Islam does not promote vegetarian lifestyle.
In this day and age if there is one religion about which one can be absolutely sure that there is no ambiguity if it prohibits meat eating or not, then I think it is Islam. Among all religions the percentage of non vegetarian people would be highest among Muslims.
I have seen a lot of sites on the internet started by Muslims who espouse the cause of vegetarianism and I have also read a lot of references about Prophet Mohammed denouncing ill treatment of animals.
Yet, I think that Islam does not prohibit meat eating at all. In fact, Prophet is quoted as saying, “the master of all foods is the meat”.
Also, it is the only religion which clearly specifies what should not be eaten and meat is not part of the exclusion list. As a matter of fact, Islam clearly specifies how an animal should be cut so that it is halal and hence fit for consumption.
No wonder almost all Muslims consume Non Vegetarian Diet
What a Muslim eats is dictated by the Islamic faith. Muslim dietary practice is, like all other things in Islam, fundamentally about obeying God. All practicing Muslim believers obey God Almighty by eating the allowed foods (halal) and avoiding the forbidden foods (haram) which are mentioned in the Qur’an and in the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. Muslims follow the dietary guidelines because they are God’s word in the Qur’an. The health benefits (if any) are secondary; it is God’s commandments that are crucial.
Halal foods (Arabic for permitted or lawful) are foods that are allowed under Islamic dietary guideline. According to these guidelines gathered from the Holy Qu’ran, the ingredients that are forbidden for eating by a Muslim are:
- Pork, lard or any porcine substance (primarily because pig is considered to be a dirty animal). As soon as you specify which animals should not be eaten, the simple inference that you draw is that other animals can be consumed. Hence the statement in the beginning that Islam does not promote a vegetarian diet.
- Meat that is not slaughtered in the prescribed Islamic way or not slaughtered in the name of Allah. (Muslims must pronounce the name of Allah on all animals while slaughtering. Muslims are taught through the Qu’ran that all animals should be treated with respect and well cared for. The goal is to slaughter the animal, limiting the amount of pain the animal will endure. When an animal is slaughtered, the jugular vein is cut and the blood is allowed to drain from the animal.)
- Gelatin from animal source which is not halal (that is to say, an animal which has not been slaughtered as per prescribed Islamic process).
- Meat coming from a lawful animal which died before slaughter (again it would mean that the animal died before it could be slaughtered as per the Islamic prescription.
- Land animals without external ears.
- Blood (direct or indirect)
- Any food or drink with alcohol in it (all intoxicant and hazardous drinks)
- Any human substance or part.
- All carnivorous animals and birds of prey (It is because it is believed that what a person eats has an affect on his behaviour. If we eat a carnivorous animal then it is assumed that it would also make the consumer violent and ferocious. Islam only allows the eating of herbivorous animals like cow, goat, sheep, etc. that are peaceful and docile. Muslims eat peaceful and docile animals because Muslims like to be peace loving and non-violent people).
- Some non halal additives
There is no prohibition to be vegetarian in Islam
Having said all this, it is also true that there is no prohibition to be vegetarian in Islam, but any practicing Muslim will come across meat on many Islamic occasions when meat is provided, e.g., the sacrifice of sheep and distribution to the poor at the end of Hajj pilgrimage.
It should also be noted that it is not obligatory to eat meat in Islam. So, while it is not obligatory to consume non vegetarian diet in Islam, references to meat eating are so clear that many Muslims feel it is obligatory for them not to be a vegetarian.
Halal pure healthy meat, chicken, fish, milk, olive oil and honey are highly recommended in Isalm.