By Mza.zakky –
A Buddhist monk named Bowatte Indraratana died at Colombo National Hospital over the weekend after setting himself on fire Friday near the famed Temple of Buddha’s Tooth Relic in the central town of Kandy. The 30-year-old was the first monk to self-immolate in Sri Lanka.
It is a bad issue for all Sri Lankans. Even somebody says his action is good, but in commonly suicide is very harmful for human nature. We all have born to live not for die.
It was with much confusion that I followed the recent protests by some in the Buddhist community against Muslims, the Sri Lankan Halal Certification Authority and slaughtering cattle. I mean, do these guys of the “Bodu Bala Sena” really realize what they are protesting against? Or what actually Halal is? And don’t these guys who proclaim to safeguard, protect and fight for Buddhism understand that Lord Buddha himself repeatedly taught his disciples the importance of a pure mind and soul? And that in Islamic terms is what Halal is about??
In this article, I include following topics: what Islam and Buddhism say about eating meat, did Buddha protest meat to his followers, what is Islamic slaughtering method and its scientific advantages and scientific advantages of halal food.
At first I want to give a statement of a famous Buddhist leader. That is about science and Buddhism (“Buddhism not hesitates to accept the results of science.”). The following statement of the Dalai Lama proofs it. “Buddhism not hesitates to accept the results of science.in Buddhism search toward understanding of ontology have done by critical investigation. If any result of scientific researches opposes a statement of Buddhism we can able to remove the statement from Buddhism.” (Dalai Lama. (2005). The Universe in a Single Atom: The convergence of science and spirituality. New York: Morgan Road Books. )
The Buddha did not prohibit any kind of meat-eating for his lay followers. So Buddha did not prohibit beef eating for his followers. Following statement proofs it.
“In Buddhism, the views on vegetarianism vary from school to school. According to Theravada, the Buddha allowed his monks to eat pork, chicken and beef if the animal was not killed for the purpose of providing food for monks. (But Muslims never eat pig because of its adverse effects) .Theravada also believes that the Buddha allowed the monks to choose a vegetarian diet, but only prohibited against eating human, elephant, dog, snake, lion, tiger, bear, leopard, and hyena flesh.(Islam also prohibits these things).The Buddha did not prohibit any kind of meat-eating for his lay followers. In Vajrayana, the act of eating meat is not always prohibited. The Mahayana schools generally recommend a vegetarian diet, for they believe that the Buddha insisted that his followers should not eat meat or fish.(most of Sri Lankans Buddhists follow Theravada.so we neglect the statement of Mahayana)” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_vegetarianism#cite_note-1
According to this statement Buddhism does not prohibit eating beef. Why did Bowatte Indraratana thero Self-immolate? Why Buddhists and monks protest eating beef? Is it for Buddhism or only for them?
Islam allows us to kill animals for our benefit in this world and hereafter. In Islam killing animal is not a sin provided you have a good reason. Islam give only three chances to kill animals .We allowed to kill animals for 1) for Food, 2) as a sacrifice to God, 3) for protection (e.g. like killing a snake) I don’t need to explain about killing animals for protection but I’ll expound about sacrificing animals and getting meat from animals.
We may already know that Muslims sacrifice animals on occasions like Haj festival or when a new baby is born etc. If any animal is killed as a sacrifice that should only be in the name of God not for any human being or anything else. An animal sacrifice is done only as an act of worship through which the person/s sacrificing the animal intends to seek God’s pleasure and gain good deeds for them. (We can eat the meat of the sacrificed animals but it is encouraged to be distributed among the poor and needy.)
Eating meat is nature of human. Human are normally top carnivores in food chains, so would be near the top of most food chains.so we can’t destroy food chain fully. There are more dangers by destroying food chains and food web.
A great thing to notice is that there are a lot of disadvantages by vegetarianism
- Reduced protein, protein are essential to repair and growth of cells in our body
- Lack of Food choices
- Decreased creatine, has been sited as a disadvantage of been vegetarian
- Decreased vitamins and minerals, especially B12, and iron. B12 primary function is in the formation of red blood cells and a healthy nervous system. B12 is found in meat, eggs.
