir, what is this?" I replied, "Meat that I bought with a dirham for my women who wanted meat." ' Umar said: "Is it possible that one of you, wishing for something, certainly does it? Why should he not go hungry a little for the sake of his neighbor and his uncle's son? And where did the verse go: "You squandered your blessings in earthly life"?!" And I barely managed to break up with him."

This hadith indicates that one should not eat too much meat; it is better to share it with others than to think only about oneself.

Summing up, we can conclude that religious opinion and medical opinion are similar: we should eat meat, at least in moderation, and, although one can certainly get used to it like wine, it ranks highly if it is eaten moderately. Also, do not forget about vegetables and fruits, which also bring important benefits to our bodies.