Muslims across the universe believe in the Book and going through it is one of the most important non-negotiables for a Muslim woman or man. However, its understanding among Muslims is quite negligible, as the Quran is written in Arabic and the majority of Muslims do not understand this language.
As a result, most of us are made to read it through a tutor during our childhood but many of us do not understand it. Yet during our lives we were supposed to be living in a way that confirms to the teachings revealed in Holy Quran……Irony isn’t it…. ?
While Islam is, in its truest of sense and spirit, a very practical religion, its understanding is limited due to various interpretations that have been made by various self proclaimed Islamic scholars and caretakers of religion who manipulate and mutilate the teachings in their own might.
While I leave the politics of religion for a later discussion, I pull myself back to the topic. One of the most striking teachings that one comes across in an attempt to understand the Quran is the importance that is laid upon SEEKING KNOWLEDGE and REASON… I take this as an opportunity to quote a few examples:
“And they shall say had we but listened or used reason, we would not be among the inmates of the burning fire.” (Quran, 67:10)
“Are those who have knowledge and those who have no knowledge alike? Only the men of understanding are mindful. ” (Quran, 39:9)
The Qur’an encourages people towards scientific research:
“And whoso brings the truth and believes therein such are the dutiful.” (Quran, 39:33)
Every Muslim man’s and every Muslim woman’s prayer should be:
“My Lord! Enrich me with knowledge..” (Quran, 20:114)
The importance accorded to seeking knowledge, scientific research and reasoning makes ISLAM a very dynamic religion that is not bound by the period in which it was revealed to the believers. The pursuit of knowledge and use of reason, based on sense and observation is made and considered obligatory on all believers.
The same has been re-iterated by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) when he supplements the teachings of the Holy Quran in the following sayings:
“Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave”
“Ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyr”
“To listen to the words of the learned and to instill unto others the lessons of science is better than religious exercises.”
” Seek Knowledge even though it be in China”
In this age and day there are various ills that plague our society and Muslims, being a part of it. One of the important ills of the society is eating meat of animals, which may have been a necessity a few hundred years ago but no more.
There has been a dominant thought that its compulsory for Muslims to eat meat or consume animal products which is as ignorant a thought as is the knowledge of many of my brothers and sisters about the Holy Quran. This one concept I can say with command and conviction is floated by the high and mighty businesses that thrive on killing animals.
Islam, Quran and the Prophet encourage, indeed make it obligatory for Muslims to seek knowledge actively, to reason and to apply the teachings for the benefit and betterment of the human race; thus Muslims should not ignore :
- The cruelties through which the animals are butchered around in extremely pathetic slaughter houses
- Handicapped and infirm animals being butchered for profit
- The pain and trauma that animals are put through during their lifetime
- The amount of forage and feed used to farm these animals for commercial gain
- The rise of modern-day diseases due to consumption of meat and dairy products
- That all the meat in the market is a result of extreme forms of cruel and barbaric treatment of animals
- That the merchants of the trade are only bothered about their profits and they do not have any inclination to make you more Muslim by feeding you this extreme cruelty
- That each Muslim and each meat eater is being ridiculed by them by creating this artificial and insane concept of humane slaughter and killing
And my sisters and brothers know very well, but tend to completely ignore that:
- Alternatives are available
- Islam does permit you to eat meat but it does not promote its consumption; it mentions along with all the vegetables and fruits, certain animals are allowed for you to consume. However it doesn’t anywhere makes it obligatory to consume animals or animal products, and leaves it to a believer’s reasoning and knowledge
- That we are not living in a prehistoric era where our survival was based on hunting animals
- That we have a choice of either spending money on buying cruelty and ignorance in the form of meat and dairy, or of switching to a plant-based, cruelty-free, healthy diet
- That eating meat and other animal products make us sick and diseased
- That addiction to anything is not good and we must exercise restraint, for our choice will make a world of difference for many millions of living beings, each second of each minute
- That we need to be conscious of all life forms around us and to live with compassion towards both humans and animals.
We really need to shake ourselves, shun misinformation, open our minds and awaken, come out of this “Jahiliya” (ignorance) and stop mutilating religion for our personal gains, which may be as lowly as a matter of craving the taste of the flesh of an animal.
Remember, it is the way of Islam for Muslims to seek knowledge, reason and its appropriate application, and that is the enlightenment and truth, and that is what makes you a compassionate Muslim.
Meat is just not ethical, and it’s not Islamic in the current day and age when alternatives are available— aplenty and abundantly. Don’t let the animals be butchered and don’t become a part of this organised crime that brings only misery on living beings. Give it up my fellows and we will Inshallah have a better and sensible life full of health and joy without the baggage of misery and murder.
Faizan Jaleel lives with his wife, a senior veterinary surgeon, a stray kitten and four street street dogs. He works as a senior manager in an NGO in Delhi. He started his career in the human livelihood sector, promoting dairying, and after three years of this work stopped drinking milk because he witnessed the cruelty involved in this industry. ‘Since then it has been a most difficult but fulfilling journey into the world of animals, and we are doing out bit to contribute whatever we can, from writing to volunteering and pledging part of our salaries,’ Faizan writes. ‘We are childless by choice because when it comes to homo sapiens we think there are more than enough of them!’
Visit Faizan Jaleel’s page at www.faizanjaleelphotography.com