Being a Muslim and living in or traveling to non-Muslim countries, always brings about the challenge of where to eat and what to eat. For Muslims who are adventurous eaters, food is not just something to provide energy for a more useful life, although that would be the desire for a real Muslim believer. But here we are not discussing such high levels of faith.
Here we are just Muslims in non-Muslim countries, facing different cultures and tastes and those giant advertised burgers, seafood, various kinds of Italian Pizza, etc., and at some point, we realize that we are not capable of going home and enjoying our toast and fried eggs. That is where we seek an inspiring call, inviting us to eat and enjoy life, and that is where that verse of the holy Quran echoes in our minds: “Say, who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which he has produced for his servants and the good (lawful) things of provision?”(7:32) and thus, we decide to find those “lawful provisions”; The Halal food.
Finding restaurants of all types in all different parts of the world that serve Halal food is not a difficult job these days. From the Far West to the Far East we can see restaurants with a Halal label on their signs. But have you ever happened to ask the restaurant staff if the food is Halal? And have you ever heard the firm reply “Yes, madam. Feel sure. Even our pork is Halal!” This point, my friends, is where our project of finding a real Halal restaurant begins.
In some non-Muslim countries, the population of Muslims in some specific cities or specific areas of the town is quite noticeable. Often, in these areas, the number of Halal restaurants owned and run by Muslim managers is large. We could usually trust these restaurants as the managers care about Islamic law, and therefore the food they serve.
However, in some western countries, my friends and I have come across restaurants in which their managers came from Islamic countries, and so we thought that the food would be Halal. But after some local investigations, we realized that the manager is not a practicing Muslim, and the food they serve is not Halal. Now, what do we do?
Since selling Halal food brings more customers to the burger shops or restaurants, many non-Muslim restaurant owners have decided to serve Halal meat. Therefore, apart from the Halal label on their signs, they keep a certificate in the restaurants, usually hung on the wall someplace all caring customers can see.
Now you might be thinking about how we can trust those certificates? How do we know they are not fake? From the Islamic law viewpoint, you can trust that and enjoy your meal . Do keep in mind the verse that says: “Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship…” (2:185)
Even in some coffee shops that serve sandwiches, the managers have provided an extra sandwich-maker for Muslim customers with which they do not roast pork and other non-Halal sandwiches.
Living in a non-Muslim country, it is prevalent to socialize with non-Muslim friends or colleagues. It often happens that our group of friends or colleagues decide to dine together at a fancy restaurant that may not be Halal. It is understandable that isolating yourself from the group may have some personal or social consequences. What can we do at these times?
First of all, we can remind the rest of the group that we only eat Halal food, and they may agree to dine at a Halal restaurant. But if they did not accept, what does Islamic law say about eating vegetarian or Halal food in restaurants that serve pork or wine? According to Islamic law, if we did not have a choice, we should not be too harsh on ourselves, and we should trust the vegetarian or Halal food of non-Halal restaurants .
Thinking deeply of the verse “Then let mankind look at his food.” (80:24), one may realize the importance of the food we eat and its influence on the human soul. Apart from Islamic law, almost all Muslim jurists emphasize that we should be extra careful about what we eat. Because what we eat affects our souls.
Therefore if we intend to treat our souls and ascend the steps of spirituality, it is necessary to find food we are sure of is Halal. In such cases, it would be good to be fussy about eating in non-Halal places. And if the spirituality of the soul matters to us more than socializing with friends, then better to be isolated for a while, rather than preventing the soul from its spiritual growth.
Fundamental needs of animals in Islam includes their rights in Islam, and human beings have to fulfill them. The very first needs of animals which are vital to them include sufficient and proper food, water, a comfortable place to rest and live, and physical health. These and some other rights of the animals are discussed in this article.
