"If a person offers Me with love and devotion

leaf, flower, fruit or water, I will accept it."

Lord Sri Krishna (B.-g., 9.26)

the Bhagavad-gita, the Lord, concluding His description of the method of Bhakti yoga, the yoga of devotion, says: "Whatever you do, whatever you sacrifice and give, whatever ascetics you perform, do it, O son of Kunti, as an offering to Me" (B.-g., 9.27).

There He also says that man should eat only what was first offered to Him.

Prasad is spiritual food

So, offering food to Krishna is an integral part of the bhakti-yoga system. The Lord also describes the kinds of offerings. (B.-g., 9.2).

In Krishna consciousness, a devotee offers food to Krishna, thereby expressing his love for Him.
Even in ordinary life one prepares food for another as a token of love and affection for him, and the latter appreciates not only the food itself but also the love with which it is prepared.

The same with offering food to Krishna - this process will help us develop our love for Him and devotion to Him.
Prasad in bhakti-yoga has a very great importance. In other systems of yoga one has to artificially restrain one's senses, whereas in bhakti-yoga one can occupy them with a variety of satisfying spiritual activities.

Through such activities the senses are gradually spiritualized and they begin to be attracted to spiritual pleasures far beyond those wich are available to us in material life.

If person accepts only the food offered to Lord Krishna, then it is vegetarianism of the highest order. After all, many animals, particularly pigeons and monkeys, do not eat meat either, so vegetarianism in itself is not yet a great achievement. The Vedas say that the purpose of human life is to restore the soul's original connection with God, and prasad is very conducive to this.

Prasad is spiritualized food offered to God, prepared according to the standards of purity, with love and devotion.
Food that elevates and transforms the consciousness of man.


Author: Ivan Sergeyevich Larchev.

The Holy Quran gives very clear instructions about what is food for man: "And We (Allah) said: O Adam! Live you and your wife in the garden and eat whatever fruit you wish." (2:35) "And announce the good news to all those who believed in Allah and did good deeds. Gardens lined with rivers await them, and whenever they are presented with fruits from there, they will exclaim." (2,25)

"Allah is the One Who created the heavens and the earth, pours water from the heavens to the earth, and brings forth fruits for you to eat." It is clear from these three ayats of the Quran that when Allah created Adam and Eve, He gave them fruits to eat. And when the righteous go to paradise, they eat fruits. When Allah created the earth, He also gave people fruits to eat. And from the life of the holy Prophet of Islam we see that his daily food was bread, milk and dates. Hazrat Muhammad often emphasized that Islam meant treating every living being as himself. One of Hazrat Muhammad's first instructions after taking Mecca was, "No one should mistreat another. It is not permissible to kill animals, and it is not even permissible to cut down a tree in Mecca."

For those who are strongly attached to meat-eating. Allah allowed animals such as sheep, goats and camels to be sacrificed. These lesser animals could be sacrificed in a clean place, by clean people and in a clean way. The body of the animal was then to be divided into seven parts and six parts were to be distributed to the poor people and the rest could be eaten by themselves. Only then could it be called halal, or lawful meat; otherwise, it is haram, or unlawful meat. In this way, less important animals could be sacrificed and eaten in a permissible way.

The result of following such a procedure is that the strong desire to eat flesh will diminish and man will then begin to eat only pure foods such as fruits, grains and vegetables, which are actually intended by God for human beings. Allah has permitted the sanctification of meat but not the opening of slaughterhouses where thousands of innocent animals are slaughtered just to satisfy the tongue. This is very sinful and leads to the degradation of the entire human society.

For the general mass of people who cannot control their senses (language), the use of eating meat has been allowed. But it is not recommended. Rules and regulations are there to slowly help give up the bad habit. But for someone who wants to attain the highest perfection of life, love of God, meat-eating is forbidden.

For example, we can find the following ayat in the Holy Quran (5:3): "Forbidden for you to eat is dead meat, blood, pork and any animal killed not in the name of Allah; and that which has died by beating; by suffocation, by a cruel blow or by falling head down from a height, gored to death, that which has been partially eaten by a wild animal; only if you stab it according to the proper rite. Forbidden is that which is killed on the altars; forbidden is the division of the prey by arrows, all this is irreverence."
From this verse we can understand that not every kind of meat is permitted to be eaten. Only meat clearly killed for eating with Takbir, or the solemn rite of slaughter (zabh) with Allah's name properly recited at that moment. This means that slaughtering animals for food should be done by the person himself. It does not involve opening slaughterhouses and killing hundreds and thousands of animals, in an organized way, on a daily basis. Whoever wants to eat meat should do it in a clean way. Which means slaughtering only for himself personally, because everyone must be responsible for his own actions. On the Day of Judgment, all dead creatures will be resurrected and will take revenge, on the one who taunted or killed them.

This concession has been given by Allah to those who cannot abstain from meat-eating. By eating halal, the lawful meat, they will gradually suppress the craving and give up meat-eating. This will help the subtle spiritual feelings, namely love for Allah, to unfold.
However, it is mentioned in Surah Al-Maida that the slaughter of animals is forbidden within Mecca, the main holy place: "Hunting is forbidden when you are in the Holy Place or on pilgrimage." (5,1)

This means that hunting is forbidden "when you are hurumun," i.e., when:

(1) in the Holy Place, Makkah, or (2) in a special garment for pilgrims (ihram). Also in this Surah it is explained: "O you who believe! It is not permissible to hunt when in the Holy Place or during the pilgrimage. If any of you intentionally did, recompense as an offering to the Ka'bah, or a domestic animal equal to that which is killed. As measured by two truthful men among you; or by atonement by distributing food to the poor; or by fasting, so that he may taste the punishment of his deed. Allah forgives you for the past, but do not repeat, Allah will punish, for Allah is for him the Most High and the Lord of retribution."
This means. That if someone kills an animal unintentionally within Mecca, he will have to leave one of his pets here. In the case of. If he does not have a pet, he should give as alms food equal in value to the killed animal.
Otherwise, the transgressor must fast for as many days as the poor could have been fed if he had given away the food. Thus, killing animals is a sin and therefore it is forbidden in a holy place such as Mecca.

In Surah Al-Saffat (37:99-109) there are the following words: "He (Ibrahim) said, 'I am going to my God! He will truly show me the right path! O my Lord! Give me a righteous son!" And We sent good tidings to him of a righteous son. And when the son was old enough to work, the father said, "O my dear son, I had a dream that I should sacrifice you. How do you look at it?" The son said: "O my father! Do what you are commanded to do. You will find in me, if it is Allah's will, firmness." When they had both surrendered to the will of Allah, and the father was about to sacrifice his son, We called to him, "O Ibrahim! You have already justified your vision! This is how We reward the do-gooders. It was a test. And We have redeemed the son by his great sacrifice. And We left over him in the nations, came then the Blessing of the Lord. "Peace be upon Ibrahim!"

Ibrahim was born in Ur, the country of the Chaldeans, a place on the lower spurs of the Ephrates, less than a hundred miles from the Persian Gulf. The main form of religion there was the worship of the sun, moon, and stars. Ibrahim rebelled against this at an early age. They also had deities in their temples that may have represented celestial bodies and winged creatures. He was still a young man when he smashed the false deities. After that, he was persecuted as a rebel. He was thrown into the fire. But the fire became cool by Allah's command and Ibrahim was saved. Then he left his native country, and taking refuge in the Syrian desert, came to the fertile countries of Aramea or Syria. This was the Hijrat (Flight) of Ibrahim. He left his people and his country because the Truth was dearer to him than the lies of his people. He himself believed in Allah, and under Allah's guidance he laid the foundation of a great nation.

In the fertile land of Syria and Palestine, a boy, Ibrahim's firstborn son, Ismail, was born. The name itself comes from the root samia, to hear, because Allah heard Ibrahim's prayers (37:100). Ibrahim was 86 when Ishmael was born to a servant girl (Exodus 16:16). The child's character was "reserved." This title is also used in reference to Ibrahim (9:114; 11:75). It refers to the patience with which то father and son endured suffering in any self-sacrifice in order to obey Allah's instructions.
One day, when Ismail was an adult, Ibrahim had a dream that he was to sacrifice his only son. This instruction was conveyed to him in the dream. It was a test of the devotion of both, father and son. Ibrahim consulted with his son. The son readily agreed and offered to test the truth of his promise if his self-sacrifice was really necessary. In fact, the test and sacrifice was presented to both, Ibrahim and Ismail. Ibrahim was to sacrifice his only dear son, and Ismail was to sacrifice his life. This sacrifice took place somewhere in the valley of Mina, six miles north of Mecca. Ibrahim was ready to sacrifice his son, but his hand would not obey him. So he blindfolded himself, took a knife in his hand and tried to kill Ismail. But at that moment Allah replaced Ismail with a beautiful sheep or ram. There was a ram in place of his son. The son was saved and the ram was sacrificed (some scholars claim that the ram was also saved).

This day, Eid Day, or Day of Sacrifice, has been practiced ever since. On this day, an annual sacrifice takes place in the valley of Mina, six miles north of Mecca, as a rite of Hajj on the tenth of Zul-Hijjah to commemorate the Sacrifice of Ibrahim and Ismail. This festival is also celebrated by all Muslims around the world. Hundreds and thousands of animals are slaughtered on this day every year.

But let us be careful to note what was the purpose of Allah's admonition in this case. Did Allah ask Ibrahim for his most precious possession or for a ram? If Allah wanted a ram, it would have been the ram that he would have asked for. But just testing the devotion of Ibrahim and Ismail, he desired this sacrifice to test them, and to save Ibrahim's son, he replaced Ismail with a ram. Now think about it, in order to please Allah instead of dedicating the most precious thing, is it fair to slaughter an innocent animal?

This event is symbolic. As the Qur'an (22:37) states: "Neither their blood nor their meat ascends to Allah; only your piety ascends to him."
So Allah has no need for the blood and meat of animals, much less human beings. No one should claim that blood or meat is accepted by God. It is a pagan fad, that Allah takes pleasure in blood sacrifice. But Allah accepts our hearts if we offer them to Him. Allah does not take delight in flesh and blood.
He desires complete surrender to Him, symbolized by the fact that we must give up something very dear to us if duty demands such a sacrifice. It was undoubtedly a great event. When two men, father and son, set an example of self-sacrifice in the service of Allah, which is necessary to achieve the highest goal of life. This example explains that the sacrifice that is required by God from man is Submission to His will and purpose - i.e. Al-Islam.

In fact, kurban, the process of slaughtering animals prescribed for Muslims, has esoteric and exoteric meanings. Although kurban externally only concerns the dietary laws of Muslims, internally, kurban requires that we sacrifice our lives for the sake of devotion and service to God, and that we sacrifice our horrible qualities in place of the life of an animal. "Eid is not about slaughtering chickens, cows and goats," explains Bawa Muhayyadden. "There are four hundred trillion, ten thousand animals here in the heartland that must be destroyed. They must be destroyed in the kalb (inner heart). After these things are destroyed, what is taken in food can be divided into halal (permitted) and haram(forbidden)." The great ustad (guide) concluded, "whatever we see in this world is haram , what we see in Allah only that is halal. Please eat it."

In traditional kurban, prayers known as Kalimah are recited to remove the lower animal qualities. The recitation of the powerful Third Kalimah not only purifies the animal being slaughtered for consumption, but also all those associated with the sacrifice so that they will no longer want to slaughter animals. This is the main action, of course, if the prayer is said with pure devotion.

In Islam, the process of animal sacrifice is described in detail. In fact, the whole procedure is aimed at reducing the killing of animals. Thus, Bawa Muhayyadden explains, "While reciting the Kalimah, you should make the cut with three strokes of the knife, one for each recitation. The knife should go around three times and should not come in contact with the bone. It must be perfectly sharp and its length prescribed, according to the kind of animal - its own for a bird, its own for a goat, its own for a cow.... Also the animal must not spew any food or make any noise; otherwise it becomes haram.
The person who holds the animal and the one who cuts must constantly observe the daily offering of prayers five times a day. Therefore, the imam and the muazzin must perform the kurban because very often only one of them regularly prays five times a day. This also means that the kurban should be performed near the mosque where the two can be found.
Before the sacrifice begins, first of all, they must take ablution. Then they recite the kalimah three times and feed the sacrificial animal with water. The neck of the animal should be turned towards Kiblah (Mecca), so that the eyes of the sacrificial animal look into the eyes of the person who is performing the sacrifice. The latter should look into the eyes of the animal and say kalimah and cut its throat. He should continue to look into the eyes of the animal until the soul leaves the body, repeating Zikr all the time. After the soul has left the body he should once again say kalimah and wash the knife. Only then can he proceed to the next animal. He must
look into the eyes of the animal, see its tears while it is dying - it is hoped that the heart of the person will change

Allah once said to the Holy Prophet Muhammad, "This Eid will reduce the killing to a great extent. Now they kill 1000 to 2000 animals daily, now they will be able to kill only ten to fifteen animals. If they start after the morning prayers, they will be ready to start at ten o'clock and they will only be able to slaughter until eleven o'clock when they have to prepare for the next prayer. Besides, each animal will take 15-20 minutes to slaughter because they have to wait until the soul is gone." This is how Allah instructed the Holy Prophet.
Then people started complaining, "How will we be able to fulfill this? We can only do so little! Our pleasures and feasts will be limited."

But Allah said, "There is no need for each of you to sacrifice an animal; there is no need for each family to sacrifice an animal. Instead of forty birds, kill one goat; instead of forty goats, kill ten cows; instead of forty cows, kill ten camels. Sacrifice ten camels and divide the meat among the families." So instead of four hundred, only forty animals could be killed. This greatly reduced the number of killings. Thus Allah conveyed the instruction to the Holy Prophet to reduce the incidents of deprivation of life.
The conclusion is that if one understands the kurban from a position of wisdom, it is clear that its meaning is to reduce the killing of poor animals. But if viewed superficially, its meaning is to satisfy the desire to eat meat.

The esoteric necessity behind the Islamic laws of proper diet is that Muslims seek compassion and mercy by first reducing the number of animals allowed to be sacrificed (following all the rules) and then hoping to stop such activities forever.
This is mentioned in the surah of 'Cattle', "There is not a single living creature that lives on the earth or on wings in the sky that, like you, does not constitute a community." (6,38)

So, "animals living on land" includes those living in the water - fish, reptiles, crustaceans, insects, as well as four-legged creatures. Those living in the sky (winged) were noted separately. "Tair," usually translated as "bird," means any flying creature, including mammals such as bats. Under the influence of hubris, we may exclude animals from our sphere, but they all live social and individual lives like ourselves, and all lives belong to the Plan and Will of Allah.

We have no right to any harm or kill these creatures, not even insects, let alone birds and beasts. We cannot create, so how can we destroy? The Holy Quran says that they are a society like you.

The Holy Quran clearly states what food Allah has created for human beings: "By it He grows for you cereals, olive trees, palm trees, vines, and many other fruits for you to eat. Verily herein lies a sign for those who meditate." (16:11) "The sign for them is the dead earth; We will revive it, We will raise grain on it, and with it they will eat. We will build gardens of vines and palm trees, and We will pour springs into them abundantly, so that by their fruits you may all feed. But all these things were not created by your hands; for these things will you not be grateful to Us?" (36:33-35) "Allah sends down water from the sky and by it brings back life to the earth after death has come upon it. This, verily, is a sign for those who are ready to listen. We give you to drink of that which is formed in their bodies between the mud and the blood, milk which is both pure and pleasant to those who drink it. From the palm fruit of the vine you find good food and intoxicating drink.
Here is a true sign for those who understand. And your Lord imputed to the bee, 'Make your dwelling in mountains, in trees and in human buildings, feed on all kinds of fruits, fly humbly along the paths laid out by your Master,' from their innards a drink comes out that is distinguished by its color, in which is a healing for men, and here, indeed, is a sign for those who meditate." (16,65-69)
It is clear from these ayat that Allah created milk, honey, grain, olives, dates, grapes and all other kinds of fruits as food for people. Truly this means something to people who have understanding. We should be grateful to Allah for His mercy and not ungratefully shed the blood of innocent helpless animals just to please an uncontrolled tongue.

The Holy Quran (5:1) suggests concessions as intermediate steps on the path to pure and spiritual eating, "O you who believe! Eat good things with what you have delivered to yourselves and give thanks to God if you worship Him. Only that which has died itself, blood, swine's flesh, and that over which any other name than God has been pronounced, God has forbidden you."

Here, the Quran makes it clear that pork is unclean and that the blood of the animal is not fit for human consumption. Muslims are faced with a contradiction because of this: blood is forbidden, but it is impossible to completely separate the blood from the flesh of the animal, and thus if meat is eaten, the blood will also be eaten. In these words of the Qur'an, surely "a sign for those who think."

After all, the Holy Quran encourages Muslims to eat healthy food. Describing lawful and unlawful food, the Holy Quran (7:157) emphasizes that "He (the Holy Prophet) permits them good food and forbids all abominations."

One day the Holy Prophet Muhammad ordered Hazrat Ali, "Do not turn your stomach into a graveyard of innocent birds and beasts." From that day Hazrat Ali faithfully followed this instruction.

On another occasion the Holy Prophet Muhammad said, "Whoever is kind to the lesser creatures is kind to himself."

This is explained in Hadith. One day the Prophet passed by some people who were shooting arrows at a ram, and enraged by this, he said: "Stop mutilating the animal." The next time, the Prophet, seeing the zbruja rubbing the muzzle of his horse and reflecting on it, said: "At night I was reprimanded by God for my horse." A man once stole some eggs from a bird's nest and, the Holy Prophet Muhammad returned them back to the nest. "Honor God in these wordless creatures, sit on them when they are fit to ride and get off when they are weary." "Truly, is there a reward for treating the four-legged creatures well and giving them water to drink?" the followers asked. And the Prophet replied, "There is a reward for the benefit of every animal that has a moist liver"
The Holy Prophet Muhammad always insisted on the importance of showing mercy to lesser beings. We should treat them as our younger brothers. If a younger brother is less intelligent, it does not mean that we have the right to kill him; indeed, we should protect him. A father will not be happy if his older, more intelligent, son kills his younger son because he is less intelligent and weaker. Nor is Allah ever pleased to see people inflicting pain and suffering on His younger creatures.

According to Hadith, the Holy Prophet Muhammad said, "The one who kills unnecessarily, even a sparrow, Allah will ask on the Day of Judgment." "To the one who feels pity for depriving even a sparrow of its head and feels compassion for the sparrow, Allah will also show mercy on the Day of Judgment" "It is forbidden to kill any living creature except those that bring pain" "If animals knew of their certain death as humans know, they would not eat flesh."

The descriptions of the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad include statements that clearly reflect his love for animals. For example, Margolius, one of the main biographers of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, writes, "His humanity extended to lower creatures. He forbade the use of tethered birds as targets for shooting and exhorted those who mistreated their camels. When some of his followers set fire to an anthill, he made them put it out. .... Acts of cruelty were swept away by him."

The descriptions of the life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad include statements that clearly reflect his love for animals. For example, Margolius, one of the main biographers of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, writes, "His humanity extended to lower creatures. He forbade the use of tethered birds as targets for shooting and exhorted those who mistreated their camels. When some of his followers set fire to an anthill, he made them put it out. .... Acts of cruelty were swept away by him."

Other biographers such as Dr. M. Hafiz Syed say that the Holy Prophet Muhammad instructed those who ate meat to rinse their mouths before going to prayer. While it was certainly the Muslim custom to cleanse the mouth before prayer, many biographers say that it is meat that is mentioned in this connection and not any other food.

The Holy Prophet Muhammad always displayed the greatest compassion - "universal compassion" - and he exhorted his followers to do the same. A touching example from his life shows how far his determination extended. Waking up after a short afternoon nap, he came across a small blind kitten on the edge of his cloak. The Holy Prophet cut off a piece from his garment so as not to disturb the sleeping kitten. Could this man defend the useless killing of innocent animals? "Show compassion to others," admonished the Holy Prophet Muhammad, "especially to those who are weaker than you."
One famous hadith (tradition), the Holy Prophet Muhammad is depicted as rebuking his followers for not showing universal compassion. "But we show compassion," they insisted, "for our wives, children and relatives." The Holy Prophet Muhammad replied, "That is not what I mean. I am talking about universal mercy."
Early biographers of the Holy Prophet Muhammad note that he preferred vegetarian food, he liked milk diluted with water, yogurt with butter and nuts, and pickles and dates. His favorite fruits, which once eaten would last him weeks, were pomegranates, grapes, and figs, and he also enjoyed a morning drink of juicy mashed dates. He was especially fond of honey, and often ate it mixed with vinegar, it is mentioned that he said that a house with honey and vinegar was sure to have the blessings of the Lor,d. He also liked a dish called hiyiz made from oil, dates and yogurt. According to extended biographical accounts, the Holy Prophet Muhammad is credited with saying, "Where vegetables are abundant, the lords of angels will descend.

The circumstances surrounding the death of the Holy Prophet Muhammad emphasize the harm of meat-eating. The story indicates that a non-Muslim woman invited the Holy Prophet and his companions to a meal and treated them to poisoned meat. The Holy Prophet Muhammad realized through spiritual sight that the meat was poisoned and spit out the piece he was chewing, but one of his companions died on the spot. Although it was not customary to take food prepared by non-Muslims, this time he died mysteriously. After poisoning himself with meat, he fell ill and lay in bed for about two years, and finally passed away in 632 AD. According to some scholars, the Holy Prophet Muhammad ate the poisoned meat only to show stubborn people the harm of meat-eating.

Those of Muslims who go on Hajj (pilgrimage) wear a simple garment made of two pieces of unstitched cloth called ihram. Putting on the pilgrim's robes (ihram) symbolizes their renunciation of worldly vanity. Once he puts on the pilgrim's robes he is forbidden to kill anything: including mosquitoes, beetles, grasshoppers, or any other living creature. If a pilgrim sees an insect on the ground, he must signal to his companions not to step on it. Until the end of the pilgrimage, he may not wear other clothes or jewelry, smear fragrant oils on his hair, hunt, or perform other forbidden activities. Even if a single louse is found in the ihram, it must not be thrown on the ground, but must be left where it is. Throwing away an insignificant creature such as a louse is forbidden in Islam, just think how unfavorable it is to kill animals.
The Aine-Akbari says that Akbar abstained from meat on many occasions, such as Friday to Saturday and the days of eclipses.

Islamic saints put great emphasis on leading a virtuous life, a life of renunciation and compassion, consuming simple food and abstaining from meat. They themselves avoided any kind of meat-eating. Shaykh Ismail, Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, Hazrat Nizammuddin Aulia, Bu Ali Qalandas, Shah Inayat, Mir Dad, Shah Abdul Karim and others, were holy Muslims whose path was a pious life of abstinence, love for all and vegetarian diet. They said, "If one wants to live in heaven for many years, one must behave in a spirit of compassion and sympathy for all of God's creation."

famous Muslim saint, Mir Dad, said that whoever eats the flesh of any living creature will have to repay it with his own flesh. The one who breaks the bone of any living being will also have his bone broken. Every drop of blood spilled will be counted as his own. This is an eternal law.

The great Muslim saint Sarmad condemned meat-eating, saying that the light of life sleeps in metals, plants, awakens in animals and is fully manifested in human beings. Kabir, addressing Muslims, makes it clear that even fasting (roza) is in vain if one allows his tongue to compel the killing of living beings for the sake of tasting them. Allah will not be pleased with that.

Meat should also not be eaten during Siloh, because it is considered to be a bad food that interferes with prayer. Everyone knows that meat-eating increases passion. It is very difficult to pray and focus the mind on Allah in a restless mind. That is why great saints in all times have advised a vegetarian diet, which is more suitable for spiritual practice. If a person wants to bring his mind to a state of calmness and focus his mind on Allah, he should reduce, or better still give up eating meat altogether. This practical advice can be of great benefit to everyone.

Summarizing all the above, one can simply and naturally come to the conclusion that meat-eating is a very big obstacle on the path of self-realization. One who is sincerely striving for spiritual progress should abstain from meat-eating. On the path of reducing material attachments and increasing spiritual attachment to Allah, abstaining from meat-eating is a must
There are many verses in the Qur'an in which the killing of cows and bulls is allowed. But very clear instructions are given about what is food for man: "And We (Allah) said: "O Adam! Dwell with your wife in the Garden of Edem, and wherever you are there, eat abundant fruits for your pleasure."" (2.35) "And the good news was announced to all those who believe in Allah and do good deeds: the Gardens await them, washed by rivers. And every time they will be given fruit from there." (2.25) "Allah is He Who created the heavens and the earth, pours water from the heavens to the earth, and by it brings forth fruit for your food." (14.32)

"Who carpeted the earth for you, covered the heavens with a covering, and poured out (abundantly) water from the heavens to bring forth fruit for your food." (2.22)

It is evident from these four ayats of the Qur'an that when Allah created Adam and Eve, He gave them fruit as food. After Allah created the earth, He "produced fruit as food for" mankind. Also from the very life of Hazrat Muhammad, we can see that his daily food was bread, milk and dates. Several times in his life he sacrificed a sheep or a camel, but never a cow or a bull.

Here is just one story from the Holy Qur'an (2.67-71) describing the sacrifice of a cow: "And (remember) how Musa said to his people: "Allah, verily, orders you to slaughter a cow." They replied, "Are you making a mockery of us?" But he said: "May Allah preserve me by preventing me from being among those who have lost their minds!" They said, "Thou beseechest thy God from us, that He may make clear to us what kind of cow she (the cow) should be." And he said: "God says, that she be neither old nor young, but middle-aged; now do what you are commanded." And they said, "You plead with your God from us, that he make clear to us what color she should be." And he said: "She shall be bright red and without blemish, and shall be pleasing to every eye that falls upon her." They said: "Thou beseechest thy God from us, that he may make clear to us what color she (the cow) should be. Verily, to our eyes they all look alike, and only with the Lord's favor will our (choice be) right." And he said: "He says that that cow shall not be tamed by plowing or by
or irrigation, that she may be in good health and not bear marks." "Now thou hast brought the truth." And then the cow was slaughtered (by the Jews), but without much good will."

This story is accepted in the Hebrew tradition, which itself is based on certain Old Testament instructions. The cow story in the Hebrew tradition is based on Numbers 19.1-10, where Moses and Aaron ordered the Israelites to sacrifice a red cow without blemish. Moses announced the sacrifice to the Israelites and they took it as a joke. When Moses solemnly proceeded to ask for the sacrifice to be made, they tried to dodge under various excuses, asking questions that they themselves could have answered if they had listened carefully to Moses' instructions. Their questions were critical nags, not the result of a desire for information. They were merely subtle pretense, not a sincere desire for advice. And when finally they were cornered, they performed the sacrifice, but if they had done it willingly, then the sacrifice would have been more effective in freeing them from sin. The cow's body was burned and the ashes collected to purify them from sin.
We can see and learn from these narratives that killing a cow was very dangerous and was not part of the teachings. So much so that the people were very hesitant to perform such an act, even when the instruction came from a high authority, the Prophet Moses. This particular sacrifice was performed exactly as agreed upon. We must also realize that the cow was not killed simply for the purpose of eating it. The cow's body was burned, and the ashes were used for the high purpose of cleansing the people from their sins. It is very important to note that nowadays, cow sacrifices are forbidden because there are no qualified performers who can perform such sacrifices.

Thus, reading the Holy Quran, we can conclude that killing cows is not allowed in the Holy Quran and the only cow sacrifice that was described was not for meat-eating but for purification from sins.

The Iranian scholar Al-Ghazzali (1058-1111 CE) was one of the most brilliant Islamic philosophers. He argued that apart from a piece of bread, everything we eat is simply the fulfillment of our needs. At the age of 28, he graduated from an Islamic institute in Baghdad. His major book, Ikhya Ulum ul-Din - The Revival of Religious Sciences is highly acclaimed. In this book (part 2, p.23, lines 17-19), the harmful effects of beef and boon gi and cow's milk are asserted as follows: "Cow meat is marz (disease), milk is safa (health), and gi is dawa (medicine)."

Is it not more prudent to protect cows and utilize their milk and gi for our benefit? The cow is considered the mother of mankind because she gives us a valuable product - milk. Just as a mother breastfeeds her child, the cow also feeds mankind with her milk. It is scientifically proven that regular drinking of milk promotes the development of fine brain structures. Due to this, the memory capacity increases, which helps in remembering Allah. Therefore, the cow and cow's milk are very important for the development of human society and killing cows is the greatest sin. Those who crave for meat can eat less important animals such as sheep and goats, but cows should be protected.