Why I am a vegetarian

13 Jan

“I am a very strict vegetarian…I just really really love animals, and I act on my values. I am really against cruelty to animals.”

-Natalie Portman

“If anyone wants to save the planet, all they have to do is just stop eating meat.”

-Sir Paul McCartney

I’ve always felt a tremendous fondness for animals,whether it’s a cat, a cow or a horse. They are so innocent. They are not affected by human’s greed and evil. They don’t judge you based on how pretty you are (which happens a lot in human society), but based on the kindness and warmth you carry on the inside. A lot of times, they are a better judge of character than we are! I believe they have a lot of wisdom and things to teach us, if we would only look past our belief of being superior to them.

Some people still consider animals as soulless and without feelings. I cannot imagine a statement more wrong and ignorant than that.

There have been times in my life when I loved animals more than humans. Humans disappointed me with their cruelty and selfishness, and I found comfort in the sensitivity, gentleness and kindness animals were capable of.
I respect the earth and the creatures living on it. I even find it hard to kill a fly, and I try to avoid killing anything as much as possible.

I’m against the way a lot of animals are only treated as  meat. They are born in a small cage, force-fed, and then slaughtered without perhaps even ever having seen daylight.  How anyone can do this to a living being is beyond my imagination. Do people realise what they eat? Do people realise that the animal they are eating might have been treated in a cruel way?
You might say that animals in the wild are eaten too, by other animals. That’s true, of course, but at least they were born in the wild, and not in cages, and they had a chance to escape. A lion will only kill when he’s hungry, while mankind kills for profit. Not only for food, but also for clothes, bags, luxuries,… Just from the indifference people show towards animals and how they mistreat them, you can tell that there is something very wrong with the world.

When I was in Turkey last summer, we were on a guided trip, and apparently it’s a policy of the Turkish government that tourists on guided trips have to visit two Turkish companies. One of the companies we visited was a leather and fur company. The man who did the introduction was proudly telling us how the fur they produced was only from real animals like cats, foxes, rabbits etc.  Oh, how I hated that guy and wanted to reduce him to dust with my gaze. They even did a bloody fashion show after that! Really, tell me, am I the only one who is enraged by the fact that animals are killed (and sometimes skinned alive) for a stupid coat?

Some of my muslim friends told me that I can’t be a vegetarian and a Muslim at the same time, and even tried to hush me when I criticised the slaughter of animals.  I strongly disagree with them. Since when is eating meat obliged in Islam? It’s not. And although Islam allows humans to eat meat, the killing of animals should be done with the utmost consideration to their well-being.  Islam teaches us to be kind and merciful towards all creatures on earth. Islam does not tell us to mistreat and abuse animals, on the contrary! Don’t believe me? Let’s just look at the following hadiths and Quran verses:

“The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was asked by his companions if kindness to animals was rewarded in the life hereafter. He replied: “Yes, there is a meritorious reward for kindness to every living creature.” (Bukhari)

“There is not an animal on earth, nor a bird that flies on its wings-but they are communities like you.” (The Quran, 6:38)

“The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) admonished: ‘Avoid the seven abominations (sins), and for one of the sins he recited the following verse of the Quran: “And kill not a living creature, which Allah has made sacrosant, except for a justifiable reason’.” (Al-Tirmidhi and Al-Nasai);(The Quran, 6:151 and 17:33)

The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ‘One who kills even a sparrow or anything smaller, without a justifiable reason, will be answerable to Allah.’ When asked what would be a justifiable reason, he replied: ‘to slaughter it for food-not to kill and discard it’.” (Ahmad an al-Nasai)

The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) told of a prostitute who, on a hot summer day, saw a thirsty dog hovering around a well, lolling his tongue. She lowered her socks down the well and watered the dog. Allah forgave all her sins (for this one act of kindness).” (Muslim)

The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) narrated a vision in which he saw a woman being chastised after death because she had confined a cat during her life on earth without feeding and watering it, or even letting it free so it could feet itself.” (Muslim)

The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade the beating, or the branding of animals. Once he saw a donkey branded on its face and said: ‘may Allah condemn the one who branded it’.” (Muslim)

The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “it is a great sin for man to imprison those animals which are in his power’.”(Muslim)

Ibn ‘Umar reported the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) as having condemned those who mutilate any part of an animal’s body while it is alive. (Ahmad and other authorities)

On religious sacrifice of animals: “Their flesh will never reach Allah, nor their blood-but your devotion and piety will reach Him.” (The Quran, 22:37)

And here are two sites that deal with being vegetarian ànd Muslim:

www.islamicconcerns.com

http://vegetarianmuslim.org/

And here is the link to the Peta vegetarian recipe database! 🙂

http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/recipes/default.aspx

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