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The following world religions embrace vegetarianism as part of their practice: Essenes, Seventh Day Adventists, Buddhist, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Many Eastern Orthodox Monks & Nuns, Most Western and Catholic Monastic Orders.

A large majority of World Religions Embrace Vegetarianism as part of their practice:

Essenes Modern & Ancient

Seventh Day Adventist

Buddhist

Bahai

Hare Krishnas

Hindus

Sikhs

Jains

Judaism

All Eastern Orthodox Monks & Nuns

Most Western Catholic Monastic Orders

Quakers

Others

The Ancient Essenes

Diet was Vegetarian

The Diet of the early Nasarenes (Nazarene branch of Essenes):

Epiphanius tells us:

"The Nasarenes - they were jews by nationality...They acknowledged Moses and believed that he had received laws - not this law, however, but some other. And so, they were jews who kept all the Jewish observances, but they would not offer sacrifice or eat meat. They considered it unlawful to eat meat or make sacrifices with it. They claim that these Books are fictions, and that none of these customs were instituted by the fathers. This was the difference between the Nasarenes and the others. . . (Panarion 1:18

The Diet of the early Essene:

Behold the grain which grows up into ripeness and is cut down, and ground in the mill, and baked with fire into bread! Of this bread is Maria and my body, which you see, made. And lo, the grapes which grow on the vine to ripeness, and are plucked and crushed in the wine press and yield the fruit of the vine! Of this fruit of the vine and of water is my and Maria's blood made . For of the fruits of the trees and the seeds of the plants alone do Maria and I partake , and these are changed by the spirit into Our flesh and Our blood. Of these alone, and their like , will you who believe in Us eat ; and be Our disciples, for of these, grown, prepared and eaten according to the dictates of the spirit , come life and health and healing to humankind. - Gospel of the Holy Twelve 32

The Diet of Modern Essene monasteries:

"It Is Incumbent On Aumen's Holy Monastic Orders To Consume Only Food And Drink Produced By Consecrated Effort On Consecrated Soil Of Those Dedicated In Holy Refuge, As Done Anciently By Holy Essene Orders; And Let Sacrificial Offerings Of Penance Be Prayerfully Performed Whenever This Ideal Is Not Lived Up To." - Beni-Amin Rule 1

The Essenes were one of the three main religious sects in first century Palestine and Jesus is believed to have been a member of the northern group, centred around Mount Carmel. The Essenes were also known as Nazarenes, and Nazareth was one of their strongholds, although it should be noted that the term predated the place name. Members of the sect wore white and followed a vegetarian diet, as do the Carmelite order of Christian monastics, also known as White Friars due to their white overmantle, and it is interesting to note that current members of that order based at Mount Carmel openly claim that Jesus was an Essene and was raised on Mount Carmel, even though the Essene scriptures are excluded from the Bible as generally promulgated by the Church.

The main Essene scripture is the Gospel of the Holy Twelve, rediscovered in 1888 and translated from the Aramaic by Rev. Gideon Jasper Ouseley. This version of the New Testament differs markedly from those generally accepted in that it portrays Jesus as a strict vegetarian, to whom other creatures flocked: "And the birds gathered around him and welcomed him with their song and other living creatures came unto his feet and he fed them and they ate out of his hands."

The feeding of the human multitude is also reported, but the food involved is bread and grapes. Of the animals, it states:

"These are your fellow creatures of the great household of God, yea they are your brethren and sisters, having the same breath of life in the Eternal. And whosoever careth for one of the least of these, and giveth it to eat and drink in its need, the same doeth it unto me."

The Essenes believe in the sacredness and unity of all life and many passages in the Essene gospel refer to the doctrine of boundless love: for God, for humanity and for all creation: "Before all things is love, love ye one another and all the creatures of God, and by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples."

Buddhist

"The Dalai Lama has urged Buddhists everywhere to try to be vegetarians." - Don Brown, Spiritual Director, Kadampa Tibetan Buddhist Center

Why do Buddhists advocate vegetarianism? The main reason is "mercy & Compassion", and because we "cannot bear to eat the flesh of living creatures." And our belief in karma tells us that we must eventually suffer the consequences of our evil actions.

1) The truth of suffering: as long as we are enslaved by our belief in superficial reality or Maya, nothing in our life will bring satisfaction.

2) The truth of the cause of suffering: the principle cause of suffering is ignorance that misperceives reality. Awareness of the ultimate reality (seeing the truth that exists beyond our egocentric projections) makes it impossible for delusions like anger and clinging attachment to arise and the process of negative Karma (immutable law of cause and effect) to be activated.

3) The truth of the cessation of suffering: because suffering has identifiable causes it can be stopped by stopping those causes.

4) The path to the cessation of suffering: there are Three Principal Paths to Enlightenment: renunciation of suffering and its causes (determination to be free), Bodhicitta (altruistic intention to awaken for the benefit of all), and the wisdom of realizing emptiness (ultimate truth). As in curing any ailment, first we must recognize that we have a problem (1st Truth), then we try to ascertain its causes (2nd Truth), and when we learn that it can be cured (3rd Truth), we seek to find and take the appropriate medicine or cure (4th Truth).

Being a vegetarian is a good way to practice nonviolence and live in harmony with reality

Sikhs

Striving for an ethical Lifestyle

Striving for an ethical life style serves as a

helping factor on the path. This means that

· we follow a vegetarian diet, i.e. to nourish

ourselves without killing

· we do not hinder the growth of our con-

sciousness through the use of intoxicating

drugs (including alcohol and nicotine)

· we maintain the principles of truthfulness and

universal love in thought, word and deed.

Hare Krishnas

The Krishna Consciousness Society is a preaching movement, and we preach by distributing prasadam and translated editions of the Vedic scriptures. The whole world is suffering from the miseries of birth, disease, old age and death, and Krsna consciousness solves all these problems. One of our prime objectives is to stop the ghastly slaughter of innocent animals. Here is an extract from our Back to Godhead magazine, which our devotees distribute on the street to the tune of 3/4 million copies a month world-wide:

"The Vedic literatures acknowledge that in this material world one living being is food for another, but this does not allow for unrestricted violence or cannibalism or murder. Each living being has a quota allowed by God and he should not go beyond that. For example, if a tiger attacks a deer and kills it with his own claws, that is not considered a transgression of God's laws, but all the great scriptures of the world insist upon non-violence as standard for the human being. (Even if a human being takes his own life, that is a great sin and he has to suffer for it in his next life.) Humans should spare not only the lives of their fellow human beings but also the lives of animals.

"Even a vegetable is a form of life (though a lower one). So while complete non-violence may be impossible, violence should be kept to a minimum. The Vedic scriptures prescribe that a human being should avoid animal slaughter and eat only simple foods such as grains, fruit, milk products, and vegetables. Although the vegetarian is also taking life, if he makes an offering of his food to God, he is relieved from the karma (the sinful reaction). Otherwise, as Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita (3:13): "Those who eat food for personal sense enjoyment verily eat only sin."

Most Western Catholic Monastic Orders

The Diet of the first "Catholic" monasteries.

Following the original "Christian (Nasarene) teachings, early monasteries (and most modern ones) were vegetarian.

