Issues related to personal lifestyle

Food and alcohol

For most Muslims, a guiding principle with regards to animal rights is khilafah. This emphasises their duty to look after Allah's creation and use it wisely. They will answer to Allah as to how well they perform this task.

Muslims apply this to the question of animal rights in a variety of ways.

In 1986, HRH Prince Philip invited leaders of the five major religions of the world - Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism - to meet to discuss how their faiths could help save the natural world. The meeting took place in Assisi in Italy. The Muslim Declaration at Assisi states:

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We are Allah's stewards and agents on Earth. We are not masters of this Earth; it does not belong to us to do what we wish. It belongs to Allah and He has entrusted us with its safekeeping.Muslim Declaration at Assisi, 1986.

Muslims follow strict food laws and only eat those foods which are halal. Those foods which are not allowed are called haram.

Meat which is halal must follow Sharia law with regards to the farming, preparation and slaughtering of the animal. Foods containing pork are haram, and Muslims will often avoid processed foods as they may not know exactly what these contain.

Alcohol is forbidden within Islam as it is harmful to the body. In the Qur’an, Allah says that any intoxicants or gambling are “from the work of Satan” (Qur’an 5:90). Therefore, Muslims consider that all non-prescribed drugs are the work of Satan and are designed to lead people away from Allah.

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It is thought that all drugs enable people to escape from real life, which would mean that they cannot serve Allah well.

Dress

‘Hijab’ has a broad meaning within Islam. It refers to the principle of modesty and includes behaviour and dress for both males and females.

Muslim children are taught modesty from a young age. This comes from a place of respect for the opposite sex, and to protect women from the sexual desires of men.

In the Qur’an, both men and women are commanded to lower their gaze and “guard their modesty” (Qur an 24:30-31). A man should be covered from the navel to the knees, and a woman must cover her top, head, neck and arms. A woman’s dress may differ depending on the laws of the country in which she lives.

One of the most recognisable items of clothing to keep in line with this concept of modesty is the garment called a hijab, which Muslim women wear to cover their heads.

Muslim women wearing the garment called a 'hijab'

Muslim women are required observe the principle of hijab in front of any man they could theoretically marry. This means that hijab is not obligatory in front of a woman’s father, brothers, grandfathers or uncles. It is also not obligatory in front of young children.