Friday 13 March 2015

Meatless Like Muhammad? ﷺ

Muslims strive to follow the Sunnah, by living and following many of the actions and examples of our beloved Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ (Peace Be Upon Him). We get closer to God by following his actions, such as smiling and donating to charity. What about following the Prophet’s eating habits? We also strive to eat like him, such as cooking with olive oil and enjoying pomegranates from our trees. We know that if he ate something it must have been beneficial.
However, one of his dietary habits is very significant for our health, but is mostly overlooked today. According to the Hadith literature (sayings and characteristics of the Prophet Muhammad), the Prophet ﷺ ate meat very rarely, and when he did it was mostly on special occasions or as a guest. His habitual diet actually consisted of favorite foods like dates, water, vinegar, honey, yogurt, barley bread, and grapes. Meat was available only occasionally, and when it was he favored sheep’s shoulder/foreleg. The Prophet ﷺ never ate his fill of bread and meat. As a guest he was once served gourd (pumpkin) and meat stew, and picked out the gourd to eat. The Prophet ﷺ and companions looked forward to Fridays, because a local woman served them a meatless meal with a meat substitute. Early Muslims continued the Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ habit of rarely indulging in meat.
As the second Caliph (ruler), Umar ibn al Khattaab notably stated: “beware of meat, for it is addictive like alcohol.”
He once chastised his son for giving in to his craving and buying meat. Umar is a strong example for us as well, since the Prophet ﷺ said, “If there were a prophet after me, it would be Umar.” So in fact, eating little meat is the Prophetic Sunnah and follows early Islamic tradition.

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