The rumors, they’re all true.
I...god this is so hard.
A young and hip Muslim vegetarian?! Allahu-akbar kill the sheep Muslim person? Is such a thing the truth?!
Your reaction is likely one of the two: You don’t mind, or you have trouble believing me. Or, upon learning of my new preference, your reaction follows that of my friend Suhaib: “You’re such a vegan hippie I’m surprised you don’t smoke crack.” In fact, the reactions I’m getting make me kind of embarrassed to admit it: Aunties are convinced I’m full on “american” (likely influenced by my mom’s commentary) and almost roll their eyes when they find out, friends begin with the classical “you know chicken is dead anyway right?” like it’s a Quranic revelation, and my mom hits me with the “at least have one chicken leg...” truly missing the point. In fact, the truth is, I’m writing this blog post as a response to all the questions I’m tired of answering.
2. Why have you denied yourself chicken wings?
A) Health: I never was really a fan of red meat (except the occasional burger) because it tastes weird and because of all the health risks involved.
B) Ethics: What if a superior race that was smarter than us and couldn’t communicate with us thought they could exploit and eat us because we were yummy?
Also, I’m one hundred percent aware that in Islam eating meat is permissible. BUT, that’s only if it’s one hundred percent halal, or slaughtered in a way specified in the Quran and Sunnah in a manner that causes the least amount of pain to the animal (laying it down, closing its eyes, etc). That method is a lot rarer than it seems: halal meat companies are succumbing the the KFC style mass massacre of sweet animals and, according to a lot of recent research (refer to Ibrahim Abdul-Matin’s Green Deen), ARE NOT following islamic guidelines. Mistreating animals is a much greater sin than denying myself this meat.
C) Environmentalism: Have you seen factory farms? Animals are barely given space to move and have to stand in their own feces for hours on end.
3. How do you keep yourself in check?
As a desi person, meat is a lot bigger part of our culture than many have noticed. EVERY single party features an array of spiced, baked, boiled, and grilled chicken or beef, and I’ll admit: it’s HARD. At parties, I’ll take longer than necessary to take the “non meat” portion of the salaan while fat twelve year olds push and shove behind me in line. I crave chicken wings a lot. However, you have to always put your beliefs before your desires. THINK OF THE SAD BLEEDING CHICKENS.
When I’m at someone’s house and I see no vegetarian dishes/ they make a plate for me/ someone sends me food, as per manners of the Prophet Muhammad, I will eat it if i have to. Sure, I’ll offer it to neighbors/put it back, but the goal is not to waste, because that means the poor guys died for no reason.
4. Do you think you’ll be a vegetarian forever?
At this point in my life, I’m uncertain I’ll keep it up in the future. Frankly, I don’t know. I feel like I may try to, but cultural expectations and things will get in the way and it will become harder. However, that doesn’t mean I’ll stop without putting up a fight. I want to try it for six months and see how i feel afterwards. LOL, I’m just waiting for someone to bring this article up if I ever decide to leave pescetarianism.
5. Ok but how do you eat fish and eggs? Fish can cry and be sad to die too?
Firstly, the eggs aren’t fertilized so I’m not killing anyone’s child. Fish can’t experience pain as much as other higher vertebrates and are a good source of animal protein. Also, sushi is yum.
6. Does it suck?
In a brown household/community like mine, it truly does. I’m constantly mocked for my beliefs and called a tryhard, wannabe, etc. Sometimes I want to slap people on the face: I don’t owe them an explanation. I can eat/not eat whatever I want without having to go through a step by step. Every time I let someone know, they try to put me through some islamic debate, challenge me with all these questions they read on the internet, or try convince me out of it. In fact, sometimes a conversation starter is, “ha, Duriba’s vegetarian now, LOL!!!!!”. Which is cool, whatever. But my diet didn’t concern anyone so much before, why does it suddenly?
I hope these questions put your burning desires to rest. The moral of the post is to not let yourself be an annoying prick and let people live their lives the way they want to.
I write to express my passions, views and opinions on different types of cheese, and to heal myself. I am an aspiring law student and hand model for McDonalds. I currently reside in the United States, and study at UT Austin. Most importantly, I wholeheartedly hope you enjoy what my work has to offer.