"Making allowance for the infirmities of different persons, we believe that for the daily meal, both at the sixth and the ninth hour, two kinds of cooked food are sufficient at all meals; so that he who perchance cannot eat of one, may make his meal of the other. Let two kinds of cooked food, therefore, be sufficient for all the brethren. And if there be fruit or fresh vegetables, a third may be added. Let a pound of bread be sufficient for the day, whether there be only one meal or both dinner and supper. - Rule of St. Benedict 39

But let all except the very weak and the sick abstain altogether from eating the flesh of four-footed animals. - Rule of St. Benedict 39

The evidence for Jesus and His disciples being vegetarians can be found in "early church" documents.

The early church historian and writer Epiphanius, in his Panarion, tells us that there were seven ancient Jewish sects and that two of them, the Nasarenes and the Ossaeans, were strict vegetarians.

Sadducees, Scribes, Pharisees, Hemerobaptists, Ossaeans, Nasaraeans and Herodians."(Panarion 1:19)

Epiphanius links the Hemerobaptists with the Scribes and Pharisees and the Ossaeans (Essenes) with the Nasaraeans. From this information we may deduce that the two Essene branches, spoken of by Josephus, were the Ossaeans and Nasaraeans.We know that Jesus was from the Nasarene sect because of His title - "Jesus the Nasarene" and from the prophecy in the Biblical Book of Matthew:

"He (Messiah) shall be called a Nasorean."(Matthew 2:23)

"The Nasaraeans - ... And so, they were jews who kept all the Jewish observances, but they would not offer sacrifice or eat meat. They considered it unlawful to eat meat or make sacrifices with it. (Panarion 1:18)

The original New Testament teachings on animal eating.

Epiphanius tells us that the earliest New Testament Book of Matthew, preserved among certain Hebrew speaking "Jewish Christians", speaks of the original anti meat eating stance of Jesus:

They (Ebionites) say that Christ . . . came and declared, as their Gospel, which is called Gospel according to Matthew, or Gospel According to the Hebrews?,

reports: "I am come to do away with sacrifices, and if you cease not sacrificing, the wrath of God will not cease from you." (Epiphanius, Panarion 30.16,4-5)

The early "Jewish-Christian" teachings on the vegetarianism of Jesus.

Epiphanius tells us again, in the Panarion, that Jesus, according to the original Hebrew Matthew preserved by the Ebionites, rejected the Passover lamb sacrifice:

"Where will you have us prepare the passover?" And him to

answer to that: "Do I desire with desire at this Passover to eat

flesh with you?" (Epiphanius, Panarion 30.22.4)

The cover up and alteration of original documents.

Because the early corrupters of the true vegetarian religion of Jesus were so thorough in their cover-up, it is easier to find documentation for these events outside of Christendom where the early corrupters could not easily destroy valuable documents. One of these texts is called: The Establishment of Proofs for the Prophet hood of Our Master Mohammed' by 'Abd al-Jabbar. In it we read:

The Romans (a1-Rum)reigned over them. The Christians (used to) complain to the Romans about the Jews, showed them their own weakness and appealed to their pity. And the Romans did pity them. This (used) to happen frequently. And the Romans said to the Christians: "Between us and the Jews there is a pact which (obliges us) not to change their religious laws (adyan). But if you would abandon their laws and separate yourselves from them, praying as we do (while facing) the East, eating (the things) we eat, and regarding as permissible that which we consider as such, we should help you and make you powerful, and

the Jews would find no way (to harm you). On the contrary, you would be more powerful than they." The Christians answered: "We will do this." (And the Romans) said: "Go, fetch your companions, and bring your Book (kitab)."

(The Christians) went to their companions, informed them of (what had taken place) between them and the Romans and said to them: "Bring the Gospel (al-injil), and stand up so that we should go to them." But these (companions) said to them: "You have done ill. We are not permitted (to let) the Romans

pollute the Gospel. (71b) In giving a favorable answer to the Romans, you have accordingly departed from the religion. We are (therefore) no longer permitted to associate with you; on the contrary, we are obliged to declare that there is nothing in common between us and you;" and they prevented their (taking possession of) the Gospel or gaining access to it.

In consequence a violent quarrel (broke out) between (the two groups). Those (mentioned in the first place) went back to the Romans and said to them: "Help us against these companions of ours before (helping us) against the Jews, and take away from them on our behalf our Book (kitab)." Thereupon (the companions of whom they had spoken) fled the country. And the Romans wrote concerning them to their governors in the districts of

Mosul and in the Jazirat al-'Arab.Accordingly, a search was made for them; some (qawm) were caught and burned, others (qawm) were killed.

(As for) those who had given a favorable answer to the Romans they came together and took counsel as to how to replace the Gospel, seeing that it was lost to them. (Thus) the opinion that a Gospel should be composed (yunshi'u) was established among them. They said: "the Torah (consists) only of (narratives concerning) the births of the prophets and of the histories (tawarikh) of their lives. We are going to construct (nabni) a Gospel according

to this (pattern). Everyone among us is going to call to mind that which he remembers of the words (ajfar) of the Gospel and of (the things) about which the Christians talked among themselves (when speaking) of Christ." Accordingly, some people (qawm) wrote a Gospel. After (them) came others (qawm) (who) wrote (another) Gospel. (In this manner) a certain number of Gospels were written. (However) a great part of what was (contained) in the original was missing in them. There were among them (men), one after another, who knew many things that were contained in the true Gospel (al-injil al-xahih.), but with a view to establishing their dominion (ri'asa), they refrained from communicating them.

Prof. Eberhard Nestle, an expert in original evangelical texts, comments on this situation in his Einf~hrung in die Textkritik des griechischen Testaments:

"Learned men, so called Correctors were, following the church meeting at

Nicea 325 AD, selected by the church authorities to scrutinize the sacred texts

and rewrite them in order to correct their meaning in accordance with the views

which the church had just sanctioned."

The persecution of vegetarians and the burning of documents.

After the Correctors rewrote the Bible the way they wanted it to be, which included taking out the portions where Jesus taught vegetarianism, ascetics and other such doctrines, those in power began a burning campaign of all original documents. Those found hiding such banned books were killed and their books destroyed. All vegetarians, according to a new church law, were forced to publicly eat meat at least once.

Europe: The Middle Ages to the 18th Century

St.Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)

Original name Giovanni di Bernadone, Italian monk; founder of the Franciscan order of friars. He is remembered for his humility and love for all creation and according to legend he received the stigmata (1224). Feast day Oct.4.

St.Francis was a vegetarian most of the time although he relied on the words of Christ in the Gospels for guidance in rules for his Order; and it is written in Luke: "Eat whatever is put before you." Therefore vegetarianism was omitted from his rule for the Franciscans; but his biographers, Thomas of Celano and St.Bonaventure, cite instances of St.Francis's meat-eating as exceptions to his normal meatless meals. - Extract from The Vegetable Passion by Janet Barkas, © 1975 (now out of print):

Quotes:

If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who deal likewise with their fellow men.

Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission - to be of service to them wherever they require it.

- Quoted in the Life by St.Bonaventura

All Eastern Orthodox Monks & Nuns

The majority of days in the Orthodox calendar require fasting from meat and other items.

Individuals with no respect for Church Tradition and a lack of knowledge of its genuine ethos might argue that one should eat whatever is put before him, even if this is on a fast day or violates the tradition of vegetarianism which is preserved even by Bishops. They do this at great personal peril, since they thereby defy the witness of the consensus of the Fathers. The witness of the Desert Fathers and various Saints demonstrate to us the ascendency of love over the law. Thus, Fathers who drank no wine would drink a cup put before them by a well-meaning host. Or, indeed, they would eat small amounts of cooked food offered to them on days that xerophagy, or the eating of dry, uncooked foods, was appointed. But this has no relationship to and does not justify monks eating meat "out of love"; nor does one violate the fasting rules set forth by the Church out of what is actually a spirit of gluttony covered by a thin layer of religious posturing. -Orthodox Tradition, Vol. V, No. 2.

