In his talk about overconsumption of meat and the prophet’s semi-vegetarian diet, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf discusses an issue that is often misunderstood and misinterpreted by some Muslims around the world. Vegetarianism and it’s existence in Islam has somewhat become a debatable issue.
In his talk, Shaykh Hamza sheds light on how Muslims should not fall victim to the mentality that “ vegetarianism is not from Islam.” Some people claim that “Iman is not complete without eating meat” hinting that somehow not eating meat is un-Islamic. An idea that is unsupported, as one of the prophet’s PBUH companions was a vegetarian and the prophet accepted that from him. He accepted that his companion did not eat meat, for whatever reason, meaning that meat-eating is not a must in Islam.
During his caliphate, Sayedna Umar prohibited eating meat every single day. In one if his talks about meat consumption, Shaykh Hamza noted that “Meat is not a necessity in Shari’ah, and in the old days most Muslims used to eat meat, if they were wealthy, like middle class—once a week on Friday. If they were poor—on the Eids.”
Sayyidina Umar is noted to have said ‘Beware of meat, because it has an addiction like the addiction of wine.’ Today, there are Muslims eating meat 3 times a day and then they start questioning why they have all these diseases. Shaykh Hamza recalls reading a book titled ‘The Caveman Diet’ where the author who is a non-Muslim recommends that everybody should fast at least one month a year and a couple of days each month. Just like Muslims do all year round. The author discusses that our bodies are designed to be food deprived. This is why we need to transform our food. We need to eat healthy food. We should only eat meat once a week and not over consume.
In it’s essence, the traditional Islamic diet was semi-vegetarian. Not surprisingly, the prophet PBUH himself was a semi-vegetarian as well, and his meat consumption was very limited. This is a fact, you can read it in the seerah. Shaykh Hamza states in his video that for two months every year no smoke would come out of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) chimney at home. When asked what he ate for those two months, the prophet said two things; water and dates.This is why, Shaykh Hamza urges, it’s imperative to change our diets as they are way too high in processed foods. Cancer has become epidemic due to the excessive processed foods people eat, over 70% of people over 40 is gulf state are getting diabetes, so something needs to be changed.
“Eat fresh healthy food, eat good food. – This is part of our religion. Allah mentions eating what is “halal and tayeb” so make your food a source of nutrition, don’t eat empty food or too much food.”
Watch Shaky Hamza Yussef’s Video