‘Vegetarianism’ is now a movement the world over. Many even associate it with animal rights. Indeed, a large number of people consider the consumption of meat and other non-vegetarian products to be a violation of animal rights. Islam enjoins mercy and compassion for all living creatures. At the same time Islam maintains that Allah has created the earth and its wondrous flora and fauna for the benefit of mankind. It is upto mankind to use every resource in this world judiciously, as a niyamat (Divine blessing) and amanat (trust) from Allah. Let us look at various other aspects of this argument.

1. A Muslim can be a pure vegetarian

A Muslim can be a very good Muslim despite being a pure vegetarian. It is not compulsory for a Muslim to have non-vegetarian food.

2. Qur’an permits Muslims to have non-vegetarian food

The Qur’an, however permits a Muslim to have non-vegetarian food. The following Qur’anic verses are proof of this fact:

“O ye who believe! Fulfil (all) obligations. Lawful unto you (for food) are all four-footed animals with the exceptions named.” [Al-Qur’an 5:1]

“And cattle He has created for you (men): from them Ye derive warmth,and numerous benefits, And of their (meat) ye eat.” [Al-Qur’an 16:5]

“And in cattle (too) ye have an instructive example: From within their bodies We produce (milk) for you to drink; there are, in them, (besides), numerous (other) benefits for you; and of their (meat) ye eat.” [Al-Qur’an 23:21]

3. Meat is nutritious and rich in complete protein

Non-vegetarian food is a good source of excellent protein. It contains biologically complete protein i.e. all the 8 essential amino acid that are not synthesized by the body and should be supplied in the diet. Meat also contains iron, vitamin B1 and niacin.

4. Humans have Omnivorous set of teeth

If you observe the teeth of herbivorous animals like the cow, goat and sheep,

you will find something strikingly similar in all of them. All these animals have

a set of flat teeth i.e. suited for herbivorous diet. If you observe the set of teeth

of the carnivorous animals like the lion, tiger, or leopard, they all have a set of

pointed teeth i.e. suited for a carnivorous diet. If you analyze the set of teeth of

humans, you find that they have flat teeth as well as pointed teeth. Thus they

have teeth suited for both herbivorous as well as carnivorous food i.e. they are

omnivorous. One may ask, if Almighty God wanted humans to have only

vegetables, why did He provide us also with pointed teeth? It is logical that He

expected us to need and to have both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian


5. Human beings can digest both vege-tarian and non-vegetarian


The digestive system of herbivorous animals can digest only vegetables. The

digestive system of carnivorous animals can digest only meat. But the digestive

system of humans can digest both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. If

Almighty God wanted us to have only vegetables then why did He give us a

digestive system that can digest both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian


6. Even plants have life

Certain religions have adopted pure vegetarianism as a dietary law because

they are totally against the killing of living creatures. If a person can survive

without killing any living creature, I would be the first person to adopt such a way

of life. In the past people thought plants were lifeless. Today it is a universal fact

that even plants have life. Thus their logic of not killing living creatures is not

fulfilled even by being a pure vegetarian.

10. Killing a living creature with two senses less is not a lesser crime

Once a vegetarian argued his case by saying that plants only have two or three

senses while the animals have five senses. Therefore killing a plant is a lesser

crime than killing an animal. Suppose your brother is born deaf and dumb and

has two senses less as compared to other human beings. He becomes mature

and someone murders him. Would you ask the judge to give the murderer a

lesser punishment because your brother has two senses less? In fact you would

say that he has killed a masoom, an innocent person, and the judge should give

the murderer a greater punishment.

In fact the Qur’an says:

“O ye people! Eat of what is on earth, lawful and good”

[Al-Qur’an 2:168]

11. Over population of cattle

If every human being was a vegetarian, it would lead to overpopulation of cattle

in the world, since their reproduction and multiplication is very swift. Allah (swt)

in His Divine Wisdom knows how to maintain the balance of His creation

appropriately. No wonder He has permitted us to have the meat of the cattle.

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