When you are asked to eat meat, as a monastic, or when you are offered non-Lenten food during a fasting period, as a layman, you should politely point out that such foods violate your dietary restrictions. Nothing more than this need be said. Anyone who would take offense at such a statement is simply not civilized. And, again, anyone who would use the excuse of "eating out of love" to indulge his hidden gluttony is not only defiling his own Faith, but is also setting a poor example for others. And it is this latter sin which is the greater violation of love. -Orthodox Tradition, Vol. V, No. 2.

Many early Christians were vegetarian, including Clement of Alexandria, Origen, John Chrysostom, and Basil the Great. According to some early church writings, Matthew, Peter and James (the brother of Jesus and first leader of the Jerusalem church) were vegetarian.

Early Christian Vegetarians

The apostle Matthew partook of seeds and nuts and vegetables without flesh.

Clement of Alexandria (The Instructor, book 2, chapter 1).

Peter said, "I live on olives and bread to which I rarely only add vegetables."

Pseudo-Clementine Homolies 12,6; also Recognitions 7,6.

James, the brother of the Lord ... was holy from his mothers womb; and he drank no wine nor strong drink, nor did he eat flesh.

Hegesippus, quoted in The Church History of Eusebius, book 2, chapter 23.

Bahai

Baha'is are not, as stated, an Islamic sect, but followers of Baha'u'llah (1817-1892) whom we regard as the most recent in a line of Great World Teachers which includes Mohammed, as well as Christ, Moses, Krishna, Buddha and others. Secondly, Baha'is are not necessarily vegetarians at the moment, although Baha'i writings state that, "The food of the future will be fruit and grains. The time will come when meat will no longer be eaten; our natural food is that which comes out of the ground. The people will gradually develop up to the condition of this natural food."

Love and respect for animals is highly important to Baha'is and we can even learn from their example in the treatment of illnesses.

Carrie Varjavandt, Secretary, Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Dundee.

Hindus

Why Hindus Don't Eat Meat

Besides being an expression of compassion for animals, vegetarianism is followed for ecological and health rationales.

Reasons

In the past fifty years, millions of meat-eaters -- Hindus and non-Hindus -- have made the personal decision to stop eating the flesh of other creatures. There are five major motivations for such a decision:

1. The Dharmic Law Reason

Ahinsa, the law of noninjury, is the Hindu's first duty in fulfilling religious obligations to God and God's creation as defined by Vedic scripture.

2. The Karmic Consequences Reason

All of our actions, including our choice of food, have Karmic consequences. By involving oneself in the cycle of inflicting injury, pain and death, even indirectly by eating other creatures, one must in the future experience in equal measure the suffering caused.

3. The Spiritual Reason

Food is the source of the body's chemistry, and what we ingest affects our consciousnes, emotions and experiential patterns. If one wants to live in higher consciousness, in peace and happiness and love for all creatures, then he cannot eat meat, fish, shellfish, fowl or eggs. By ingesting the grosser chemistries of animal foods, one introduces into the body and mind anger, jealousy, anxiety, suspicion and a terrible fear of death, all of which are locked into the the flesh of the butchered creatures. For these reasons, vegetarians live in higher consciousness and meat-eaters abide in lower consciousness.

4. The Health Reason

Medical studies prove that a vegetarian diet is easier to digest, provides a wider ranger of nutrients and imposes fewer burdens and impurities on the body. Vegetarians are less susceptible to all the major diseases that afflict contemporary humanity, and thus live longer, healthier, more productive lives. They have fewer physical complaints, less frequent visits to the doctor, fewer dental problems and smaller medical bills. Their immune system is stronger, their bodies are purer, more refined and skin more beautiful.

5. The Ecological Reason

Planet Earth is suffereing. In large measure, the escalating loss of species, destruction of ancient rainforests to create pasture lands for live stock, loss of topsoils and the consequent increase of water impurities and air pollution have all been traced to the single fact of meat in the human diet. No decision that we can make as individuals or as a race can have such a dramatic effect on the improvement of our planetary ecology as the decision not to eat meat.

History

The book Food for the Spirit, Vegetarianism and the World Religions, observes, "Despite popular knowledge of meat-eating's adverse effects, the nonvegetarian diet became increasingly widespread among the Hindus after the two major invasions by foreign powers, first the Muslims and later the British. With them came the desire to be `civilized,' to eat as did the Saheeb. Those atually trained in Vedic knowledge, however, never adopted a meat-oriented diet, and the pious Hindu still observes vegetarian principles as a matter of religious duty.

"That vegetarianism has always been widespread in India is clear from the earliest Vedic texts. This was observed by the ancient traveler Megasthenes and also by Fa-Hsien, a Chinese Buddhist monk who, in the fifth century, traveled to India in order to obtain authentic copies of the scriptures.

"These scriptures unambiguously support the meatless way of life. In the Mahabharat, for instance, the great warrior Bheeshm explains to Yuddhishtira, eldest of the Paandav princes, that the meat of animals is like the flesh of one's own son. Similarly, the Manusmriti declares that one should `refrain from eating all kinds of meat,' for such eating involves killing and and leads to Karmic bondage (Bandh) [5.49]. Elsewhere in the Vedic literature, the last of the great Vedic kings, Maharaja Parikshit, is quoted as saying that `only the animal-killer cannot relish the message of the Absolute Truth [shrimad Bhagvatam 10.1.4].'"

Scripture

He who desires to augment his own flesh by eating the flesh of other creatures lives in misery in whatever species he may take his birth. Mahabharat 115.47

Those high-souled persons who desire beauty, faultlessness of limbs, long life, understanding, mental and physical strength and memory should abstain from acts of injury. Mahabharat 18.115.8

The very name of cow is Aghnya ["not to be killed"], indicating that they should never be slaughtered. Who, then could slay them? Surely, one who kills a cow or a bull commits a heinous crime. Mahabharat, Shantiparv 262.47

The purchaser of flesh performs Hinsa (violence) by his wealth; he who eats flesh does so by enjoying its taste; the killer does Hinsa by actually tying and killing the animal. Thus, there are three forms of killing: he who brings flesh or sends for it, he who cuts off the limbs of an animal, and he who purchases, sells or cooks flesh and eats it -- all of these are to be considered meat-eaters. Mahabharat, Anu 115.40

He who sees that the Lord of all is ever the same in all that is -- immortal in the field of mortality -- he sees the truth. And when a man sees that the God in himself is the same God in all that is, he hurts not himself by hurting others. Then he goes, indeed, to the highest path. Bhagvad Geeta 13.27-28

Ahinsa is the highest Dharm. Ahinsa is the best Tapas. Ahinsa is the greatest gift. Ahinsa is the highest self-control. Ahinsa is the highest sacrifice. Ahinsa is the highest power. Ahinsa is the highest friend. Ahinsa is the highest truth. Ahinsa is the highest teaching. Mahabharat 18.116.37-41

What is the good way? It is the path that reflects on how it may avoid killing any creature. Tirukural 324

All that lives will press palms together in prayerful adoration of those who refuse to slaughter and savor meat. Tirukural 260

What is virtuous conduct? It is never destroting life, for killing leads to every other sin. Tirukural 312, 321

Goodness is never one with the minds of these two: one who wields a weapon and one who feasts on a creature's flesh. Tirukural 253

Jains

The Jains, who are strict vegetarians, practise true Ahimsa to the extent that they literally will not harm a fly. Some Jains will sweep the path before them and wear gauze masks over their mouths so as not to harm small insects by inadvertently treading on them or breathing them in.

