As-Salāmu Alaykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wabarakathuhu

May the Peace, Mercy and Blessings of God be upon you beautiful people

"Truth has (now) arrived, and Falsehood perished: for Falsehood is (by its nature) bound to perish." [Qur'an 17:81]

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Allegation that Muslims are not allowed to be friends with non-Muslims

There is one issue which non muslims usually misunderstand, regarding the issue of whether muslims are forbidden to take non muslims as friends. The verses in question are the following:

"O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors; they are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust. (The Noble Quran, 5:51)"

"O ye who believe! Take not for friends and protectors those who take your religion for a mockery or sport - whether among those who received the Scripture (i.e., the Bible) before you, or among those who reject Faith; but fear ye Allah, if ye have Faith (indeed). (The Noble Quran, 5:57)"

"Yea, to those who take for friends unbelievers rather than believers: is it honour they seek among them? Nay,- all honour is with God. (The Noble Quran, 4:139)"

"O ye who believe! Turn not (for friendship) To people on whom Is the Wrath of Allah. Of the Hereafter they are Already in despair, just as The Unbelievers are In despair about those (Buried) in graves. (The Noble Quran, 60:13)"

In the above Noble Verses, the Arabic word for "friends" is "Awliyaa", which has four literal meanings: (1) Allies; (2) Friends; and (3) Guardians. In Noble Verse 60:13, the Arabic word used was "tatawallu", which is derived from the root word "Awliyaa".

"Waliy" which is the singular of "Awliyaa" means "Guardian" as your parents were your guardians when you were a kid. So as you can see, the Arabic word "Awliyaa" has different literal meanings.

Important Note: In Noble Verse 60:13 above, Allah Almighty said "la tatawallu qawman", which literally means "take not as allies a tribe (or a community)", which further proves my point that "Awliyaa" in the Noble Verses above is meant for "alliance" and not personal "friendship".

There is nothing wrong with developing a personal friendship with a non-Muslim. As clearly shown in the introduction above, Allah Almighty commanded all Muslims to treat with kindness and justice all of the good non-Muslims.

The English translation of the Noble Verses above is not accurate, because the use of the word "friends" is wrong. The word "Allies or guardian" is the correct one, because in all of the Noble Verses above Allah Almighty was talking to the Muslims in the context of war where they were told to be cautious as to taking non muslims (who were at the time showing aggression and deception towards the muslims) as protectors or guardians instead of Muslims.

It does not in any shape or form mean personal "friendship" on an individual level outside of the circumstance or context of the time.

Islamic treatment of animals

Do animals have rights?

The vegetarian argument is that killing animals for the benefit of humans is cruel and an infringement of their rights. They put both on the same level without conceding any superiority to humans over animals. This argument is seriously flawed, because if animals had rights comparable to those of humans, they must also have equivalent duties. In other words, we must be able to blame them and punish them if they violate the rights of others. It is absurd that it should be considered a crime for humans to kill a sheep, but natural for a lion to do so. The problem stems from a misconception of the role of human life within the animal kingdom: a denial of purposeful creation within a clearly defined hierarchy degrades humans to the level of any other creature. Yet even then, the argument is illogical: Why should plants, for example, be denied the same protection from a violation of the sanctity of their life?


Is Islamic slaughter cruel?

The question of how an animal should be slaughtered to avoid cruelty is a different one. It is true that when the blood flows from the throat of an animal it looks violent, but just because meat is now bought neatly and hygienically packaged on supermarket shelves does not mean the animal didn’t have to die? Non-Islamic slaughter methods dictate that the animal should be rendered unconscious before slaughter. This is usually achieved by stunning or electrocution. Is it less painful to shoot a bolt into a sheep’s brain or to ring a chicken’s neck than to slit its throat? To watch the procedure does not objectively tell us what the animal feels.


The scientific facts

A team at the university of Hannover in Germany examined these claims through the use of EEG and ECG records during slaughter. Several electrodes were surgically implanted at various points of the skull of all the animals used in the experiment and they were then allowed to recover for several weeks. Some of the animals were subsequently slaughtered the halal way by making a swift, deep incision with a sharp knife on the neck, cutting the jugular veins and carotid arteries of both sides together with the trachea and esophagus but leaving the spinal cord intact. The remainder were stunned before slaughter using a captive bolt pistol method as is customary in Western slaughterhouses. The EEG and ECG recordings allowed to monitor the condition of the brain and heart throughout.


The Halal method

With the halal method of slaughter, there was not change in the EEG graph for the first three seconds after the incision was made, indicating that the animal did not feel any pain from the cut itself. This is not surprising. Often, if we cut ourselves with a sharp implement, we do not notice until some time later. The following three seconds were characterised by a condition of deep sleep-like unconciousness brought about by the draining of large quantities of blood from the body. Thereafter the EEG recorded a zero reading, indicating no pain at all, yet at that time the heart was still beating and the body convulsing vigorously as a reflex reaction of the spinal cord. It is this phase which is most unpleasant to onlookers who are falsely convinced that the animal suffers whilst its brain does actually no longer record any sensual messages.


The Western method

Using the Western method, the animals were apparently unconscious after stunning, and this method of dispatch would appear to be much more peaceful for the onlooker. However, the EEG readings indicated severe pain immediately after stunning. Whereas in the first example, the animal ceases to feel pain due to the brain starvation of blood and oxygen – a brain death, to put it in laymen’s terms – the second example first causes a stoppage of the heart whilst the animal still feels pain. However, there are no unsightly convulsions, which not only means that there is more blood retention in the meat, but also that this method lends itself much more conveniently to the efficiency demands of modern mass slaughter procedures. It is so much easier to dispatch an animal on the conveyor belt, if it does not move.


Appearances can deceive

Not all is what it seems, then. Those who want to outlaw Islamic slaughter, arguing for a humane method of killing animals for food, are actually more concerned about the feelings of people than those of the animals on whose behalf they appear to speak. The stunning method makes mass butchery easier and looks more palatable for the consumer who can deceive himself that the animal did not feel any pain when he goes to buy his cleanly wrapped parcel of meat from the supermarket. Islamic slaughter, on the other hand, does not try to deny that meat consumption means that animals have to die, but is designed to ensure that their loss of life is achieved with a minimum amount of pain.


The holistic view

Islam is a balanced way of life. For Muslims, the privilege of supplementing their diet with animal protein implies a duty to animal welfare, both during the rearing of the animal and during the slaughter. Modern Western farming and slaughter, on the other hand, aims at the mass consumer market and treats the animal as a commodity. Just as battery hens are easier for large-scale egg production, Western slaughter methods are easier for the meat industry, but they do neither the animal nor the end consumer any favours. The Islamic way guarantees a healthier life for the animal and a healthier meat for the consumer.

http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&pagename=Zone-English-HealthScience%2FHSELayout&cid=1157365866876