Question: What about eating flesh or vegetation in reference to attaining the spirit of God?
Bawa: There is a difference. There is a difference. A piece of grass or a vegetable comes from a seed. For example, there is a mango seed or a seed of rice that you plant in a paddy field. One seed can bring forth twenty-five branches. This can be done with just one seed. If one seed grows right, that one seed can bring forth 345 more seeds. These twenty-five branches later on will multiply into 200. These can multiply even further and will come out to be 7,500 seeds. They will multiply like that. But in the case of the seed of a cow, a goat, or a man, what grows in about 120 years of life cannot be grown again. The system for vegetables and those kinds of things is such that it can increase tens and tens of millions of times. Its life lasts about two months, twenty-eight days, forty days, or six months. So in about three months, it dies. This is its estimate. But for a man or for an animal, for these types of lives, the system is different. Their plan is different, their form is different, their state is different, their body is different, their blood is different, and they have very many other differences. Therefore the two cannot be seen as one.
In about a year an apple tree can give forth a thousand fruits. It can live for about 50 or 100 years. Many thousands of seeds will come from that. After that it will die. It does not exist this way for man and for animals. It is not like that for them. There is something that we have to think about within this section. There are qualities and conditions that exist within them. For a man, God’s qualities exist.
At one time the Rasul (sallá Allâhu ‘alayhi wa-sallam) of Allah said to his cousin ‘Ali (‘alayhi al-salâm), “O ‘Ali, you should not eat meat. If you eat meat for forty days, those qualities will come within you. Those actions will come within you. Their blood will come within you. Their qualities and their actions will come within you. Because of that, your human qualities will change, your compassionate qualities will change, the essence of your body will change. O ‘Ali, you should not eat meat or flesh for forty days. You have to diminish that a lot. Do not eat that. The qualities that come from that can change human qualities.” That is what he said. He said, “O ‘Ali, first of all, you have to eat bananas. That will be good for you because if there is heat in your head, this will be cooling, and it will make your brain function better. It will give light into your qalb. Bananas have very good qualities.” He said, “O ‘Ali, don’t eat too many dates because they will give you a lot of arrogance. They have a lot of strength. Dates, milk, and butter, those things together give a lot of strength. Because of that, desires of the world will come.
“O ‘Ali, God, Allahu ta‘ala Nayan, has created many different energies within these vegetables. There is iron, calcium, gold, silver, copper, and so many other minerals and energies within them that can make the body grow. God has placed them in plentitude within vegetables—things that can kill poisons, things that are fragrant and have good scents, and things of good tastes, which contain all these kinds of minerals. God has created many vegetables, which contain good minerals. Because of that, you have to eat a lot of those. These will be very good for your body, your wisdom, and everything.” In that hadith, the Prophet gave very many explanations. He explained each and every reason for these things.
During that time, the Arabs used to have cattle, camels, goats, ghee, dates, wheat flour, and all those things. They had no vegetables or curries. Those times were times of eating flesh. Then Muhammad (sal), the Rasul, came. He could not stop them from eating flesh completely, because this was their only food. He could not tell them not to eat flesh, because they would have killed him. If he had said, “You should not cut and eat these things,” they would have killed him. Therefore he had to tell them slowly and explain it to them little by little.
The qurban was given because during that time the Arabs had to be taught that there was a good reason for calling a thing “Islam,”and that one could not kill in the way that the mind thinks. Before the qurban, when someone wanted to kill a goat, he would kill it immediately. If someone wanted to kill a chicken, he would kill it right away. He would hit it, kill it, and eat it. Whether it was a bird, an animal, or a chicken—no matter what it was, the people used to kill without any control at all.
Then Allah said, “O Muhammad, tell your followers that you are going to give them a word known as ‘halal,’ or that which is permissible. You have to give them the word known as ‘qurban,’ the word which allows them to kill these animals in the name of God.” For during the times when the people were happy, they would kill hundreds of hundreds of millions of cows and camels. They would kill them just like that. They would kill so many of them that it was like a flood of blood. Because of that, to diminish these murders, God said, “O Muhammad, tell your followers that in order to kill these animals in the name of God, in qurban, you have to kill them in a good way. You have to have your intention upon God and then kill these animals. You have to make them halal, you have to make them permissible and allow their evil blood to drain out.
Blood is something that can put man into torpor. Blood is something that can totally entrap man. If someone kills a thousand times without seeing blood, his mind will not shake. But if he kills and sees the blood flowing from his victim, that impression of blood will be in his mind. Because of that he will get into a state of torpor and say, “Aiyo, it is a sin!” As soon as he sees that blood, he will feel pity. He has that connection to blood. Since man has that connection to blood, as soon as he sees blood flow, he will go into that kind of torpor. Therefore he might not commit anymore murders, he might not commit anymore sins like that, and he might not eat those things anymore. That is the reason that God said, “Tell them to do it with qurban. Tell them to do it with the thought of God.”
How does qurban have to be done? Qurban, the sacrifice, has to be done by someone who prays five times a day. He has to be a father or priest. He remains in the mosque and when the people come, he performs the qurban. In a period where a thousand animal murders would have taken place, the morning prayer of awwal fajr and subhat are given. An imam and a mu’azzin stay there at the mosque. Two of them are there so that either the minister or the mu’azzin can kill these animals.
At the time of the subhat prayer, he has to clean and open the mosque. He has to put down the mats, clean them, and get everything ready. It is ten o’clock by the time all of this is done. After ten o’clock he can kill either a chicken or a goat. But there are laws for that also. The knife has to be a certain size for the chicken, about the span or the length from the fingertip to the elbow. For a cow, the knife has to be very, very sharp, able to split a hair. That is how sharp it has to be.