According to Jain scriptures, All living things love their life, desire pleasure and are averse to pain; they dislike any injury to themselves; everybody is desirous of life and to every being, his own life is very dear.

How does Jainism view the use of animals for food?

In addition to the cruelties involved in actual killing animals for food, the lives of animals while living are also miserable.

Dairy cows suffer a life of agony: the pain of constant pregnancy, milking machines on their teats, over working their milk producing gland system, and finally the slaughtering when unable to produce enough milk.

Separating the cow and her calf in less than 48 hours after birth is another agony. Chaining these calves for life in a small crate and slaughtering them at tender age of four months is routine in the industry.

Animals raised for food are mostly brought to this world by artificial insemination. Debeaking, branding, castration, dehorning, and much more pains are the facts of life for these animals.

The process of raising animals for food denies the right of animals as living beings, treats them as slaves and inflicts cruelty upon them. By doing so, humans reject all the values, and become very insensitive. As one result, this breeds and invites crime and violence within the society.

Looking at Jain values of Ahimsa, the scriptures list various sinful trades, sinful acts, and ways to limit the amount. Chandubhai Morbia

Does vegetarianism place greater priority on animal rights than on human welfare?

Not really. Vegetarianism is also a human welfare movement. By eliminating an animal-based diet and eating plant based healthy foods, humans reap many benefits. The following are a few examples. The incidence of heart disease, strokes, and cancer may be reduced by removing meat and dairy from the diet. A plant-based diet requires less resources and produces less waste which leads to a cleaner environment. Instead of raising animals for food and feeding large amounts of grain to them, that grain can be used to feed many starving humans. World hunger problems may be alleviated when we stop cycling grain through animals. So, what do the humans have to lose for animal rights?

Look at this Jain teaching: 'Live and Let Live.' LIVE is human welfare, and LET LIVE is animal rights. They are complimentary. There is an attitude of caring and sharing. This is what vegetarianism includes; sharing this planet with animals and not harming them for human selfishness. Chandubhai Morbia

Can one work to improve conditions for animals without being a vegetarian?

Yes, one can. Many men and women, who were not vegetarian, started working towards improving the conditions of animals. They were born in non-vegetarian families and they were raised with animal flesh and dairy products as their main food. A stage came in their life when they realized what truly fair treatment toward animals would mean. They joined their hands with those who were saving and protecting animals. In the process, not only did they become kind to animals, but also to themselves. This way, many animal rights workers have become vegetarian at some time in their lives. If not, they are kind at heart, but still a slave to old habits of meat eating.

Those who are born and raised vegetarian are lucky. Their minds, speech, and actions are nourished for kindness to animals and all other non-human life. Most individuals who are raised with those values will not harm animals, nor will they support any harm to animals. Chandubhai Morbia

Here is a true life example --

My Transition to Vegetarian...

I was born into a Russian/American family and raised as a typical American meat eater. My evolution into the animal and environmental rights movement has been gradual. A turning point for me occurred when I was 15 years old. A friend and I had just eaten hot dogs for lunch, and walked next door to a leather shop. I whispered to her that she shouldn't buy anything in there because it is all dead animals. The clerk behind the counter heard my comment to my friend and asked me if I ate meat. I was shocked. I had never made the connection before that moment. I never realized that the meat on my plate was anything but 'food'. As I realized, while standing in that store, that meat is dead animal, I replied, "No, I don't eat meat" to the clerk. My friend thought I had just lied to the clerk. I explained to her that from this moment on I would not eat meat. That was 26 years ago. My personal evolution continued when I saw the pain of a dairy cow being separated from her calf and realized that the male calves on this farm were being shipped to veal facilities. I then quit using dairy products. I am now a strong advocate of strict vegetarianism for our own health and the well-being of animals and the environment. Rae Sikora("Jivan Sanskar")

Should the Jains use by-products of slaughterhouses?

A slaughterhouse is a product of human greed and hi-tech combined for mass killing of animals. What are the products from these slaughterhouses? They are flesh, skin, bones, blood, fat, hair, feathers, etc. Sale of each such by-product contributes to the profits of the business. We can, and should live without any of these. None of them are necessary for happy and healthy life. If we consume them, we directly or indirectly pay for them, encouraging further slaughter. On the other hand, when we stop buying them, we send a message to the killing plant, "kill less animals, because we still have some unsold products." As our number increases it will result in a tremendous force to close some of the slaughterhouses. Chandubhai Morbia

What is the equivalent of "Kosher" food standard in Jainism?

"Kosher" is a set of Jewish procedures of handling animal products. Since Jains follow a strictly vegetarian diet, they do not need "Kosher" standards. However, to observe a compassionate diet to the maximum possible level, Jainism offers some guidelines to observe, as described below.

First of all, meat, alcohol, eggs, honey, fish, etc. are not allowed in Jain diet. Many Jains consume milk even though it is an animal product, because it is not a direct animal product as meat would be. Traditionally, in the Indian society, cows were part of the family. They were treated humanely, taken care of until natural death in sanctuaries, and the baby calf was allowed to suckle all the milk until its needs were satisfied. Only the surplus milk was used for human consumption, so the principle of nonviolence was upheld. Neither calf was deprived of its need nor the cow had to undergo any tortuous life. But in the modern world cows are kept in factory farms and the milk has become a product of violence. Upon learning this, more and more Jains are now turning vegan. We support and promote veganism. The first Jain criteria, therefore, would be to avoid any food which involves violence.

The main base of Jain diets is grains like wheat, rice, and barley. In America, we have also adopted corn and oats. We also have adopted a variety of foods like pasta, bread, pizza, pita, tostadas, etc. into Jain households. As with many other Asian countries, the traditional Indian diet was healthy, but affluence and modernization has led to high fat diets and unhealthy lifestyles.

However, our traditions revolve around control of the senses. For example, many people voluntarily give up sweets, or other items for a certain time period.

Jain traditions observe certain restrictions for fruits and vegetables. Although all Jains do not practice, many avoid taking roots, such as potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, etc. If you wonder why, here is the answer: to minimize violence. Because even if you pluck hundreds of oranges from a tree, you are not destroying the whole tree. However, when you pluck one single carrot, you uproot the whole plant. When so many vegetables are available without destroying a whole plant, why destroy some? Then there is one more reason. All roots have countless (Anantkay) souls under one body (skin). Our need that can be satisfied with one cupful of underground roots (which would have countless souls) could also easily be satisfied with countable peas or beans. So why kill so many more souls? Therefore, the second Jain criteria is not to eat root vegetables.

You may observe that some fruits and vegetables have only one or few seeds, while some have many seeds. We believe that each seed represents a potential life. True, we have to eat something in order to survive, but we want to minimize violence by taking as few as possible of those multi-seeded fruits and vegetables. So that is the third Jain criteria of food choices.

Dry beans are considered acceptable for Jains. They are a good source of proteins, vitamins, and other nutrients. Although there are no restrictions on beans, the process of sprouting can be an issue. Sprouting is a process in which life is activated in a seed that had otherwise become inactive. This is viewed as violence by some Jains. So they accept as the fourth Jain food criteria: no sprouted beans.

There are many more minute criteria which are contained in the scriptures. However, very few Jains follow them. But, very few Jains would ever resort to eating meat.

