First of all, I haven’t stopped eating fish and dairy, so to be semantically accurate I am a pescatarian.
Many are suggesting that I changed my diet due to some concern for my health. Though I do believe that meat-heavy diet is bad for us, that wasn’t what prompted me to switch. It is no secret that the unprecedented amount of meat we are consuming is having major ecological effect in all level of the biodiversity of this world. Therefore, my internal moral compass has asserted to me that my continuation of meat-heavy diet is a crime against the world and by extension against the future of humanity itself. Living a life contrary to this awareness is I think selfish to the future generations that will pay the price for our conduct.
Of-course, occasional meat eating is not a sin per se according to the Qur’an, as meat is not hazardous to the human body if cooked properly. And unfortunately, life is what it is; one specie kills another for food. However, as a species created to be highly intelligent and made to be the custodians of the earth-ship along with all its crew, when we allow ourselves to become gluttonous and consume rapidly the limited resources of this ship with no sense of responsibility, in this lies the unpercievable sin that needs highlighting.
During the 7th century people made most of their products with their own hands, and they had simple market places. Hence the Qur’an never made vegetarianism obvious, though the Qur’an does stress on the importance of the ecological balance. Now we have super factories and supermarkets; making consumption easier and faster. In such a world, combined with a rapid growth of materialistic population, it becomes a moral duty upon mankind to take pertinent actions. Moreover, the ‘world wide fund for nature’ study found that 60% of global biodiversity loss is down to meat-heavy diets. The UK food supply alone is directly linked to the extinction of an estimated 33 species at home and abroad. Inflicting damage on such a scale to my mind simply cannot be allowed to continue and is no longer sustainable by our earth-ship.
I am fully aware that vegetarianism isn’t the answer per se to halt/change our current zombie attitude towards animals in the form of mass depletion of them in our slaughter assemblies, and just one me not eating meat won’t mean others will stop en-masse. The main answer would be for all humans to consume less of everything and have less children too. For me I understood this too late and have four children so, vegetarianism is a personal penance for me ( sorry kids – I still love you all ).
So, it’s a moral choice for me, and I tend to not follow the crowd. Therefore, my vegetarianism is not underpinned by the philosophy that killing an animal for food is evil or that eating meat is prohibited per se, but rather a self-appointed and voluntary deed responding accordingly in the light of the current ecological circumstances we find ourselves in. The following chapter of the Qur’an is one of the key articulation of the Qur’an along with other references that pushed me to become veggie; “You are endlessly preoccupied with your greedy consumption of this world; right up to your grave! Nevertheless, soon you will know; indeed, you will know! Besides, if you could foresee with certainty the results of your handiwork, you will see a world in flames. And also on that day you will see with your own eyes the reality of your handiwork, and you will be indeed questioned concerning the use of life you had on earth.” [Chapter 102]
Check the video; https://youtu.be/21G8MnXZwLw
To anyone whose been ignoring their internal moral appeals in this regard I say this, for the sake of the planet and for our own future, vegetarian/vegan/pescatarian, or simply eat less, is an idea that I strongly believe whose time has come that we have to embrace as a species; we can voluntarily choose at least a predominantly vegetarian diet as a rapidly growing species on a debilitated planet, or have it forced upon us by enraged mother nature.