Islamic Veg

Islamic Literature

I have existence and I value it so much

So have all the beings on earth and they too, try to preserve it

Then, how can I kill even the tiniest creature

Just to satiate my palate?

Rumi, 13th Century Persian Poet

The heart in which love and compassion for all living beings resides, can have no room for seeking after personal pleasures. O friend, take care to do no harm to any living creature; to hurt His creation is to forget the Creator.

Khwaja Abdullah Ansari, 11th Century Sufi Saint

Look at all animals as you look at humans

Rumi, 13th Century Persian Poet

The sanctity of every life is to be saved and preserved

Rumi, 13th Century Persian Poet

If we consume an animal, its blood and gore will make us act like a slaughterer

Rumi, 13th Century Persian Poet

O Muslims, I see you fasting during the day,

But then to break your fast you slaughter cows at night.

At one end is devotion, at the other murder –

How can the Lord be pleased?

My friend, pray cut the throat of anger,

And slaughter the ravages of blind fury,

For he who slaughters the five passions,

Lust, anger, greed, attachment and pride,

Will surely see the Supreme Lord face to face.

Kabir Sahib, 15th Century Sufi Poet

You are diseased in understanding and religion.

Come to me, that you may hear something of sound truth.

Do not unjustly eat fish the water has given up,

And do not desire as food the flesh of slaughtered animals,

Or the white milk of mothers who intended its pure draught for their young, not noble ladies.

And do not grieve the unsuspecting birds by taking eggs; for injustice is the worst of crimes.

And spare the honey which the bees get industriously from the flowers of fragrant plants;

For they did not store it that it might belong to others,

Nor did they gather it for bounty and gifts.

I washed my hands of all this; and wish that I

Perceived my way before my hair went gray!

Al-Ma’arri, Poet-philosopher 973-1057

Please note: Al- Ma’arri is a controversial figure amongst vegan Muslims. In his life he was at times in open conflict with the establishment and in his writing he critiques many dogmas that others held or still hold dear. Thus while some see him as a hero and very early champion of the vegan ideals, others see him as a heretic, or somewhat friendlier as an Arab vegan philosopher but not a Muslim.

In addition to these wonderful examples of classical Islamic literature, many works have been published more recently, including:

Animal Welfare in Islam – Kirsten Stilt

Animals in Islamic Tradition and Muslim Cultures – Richard Foltz

Animals in the Qur’an – Sarra Tlili

Animals in Islam – Al-Hafiz Basheer Ahmad Masri

Religion and Animal Welfare – An Islamic Perspective – Sira Abdul Rahman (In Animals, vol. 7 no. 11, DOI: 10.3390/ani7020011)

Below are some quotes taken from these works:

“Islam is based on principles of kindness, mercy, compassion, justice, and doing good works. These principles are seen pervasively throughout the texts of the religion – the Qur’an and the examples of the Prophet – as well as in many examples from Islamic history. Islam requires kindness and compassion towards all animals in all situations, and I hope most fervently that these rules can truly become a part of daily life.”

(Kirsten Stilt, Animal Welfare in Islam, p. 46)

“By ascribing spirituality to nonhuman creation, one of the points the Qur’an possibly intends is to present this creation, including nonhuman animals, as models and sources of inspiration. In the spiritual journey to which they are invited, humans perhaps will do better learning from other creatures, including other animals, than feeling privileged or superior to them.”

(Sarra Tlili, Animals in the Qur’an, p. 256)

“Many Muslims and Islamic religious leaders are not aware of the cruelty that is routinely inflicted on animals during transport, at pre-slaughter, and at slaughter in many Islamic countries. There is an urgent need to sensitise all Muslims to the teachings on animal welfare in the Qur’an and the Hadiths. This approach is bound to be effective in influencing the majority of Muslims in the livestock trade, especially the slaughter man in treating animals more humanely. This needs to be done by intervention at the highest level by religious bodies and organisations, which could be most effective in giving rulings (fatwas) o n this issue.”

(Sira Abdul Rahman, Religion and Animal Welfare, p. 6)

“According to the spirit and overall teachings of Islam, causing unavoidable pain and suffering to the defenceless and innocent creatures of God is not justifiable under any circumstances. Islam wants us to think and act in the positive terms of accepting all species as communities like us in their own right and not to sit in judgement on them according to our human norms and values.”

(Al-Hafiz Basheer Ahmad Masri, Animals in Islam)

“That which was made permissible for a reason, becomes impermissible by the absence of that reason.”

(Al-Hafiz Basheer Ahmad Masri, Animals in Islam)