Another criteria about foods is that one must strive to eat before sunset. That gives plenty of time for the digestive system to do it its work. We are the creatures of day, so our systems want to shut down theirs functions after dark. So it would be good for our health also, to eat before sunset. Besides, many visible and invisible lives thrive at night times. By eating after sunset, we are at danger of consuming them. So the Jains try to eat early in the day. But this does not go very well with the modern industrialization. In northern hemisphere, away from equator, the days during winter are very short, and the sun sets very early. Even under these circumstances, many Jains would attempt to eat as early as possible, after sunset. Narendra Sheth

Since animals kill each other in nature, why should the Jains be concerned about the abuse of animals; such as for example, killing them to eat?

In nature, big fish eats a little fish because its mind is not developed as much as of human who can discriminate and restraint to a great deal. Humans can also rationalize what is right and wrong and so why should they support abuse or killing of innocent animals? Plus, there is a big difference between natural birth and human breeding; and even bigger difference between animals killing each other and mass killing by humans.

The process of raising animals for food involves bringing them in this world by artificial insemination; separating mothers from their young ones; raising them in cages and confined spaces; feeding them unnatural food contaminated with chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics; and finally killing them at a young age. All these actions result in a desensitized attitude and the suppression of compassion at the conscience.

As Jains, we do have to protect all kinds of living beings. There are different laws in the jungle than in human society. In the law of jungle, the strong ones eat the weak ones, but in the law of society, the strong one protects the weak one. Chandubhai Morbia

What We Wear. What do the Jain principles teach about the wearing of silk, pearls, ivory, and other clothing and fashion items that involve animal products?

All these items are produced by killing an animal. When we learn the processes used to obtain these products, it becomes obvious that they do not fit into the Jain lifestyle.

Producing silk requires boiling silk worms alive. Producing fur coats requires the killing of fur bearing animals. Do not mistake leather as a useless by-product of meat production either. Leather coat, shoes, belts, and purses are made from animals bred specifically for smooth skins. Ivory is obtained by killing elephants. Wool production causes animal suffering in various ways.

Many people believe that some pearls are manufactured in factories, and they are called "artificial" pearls. Actually, pearl is a product of pain. When a foreign particle gets into the body, if the oyster or fish can not get rid of it, then the creature in pain coats it with a special secretion. When solidified, that secretion becomes a pearl. In nature, a very few creatures would have to develop such pearls. Therefore the businessmen introduce foreign particles in the body, and force them to develop pearls inside. When ready, they kill them, and extract pearls, and sell them as "artificial" pearls. The larger the foreign particle, the more pain, and larger secretion, and larger pearl....

By using such materials, we become participants in Pranatipat (killing), Adattadan (stealing), and Parigrah (attachment for accumulation). As Jains, we believe in avoiding all Dravya Himsa (actual violence), as well as Bhav Himsa (psychic violence). So all the righteous Jains would reject wearing silk, pearls, leather, ivory, and similar clothing and fashion items.

Just as we would not want anyone to take our life or that of our beloved ones, we shall not take or encourage anyone else to take life of others too. As Jains, we should live simple lives, without any showoff. We should not wear any fashion item that involves taking life. If we can not give life, we should not take either. Chandubhai Morbia

Education and Medicine

What about vivisection? Do the Jains accept this for improved human health? What is the Jain perspective? Does Jainism condone the use of animals for educational and laboratory experimental purposes?

As all these actions involve cold blooded pre-planned killing, they are not condoned by Jainism. Human health can be improved by many ways: a healthy vegetarian diet, exercise, sanitation, yoga and prayers. These are only a few to mention. It is lot easier to prevent cancer, heart disease, etc. in the first place, then to find cures for them later. Narendra Sheth

How do the Jains keep their priorities straight? Are they more concerned about animals than all these critical problems related to people?

Balancing the priorities between suffering animals and suffering human beings is not difficult. Especially with the Jain philosophy.

According to Jainism, all the living beings have souls, having equal potential to achieve ultimately the highest state of "Moksha". Besides, the animals in question here are Panchendriya (having all five senses), capable of feeling all the pains like us, the humans.

Therefore the Jains have always lived their lives with equal compassion for animals as well as for humans. As vegetarians, they have enjoyed health equal or better than that of the non-vegetarians. They have avoided involvement in businesses that are harmful to animals, and yet prospered much above average. They have built hospitals for humans as well as for animals; provided food and shelter to the old, sick, and homeless humans and animals; and arranged for animal releases from slaughterhouses.

A Jain's proprity would be to uplift his/her soul and while doing so he/she will avoid hurting animals and lower creatures to maximum possible way. Jains would also bring awareness in others that we should not make innocent, helpless animals suffer for our selfish needs. Jains would not neglect animal suffering until all the human suffering is over. Humans tend to solve one problem, while creating two new! (For example, by eating meat etc. humans have caused cancer and heart ailments. Should we sacrifice the animals for experimenting different drugs for such diseases?) It can take for ever, leaving that the poor helpless animals to suffer. It would be unfair. The animals can not speak for themselves, so we must speak up for them. Chandubhai Morbia

Seventh Day Adventist

"Everyone that useths milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."

King James Version of The Holy Bible, HEBREWS: 5:13-14

Ellen White was one of the founders of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. She was a vegetarian health reformer, and vegetarianism and other health teachings of the Adventists are due to her efforts. She believed that the human body represented God`s temple and therefore it should not be abused. She also denounced tobacco and alcohol.

About fifty percent of Adventists today are lacto-ovo vegetarians. There are about 2 million Adventists throughout the world, with about a quarter of them living in the United States. The Seventh-Day Adventists are strong promoters of good health. They have their own publishing company and produce many books and other publications. They also have many hospitals, natural food stores, and vegetarian restaurants. In addition, they have an institution of higher education, Loma Linda University.

Several studies have found that Adventists are significantly healthier than the general population. Vegetarians owe much to Seventh-Day Adventists, since much of what is now known about health effects of vegetarianism comes from their studies.

- Richard Schwartz

(Note from a reader: concerning the number of Seventh-day Advetnists in the world - we number over 10 million with only 11-12% in the United States.)

Quotes:

God gave our first parents the food He designed that the race should eat. It was contrary to His plan to have the life of any creature taken. There was to be no death in Eden. The fruit of the trees in the garden was the food man's wants required. - 1864

The majority of the diseases which the human family have been and still are suffering under, they have created by ignorance of their own organic health, and work perseveringly to tear themselves to pieces, and when broken down and debilitated in body and mind, send for the doctor and drug themselves to death. - 1866

The diet of animals is vegetables and grains. Must the vegetables be animalized, must they be incorporated into the system of animals, before we get them? Must we obtain our vegetable diet by eating the flesh of dead creatures? God provided fruit in its natural state for our first parents. He gave to Adam charge over the garden, to dress it, and to care for it, saying, "To you it shall be for meat." One animal was not to destroy another animal for food. - 1896

Let our ministers and canvassers step under the banners of strict temperance. Never be ashamed to say, "No thank you; I do not eat meat. I have conscientious scruples against eating the flesh of dead animals. - 1901

Flesh was never the best food; but its use is now doubly objectionable, since disease in animals is so rapidly increasing. - 1902

Animals are becoming more diseased and it will not be long until animal food will be discarded by many besides Seventh-day Adventists. Foods that are healthful and life sustaining are to be prepared, so that men and women will not need to eat meat. - 1902

