This section of the site shows how being vegan and being Muslim are compatible and how going vegan can benefit animals, the Earth, and your own health.
Pork in Your Milk?
Are you eating “halal” meat? Did you know that farmed sheep have probably eaten chicken in their feed? Or that the cows whose milk you drink have probably had pork bones in their feed? Reports show that this is true for animals around the world.
Mercy and Compassion
The Qur’an is clear about the special lives of animals:
Seest thou not that it is Allah Whose praise all beings in the heavens and on earth do celebrate, and the birds (of the air) with wings outspread? Each one knows its own (mode of) prayer and praise, and Allah knows well all that they do. Sura 24:41
There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you. Nothing have We omitted from the Book, and they (all) shall be gathered to their Lord in the end. Sura 6:38
The Qur’an tells us that animals are communities and nations unto their own and that they are more than mere resources. However, animals are treated as nothing but machines on today’s “factory farms.” Not only are these factory farms found in the West, they are also becoming the dominant means of meat, egg, and milk production throughout the world. Billions of animals are slaughtered for food each year worldwide. These billions of animals are confined to extremely small spaces so that producers can raise as many animals as possible. Ninety percent of U.S. eggs come from chickens who are crammed together up to five to a cage the size of a record album cover, and this method of egg production is spreading throughout the globe.
Chickens’ beaks are cut off with hot irons; cattle are dehorned, castrated, and branded, and their tails are cut off without anesthetics. Cows in the dairy industry are also confined to cramped stalls and kept constantly pregnant through artificial insemination. All animals on farms suffer.
The crowding on today’s farms causes many animals to suffer psychologically and to mutilate themselves because of frustration or stress. To combat the diseases rampant in such conditions, farmers routinely dose animals with antibiotics.
These practices violate the Prophet’s (SAWS) teachings to cause no pain to an animal before she or he is slaughtered. In addition, Muhammad (SAWS) forbade the cutting off of tails and other mutilations, as well as branding animals on the face (which is still practiced by some ranchers).
During transport, animals raised for food are typically denied food and water, are severely crowded, are given no protection from the elements, and can often languish for days before being slaughtered. Many chickens have their wings and legs broken during transport, and many animals suffocate in the transport trucks. The Prophet (SAWS) said that one should not keep an animal waiting to be slaughtered, and Hazrat Umar (RA) once flogged a man who refused to give a sheep water before she was slaughtered.
Very often there are further atrocities at the time of slaughter. One investigative story regarding non-dhabiha (or non-zabiha) slaughter found that cattle were being dismembered while still alive. But even Muslims who try to keep halal by purchasing halal meats may be supporting similar abuses. An undercover investigation into halal meat exported from India found that animals were being skinned and butchered while they frantically tried to escape or while they exhibited other clear signs of life. This occurred despite the clear Islamic ruling that animals must clearly be dead before any skinning or butchering begins.
Meat sold in grocery stores also may not be halal (permissible). Cattle, sheep, chickens, and other animals are routinely fed the ground-up bodies of pigs, chickens, and cattle, along with chicken excrement and other unsavory waste products as a supplement in their food. Some Muslims believe that this is most probably haram (forbidden) for two reasons:
- The animals have eaten pork.
- These animals could be considered carnivorous, and carnivorous animals are generally forbidden for use as food in Islam.
Muslims are charged to look after the environment. The Qur’an says, “Lo! We offered the trust unto the heavens and the earth and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it. And man assumed it.” Sura 33:72
But consuming the products of the factory farm directly leads to the destruction of the earth and the environment. It depletes the topsoil, uses vast quantities of water, and pollutes both earth and water with sewage runoff.
“From land and water use to climate change, nearly every aspect of our environment thrives when we decrease our animal dependency.” —Islamic Horizons magazine
Read more about the environmental consequences of using animals for food.
Muslims are exhorted to eat good, pure, and wholesome food. But we now know that eating animal products is implicated in a host of diseases. People who consume animal products are 10 times more susceptible to heart disease, 40% more susceptible to cancer, and at increased risk for many other illnesses, including strokes, obesity, appendicitis, osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, and food poisoning. Additionally, meat contains accumulations of pesticides and other chemicals up to 14 times more concentrated than those found in plant foods.
“We live in the golden age of vegan products’ availability and forms, which means that you can likely find an alternative to foods that are traditionally part of your diet. Studies already show that red meat is not an essential component of everyday diets and that it’s linked to numerous health problems.” —Islamic Horizons magazine
For more on the health consequences of eating animal products, please visit the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
Islam Does Not Require Meat-Eating
Say: ‘I find not in the Message received by me by inspiration any meat forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it” Sura 6:145
The Qur’an says only that permitted meats may be eaten if one so wishes. Nowhere in Islam are Muslims required to eat meat. Meat consumption is neither encouraged nor even recommended.
Neither the kindness to animals taught by the Prophet (SAWS) nor the special place of animals as described in the Qur’an is reflected in modern methods of raising animals for food. Adopting a vegan diet (a diet free from meats, dairy products, and eggs) is the easiest way for Muslims to live in accordance with the ethical, environmental, and health precepts of Islam.
“As Muslims we are allowed to eat halal meat and yet encouraged to have a balanced and moderate lifestyle that takes into consideration our personal health and the health and welfare of society at large, including animals and the environment. Thus, it’s certainly not a bad idea to replace our currently excessive intake of meat with alternate sources of protein such as legumes, nuts, vegetables—and that vegan burger, too.” —Islamic Horizons magazine
Click here to see fatwas on being vegetarian.
"There is not an animal that lives on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but they form communities like you. Nothing have we omitted from the Book, and they all shall be gathered to their Lord in the end" - Al-Qur'an, 6:38
"Whoever is kind to the creatures of God, is kind to himself." - The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), narrated by Abdallah bin Amru in Bukhari and Muslim collections