Eating meat in Islam is not a right or a duty. Eating meat is a privilege, extended to us by Allah with responsibilities attached.
Unfortunately, many Muslims today don’t seem to care about the food they eat, at the expense of their akirah. This article is a warning to Muslims around the world to start paying attention before its too late.
Industrial meat, egg and dairy operations operate under a capitalist system, not the Shariah. Consequently the only important component is money, not animal welfare or health. Under the Shariah animals have rights. Abuse of animals is haram. If you’re familiar with Islam then you know a woman went to hell for denying a cat food and water and on the day of judgement Muslims will have to account for their treatment of animals too.
So how are you going to explain to Allah on the day of judgement your decision to support a system that is inherently cruel and violates the rights of animals? In a sahih hadith the Prophet (saw) warns us that we’ll be cursed if we mistreat animals.
Jabir reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, prohibited beating or cauterizing animals on the face.
In another narration, the Prophet said, “Allah has cursed whoever does this. Let not one of you mark the face or strike it.”
Yet most industrial animal facilities routinely beat animals and cauterize them on their face. In fact de-beaking (burning the beak off) is routine in all cage and battery chicken facilities. If you buy cage or battery chicken you’re providing a financial incentive for these companies to keep burning these chickens beaks off. How will you as a Muslim explain your actions to Allah on the day of judgement?
Often people will counter this point by saying that while their treatment is wrong, because they were slaughtered correctly the meat is still halal. This might be true, but its a technical truth that goes against the spirit of this religion, just like temporary marriage (Mutah or Misyar — Dont believe me? See what Qaradawi says about it). Furthermore, just because it is halal doesn’t mean you have to buy it, and while you might not be punished for eating the meat you might be punished for supporting the system. Do you want to take that risk?
Furthermore, eating meat every day comes at the expense of the wider globe. The carbon footprint from the meat industry grows with every passing second and the destructive results from climate change are already having a terrible effect (particularly in many Muslim countries). We know the Prophet (saw) and the Sahaba rarely ate meat so why do we need to eat it every day? Even if you argue that they rarely ate it because they were often poor or travelling you need to ask yourself the single most important question:
Would the Prophet (saw) do this today?
Would he eat meat from tortured animals? Would he eat meat every day knowing how detrimental industrial farming practices were on the globe? Would he buy meat knowing his money would be used to support a system that causes nothing but pain, misery and destruction?
Think long and hard about those questions.
This doesn’t mean you have to stop eating meat though, but if you want to actually respect the Shariah and follow the sunnah of the Prophet (saw) then you need to actually know what you’re eating. That means spending more money to buy free-range meat products that are in line with the spirit of the Shariah. It also means putting your money where your mouth is and not supporting halal businesses that source their meat from unethical suppliers. If you have a favorite restaurant that cooks amazing chicken biryani, find out where they get their chicken from and if its not acceptable tell them.
At the end of the day the choice is yours but if you love this religion and you care about your akhirah then stop treating animals like commodities and treat them like our Prophet (saw) would. Talk to your parents about this issue. Talk to your families about this issue.