International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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15th World Vegetarian Congress 1957
Delhi/Bombay/Madras/Calcutta, India


ISLAM
Quotations from "Humanitarianism in Islam." by Abdul Karim.

The All-Merciful, the All-Cornpassionate, through his equally compassionate Servant and Prophet, Muhammad, in the Quran has clearly set forth what should be our relationships with our younger Brothers, the animals : "There is no beast on earth nor bird which flies. but they are a people like you and to the Lord shall they return." "All God's creatures are one family." " There are rewards for benefiting every animal having a moist liver."

While animal sacrifices are permitted as a symbol of the continual sacrifice we are called upon to make of our lower selves to the nobler aspirations of the Spirit, says the Quran: "Neither the flesh nor the blood of these - the victims - reaches Allah. What reaches Him is that you keep yourself pure."

So we see again how the ideal of Compassion and Harmlessness is set forth by the Great Teacher, yet many of His followers ignore the more profound teachings and grasp at any loophole that will enable them to gratify the lusts of the flesh.

The Sufi Mystic avers that we are all of one life, one blood, and even traces man in his ascent through the Kingdoms of Nature.

"I died as a rock and arose as a plant.
I died as a plant and arose as an animal.
I died as an animal and arose as a Man.
I shall die as a Man and arise as an Angel.
When did I ever grow less by dying?"

One of the greatest Exemplars of Humane living was the Islamic Emperor Akbar : Col. G. B. Malleson in the "Rulers of India Series;" records that Akbar was in his diet simple, "taking but one regular meal a day. He disliked meat and abstained from it often for months at a time. He was especially fond of fruits and made a study of their cultivation.

"Abul Fazl records that he regarded fruits 'as one of the gifts of the Creator,' and that the Emperor brought horticulturists from Iran and Turan to settle at Agra and Fatehpur Sikri, 'Melons and grapes have become very plentiful and excellent ; and watermelons, peaches, almonds, pistachios, pomegranates, etc. are everywhere to be found.' He adds that fruits were largely imported from Kabul, Kashmir, Badakshan, and even from Samarkand. The Ain contains a long list, of these which the reader who knows India will read with pleasure. It is interesting to find that even in those days the first place among the sweet fruits of Hindustan is given to the mango. The fruit is described as unrivalled in colour, smell, and taste and some of the gourmands of Turan and Iran place it above muskmelon and grapes. The Ayin Akbary of Abul Fazl states : His Majesty has a great disinclination for flesh, is exceedingly fond of fruit and he frequently says : "Providence has prepared a variety of food for man but through ignorance and gluttony, he destroys living creatures and makes his body a tomb of beasts. If I were not a King I would leave off eating flesh at once and now it is my intention to quit it by degrees."

For some time he abstained from flesh on Fridays, then on Sundays, and on the days of the eclipse of the sun and moon and the first day of every Solar Month. Also Akbar gave certain instructions to his disciples : Each was obliged on the anniversary of his birthday to make a feast and to bestow alms. He is also enjoyed to endeavour to abstain from eating flesh entirely ; and if he is not able to quit it altogether, he must at least refrain at the times appointed in religious regulations. as also during the whole of the month in which he was born.

So do the true disciples of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate, interpret and live the words of the Quran.