Vegetables, fruits, and grains should compose our diet. Not an ounce of flesh meat should enter our stomachs. The eating of flesh is unnatural. We are to return to God's original purpose in the creation of man. - 1903

The moral evils of a flesh diet are not less marked than are the physical ills. Flesh food is injurious to health, and whatever affects the body has a corresponding effect on the mind and the soul. Think of the cruelty to animals meat-eating involves, and its effect on those who inflict and those who behold it. How it destroys the tenderness with which we should regard those creatures of God! - 1905

Animals are often transported long distances and subjected to great suffering in reaching a market. Taken from the green pastures and traveling for weary miles over the hot, dusty roads, or crowded into filthy cars, feverish and exhausted, often for many hours deprived of food and water, the poor creatures are driven to their death, that human beings may feast on the carcasses. - 1905

It is a mistake to suppose that muscular strength depends on the use of animal food. The needs of the system can be better supplied, and more vigorous health can be enjoyed, without its use. The grains, with fruits, nuts, and vegetables, contain all the nutritive properties necessary to make good blood. These elements are not so well or so fully supplied by a flesh diet. Had the use of flesh been essential to health and strength, animal food would have been included in the diet appointed man in the beginning. - 1905

Those who eat flesh are but eating grains and vegetables at second hand; for the animal receives from these things the nutrition that produces growth. The life that was in the grains and the vegetables passes into the eater. We receive it by eating the flesh of the animal. How much better to get it direct by eating the food that God provided for our use! - 1905

Quakers

Friends and Vegetarianism - by Andrew Linzey.

Friends assert that there is that of God in every person. But do we restrict ourselves only to human beings? What about the other creatures on the earth? Do they not also have intrinsic worth? Why do many Friends regard eating animal flesh as a necessity? How can we justify continuing to support the enslavement, torture and slaughter of billions of farm animals?

We are taught from early infancy that eating meat is a perfectly normal and natural human activity. But is this true? If we compare our anatomy with that of carnivores, we discover several significant differences. For instance, whilst carnivores are able to deal adequately with the large amounts of uric acid produced from the digestion of flesh, we cannot do so and it acts as a poison, giving rise to diseases such as rheumatism and arthritis.

If meat eating were unnatural for human beings, it would be expected that vegetarians as a group would be healthier than their meat eating counterparts and in fact this is the case. Scientific studies, using representative samples of the two groups, demonstrate this conclusively. Gallstones, varicose veins, peptic ulcers and other “Western†diseases, are far more common among meat eaters, while vegetarians have 30 per cent. less incidence of coronary illness.

There is absolutely no doubt that eating meat is not a necessary part of a healthy diet. That being so, how can anyone justify using vast areas of precious land for animal farming? To produce a similar quantity of food of the same notional nutritive value we need an area of land more than ten times larger in size for meat production than for crop growing.

Friends are concerned about undernourishment and starvation in the financially poorer countries of the world. Yet meat eating is one of the main contributory factors responsible for perpetuating this state of affairs. A great deal of food is imported into the United Kingdom to feed our farm animals. If everyone were to adopt a vegetarian diet worldwide, there would be twice as much food released for human consumption than is needed to feed the world’s hungry. Farm animals consume 40 per cent. of the world’s cereals.

Traditional farming practices can no longer satisfy the huge demand for meat. Farm animals are treated like machines, the only reason for their existence being a utilitarian one. Factory farming has become the norm and causes untold suffering and brutality.

Pastoral farming has been the cause of massive soil erosion throughout the world. One of the main reasons for the destruction of tropical rain forests, with the very great loss of unique plant and animal life, is to make huge beef farms. The stripping of bark by goats in countries such as Ethiopia causes large-scale tree death with consequent soil erosion. Animal farming also involves huge demands for water. This tends further to lower the water table in areas of the world which already have a drop in rainfall due to deforestation, causing further drought and famine.

If we want to eat meat, someone has to kill the animals for us. A visit to a modern slaughterhouse is a truly terrible experience. Any person who chooses to work there on our behalf cannot help but become dehumanised to a certain extent as a result. Farm animals have done no harm to us. We care for them, teach them to trust us, and then because of our desire for the taste of animal flesh we take their lives from them.

John Woolman said “To say we love God as unseen and at the same time exercise cruelty towards the least creature moving by his life or by life derived from him is a contradiction in itselfâ€. It is not such a very big step from justifying the quite needless mass slaughter of simple sentient creatures to condoning the killing of human beings. We already have blood on our hands. Indeed killing animals for food could be said to be the primary form of human violence. As Albert Schweitzer said, “Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.â€

Friends have a long history of involvement in the alleviation of human suffering and concern for animal welfare. Are we truly sensitive to that of God in us if we refuse to extend that compassion to the other forms of animal life with which we share this planet? Can it be right to view the Peace Testimony from a purely anthropocentric standpoint?

“I have no doubt,†said Thoreau, “that it is part of the destiny of the human race to leave off eating animals†— a sentiment expressed by many great peacemakers, including Tolstoy and Gandhi."

Judaism

Isaac ha-Levi Herzog, wrote:

Jews will move increasingly to vegetarianism out of their own deepening knowledge of what their tradition commands...Man's carnivorous nature is not taken for granted or praised in the fundamental teachings of Judaism...A whole galaxy of central rabbinic and spiritual leaders...has been affirming vegetarianism as the ultimate meaning of Jewish moral teaching. (Most Jews are not Vegetarians!)

Hebrew

Ani tsimchoni(t) - I am a (fe)male vegetarian.

V'ani lo ochel(et) chalav o g'vinah. - And I don't eat milk or cheese.

Ani lo ochel(et) dagim. - I don't eat fish

Ani ohev(et) chayot, az ani lo ochel otam [accent on last syllables] - I love animals, so I don't eat them

Islam Vegetarians

The purpose of this site ( http://www.islamveg.com)is to show what many Muslims have long suspected: eating meat, dairy products, and eggs conflicts with Islamic teachings of kindness to animals. Not only that, animal industries are responsible for vast environmental pollution and destruction and also contribute to many deadly human diseases.

(Most Muslims are not Vegetarians!)

Moslem Druses of Lebanon are vegetarian. :o

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Fatwas on Vegetarianism

Many Muslim jurists have issued legal rulings that show vegetarianism is certainly permitted in Islam. Please see those below for a small sample of rulings from across the spectrum of Muslim jurists.

Some fatwas on vegetarianism:

Hamza Yusuf

Hamza Yusuf on eating meat (from the audio tape "The Science of Shari'ah" - click here to buy ):

"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."

"So traditionally Muslims were semi-vegetarians. The Prophet was, I mean, technically, the Prophet (SAWS) was in that category. He was not a meat-eater. Most of his meals did not have meat in them. And the proof of that is clearly in the Muwatta—when Sayyidina Umar says, 'Beware of meat, because it has an addiction like the addiction of wine.' And the other hadith in the Muwatta—there is a chapter called 'Bab al-Laham,' the chapter of laham, the chapter of meat. Both are from Sayyidina Umar. And Umar, during his khilafa, prohibited people from eating meat two days in a row. He only allowed them to eat [it] every other day. And the khalifa has that right to do that. He did not let people eat meat every day … he saw one man eating meat every day, and he said to him, 'Every time you get hungry you go out and buy meat? Right? In other words, every time your nafs wants meat, you go out and buy it?' He said, 'Yeah, Amir al-Mumineen, ana qaram,' which in Arabic, 'qaram' means 'I love meat'—he's a carnivore, he loves meat. And Sayyidina Umar said, 'It would be better for you to roll up your tummy a little bit so that other people can eat.'"