Once the subhan Allahi kalimah is said, if any food is regurgitated from that animal, that animal is haram—it should not be eaten. As he is about to say that kalimah and cut the animal, he has to feed this animal with water. He has to say the kalimah and give it water. He has to look directly at the face of the chicken, the bull, or the cow. He has to turn its head around and actually look into its eyes. He has to face the Ka‘bah. The one who performs this has to be someone who can face the Ka‘bah. He has to be someone who can actually stand before that Ka‘bah. In that state, in qurban, he has to kill that animal. This is exactly what he has to do. Until the soul of that animal goes, he has to look directly into its eyes and say the prayers. After its life leaves completely, he has to wash that knife and say the kalimah. He has to do all of this and then cut the next cow. So how many can he cut? By the time of the next prayer of Zuhr comes, at most he might have been able to cut five animals.
In these Arab countries, if there are ten mosques, there can only be twenty-five animals killed or fifty at the most. In a place where five million used to be killed, they now kill fifty. That is how these murders were diminished. When the commandments of Allah came, those sins were diminished. Why was this commandment given? It was to diminish these sins. It was to diminish these killings. It was so that he would have to look directly at this animal and see its blood. Some goats would cry when they were being killed. Some cattle or some chickens would cry and cry. They would be in tears. The reason for the qurban is so that they would feel pity and see the tears and the blood of those animals.
That is a beautiful and good Qur’an that Allah sent down through the Rasul. All the things that were killed like that were made permissible. Things that were not killed by that Qurban were not permissible. Then the people could not commit all these murders. Before that time, people would shoot birds in the jungle and eat them, but because of the qurban this could not longer be done.
One has to have those good thoughts of Islam. If one really looks at a hadith from the real Qur’an, and if that wisdom dawns within him, then he will never do any of those things. Then he will be very good. That explanation which comes is so great that he will never commit that sin again. He will be good. He will realize and he will never kill or do anything evil. In each verse, in each surah, these hadiths come.
Like that, these two sections cannot be put together. If you break a piece off a sandalwood tree, then you smell the fragrance of that sandalwood. If you take some garlic and eat it, the smell will come from that. If you cook it, you will smell the kind of aroma that comes form it. That smell will come. The essence comes out of each vegetable, does it not? If you take a lemon or an orange, all of these essences will come out of them, will they not? It is the same way that the qualities of the animals will come. If you eat pigs you will have the qualities of pigs. If you eat cows, you will have the qualities of cows. If you eat goats, you will have the qualities of goats. If you eat chickens, you will have the qualities of chickens. Their essences will come into you, their blood will come into you, and those actions will come. That wisdom will be hidden.
You must think of this with wisdom. The Rasul of Allah, the Prophet of God, has brought all these things in order for us to see. If we really think about this, our hearts will melt. If we really look at these things, our hearts will be frightened. If we look at this, our hearts will have mercy, our hearts will be afraid to do these things. There is very much difference between those two kinds of food. Child, these are the words of Allah, the words of the Rasul of Allah, the words of the Prophet of God.
There is a difference between the energies in these herbs and the energies and essences within birds and animals. There is a difference in their blood, their is a difference in their actions, and there is a difference in their life. There are differences in all these things. There is a difference in how they were created. Therefore, we cannot see both of these things as the same.
Allah has given man seven kinds of wisdom. He has given other creations anywhere from one to five kinds of wisdom. If snow comes, a weed will die. You do not need to think of that weed. As soon as three months pass, or as soon as winter passes and the sunny season comes, it will come up all by itself again. You do not need to plant it or do anything, because it does not really die. That weed will just come up again. Like that, that section is different, and this section is different. We have to think about this and look at this. We cannot have both.
“The qurban (the commandment of saying the Third Kalimah when ritually slaughtering animals) was also sent down to stop this murdering. And like this, the difference between haraam (not permissible) and halaal (permissible) was sent down. All the prophets came in order to gradually correct the people, to gradually reduce the number of murders, to gradually reduce theft, to reduce what is haraam, to reduce the actions against God’s commandments, to gradually reduce the sacrifices, and to gradually reduce arrogance. Gradually, little by little, these were lessened.”
“Qurban is not slaughtering chickens, and cows and goats. There are four hundred trillion, ten thousand beasts here in the heart which must be slaughtered. They must be slaughtered in the qalb. After these things have been slaughtered, what is eaten can then be distinguished as either halaal (permissible) or haraam (forbidden). Everything that is seen in the world is haraam. What is seen in Allah alone is halaal. Please eat that.”
“Allah has laid down certain laws for this. ‘You desired this animal, the flesh, but you must realize that this is a life like you. You have not realized this, and therefore, I am laying down certain conditions or laws from which I hope you will realize this.'”
“This third Kalimah is the same Kalimah that has been given to the followers of the Prophets, to be used during the slaughtering of animals for food, during the qurban. It is only after reciting this Kalimah that an animal can be slaughtered for food. This is to be said so that the animal qualities, the satanic qualities within the animal, the blood of satan within the animal, the intentions of satan within the animal, and all other evil, beastly qualities present in the blood and in the bile may be cut off and destroyed. The third Kalimah was also revealed and explained to Prophet Muhammad for the purpose of destroying the beastly qualities within the qalb of man. For human beings it was given and is to be recited to sacrifice the evil and beastly qualities that are present within their qalbs. When a man slaughters an animal for food, this prayer is meant to destroy the beastly qualities within him that cause him to want to kill an animal. Although it is commonly understood that this Kalimah is meant to remove the qualities within the animal, if you kill the animal qualities within the man, then he will no longer want to slaughter animals. Before the beast that is inside man kills another animal, this prayer was sent down so that both beasts could be brought to a higher state. It is for these reasons that the third Kalimah was given to man.”
Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, God, His Prophets and Children