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Ruling of Being a Vegetarian

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org
Question: What is the ruling of being a vegetarian and what does the intention behind it have to do with its ruling?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
To answer your question, if one chooses to be vegetarian for a personal or health-related reason it is allowed for the following reasons:
The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) himself chose not to eat certain types of food despite their permissibility.
The Messenger (may Allah bless him and give him peace) was offered mastigure (a species of lizard) and turned it down saying, “The mastigure, I don’t eat of it nor do I prohibit it” [Bukhari].
What is not allowed is to deem that which Allah Most High has made lawful to be unlawful or to consider the eating of meat to be a blameworthy practice.
Allah Most High says, “O believers! Do not forbid the good things which Allah has made lawful for you, and do not transgress. Indeed, Allah does not like transgressors. Eat of the good, lawful things provided to you by Allah. And be mindful of Allah in Whom you believe [Qur’an; 05:88-9].
It is permissible to choose to eat or not choose to eat a certain type of food. However, it is not permissible to deem that which is considered lawful to be unlawful or to ascribe blame to those who choose to do such a thing.
This is what was intended by intention by the previous answerer.
Note, mastigure is considered to be somewhat disliked to eat in the Hanafi school, others deemed it impermissible and understood the Prophet’s (may Allah bless him and give him peace) saying, “nor do I prohibit it” to be due to the famine at that time [Mulla ‘Ali Qari, ‘Umda al-Qari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari citing al-Tahawi].
Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a graduate from Tarim; a student of Habib Umar and other luminaries; and authorized teachers of the Qur’an and the Islamic sciences

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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