‘Vegetarianism’ is now a movement the world over. Many even associate it with animal rights. Indeed, a large number of people consider the consumption of meat and other non-vegetarian products to be a violation of animal rights.
Islam enjoins mercy and compassion for all living creatures. At the same time Islam humaintains that Allah has created the earth and its wondrous flora and fauna for the benefit of humankind. It is up to humankind to use every resource in this world judiciously, as a Ne’mah (Divine blessing) and Amaanah (trust) from Allah.
Let us look at various other aspects of this argument.
1. A Muslim can be a pure vegetarian
A Muslim can be a very good Muslim despite being a pure vegetarian. It is not compulsory for a Muslim to have non-vegetarian food.
2. Meat is nutritious and rich in complete protein
Non-vegetarian food is a good source of excellent protein. It contains biologically complete protein i.e. all the 8 essential amino acid that are not synthesized by the body and should be supplied in the diet. Meat also contains iron, vitamin B1 and niacin.
3. Humans have Omnivorous set of teeth
If we observe the teeth of herbivorous animals like the cow, goat and sheep, we will find something strikingly similar in all of them. All these animals have a set of flat teeth i.e. suited for herbivorous diet. If we observe the set of teeth of the carnivorous animals like the lion, tiger or leopard, they all have a set of pointed teeth i.e. suited for a carnivorous diet. If we analyze the set of teeth of humans, we find that they have flat teeth as well as pointed teeth. Thus they have teeth suited for both herbivorous as one may ask, if Almighty God wanted humans to have only vegetables, why did He provide us also with pointed teeth? It is logical that He expected us to need and to have both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian food.
4. Human beings can digest both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food
The digestive system of herbivorous animals can digest only vegetables. The digestive system of carnivorous animals can digest only meat. But the digestive system of humans can digest both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. If Almighty God wanted us to have only vegetables then why did He give us a digestive system that can digest both vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian food?
5. Even plants have life
Certain religions have adopted pure vegetarianism as a dietary law because they are totally against the killing of living creatures. If a person can survive without killing any living creature, I would be the first person to adopt such a way of life. In the past people thought plants were lifeless. Today it is a universal fact that even plants have life. Thus their logic of not killing living creatures is not fulfilled even by being a pure vegetarian.
6. Even plants can feel pain
They further argue that plants cannot feel pain; therefore killing a plant is a lesser crime as compared to killing an animal. Today science tells us that even plants can feel pain. But the cry of the plant cannot be heard by the human being. This is due to the inability of the human ear to hear sounds that are not in the audible range i.e. 20 Hertz to 20,000 Hertz. Anything below and above this range cannot be heard by a human being. A dog can hear up to 40,000 Hertz. Thus there are silent dog whistles that have a frequency of more than 20,000 Hertz and less than 40,000 Hertz. These whistles are only heard by dogs and not by human beings. The dog recognizes the masters’ whistle and comes to the master. There was research done by a farmer in USA who invented an instrument which converted the cry of the plant so that it could be heard by human beings. He was able to realize immediately when the plant itself cried for water. Latest researches show that the plants can even feel happy and sad. It can also cry.
7. Killing a living creature with two senses less is not a lesser crime
Somebody say that plants only have two or three senses while the animals have five senses. Therefore killing a plant is a lesser crime than killing an animal. Suppose our brother is born deaf and dumb and has two senses less as compared to other human beings. He becomes mature and someone murders him. Would you ask the judge to give the murderer a lesser punishment because your brother had two senses less? In fact we would say that he has killed an innocent person, and the judge should give the murderer a greater punishment.
The Glorious Qur’an says:
“O ye people! Eat of what is on earth, lawful and good”
[Al Qur’an 2:168]
8. over population of cattle
If every human being was a vegetarian, it would lead to overpopulation of cattle in the world, since their reproduction and multiplication is very swift. Allah (God) in His divine wisdom knows how to maintain the balance of His creation appropriately. No wonder He has permitted us to have the meat of the cattle.
“Halal” is an Arabic word meaning “lawful” or “permissible”, and the term not only covers food and drink, but also to all matters of daily life. When it comes to halal food, most people think of meat foods only. However, Muslims must ensure that all foods, particularly processed foods, pharmaceuticals, and non-food items like cosmetics, are also halal. Frequently, these products contain animal by-products or other ingredients that are not permissible for Muslims to eat or use on their bodies.
