Life of a Vegetarian Muslim

“Muslim and A Vegetarian ? How can it be? ” This is the only question I face every time I eat out with a new person. I am a practicing Muslim and a Pure Vegetarian. Everyone has a general conception that all muslims are Meat lovers. Its true. The society that I live in doesn’t have the word ‘Vegetarian’ in their dictionary. A meal without meat or chicken in any ceremony would be nothing but low quality and cheap. A society which considers it holy to consume meat. A society where a child is a meat eater every single day of the week. He/she would go hungry on a day when vegetables would have been cooked. And I was no different. I grew up in this society.

I can say that I have consumed meat like no one else. I went hungry on days my mother cooked vegetables and expressed extreme anger on her for doing so. I used to coax her for not taking care of me. Then I used to rush to a near by restaurant to grab minced meat and bread. It was my favorite. I still smell the same Arabian/Mughalai Minced meat when I pass by that restaurant. I consumed meat for the first 16 years of my life and then I quit.

People taunted me with various fallacies, primarily one which I still get from others : “You’re not even a muslim if you don’t eat meat once in 40 days.”. That hurt sometime, but I ignored. At some point it made me feel that I was committing a sin. I only knew that I may be different and may not be right, but I wasn’t wrong and not a sinner. I am a strong believer of God, the one and only one God. This fact is enough for me to still call myself a Muslim.

I had no reasons to quit meat eating, but something happened when there was a Goat sacrifice in our house on the day of Eid-uz-Zoha. Hours after the Goat was sacrificed, I saw the raw meat on the plate still shivering. As if it still had life in it. Islamic way of sacrifice is no doubt the most scientific method of killing with minimal pain, but I just couldn’t tolerate the view of the pieces of meat shivering in front of my eyes. Some more hours passed by, the meat was cooked -A fantastic dish was served. I just couldn’t consume it. I didn’t see any physical movement on the cooked meat but could feel the shivering. I just couldn’t consume that meat.

It is said that before any sacrifice, the animal comes to know that its going to be sacrificed.  It has already given up the hope. The animal stops eating from the night before. I have seen in the animal’s eyes. Its deep. Its dark. Its scared. When the time comes there is a ceremony in which the animal should drink a few gulps of water just before the knife is rubbed against the skin. This is the most difficult part. The animal refuses to drink the last drink. Just to extend its life for a few more minutes. And when the animal is forced to drink, just when the water reaches its throat, the slaughter begins with prayers. I shall not go into the details of the processes involved in slaughtering. But its all these hurt me more than anything else in the world. The sight is too frightful for me.

Most Islamic clergymen would outcast me or have a Fatwa on me if I said that every time I see a dead animal, I recite the prayers which muslims recite when they come across death of any human. Such is my faith.

At this point, I must confess that I am a food lover; I live to eat rather than eat to live; During my days of Vegetarianism since the age of 16, the most supportive people are my parents, Specially my mother. I take the opportunity to publicly thank her for all the trouble she has taken to cook separately for me Pure Vegetarian food. I may not trust a veg restaurant, but I would trust her that no matter what, she would cook vegetarian food for me where even a single spoon of Oil wouldn’t be shared between their non-veg cooking and my veg cooking.

I am mostly cut from my cultural foodie events. I do not go because the food is non-veg, and no one is that caring enough (except family) to prepare veg food for me. I don’t expect them to understand either.

Once in a blue moon, my parents would casually say to me “Why don’t you start eating for a change?”. I just chuckle.

I don’t force anyone to be a vegetarian though I advocate it. I never win and neither they lose. They respect my vegetarianism because I am not doing anything against the religion or against Islam. Just like any other ‘ideal’ muslim, I pray daily prayers, I don’t indulge in Usury or Interest on money, I offer charity, I don’t gamble, drink, smoke and most importantly, I believe that there is no god, but God. These are the basic pillars of Islam and I don’t think I am breaking them.

Its time when people should know the fact that in the Holy Quran, it is mentioned that one may eat permissible non-vegetarian food, for God has created animals for human consumption but it is not compulsory. It is also mentioned that Animals such as Pig and Pork meat is strictly prohibited (It has a scientific reason). A muslim can be a good practicing muslim by being a Vegetarian.