"Now Umar, if there was a prophet after the Prophet, it would have been Umar. And that is really verging on prophecy, that statement. Because if you study the modern meat industry, you will find out that a lot of the famine in the world is a direct result of the overconsumption of meat in countries like the United States and Canada and Europe, because the amount of grain needed to produce 1 pound of meat, right, is much greater than the amount you need to produce grain itself. And beef in particular—I really recommend Rifkin's book Beyond Beef. It's an extraordinary book. And it's interesting 'Baqara' is also a chapter of the Qur'an ('kill the cow'), because beef-eating societies just have massive impact on the environment, on natural resources, on all these things. And traditionally the Muslims were not cow-eaters, they were sheep and lamb [-eaters] when they did eat meat."

Mufti Ebrahim Desai

A Muslim may be a vegetarian. However, he should not regard eating meat as prohibited.

And Allah Taãla knows best.

Was salaam.

—Mufti Ebrahim Desai

Fatwa Department

Islam.tc

Sayyid Fadhlullah

Vegetarianism is halal.

Meat is not compulsory.

Any food is permissible provided it is not harmful.

Muslims are free to eat whatever they want provided it is halal.

"It is like wanting to eat a certain fruit and not the other." Sayyid Fadlallah

—Summation of answer given by the Honorable Sayyid Fadhlullah during an online Q&A session, December 1, 2001

Wa Alaikum Salaam wa Rahmatullah,

Muzammil Siddiqi

You are right that the matter of halal and haram is only the authority of Allah (SWT) as we are not allowed to make any halal haram, we are also not allowed to make any haram halal. Allah has created some animals for our food as Allah says in the Qur'an in surat an-Nahl, “And cattle He has created for you. From them you drive wont and numerous benefits and of their meat, you eat.†(16:5-8)

Muslims do recognize animal rights, and animal rights means that we should not abuse them, torture them, and when we have to use them for meat, we should slaughter them with a sharp knife, mentioning the name of Allah (SWT). The Prophet (SAAWS) said, “Allah has prescribed goodness (ihsan) in everything. When you sacrifice, sacrifice well. Let you sharpen your knife and make it easy for the animal to be slaughtered.â€

So, Muslims are not vegetarianists. However, if someone prefers to eat vegetables, then they are allowed to do so. Allah has given us permission to eat meat of slaughtered animals, but He has not made it obligatory upon us.

—Muzammil Siddiqi

Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid

Wa`alykum As-Salaamu Warahmatullahi Wabarakaatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Welcome to the fold of Islam! We pray to Allah to make you a good Muslim. As for your question, there is nothing wrong with being a vegetarian or not eating animal products, but you need to be aware of the following:

You should not think that these things are Haraam (forbidden), because Almighty Allah says: “O ye who believe! Make not unlawful the good things, which Allah hath made lawful for you, but commit no excess: for Allah loveth not those given to excess.†(Al-Maa’idah: 87)

“Say: who hath forbidden the beautiful (gifts) of Allah, which He hath produced for his servants, and the things, clean and pure (which He hath provided) for sustenance? Say they are, in the life of this world, for those who believe, (and) purely for them on the Day of Judgment thus do we explain the Signs in detail for those who understand.†(Al-`Araaf: 32)

“Say: see ye what things Allah hath sent down to you for sustenance? Yet ye hold forbidden some things thereof and (some things) lawful. Say: hath Allah indeed permitted you, or do ye invent (things) to attribute to Allah?†(Yoonus: 59)

One should not think that it is better to abstain from eating these foods, that doing so will be rewarded, or that being a vegetarian is closer to Allah than not, and so on. It is not permitted to draw closer to Allah in this way. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, who is the best of mankind and the closest to Allah, used to eat meat and honey and drink milk. When one of his Companions wanted to give up meat, he told him that this was wrong. Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, reports that there was a group of the Companions of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, one of whom said, “I will never marry womenâ€; another said, “I will not eat meatâ€; a third said, “I will not sleep on a bedâ€; and a fourth said, “I will fast and never break my fast.†When the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, was informed about this, he praised and thanked Allah, then said:

“What is wrong with the people who say such and such? I pray and I sleep; I fast and I break my fast; and I marry women. Whoever deviates from my Sunnah (way) does not belong to me.†(Reported by An-Nasaa’i).

There is a great difference between not eating a certain kind of food because of not liking it, or one has been put off it—for example by seeing an animal slaughtered when one was a child, which may leave the person with a distaste for meat—and other similar reasons, and thinking that meat is Haraam by abstaining from it is an act of worship, as the Brahmins, monks and others do.

Once this matter is clear in your mind, there is nothing wrong with not eating food that you do not like. We ask Allah to give you the strength to do good deeds and to protect you from every evil. It is only Allah Who guides to the Straight Path.

(Based on a Fatwa given by Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid, www. Islam-qa.com)

—Islam Online Fatwa Committee

www.IslamOnline.net

A member of Islamic Concern for Animals asked the following question of several leading ulema via their online question-and-answer sections:

I am a convert to Islam, mash’a allah. I grew up as a vegetarian, I am an athlete, and feel very healthy and strong. Is it halal to be vegetarian?

Ayatullah Sayyid Khamanei

“Bismihi Ta`ala

According to Islamic law (shar`) there is no objection to it. However, eating meat is permissible in Islamic law although eating too much is reprehensible (makruh). Wallahul`Alim.â€

Sayyid Nasrallah

“In the Name of Allah

There is no problem in that.â€

Ayatullah Shirazi

“Being vegetarian is OK and halal, and in fact we have hadith in Islam that encourages us to eat less meat.â€

Why are you singling out 'Eid sacrifice? What about Christmas and Thanksgiving?

We fully agree that Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other non-Muslim holidays entail a sacrifice of animals even exceeding that of any 'Eid. The article on our Web site was written by a Muslim to other members of the Ummah to explore animal sacrifice within Islam. We are equally concerned with the cruelty inflicted upon animals during the

non-Muslim holidays.

From islamveg site

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We will now consider another aspect of Essene theology: VEGETARIANISM. The ancient Essene New Testament makes clear that JESUS WAS A VEGETARIAN, and that vegetarianism was a central aspect of his doctrine, an ABSOLUTE REQUIREMENT OF DISCIPLESHIP. Vegetarianism was REQUIRED by Jesus of any person who wanted to become his disciple. In "Holy Twelve" we read:

Jesus said:

"Verily I say unto you, they who partake of benefits which are gotten by wronging one of God's creatures, cannot be righteous; nor can they understand holy things, or teach the mysteries of the kingdom, whose hands are stained with blood, or whose mouths are defiled with flesh.

"God giveth the grains and the fruits of the earth for food; and for righteous man truly there is no other lawful sustenance for the body....

"Wherefore I say unto all who desire to be my disciples, keep your hands from bloodshed and let no flesh meat enter your mouths; for God is just and bountiful, who ordaineth that man shall live by the fruits and seeds of the earth alone."

In another verse of the same manuscript, Jesus declares:

"I am come to end the sacrifices and feasts of blood, and if ye cease not offering and eating of flesh and blood, the wrath of God shall not cease from you, even as it came to your fathers in the wilderness, who lusted for flesh, and they ate to their content, and were filled with rottenness, and the plague consumed them.

"And I say unto you, though ye be gathered together in my bosom, if ye keep not my commandments I will cast you forth; for, if ye keep not the lesser mysteries, who shall give you the greater?

