vegan eidEditorial

Celebrating Eid in a special way, Meet the Vegan Muslims

As much as it may sound bizarre for you to think of ‘Eid without Biryani and other delicacies based on animal products. There are many Muslims who turned vegan owing to their affection towards animals. I bring you the story of practicing Muslims, who are vegans. They believe being a vegan does not make them any less of followers of Islam than those are who are not. These people celebrate all the rituals sans harming animals.

Many people are switching to a vegan diet, even for the sake of their health. Recently, doctors along with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine are protesting outside of Smithfield Foods Headquarter, a meatpacking plant Since May 14. As per reports, they believe meat to be the root cause of many diseases like Diabetes, Blood pressure anomalies and worsens cholesterol.

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Tarza from Iraq:

Tarza turned vegetarian in 2006 and became vegan in 2016 after her pet rabbit “Softie” came in her life. It was the affection in her bunny’s eyes for her, that’s when she realized that the Softie is so much like the cows, she felt the pain of cows. The torture they go through in the dairy industry for milk. She says, “I can’t speak about ‘Eid-ul-Adha’, because I wish it didn’t exist in Islam”.

“Though, slaughtering animals exists in several beliefs and cultures so it’s not only something about Islam”, she adds. She refuses to take harming of animals as an obligation to be a Muslim.

She thinks people should choose other ways to do charity without harming no soul.

She shares, “There is a famous story about Abraham slaughtering a cow instead of his son, that story is ancient and does not work for today because, if someone wakes up and take his son to slaughter because he dreamt of God commanding him, even in Islamic countries that man will get arrested, and everyone will think he is insane”.

Even when her kin is not very fond of her being a vegan, she chooses to be empathetic towards animals and believes they have equal rights to live as we do.

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Naaz Afreen from Bangladesh

Naaz Afreen turned vegan because she feels she doesn’t hold the right to harm anyone, be it any sentient being. Her life went upside down after her bunny Stuart came into her life. After 6 months of getting him, while she wrapped her palms around him, she felt his ribs, that’s when it hit her that how similar it feels to touch his son-like bunny and the chicken on plates. She couldn’t imagine anything happens to him, like the chicken she is been eating all this while. That is when she turned vegan for pets and other sentient beings. Muslims celebrating EID without Meat. “I would be a hypocrite if I loved some animals and harmed the others for no reason,”, Naaz shares.

“Would you say that ‘not having slaves isn’t for all’/ ‘having slaves is a choice’?” Because that’s what people said a hundred years ago. We disregard others’ rights. If we have alternatives and if we can live without harvesting animals like crops, then it is not a matter of choice, but it is a matter of ethics and morality not to harm anyone. Because there are no laws protecting animals, it doesn’t mean harming them is OK”, she adds.

She feels it’s morality to not harm animals, and morality is for everyone.

She thinks to sacrifice an animal after buying them defies the meaning of Eid-ul-Adha, people are supposed to sacrifice their animalistic side and not animals. She feels God wouldn’t want animals to be killed in his name, but he expects something greater and more personal from mankind. Like our attire was lifestyle changed with life. This ritual should change too. It’s a very outdated ritual that should have ended with cavemen. She questions, “had Abraham sacrificed his son for god, how many Muslims would have celebrated ‘Eid Al Adah’ then?”

Though her close relatives don’t take it sportingly, they often ask her why she is vegan?

She often ends up struggling to defend her empathy in front of them. She thinks Allah permitted many things including having several wives, child marriage in a few cases. That doesn’t make it compulsory for you to marry a child, marrying several women, then why do people feel it is mandatory to harm animals. If we still choose to pick what suits our narrative and leave what doesn’t in 2020 hiding behind religion, we are being a bunch of hypocrites. Especially when there are plenty of vegetables at much cheaper rates in the market to give us all the nutrition we need. Then she doesn’t feel there’s a point in harming animals.

“In 2020, when there are lots of crops growing I am sure no prophet would suggest killing or farming animals”, she also shares. She avoids family functions because she often faces people despising her love for animals. Those who are alien to animal suffering feel attacked when they see someone they can’t understand. They are not very considerate of her dietary needs being a vegan, and she’s always bombarded with questions like “Why wouldn’t you eat meat?”

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Navid Kibria(22) from Australia

Navid Kibria was born in Bangladesh, he moved to Australia when he was 9 years old. He’s been vegan for 4 years now. His brother Nadim, a 15-year-old, is a vegan as well for 3 years. He believes vegan is a conscious lifestyle choice if people have the option to be kind for animals and the planet, they should stop the harms. The industry has imbibed us with fake claims for the sake of profit, which harms our health. He believes his faith in Allah, drove him to become vegan. he feels his religion has taught him to be kind to all sentient beings.

