We need a new fiqh for food.
There, I said it.
Not because our great scholars of the past and sages of Islamic texts were out of touch but because we are living in dire times right now. Nor am I referring to rendering prohibited food items permissible.
The challenges we face today are completely different than many centuries ago.
A few months ago, I saw a woman in the grocery store staring at an item and scanning her phone over it.
Intrigued, I got closer and saw her looking through a series of codes and numbers.
I asked her what she was doing and she said she has an app that contains a database of all the codes associated with manufacturing additives like colors, preservatives, flavors, etc. and she just wanted to understand what was in the package.
What’s the Islamic ruling from the four schools of thought on that?
Given the fact animal agriculture is the leading cause of human starvation today, what are the rulings on continuing to consume animals and support these vile industries? How does killing 2 million animals on Eid today help?
Yes, we have the texts but what we need now is context filtered through enlightened minds.
Aside from the fact male chicks are mass murdered today by being thrown into a grinder or gassed (no eggs=no money=useless) to industry and the fact it is actually illegal to use the words “safe”, “nutritious” or “healthy’ when advertising eggs in the United States, what’s the ruling on factory produced eggs today?
Is killing billions of baby males of non human origin something Islam sanctions is it?
The “meat is halal!” argument doesn’t really help anyone at this point in time.
It saddens me most of our scholars and speakers have literally contributed nothing to this field in our times.
I dare say, their heedlessness is part of the problem.
We have heard talk after talk about so many different and important issues (and some not so important) but when it comes to our world, or how we treat animals, there’s a gaping void that’s been filled largely by other communities.
And that’s a real shame because our tradition is riddled with examples and precedents on how to treat our animal friends and environment with the utmost sense of compassion.
We don’t have an organized, clear understanding of these contemporary issues; largely following what everybody else does with no originality or beneficial discourse of our own.
This needs to change and quickly.
What we really need is for our qualified scholars to get together with experts of all kinds – health, nutrition, environmental, social, economic, etc. and work with them in order to establish an updated fiqh for our times in order to help us correct our current disastrous course.
It’s a seriously needed and monumental task of re-writing a fiqh for food today but it must be done if we are to alleviate the suffering of our communities, other communities and the planet as a whole.
Would love to hear your comments, thoughts, questions and criticisms.