Any food that has not been made Haram is Halal. And as mentioned before, the food that has been forbidden has been made so solely due to its adverse effects on a human body. It is a pure and healthy body that makes a pure and healthy mind and soul. That is the foundation that Islam wants for every Muslim and that is what Prince Siddhartha taught every Buddhist. And thus Halal is the right of each and every human being.
The Arabic word “Halal” means “Permissible”. It could cover various aspects of a Muslims life ranging from his daily food to what he wears to who he is permitted to get married to. The food that has been made “Haram” or not permissible are that of blood (e.g. fermentation media and sausages), the human body (e.g. bread improver from hair and cosmetics from the placenta and embryo), alcohol (e.g. used in cooking and cakes), carrion (that of haram animals and animals slaughtered not according to the Islamic Law) and each and every part of the pig (e.g. gelatin, glycerin, rennet in cheese and shortening in biscuits) and any food obtained through
Ill-gotten means ( i.e. stealing, bribery and corruption). And only these foods that are against human nature have been made Haram in Islam and the rest are considered Halal or permissible unlike the common notion among many that practically everything is made Haram for a Muslim.
Anything that is forbidden or made Haram in Islam is solely due to the fact that it, in some way or other it is harmful to man. Blood for example has been made Haram due to its high content of a toxic chemical substance called uric acid, 98% of which is excreted from the human body in the form of urine. Ingested blood on reaching the intestine is acted upon by various bacteria normally present there resulting in poisonous products like ammonia which is toxic to the liver. Therefore, God has forbidden us to eat or drink blood and has prescribed such a method for slaughtering animals that most of their blood is drained.
[Quran 2:174] He has made unlawful to you only that which dies of itself, and blood and the flesh of swine, and that on which the name of any other than Allah has been invoked. But he who is driven by necessity, being neither disobedient nor exceeding the limit, it shall be no sin for him. Surely, Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful
It is here that the importance consuming meat only from animals slaughtered in the Islamic manner comes in. The wielder of the knife, whilst uttering the name of “Allah(God)”, makes an incision through the jugular vein and the wind pipe leaving the spinal cord intact, thus causing death by total loss of blood rather than any an injury to any vital organ. Were the organs, for example the heart, liver or brain was crippled or damaged, the animal would die immediately and its blood would congeal in its veins and would eventually permeate the flesh. This would mean that the meat would be contaminated with uric acid and therefore be very poisonous. It is also scientifically proven that the Islamic manner of slaughter causes the animal nearly 0% pains as compared with other methods.
The pig and all its derivatives to be forbidden not only in Islam, but also in Judaism and Hinduism are not surprising. It is a well-known fact that the pig is an extremely unclean animal and serves as a host for a variety of parasites, viruses and diseases. There are two harmful worms harbored by pigs, one is “TAENIASOLIUM” which on ingestion passes to the brain and causes epilepsy. The other one is “TRICHINELLASPIRALIS” which passes to the muscles and brain causing muscular swelling and pain and also epilepsy. Pork has more fat and cholesterol than any other meat.
[Quran 6:146] Say, ‘I find not in what has been revealed to me aught forbidden to an eater who wishes to eat it, except it be that which dies of itself, or blood poured forth, or the flesh of swine — for all that is unclean — or what is profane, on which is invoked the name of other than Allah. But whoso is driven by necessity, being neither disobedient nor exceeding the limit, then surely thy Lord is Most Forgiving, Merciful.’
Apart from this, the pig’s biochemistry excretes only 2% of its total uric acid content and the remaining 98% remains as an integral part of the body. That’s not considering the fact that the pig, according to its natural anatomy has no neck. So even the Islamic method of slaughtering which drains the blood totally from the animal’s body is not applicable here. No prizes for guessing the effect of consuming pork or any of its derivatives on the human body.
So Halal is the right of each and every human being.it is good for human health. Why Buddhists are protesting halal? Is it for Buddhism or only for them?
*Mza.Zakky – student of Faculty of medicine, Eastern University
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