Can Muslims eat meat?

Eating and drinking in IslamBlood sausage is not halal

Once upon a time in November 2018: A pig cheated its way to the Federal Minister of the Interior's 4th German Islam Conference. There was also other food for the participants, who were mostly Muslim. But also blood sausage. A hit for those contemporaries who love nothing more than to kick off heated debates or campaigns on the Internet. The hosts' alleged mistake was discussed under the hashtag blood sausage. Some suspected an anti-Muslim conspiracy. Mathias Rohe, Islamic scholar and lawyer, was also there. He reacted like this:

"There is a new form of Christian martyrs. Those are the ones, and I include myself there, who have noticed that they are now carrying blood sausage around. The bad thing is that they weren't on a buffet, but that was one of them flying buffet. That was just held up in front of people's noses. I noticed that and I ate bowl after bowl and, I don't know how many people saved me from eating this black pudding. I like them too, I have to admit . We sacrificed ourselves in the manner of black pudding so that they never come into contact with the things. "

Haram and halal

A look at the Koran sura 6, verse 145, shows why the black pudding is doubly forbidden for the Muslims.

"Say: I find in what has been given to me
nothing that is forbidden to eat
except dead and poured blood and pork -
because it is unclean. "

But there are other regulations that Muslims must observe. What is forbidden is called "haram", explains Professor Mathias Rohe, Islamic scholar and lawyer at the University of Nuremberg and Erlangen.

"This (haram) means that you are not allowed to consume a food or drink. If you do, you commit a sin for which you have to stand up in the hereafter."

Allowed food and drinks, on the other hand, are referred to as halal. This term should also be familiar to many non-Muslims. Most kebab shops decorate their shop windows with Halal lettering. If a devout Muslim observes the dietary rules, he will prefer restaurants with the Halal label. Without really knowing what criteria the meat served meets. In addition Mathias Rohe.

"There are certificates that are issued. By the way, there is a lot of money behind them and sometimes quite brutal competition between different companies. Ultimately, people have to trust that what is on the label is correct."

Not just a question of the species

A commercialized branding. But who actually controls these labels?

"It varies a lot. There are not always controls. There is no really fixed control system. That means someone can claim that they have used some kind of meat that has been slaughtered according to Islamic regulations - and nobody can really control that."

Many Muslims trust this label. Because the word "Halal" not only expresses that the meat is permitted animals such as sheep, cows and poultry, but also requires a special type of slaughter. Because according to Islamic belief, animals must be slaughtered in the name of God. That means: The animals have to bleed out completely. In addition, the butcher must be a believer in God. Only then is the meat considered truly halal. The State Secretary for Integration, Serap Guler, is a devout Muslim woman. She thinks that the term "Halal" has a deeper meaning.

Slaughtering in a slaughterhouse in Bordeaux, France (dpa / Sioc Han de Kersabiec Alexandre)

"Is what I eat what I eat myself, is it honestly deserved, or have I hurt someone else? Have I hurt someone else, have I robbed someone else in order to be able to afford this meal "If I think if I treat myself to a meat dish that has been slaughtered according to Islamic rules and this with money that I haven't honestly earned, it remains haram."

Remorse at the neighborhood barbeque

For Muslims in Germany, meat can become a real challenge in everyday life, says Enes Curuk, a young Muslim from the Rhineland and a former imam.

"There is the question of whether, as a Muslim, products from shops that do not work with Halal branding or products that are produced on German farms are consumable for Muslims. These thoughts are, of course, on barbecues at various festivals, Neighborly meetings. These thoughts naturally lead to these corners of our community and social life. "

In order to still understand these rules correctly today, the young graduate of the famous Ankara University of Theology looks at the historical context in the Koran. He wants to relax restrictions. There are also traditions known from the life of Muhammad that show that the Prophet was rather relaxed. Mohammed responded kindly to invitations from Jewish neighbors and ate some of their meat dishes. After all, they are people with a belief in God. Just as Jews today often prefer halal restaurants to classic German restaurants. The ease of Mohammed in dealing with the meat question could also make the everyday life of many Muslims in Germany easier. And apart from that, no Muslim in Germany is forced to eat pork, says CDU politician Serap Guler:

"There are certainly those who have a problem with it, but you can opt for a vegetarian dish in the canteen if you don't want to do without certain rites or if you insist that they be observed or if you decide on a salad."

"Should I eat this roast pork as a guest?"

Lale Akgün, a former SPD member of the Bundestag and advocate of liberal Islam, can also sign this. But sometimes it goes even further. In a Deutschlandfunk interview, she told how she reacted when she was served roast pork:

"I was invited - and with this invitation they served roast pork and hosts usually always ask what one can serve a Muslim. That was not done this time. And I was asked, should I now point out to the hosts that they?" Failed to ask me and then point out their mistake? Or should I, as a guest, now eat this roast pork and just put hospitality above a piece of pork? "

Lale Akgün, former Islamic representative of the SPD parliamentary group (imago / Hoffmann)

Lale Akgün chose hospitality. She derives her argument from the same sura in which pork is initially explicitly forbidden. It is the continuation of sura 6, verse 145 in the Koran:

"But when someone finds himself in a predicament with no covetousness and committing a transgression - well, your Lord is forgiving and merciful."

The young Muslim Enes Curuk has reservations about this type of interpretation.

"To legitimize the consumption of pork from a Koranic perspective is daring. Although it is not only clearly prohibited in one, more than one or two places - with the reference:" Do not eat! "I believe that one says, one is allowed to eat enough so as not to die in extreme situations - that is beyond question, that is of course true. Situations in which one does not want to expose hosts are situations that are within the discretion of these people. And I believe that we are nevertheless in one Live a society in which we can cope with these situations. And I believe that hosts too need not feel embarrassed in such situations, but are also ready to take on responsibility and stand up for them. "

What about alcohol

Another Islamic ban concerns the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Also a sensitive question, says integration officer Serap Güler.

"I know a lot of Muslims - I am one of them myself - who forego pork but still drink alcohol."

The Islamic theologian Enes Curuk (private)

Mathias Rohe: "There is a statement that good and bad can be found in alcohol - and then at some point it is forbidden. Although this has not always been adhered to. Some say, for example - a whole school says that beer is allowed below the threshold of getting drunk, that is, that only wine is forbidden. And you have to realize that it applies to Muslims as well as to other people: They adhere to such regulations with varying degrees of consistency, for example when you are in Turkey "Then you will not infrequently get a glass of raki to drink, and many Turks like to drink it."

Many compromise

The young Muslim Enes Curuk also knows many Muslims ...

"They are very religiously descriptive people who do not renounce alcohol consumption and who deliberately do not renounce."

Alcohol was gradually banned in Islam. The meaning of this Koranic ban on alcohol is still valid today, says Enes Curuk.

"Unfortunately, I have to go to court with alcohol very harshly, since alcohol consumption plays an important role in all crime statistics. I believe that alcohol represents and can pose a risk to health, life, social and general life of people thus understand a ban on alcohol. Personally, as a theologian, I could not see any leeway where I could say that alcohol is permitted and understandable. "

Dealing with Islamic dietary regulations appears to be a very individual matter, and opinions sometimes differ widely. The Muslims in Germany have made their own personal compromises with their religion on many points. One in this way, another in the other way.