Animals are unable to talk and express their needs. Captivating the animals and inhibiting them from the blessings that God has reserved for them are unfair . Every animal with either lawful (Halal) or unlawful (Haram) meat, with or without benefit to its owner, birds or cattle, should be provided with adequate food and water, otherwise should be released to seek for its requirements . The animals’ rights in food provision can be listed as:
Feeding the animal adequately, otherwise, it should be released in pastures or nature to find food ;
Paying special attention to the animal, with whether lawful [i] (Halal) or unlawful [ii] (Haram) meat, which gives milk to its baby because it requires double food supply . Imam Ali (AS) ordered the alms-tax collectors nor to separate the camel from its baby neither to milk the whole milk of the camel as it might be harmful to the baby camel ;
Not to feed the animal with unlawful food since it is detestable (Makruh) ;
Not to leave the animal hungry. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) blamed a man who had left his camel hungry: “you should fear God!” ;
Watering animal. Partial (Wudu) and full (Ghusl) ablution are some sorts of washing body which are obligatory for Muslims in certain conditions and are prerequisites for some religious duties. Regarding Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh), if an animal is dying of thirst and there is not enough water to both water the animal and perform the ablution, at certain conditions, watering the animal is the priority . Imam Baqir (AS) said that whoever waters a thirsty animal, God will place him at the shelter of His Throne the day that there is no protection except Him .
Hygiene and health of the animal are emphasized in Islam. Providing animals with healthy food and water, a clean place to live and the required treatments and medications are of the duties over their owners. Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh) obliges the owner of the animal to pay the expenses of the treatment of the animal .
It is over every Muslim to consider the rest and peace of the animal. Thereby, an appropriate place should be provided for the animal. Also, a suitable time should be considered for the exploitation of the animal, especially during the night that they need to rest. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) advised to let the animals rest whenever they are utilized and ordered not to oppress them.
These and other Islamic advises demonstrate how much care is given to the animals in Islam. This is contrary to the modern thinking ideas that consider animals as machines to serve humans without needing any rest.
Human beings are not allowed to deprive animals of reproduction . According to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), sterilizing the animal is equal to dismembering it .
An animal raised by a human being has the right of affection over its owner. Hence, it is detestable that the owner of the animal slaughters the animal that he\she has raised . This shows that Islam considers the rights due to a harmonious cohabitation for humans over each other as well as for animals over humans. Imam Sajjad (AS) made a will to bury his camel after its death so that it might not be torn apart by the wild animals .
Animals trained for purposes such as companionship, detection, protection, farm work, etc. have received great care in Islamic teachings such that keeping a trained dog at home is permitted if the hygiene tips are considered . It is narrated that a man who had his horse with him, saluted Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). Prophet (PBUH&HP) saluted both the man and his horse in return .
This demonstrates the importance of keeping respect for the animals, especially those that are trained. In this regard, branding iron animal on the face (which was common in the past among some ethnic groups) is forbidden in Islam and is considered unfair . Also, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) ordered not to rest while seated on the animals’ back .
Respecting the rights of the animals in Islam is so important that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said that whoever ignores the rights of the animals that he\she had owned, he\she should wait in the judgment day until those animals pass over while crushing or butting him\her .
[i]. e.g., cow or sheep.
[ii]. e.g., dog.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 675.
- Sheikh al-Tusi, “Al-Mabsoot”, vol. 6, p. 47.
- H. T. Nuri Ṭabarsi, “Mustadrak al-Wasail”, vol. 8, p. 36.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 678.
- “Nahj al-Balagha”, letter 25.
- Sheikh al-Tusi, “Tahdhib al-Ahkam”, vol. 9, p. 115.
- M. B. Majlesi, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 61, p. 111.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 681.
- “Makarim al-Akhlaq”, p. 135.
- M. H. Najafi, “Jawahir al-Kalam”, vol. 36, p. 436-437.
- J. Suyuti, “Jami al-Sagheer”, vol. 1, p. 102.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 686.
- A. Al-Barqi, “Al-Mahasin”, p. 634.
- Shaykh al-Saduq, “Thawab al-A'mal wa 'Iqab al-A'mal”, p. 50.
- Animals in Islam
- F. Rawandi, “Al-Nawader”, p. 41-42.
- Shaykh Saduq, “Al-Amali”, p. 507.
- Q. Nu'man, “Da'a'im al-Islam”, vol 1, p. 347.
- Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj, “Sahih Muslim”, vol. 3, p. 74.
Don’t speak when it’s not a good time to talk.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no. 10274.
Any day on which you don’t commit sins or disobey Allah is a day of celebration (Eid).
Nahj al-Balagha, Wisdom no.428.
Looking at nature brings happiness.
Nahj al-Balagha, Wisdom no.400.
There are two things whose worth you will find out only after losing them; youth and health.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, vol. 1, p.449.
Do not impose your own traditions on your children, since they are living in a different era than yours.
Ibn abi al-Hadid, Interpretation of Nahj al-Balagha, vol.20, p.286.
Consult with your wise enemy, but avoid your ignorant friend’s advice.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.2471.
The wise, knowledgeable, experienced, and prudent ones are the best to consult with.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.4990.
Consult before making decisions and think before taking action.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.5754.
If you don’t endure the difficulties of working, you are made to bear the misfortunes of poverty.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.8987.
Be kind to the less privileged ones than you, so that your superiors be kind to you.
Muhammadi Reyshahri, Mizan al-Hikmah, Hadith no. 6960.
Rise in respect to your father and your teacher, even if you possess a high status.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.2341.
The world is founded on justice.
Muhammadi Reyshahri, Mizan al-Hikmah, Hadith no. 11955.
The fairest among you is the one who observes justice between people while in power.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.3242.
The fairest manner is to treat people the way you expect them to treat you.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.3170.
Don’t worry about how fast you do a job; instead, observe the best quality in whatever you do.
Ibn abi al-Hadid, Interpretation of Nahj al-Balagha, vol.20, p.267.
The worst homeland is the one that doesn’t keep its citizens safe.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.5712.
You need to have enough knowledge of a deed before doing it.
Nahj al-Bakagha, p.171.
Do every day’s work on that specific day, since each task is due to its special day.
Nahj al-Balagha, letter no.53.
The ones who don’t keep their promise do not believe in Allah.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.9577.
It’s beneath you to make a promise to your child and not keep it.
Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Al-Amali, p.342.
If you have a child, be childlike with him/her.
Usul al-Kafi, vol.6, p.50.
Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is yet to come, while today is a precious chance for you to make the most of it.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.9840.
The heart of the teenage is like an unplanted land that is ready to receive any seed planted in it.
Nahj al-Balagha, letter no. 31.
The greatest peace is obtained by reading books.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.8126.
Find the scholars’ heaven within the pages of the books.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.991.
The perfection of religion is in seeking knowledge and making use of it.
Usul al-Kafi, vol.1, p.30.
Pay attention to what is said, not who is saying it.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.5048.
Try to ponder and understand instead of quoting.
Muhammadi Reyshahri, Mizan al-Hikmah, Hadith no. 3355.
You will be helped, the same way as you help others.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.7209.
The faithful who help the destitute in the hardships and misfortunes of their lives are loved most by Allah.
Tuhaf al-Uqul, p.376.
I found peace, so far as it won’t degrade Islam, more beneficial than war.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.10138.
Don’t be happy about the mistakes of others, since you are not perfect either.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.10294.
Talk respectfully to people to hear respectful responses.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.2568.
Optimism reduces despair and keeps you away from committing sins.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.4823.
What is right is not distinguished by the people; You should first know what is right to find the ones following it.
al-Fattal al-Neyshaburi, Rawḍat al-wāʿiẓīn wa baṣīrat al-muttaʿiẓīn, p.31.
Whoever avoids holding grudges, his/her heart and mind will remain at peace.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.8548.
Be thankful to Allah on your days of comfort and happiness, and be patient on the days of difficulty and hardship.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, Hadith no.7148.
Health is more precious than any other of Allah’s blessings.
Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, p.483.
Women are Allah’s trusts upon you, do not hurt them, and do not put pressure on them.
Mustadrak al-Wasail, vol.2, p.551.
Enjoy your moments of happiness with all your heart to help you at the time of sadness.
Ibn abi al-Hadid, Interpretation of Nahj al-Balagha, vol.20, p.286.