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I am a Moslem and Vegetarian: There’s Nothing Wrong about It!

Islam and Vegetarian sound like two words that contradict. Islam is considered to support meat-eating. As a proof, Islam has annual Eid al-Adha celebration where we sacrifice four-footed animals –and of course eat meats with family and the poor. Meanwhile, Vegetarianism has its roots from Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. I decided to live a Vegetarian diet just three months ago and I found it in accordance with Islamic values. However, since I live in Indonesia, I get a lot of questions about my new diet and some consider it as against the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) deeds. Before I explain the accordance between Islamic values and Vegetarianism, I will explain a little bit about what Vegetarianism is. 

Vegetarian and Vegan: I am a Vegetarian!
Almost all people who connected to the internet have heard about Vegetarian. Actually, there are a lot of types of Vegetarian[1]. However, in this article, I just want to separate them into two classifications. The first one is Vegan: people who do not consume any animal products at all. Vegans do not consume red or white meat, fowl or fish. They also do not consume eggs and dairy product such as cheese. Moreover, Vegans do not use honey or beeswax, gelatin and any other animal by-product. Vegans typically do not use animal products such as silk, leather and wool.
The second one is Vegetarian – actually what I will explain to you is the lacto-ovo Vegetarian. Lacto-ovo Vegetarian do not consume red meat, white meat, fish, or fowl. However, they do consume dairy products and egg products. This is the most common type of Vegetarian because the one who live this way still get the protein from egg and dairy products. Some of the Vegetarians do consume fish occasionally but they do not cook eat by themselves; they just eat the fish when it is already serve on the table.
As I told you earlier, I became Vegetarian since three months ago. Actually, I do not really have a reason why I choose to live this way. It is just a sudden call from deep-down my heart. Not to mention, I got a little stress during the first two weeks of my new diet because I could not explain what is going on with myself. I asked a Kinesiologist and she said that my body is the one who wants it. It is the bodily knowledge that demands a healthy life. At first I choose to be a Vegan, but eventually, I decided to be a Vegetarian because my parents were so anxious with my new habit!

Islam and Meat Eating
I believe that the pattern of consumption nowadays is influenced by western society[2]: We think that animal protein is a must at least once a day. We think that there should be an animal meat or dairy products in every our lunch and dinner time. I am not a guy who learns history, but as far as I know our Moslem ancestors are semi-Vegetarians[3]. They do not eat meat for daily basis. The wealth one eats meat once a week and the poor one eat meets once in a year during Eid al-Adha celebration. 
All Moslem knows that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did eat meat during his life. In consequence, there will be a judge that Moslem who chooses to live as a Vegetarian is against the Sunna - . Even more, they tend to judge the Vegetarian Moslems as Kafir[4] since they think that the Vegetarian Moslem are following the Buddhism or Hinduism practices[5].  

Islam and Vegetarian.
I should point it one more time: I believe that Islam and Vegetarian are in accordance. I still pray five times a day and I choose to live a Vegetarian diet. Before I explain this further, I want all Moslems who read this article answer my questions in your heart:

“Although you live in most Moslem populated country, are you really sure that the chicken that you eat in a street kiosk is halal?”
“Although you eat fast-food which has halal certification, are you sure that they treat the animal properly?” watch this for example[6]
“Do you realize how unhealthy food that you eat every day? Do you love your body and yourself? It is a gift from Allah (SWT) that we need to take care of!”

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) always preaches kindness to every living being on earth. Even more, he may not allow us to say something bad to the foods (if you do not like the food for the taste or the appearance). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) teaches us to be kind to the animal. Back then to 1400 years ago, Islam taught people how to slaughter an animal in a good way[7]. In Islam, we should not torture the animals before and during the slaughter process. We have to kill it fast. A Moslem has to perform the slaughter in the appropriate ritual manner, and the animal's throat must be cut by a sharp knife severing the carotid artery, jugular vein and windpipe in a single swipe. Blood must be drained out of the carcass[8].
Islam basically does not promote Vegetarian diet, but if you just realize that meat eating as daily basis is not our tradition, why do you still do that?  My personal beliefs are:
1)      Moslem is allowed to be a Vegetarian as long as we do it for the sake of our health
2)      Moslem is allowed to be a Vegetarian as long as we try to make sure that we only eat halal food
3)      Moslem is allowed to be a Vegetarian as long as we do not regard eating meat as prohibited[9]
4)      Islam promotes meat eating because it is our human nature (look in to the mirror and check your teeth!)

In summary, I become a Vegetarian because I want to live as a good Moslem. I see a lot of Moslem in Indonesia eat meat and fowl in every street kiosks they have found, but they do not know whether it is halal or not. I see a lot of Moslem who get the chance to live abroad eat non-halal food. I realize that a lot of Moslem eat meat or fowl which treated badly during its life. Back to the statement from Kinesiologist that my bodily knowledge which made me Vegetarian, I want to add more reason that I became a Vegetarian because my conscience know that I need to change my habit in order to be a good Moslem.
I hope this article sheds a light about the accordance between Islam and Vegetarianism. I hope that Moslem thinks what they eat. I hope that Islam can affirm back its value to this modern era, so each animal husbandry treats the animal properly.  I hope that we, people in Indonesia can accept Vegetarianism as a new diet.

Further Readings

I am a Moslem and Vegetarian: There’s Nothing Wrong about It! I am a Moslem and Vegetarian: There’s Nothing Wrong about It! Reviewed by regismachdy on October 10, 2015 Rating: 5
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