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  3. Hello vegetarian buddy please accept my greetings for being a pure vegetarian

    And I am really thankful for you and all the peoples like you who can understand the pain animal receives when he is slaughtered be it scientific or a non scientific way but if he is murdered it is the most cruel thing on the earth and it is a lesson for everybody who consumes animal in the stomach the animals are also somebody’s child

    I wish this earth is fully vegetarian everybody is totally vegetarian and no cruelity takes place with animals

  4. Im really impressed with Ur article. Every Muslim should read it. My name Is Hussain and I m vegetarian too. I also faces everyday problem for not eating food. I cook for myself and yes ofcourse my family is supportive. Thank.

  5. I really enjoyed reading this. Its such an eye opener. You have expressed your point of view very well and logically. My father has always told us that Islam is a compassionate religion. What you say affirms it.

  6. Hi. .I Am a vegetarian Muslim…. From south India…. I strongly believe you become a better human if you are able to respect another life….. It’s awesome to see that few other Muslim’s also are into non violence. Hope we spread this message that Islam stands for peace…..

  7. Blessings to you. I am a Christian vegetarian. I was never taught within my faith to not eat animals, but I started having dreams showing me oneness and connectedness — that I was the wasp I was going to spray, I was the chicken in the slaugherhouse that I was going to eat with pesto. It was intense. No more meat for me, and I even try to get bugs out of the house in humane ways. It’s good to follow our heart. <3

  8. Ohhh ur article was explaining pain through which that poor animal goes. hope everyone understand wat type of sacifice is this??? better to be vegetarian. but it is very tough to make undestand everyone.

  9. I am doing a feature on vegetarian Muslims and what they serve during iftar. Wd be grateful if you could give me your email ID and a photograph so that I can quote you.

  10. Brother you are not a muslim……….
    You are a human who has humanity in him. And leave hinduism, islam , christianity etc. you are following the world’s greatest religion HUMANITY……I could never have even imagined that a muslim can feel the pain of an animal. I thought that they are heartless. But after reading your section I m sure that I dont know about religion but humanity still exists.

  11. Hey, datz gr8 dear. I know more than 20 families of Muslims who are purely vegetarian (they say by 4 decades). And they suffer a lot for this many a times but too steadfast on their principle of not harming any creature. Even they told dat it is quite difficult for them to find such families for their children’s marriages. But here i found few more😊

  12. Dear Hussain. I really appreciate you being a vegan. My submission to all Non-vegeterians is that first of all religions were made to ease out the path to God. Subsequently, they included how humans should take care of themselves for that Path, if they dont, they wont be able to pray properly. This included healthy eatings & survival habits for people of all sect.s, varying terrain and different living conditions. For the Survival part only, few religions have relaxed about consuming other animals as food only as last resort (today which is absolutely possible without killing any creature & its emotions). Now over a period of time due to its taste, a lof of protein in one bite and many other factors, people have put meat-eating either as “Not-an-issue” or “Permissible” thing just as per their convenience.

    Prophet Mohammad, Jesus Christ, Ram (Peace be upon Him) never would have killed any innocent, unharmful creature. They had always advocated simple living & simple eating habits but rigourous efforts for praying Allah (only one God) which very few are bothered about. They came on earth as humans and as humans they realised that God can be met before death by only true prayers, for which all the tastes of life should not overpower the soul and these includes all tastes of tongue also.

    I will just put a qstn across :
    Allow 3-4 years kid to play with a lil puppy, kitten, lil lamb & a chicken. A kid if allowed to cut all of them with a knife, whom he would cut ?

    He will not cut the puppy or kitten.
    He would neither cut lamb or chicken, infact he will cry when it will be tried.

    This is what basic human nature is, this is building lock of our soul, this is what humanity is. To feel the pain and joy of others.

  13. I am not saying its good or bad. Neither I’m justifying anything. What I’m saying is that : compared to other ways of killing which includes slicing of head with a sudden stroke, bow and arrow, gunshot, or islamic way, the better one among them is the islamic way and least painful death. Hope this clarifies.

  14. actually i was specifically searching for vegetarian Muslims in india..i dont know why i searched for that information.i am also a vegetarian.There is somehow the same reason you dont eat meat but i quit eating from age of 6 or 7th.. Good to know your story..

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