"He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much."

So, according to Jesus, vegetarianism is one of the "lesser mysteries" of the spiritual life, an ABSOLUTE REQUIREMENT for becoming a disciple of Jesus, and a prerequisite to being trusted with the "greater mysteries" of the universe.

In another verse from "Holy Twelve", Jesus makes clear that flesh-eathers are to be welcomed into our "outer-circle" church activities, but cannot participate in "inner-circle" activities until they become vegetarian:

"A disciple of Jesus asked him a question, saying 'Master, if there come to us any that eat flesh ... shall we receive them?'

"And Jesus said unto him, 'Let such abide in the outer court till they cleanse themselves from these grosser evils; for till they perceive, and repent of these, they are not fit to receive the higher mysteries.'"

Of course, Jesus practiced what he preached: he was himself a vegetarian:

Jesus said:

"For of the fruits of the trees and the seeds of the herbs alone do I partake, and these are changed by the Spirit into my flesh and my blood. Of these alone and their like shall ye eat who believe in me, and are my disciples, for of these in the Spirit, come life and health and healing unto man."

Those readers familiar with the New Testament story in which Jesus miraculously fed 5,000 persons with but a little bread and a few fish, might ask: "Didn't Jesus eat fish?" The answer is: NOT IN THE ORIGINAL, AUTHENTIC NEW TESTAMENT! In the original, unadulterated version of the New Testament (The Gospel of the Holy Twelve), Jesus fed those 5000 persons with but a little BREAD AND GRAPES! The vegetarian teachings of Jesus were removed by merchants of death -- persons who earned money from the flesh of animals -- after they forcibly took over the early Essene-Christian church and established a State-run religion.

:shock:

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:? The Essene communal life was based on a set of rules of conduct, spiritual disciplines and lifestyle practices called the "ESSENE HALAKOTH". The Essene Halakoth was given by their line of chief priests called TEACHERS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS and reached its zenith with the ULTIMATE MASTER TEACHER, YAHSHUA HA MASHIAKH (Jesus the Christ). The Essene Halakoth was in fact a YOGA SYSTEM; it united seven basic yoga systems in a grand synthesis. ESSENE YOGA included: RAJA YOGA (silent meditation); HATHA YOGA (physical postures and breath work); BHAKTI YOGA (love and devotion to God); GNANA YOGA (spiritual study and discourse); LAYA YOGA (the science of using the chakras to bring about higher states of spiritual realization); KARMA YOGA (creative work for the uplift of all); MANTRA YOGA (verbal prayer, singing and chanting). Central to Essene Yoga was a lifestyle practice called THE SEVENFOLD PEACE which included a meditation practice called COMMUNIONS WITH THE TREE OF LIFE.

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:? In the ancient Essene manuscripts used by our church, Jesus predicted his enemies would alter his teachings after his crucifixion and his church would become corrupt. He was right. After Jesus was crucified, it was not long before his church was taken over by his enemies, and his true followers were executed as "heretics". Christianity then became a State-run religion, run by corrupt kings via their puppet-popes. They altered the New Testament: they removed all references to the Essenes and eliminated Jesus' teachings on vegetarianism, reincarnation, the feminine aspect of God and much more. That was the "Dark Age"; Jesus predicted all of it. But he also predicted an "Age of Light" in which his ESSENE CHURCH OF CHRIST would return and his true teachings would be distributed. AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HAS HAPPENED! (About twenty years after the crucifixion, Paul -- who had never met Jesus -- split off from the vegetarian Essene Nazarene Christianity and started a competing meat-eating branch of Christianity. The old apostles who had actually known and been trained by Jesus, continued to lead the Essene Nazarene Christian movement and refused to participate in the corrupted version of Christianity founded by Paul; the old Apostles -- including James, Peter, John and Thomas -- declared that Paul was altering the true teachings of Jesus. Because Paul threw out Jesus' doctrine on vegetarianism -- and other lifestyle practices which seemed hard to follow -- and replaced them with an easy (and false) system of salvation based on merely believing in the sacrificial death of Jesus, his worldly version of Christianity grew to be much larger than the Essene Nazarene version. Paul's Christianity -- "Paulianity" -- evolved into the Roman Catholic Church. Up until the fourth century both types of Christian churches existed: vegetarian "Essene Christianity" and meat-eating, "Catholic Paulianity." But then, in the fourth century, the Catholic Church -- having grown into a large State-run religion -- sent their army to exterminate (as heretics) the Essene Nazarenes. Nearly all the Essene Nazarenes were killed and most of their books (which contained the true teachings of Jesus) were burned. From that time on, Essene Nazarene Christianity existed only in small numbers as a hidden, underground religion, while Paulianity spread all over the planet. Mainstream, modern Christianity today -- both Catholic and Protestant -- is based more on the teachings of Paul than Jesus and should be referred to as "Paulianity". Fortunately, the original books of Essene Nazarene Christianity were not all burned; some were hidden and are now in our possession. AS JESUS PROPHESIED, HIS ESSENE CHURCH OF CHRIST HAS RETURNED AND HIS TRUE TEACHINGS ARE AGAIN AVAILABLE!)

Essene Church of Christ hereby declares that the blessed day of the restoration of the true church and true teachings of Jesus Christ has NOW COME! We believe we are that true church, and that we are the authorized custodians and chief disseminators of those true teachings.

We DO NOT believe we are the only "good" church or that other churches are "bad"; in fact, we study wisdom wherever we find it -- even in other churches and religions. But we do believe we are the actual REINCARNATED CHURCH OF JESUS THE ESSENE and that we have been chosen by Jesus to distribute his authentic teachings at this precise point in planetary history -- THE CUSP BETWEEN AGES. We believe the leaders of our church are reincarnated Essenes; they worked closely with Jesus 2000 years ago and have now returned to help him with his current work.

We are now entering the cusp between two ages. We are near the end of the Piscean Age (ushered in by Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago), and will soon enter the Aquarian Age. Essene prophecy states that the ancient Essene Masters will reincarnate at this time (and we have!) to prepare the way for Jesus Christ himself to reappear. These are exciting -- and challenging -- times! You can be at the forefront of this BLESSED WORK via affiliation with Essene Church of Christ.

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If the world changed their food choices to a

pure vegetarian diet (Vegan).

Wonderful changes would happen. The water would become cleaner and more plentiful, the air would start to become clearer. People suffering from world hunger would decrease. The national finacial burden of medical costs and high taxes would diminish. The erosion of our topsoil would decrease and the healing of the mother earth planet could begin. Farmers and others who earn their livelihood from animal agriculture could be helped in the transition to less costly and destuctive forms of food production.

Watch this video www.miniature-earth.com

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If the world changed their food choices to a

pure vegetarian diet (Vegan).

Wonderful changes would happen. The water would become cleaner and more plentiful, the air would start to become clearer. People suffering from world hunger would decrease. The national finacial burden of medical costs and high taxes would diminish. The erosion of our topsoil would decrease and the healing of the mother earth planet could begin. Farmers and others who earn their livelihood from animal agriculture could be helped in the transition to less costly and destuctive forms of food production.

Watch this video www.miniature-earth.com

Don't you think it's just a little exterme to say that said problems would vanish if we were all vegetarian?

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tha's the limitation of having a reductionistic view and trying to apply that to deal with complex and multi-faceted problems.

who knows? it might work. but the problem is in convincing the rest of the world to agree with your ideas. and most of them probably won't be convinced.

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