Navid says, “I believe that when asked in The Day of Judgement I can answer to Allah that I am utilizing the knowledge he blessed me with to act righteously by shedding my ignorance.”

Islam teaches us to peacefully eradicate harm and cruelty in our lifestyle, so we live in peace with all those we share the earth with.

He believes Eid-ul-Adha is a sacrifice of wealth, material or otherwise, to prove one’s faith to Allah. In the past, when wealth was measured by one’s livestock, animal sacrifice may have been honorable and a true gift to the needy. Nowadays there are more important things that the less fortunate may need instead of meat, and resourceful people should be obliged to help them in the ways they need the most. That may be through a monetary donation, paying for shelter, supporting them with medical bills, etc.

“While some are often understanding and admire my dedication, most however, see me as a wayward and an odd example. However, as God’s scriptures have shown frequently, those who make moral choices that are ahead of their time are often ostracized in their society only to be respected long after”, he shares. Though he struggles with options at family gatherings, he thinks being a vegan is an honorable compromise.

He doesn’t think that bloodshed will reach Allah, but our kindness will reach him. There are many ways we can help the poor and needy without hurting sentient beings.

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Sahida Hossain from West Bengal

Sahida Hossain is a mother to many stray animals for 30 years. Being a Bong, she loved eating fishes but one day, while the pieces of fish were fried, that it was alive once. In 2000, on her birthday she decided to leave all animal products, be it dairy, leather, fur or meat, everything. She feels people should stop sacrificing animals in the name of religion; she considers every animal as her baby, she can’t imagine people harming them. She hopes that people will start sacrificing their bad sides instead of sacrificing animals.

“I feed about 60-65 strays daily and uncountable birds,”, she shares.

Being vegan gives her the peace she is been looking for, she feels content in helping the voiceless.

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Altab Hossain from Kolkata

Altab Hossain, a 32-year man hero to many voiceless. He is the man behind many vegan movements in India. He is working to spread awareness against the cruelty of dairy amongst the public. He once came across a video from PETA, which disclosed many inhumane practices done to Cows for milk. That was when he decided to be empathetic towards animals. It proved to be an eye-opener for him. From hardcore non-vegetarian, he became the voice of voiceless.

He thinks that sacrificing animals in the name of religion has no rational answers when he questions the believers. He thinks people can’t be reasoned with if they are blind followers. He is often welcomed and gets a positive response from the young generation at the time of animal advocacy. Though his family is not a vegan, they have made their peace with his choice of not harming animals, his Ramadan Iftar and Sehri with family is mostly vegan, if it’s not, his meals will be prepared separately as per his needs. He aspires to write a book about his journey and his life being vegan in India. He is in great shape and could be considered as the best example of the positive effects of veganism in our health. “My extended family often mocks me, they pity me for my choice”, he shares.

He has made most of his family members to give up the sacrificial ritual during Eid-ul-Adha. By being vegan, he feels he more close to his god. He feels why don’t people follow all the good things religiously mentioned in the Quran, why do they choose to pick things as per their convenience. He feels selective following is bad, and Islam doesn’t preach that.

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Meet Simohamed Bouhakkaoui from Morocco

Simohamed Bouhakkaoui is a pluripotent activist for voiceless. A Psychotherapist (Centre of women’s empowerment), he is passionate about saving animals and the planet through vegan education and activism.

Simohamed says, “Eid-ul-Adha is only a Sunna that is not obligated, instead of slaughtering a sheep that will affect the environment caused by the amount of pollution produced by the remains of millions of corpses, it is better to give financial support for the poor rather than give a piece of meat, because the poor needs money, they don’t need meat,”. He feels Islam allows us to change with time, there are verses in the Quran which are not followed anymore, then why people are still following sacrificing voiceless animals. There was a time people were stoned for infidelity, if that is not done anymore why people are still sacrificing the voiceless.

After watching “Earthlings” movie, he was convinced of the idea of veganism. He feels speciesism is the first form of discrimination taught to human beings at a very young age and is a leading factor in the awful forms of discrimination taking place in the world today.

He often gets sarcastic remarks from his relative for being vegan. He thinks it’s expected when people come across something extraneous to their culture.

“In the beginning, it was very difficult, and my family did not accept it, and considering it against our traditions, especially on the occasion of Eid-ul-Adha, was always a day of sadness, but now things have changed and my mother has also become vegetarian”, he shares.

He feels the subject is difficult and sensitive, but we have to think about mercy and environmental awareness. We must change our customs and traditions. God values every living creature, and Abraham sacrificing his son is to show how much he was devoted to god. There are many options to do in 2020, without harming any sentient being.

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