Bismillahir rahmanir raheem
Food. We all have to eat it, but it’s important when making food choices to put great consideration into where it’s sourced from and the condition in which it was produced.
In Surah Baqarah (168) it says: “O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth [that is] lawful and good and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.” This is the command from Allah swt for Muslims to eat food that is deemed halal. But as Muslims, we have completely missed the point on food also being good (tayyib). This is bigger than whether a piece of meat is HMC or HFA which is the usual argument we fall into!
There have been various petitions and hate campaigns about the use of halal slaughter (even though slaughter in the Taurah (Torah) is very similar to that of the Qur’an). I can say, without a doubt, that halal slaughter is humane after attending the Al Kauthar Fiqh of Food and Clothing course in Birmingham taught by Sh. Abdurrahman Murad. I firmly believe that if you’re going to eat meat, you should know where it comes from, how it was raised and the manner in which it died. If you can be a part of the process then even better because then you’ll appreciate the fact that you’re taking a life for sustenance.
Overlooking how tayyib something is by just concentrating on it being halal is not what Allah swt intended for us.
Our religion makes it clear when animals are reared for slaughter they:
- should be treated with kindness and compassion before and after death
- must not see other animals being killed
- must not be put in an uncomfortable position
- should not see the knife themselves upon slaughter
Bearing these 3 things in mind, how tayyib do you think your chicken, lamb and beef are?
We should know that on the Day of Judgement, Allah swt will question us about EVERYTHING. How we lived our lives, how we treated or mistreated people and how we treated animals.
Narrated by Abu Hurayrah (ra) in Bukhari, the Prophet (saw) said “There is a reward for acts of charity to every beast alive.”
We as Muslims need to stop thinking that by simply saying “Bismillah” food that you know was not respectfully sourced becomes tayyib. Even if we can’t afford to buy organic halal meat, and I know it can be very expensive, we should at least give a thought to where our meat products come from. Places such as Willowbrook Farm in Oxfordshire may not have a HMC or HFA certificate but their meat is halal and most importantly tayyib. They are the first organic, halal and tayyib farm in the UK. You can order from them online at their website or, if you live in Birmingham, join the Good Food Collective and share your recipes on the Wholesome Living Community Facebook page.
We also need to consider that just because it’s there, that doesn’t mean we HAVE to eat meat every day. Our Prophet (saw) ate very little and only ate meat during special occassions such as on the 2 Eid’s. There is a narration in which his daughter Fatimah (ra) came to give him a piece of bread and he (saw) said to her “Ya Fatimah, this is the first that I have eaten in 3 days.” SubhanAllah, this should bring tears to our eyes. In another narration by A’isha (ra) she said that sometimes a month would go by and a fire would not be lit in the house of the Messenger (saw). When the person inquired what they lived on she said dates and water.
Vegetarianism and veganism are not haraam in and of themselves. In fact, our Prophet’s (saw) diet was closer to that than the diets we have now. The problem lies in thinking that the act of eating meat is haraam – which as established by the Qur’an is not.
I bought this cookbook (see pic), so I could learn more about vegan cooking and how I can reduce the amount of meat I have in my diet. I eat a lot of chicken, who in comparison to other animals, receive the most mistreatment when being reared and in an effort to combat that I am turning to more vegetarian and vegan cuisine inshaAllah.
So, the next time you go for a 1 piece and chips at the local chicken shop, or you buy meat from your butchers ask yourself, is it halal AND tayyib?
Wasalaam – Peace Be With You