How many Muslim, Arab Vegans do you know? 0? 1?, Maybe 3? Well now at least maybe 1.
How it Started…
What does eating vegan mean? It means you don’t eat any meat or animal byproducts, so thats all meat, dairy, and poultry.
About four years ago my younger sister Hana became a vegetarian and it kind of surprised us all. To be honest, and she knows this, I didn’t think she was going to stick with it. Sure enough she did, and today not only has she been a vegetarian for years but recently transitioned into a vegan!
I remember having conversations with her and saying, “Well at least you’re not vegan, thats too extreme and unnecessary”. I am even guilty into pressuring her into adding fish into her diet because I didn’t necessarily agree with her choices and thought it was irrational. Ironically, I became a vegan in November of 2015 and she transitioned shortly after me. She still pokes fun at me.
How I Got Interested in the Plant Based Lifestyle
I became a vegan first for the health benefits and second for ethical and environmental concerns. I say Plant Based because Veganism is an entire lifestyle not just what you eat. That includes not wearing materials derived from animals or products tested on animals. Not sure if this is something I will adapt in my future but its really hard because most accessible clothing and bags are made out of leather and if you have not gotten into the habit of checking for labels and/or became more educated on vegan products -or have the accessibility- then its difficult. Today I eat a completely plant based diet. It all started with watching a few documentaries (I have a list down below) that put things in perspective for me. I originally became interested for health reasons but I then realized not only is putting the decayed flesh of distressed animals in your body bad but also recognizing and making a connection between the meat and a sentient being. Watching videos of the way the animals are being treated in these facilities has opened my eyes to the inhuman treatment of these animals and the inflation of animal agriculture.
Islam and Veganism
Yes, Islam does not forbid the consumption of meat…you know what else it doesn’t forbid? Choosing to not eat meat. I constantly get told that my choice to rid meat and animal products from my diet goes against Islamic teachings and I think that is one big fallacy. First, every action has an intention and that intention is the basis of how God will judge us. I see nothing wrong with being a conscientious person towards violence, harm, and regression. The intent is to better myself and the world I live in, how is that taken as me going against Islamic teachings – on the contrary it is indicative of it.
There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you. Nothing have We omitted from the Book, and they (all) shall be gathered to their Lord in the end. (Sura 6:38)
I’ve been asked why I would give up something that Allah (SWT) has made halal for us. Well, we have to think deeper about what Allah has made halal and what we have today. We have a very shallow understanding of it and I think living in the West where animal agriculture is harmful in many ways its important to delve in more.
“Allah (God) will not give mercy to anyone, except those who give mercy to other creatures.”
-Abdullah b. Amr: Abu Dawud & Tirmidhi
Veganism is an intellectual lifestyle choice, it looks at multiple variables that are in fact destroying the earth and our bodies – both a blessing from God. So, for myself it just made sense to cut meat, dairy, and poultry out of my diet entirely because access to “better quality” produce is either a load of sh*t or its really expensive. Alhamdulillah I have been able to sustain it with little to no issues.
If you have any questions comment them below and I will answer them 🙂
Documentaries to watch: