‘Eating beef is un-Islamic if there is ban’

published on April 27, 2008



LUCKNOW/NEW DELHI: “Muslims must refrain from cow slaughter, beef eating or trading in cow hide,” Islamic seminary Darul-Uloom, Deoband, issued an edict on Friday.

“Meat eaters can opt for buffaloes, goats, chicken and fish. Shariat doesn’t allow beef-eating if it’s prohibited under law,” Deoband’s fatwa department head Mufti Habibur Rehman said.

Rehman, fatwa department’s head for more than two decades, issued the fatwa in response to a query by a Muzaffarnagar resident, Haji Mohammad Israr. A small time farmer, Israr, had asked whether Islam permits cow slaughter, trading in cows, bulls and calves and use of its skin for business.

Israr wrote there are many beef eaters in UP and butchers are doing a thriving business despite state government banning cow slaughter.

After a three-member committee looked into the issue, Mufti Rehman said Shariat disallowed anything against law. “Cow slaughter, therefore, was “najayaz” even though Islam allows beef-eating,” the fatwa said. It said any act which brings bad name to the community or evokes possibility of imprisonment is “haram” should be avoided.

The fatwa is expected to have wide repercussions as it comes from Saharanpur, the town where the Darul-Uloom is situated. The area has maximum number of Muslim-owned slaughter houses and tanneries.

The Centre banned cow slaughter in 1955. UP issued an ordinance in December 2001 declaring cow slaughter illegal. This was followed by Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act 2002, making the offence punishable by imprisonment from seven to 10 years or a fine upto Rs 10,000.

The community leaders have welcomed the fatwa calling it an important development for the Hindu-Muslim amity. Noted activist Javed Anand said: “Muslims should respect Hindu sentiments and avoid cow slaughter. Influential seminary’s fatwa would go a long way in ensuring this.”

Anand said there was nothing new about the fatwa as Muslim leaders have repeatedly sought compliance to the anti-cow slaughter law. “The fatwa should have come earlier, but better late than never. It’s a welcome move,” he said.

“The Indian Constitution has given us equal rights including the freedom to religion and it’s important for us to respect it and abide by its cow slaughter prohibition. Muslims around the country should ensure that they abide by the law prohibiting cow slaughter,” Rajya Sabha member and Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind general secretary Maulana Mahmood Madani said.

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