The ideal Muslim is the one who thinks, plans, and acts upon the teachings in the Noble Quran and uses it as a reference to every endeavor in life, or at least tries too. By adopting the lifestyle Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught and exemplified, we can see how the Words of Allah is prescribed for all of humanity, not just Muslims themselves. The one similarity every creation has, is its own purpose of existence. All of us specs, human, rock, clouds, bees, and penguins were all created to worship The Creator of it all. That’s it. Many people live their lives, and probably most do, without a clue as to what life is supposed to be about. While others have their ‘made up’ reasons of living life to the fullest without the belief in accountability. For example, as a mother, I have been given the role of raising children, this however is not my assigned purpose. Confusion breeds on ignorance, and ignorance breeds on the absence of reflection. The concept of eating purified, ‘Halal meats,’ is one of those issues, which needs clarification for several reasons. But the main reason I can see is that does not fit the norm of American culture to eat “halal” or even kosher products. McDonald’s, KFC, and easy foods for kids like nuggets or even marshmallows become inaccessible to the Muslim who desires to respect Allah’s Judgment even while eating.
The soul of every animal is a creation of Allah, and nobody has permission to open the exit door of this life on earth, without taking consent from its Creator, our Creator. By avoiding this principle, the act of killing an animal for self-indulgence is an impermissible murder. Needless to say, hunting as a sport for the fun of it, is not tolerated at all in Islam. Because Islam looks at the sacredness of a soul this way, be it human, or a even a bug, then we can understand why those who believe in God as Muslims follow the prescription established in eating meats which are slaughtered in the least harmful, and painless way as possible. Sacrificing a life given to a cow, or chicken through praising God at the very moment of slaughtering, is aimed at gaining God’s approval and blessings; and acknowledging that it’s life consisted of praying and glorifying the Most Beneficent, it’s Creator in ways that may or may not be apparent to us. Allah understands their languages, which we are significantly limited in that understanding. “Bismillah, Allahu~Akbar”. The utterance of this powerful statement “In the Name of Allah, Allah is the Greatest”, is witnessed and recorded as a sign of gratitude and obedience to the Master of this universe, ALLAH, the Glorified when another soul is relieved of this life.
Animal murder and insensitive cruelty that is imposed on many creatures due to poor butchering technique and mechanical methods amongst other approaches is extremely far from the teachings of Islam. We can then understand why hunting as a sport for the sake of fun or pleasure is disrespectful towards Allah and his creation, making it absolutely forbidden; even if a murdered animal is found, it is not accepted in the Noble Quran for it to be consumed, but this is a rule that may be broken under the circumstance that absolutely nothing else is found to eat for survival. All things come from Allah.
There is something really humbling and purposeful seeing or even taking part in the experience of slaughtering an animal. Having been involved in skinning a few was an event that made my eyes stream tears, my heart pound like a rush, and my body nearly tremble. Needless to say, this was not easy for me, nor did I even choose to do it, but my husband made me do it! Subhan’Allah, All Glory belongs to Allah, because it was also in those few events that I was enabled to appreciate my food a little more, and respect Allah’s creations even further. Alhamdulilah, All Praises belong to Allah.
You know what may seem ‘coincidental’ to some, is that even in the true teachings of Christianity and Judaism, the establishment of eating properly slaughtered meats, animals sacrificed in the Name of God has been rendered. Unfortunately today, and at least here in the US, it’s almost unheard of that those in the Christian faith apply this basic understanding to their daily lives or hold true to this value. Most of the people I have ever known claim to be part of the Christian Faith. In the Noble Quran, Allah tells Muslims that we can eat the meats of the People of the Book (Christians and the Jewish) given that they follow their own rulings of sacrifice, because it is the same rules that are established for Muslims. However, 2 points here. Christianity has evolved so much in the practice of its people and even in scriptures, that to investigate their means of slaughtering is warranted rather than accepting it as a given. There is still a large segment of the Jews that do apply these similar teachings of God, but even here questions arise at times of how it is done. Is it done in the least harmful manner to the animal? Is it done while glorifying God? Has the technique or method been altered over time so much that a new technique is accepted as an authentic manner? Clarity is in Islam; the method of slaughter prescribed has never been modified from the ordered revelation over 1400 years ago. However, we see Muslims not always following the ways established. Could it be due to a lack of knowledge, ignoring knowledge, or maybe not even accepting knowledge? May Allah have Mercy on us and forgive us for our shortcomings. Islam is a perfect system and way of life, and Muslims should always aim to strive in that way to rectify wrongdoings. These are just things to think about.
In Muslim predominant nations like Egypt, Muslims don’t worry about this at all, whether a food is halal or not. But this does not give them a green light to take this simple principle for granted. To be human is to love food, no doubt about that. But to eat what is permissible means we accept that Allah knows what is best for our bodies to keep us strong, but even more so what keeps are souls in alignment with our purpose here on earth: to worship Allah Alone. Passing up those McDonald’s burgers and those steak & cheese subs wasn’t too hard when I came to the understanding of Allah’s prescription a few years ago, Alhamdulilah. Praise Allah. All of us, whether Muslim or not should aim our lives to be in an awaken and conscious state of gratitude that Allah has blessed us with, because the more gratitude we express in our hearts the closer we come to desiring more of Allah’s pleasures versus justifying our personal desires of instant gratification. Be it for taste buds, or for whatever else.
In the Noble Quran there are numerous verses in which Allah describes the necessity of eating purified foods that are of accepted and blessed by Him:
“So eat of that on which Allah’s Name has been pronounced (while slaughtering the animal), if you are believers in His Revelations. And why should you not eat of that on which Allah’s Name has been pronounced at the time of slaughtering, while He has explained to you in detail what is forbidden to you, except under compulsion of necessity? And surely many do lead mankind astray by their own desires through lack of knowledge. Certainly your Lord knows best the transgressors.
Do not eat the meat of the animals over which the name of Allah is not invoked at the time of its slaughter. That is an impious and an immoral act. Satan certainly incites his minions to engage you in arguments about what is, and is not a sin. If you follow them you would surely become one of those who associate partners with Allah.
The two kinds of flowing water on the earth are not alike. One is sweet, refreshing and quenches the thirst. The other is bitter and brackish. Yet, from both of them you attain fresh meat to eat, and extract pearls to wear. You see huge ships plough through the waves so you may seek His blessings and earn your livelihood. Perhaps you will feel grateful!
He has forbidden you only the Maytatah (found dead animals), and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that, which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah. But if one is forced by necessity without willful disobedience nor transgressing due limits, then there is no sin on him. Truly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
“…Then, when they are down on their sides (after having been slaughtered), eat thereof, and feed the beggar who does not ask, and the beggar who asks. Thus have We made them subject to you that you may be grateful.”
If you are a Muslim buying your ground beef for a cookout from the local grocery market; if you are a Muslimah who feeds her baby the Gerber Stage 3 chicken and rice; if you aren’t even Muslim at all but loves God, be it a Christian or a Jew, shouldn’t these verses above make you think, reflect, and entice you to learn more about the essence of what it is you eat?
(please refer to the article I've linked to this post by clicking on the title above, I wish I would have read it before writing this!)