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    Why Muslims do not eat “Prasada (Prasadam / Prasad)”?

    Muslims do not eat “Prasada (Prasadam / Prasad)” because of their ideological position. This is very similar to the ideological position of vegetarians who would refuse to eat non-vegetarian food. The yardstick used and the consideration given for the Vegetarians must be applied to Muslims also.

    Why Muslims do not eat “Prasada (Prasadam / Prasad)”?

    A common question that is asked by many is “Why Muslims do not eat “Prasada (Prasadam / Prasad)?” It is important that this question is understood correctly because many people perceive the act of Muslims not eating “Prasada” as an insult, discrimination, and intolerance towards people of other faiths.

    Will a Vegetarian eat Chicken 65 when you offer it to him / her?

    The obvious answer is “No”. What if you try to convince the Vegetarian that you are offering Chicken 65 only out of love, respect and you want to live in harmony with them? Will they accept the Chicken 65 after they hear this explanation? No, they would not. Even if Chicken 65 is given by a person from their own religion, they would still not eat it. They would politely explain that they do not eat non-vegetarian food.

    If someone argues “The vegetarians should accept Chicken 65, to demonstrate their acceptance and respect for the sentiment of non-vegetarians”, will you agree with it?

    When a vegetarian refuses to eat Chicken 65, will anyone call it discrimination or intolerance or insult? The answer is “No”. One wonders why. We understand that most Vegetarians do not eat animal food for ideological reasons.

    Every reasonable person respects the Vegetarian’s ideological position and will accept their decision not to eat the Chicken 65. The yardstick used and the consideration given for the Vegetarians must be applied to Muslims also.

    Muslims do not eat Prasada due to their ideological position

    If you are wondering why Muslims do not eat Prasada, it is because they believe God has forbidden them to eat it.

    God says in the Quran:

    He (God) has only forbidden for you flesh of dead animals, blood, pig’s meat, and food over which any name other than that of God has been pronounced.

    Quran Chapter 2: Verse 173

    The verse above makes it clear that Muslims should not eat any food that is made as an offering or Prasada to deities or saints. Like how a vegetarian’s ideological position does not allow him to eat non-vegetarian food, a Muslim’s ideological position does not allow him to eat offerings made to anyone other than God, like deities or saints.

    Note: Muslims should not even eat the offerings made to the Saints in Dargahs. Example: Zarda offering done at the Ajmer Dargah. Saints, however pious they might have been, are not God. Muslims who follow the guidance of the Quran, should not eat Zarda as it is an offering done to a Saint. As you can see, this has nothing to do with any particular religion.

    Why this ideological position?

    Islam teaches that God is the Creator of this Universe and all that exists within it, including the time and space. Time and space are the creations of God. So, the Universe and all that exists within it cannot be God, because the Universe and whatever is within it (a person, planet or a thing) is confined by time and space.

    Islam also teaches that this Creator is One, has no parents, spouse or kids, has no weaknesses and there is none equal to Him. Muslims believe that any entity that does not have these characteristics cannot be God.

    Naturally, Islam considers the food offered to a saint or a deity (which does not meet the criteria for the concept of God), as a food offered to someone other than God. Therefore, Muslims are not allowed to eat it. It must now be clear to you why Muslims do not eat “Prasada (Prasadam / Prasad)”.

    No discrimination in Islam

    Islam prescribes living in harmony with peoples of all faiths. We will quote a couple of examples from the life of Prophet Muhammad.

    A Jewish man invited Prophet Muhammad to a meal of barley-bread and stale melted fat and the Prophet accepted his invitation.

    Musnad Ahmad

    The above incident is just one of the numerous examples that teaches Muslims to accept the invitation of non-Muslims and eat their food. Not just that, Prophet Muhammad also encouraged people to share food with their neighbours.

    Prophet Muhammad said:

    When you cook something, make more, so that you can share with your neighbours.

    Sahih Muslim

    Islam allows Muslims to eat food of non-Muslims and also encourages them to share food with them. That is why, you can see Muslims at your office, neighbourhood, school or college sharing their food with non-Muslims and also eating foods given to them by non-Muslims. So, obviously Muslims not eating “Prasada” is definitely not an act of discrimination or insult or intolerance.

    You can check for yourself

    Try giving sweets or food (that is not an offering) to Muslims. They will gladly eat it and thank you for it. If the intention was to discriminate or to insult you or to be intolerant, they should not accept any food from you, but that’s definitely not the case. In fact, Prophet Muhammad encouraged people to give gifts to one another. Gifts definitely include food items.

    Prophet Muhammad said:

    Give each other gifts and you will love each other.

    Adab Al Mufrad

    Islam teaches Universal Brotherhood

    Islam teaches that all the human beings are children of the first man and woman (Adam and Eve) and therefore, all humans, irrespective of their faith, nationality, language, skin color, are brothers and sisters in humanity.

    God says in the Quran:

    O mankind! No doubt, We created you all from a male and a female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you may know each other. Surely the most superior and noble of you in the sight of God is the most righteous among you.

    Quran Chapter 49: Verse 13

    As you can see, the verse makes it very clear that irrespective of the religion and ideology we follow, we are all brothers and sisters in humanity. There is absolutely no room for any discrimination among the people.

    Prophet Muhammad said:

    There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab, nor for a non-Arab over an Arab. The white is not superior to the black, and the black is not superior to the white. Superiority is only by good character.

    Musnad Ahmad

    Islam also teaches that all humans are born equal and no one is superior by birth. The only way a person can become noble and superior is by their righteous actions. This teaching is extremely relevant to the times we live in as we frequently come across news about people who refuse to eat food cooked by people whom they consider inferior. Remember, this is just normal food and not an offering to a deity. If this is the case with normal food, one can imagine what would happen with the offering to a deity. A true Muslim can never adopt discriminatory practices like these, as Islam teaches that all humans are equal.

    Conclusion

    1. Muslims do not eat “Prasada (Prasadam / Prasad)” because of their ideological position. This is very similar to the ideological position of vegetarians who would refuse to eat non-vegetarian food.
    2. The yardstick used and the consideration given for the Vegetarians must be applied to Muslims also.
    3. Islam teaches Universal Brotherhood and considers all humans equal. So, there is absolutely no room for discrimination in Islam.
    4. Muslims are allowed to share food with non-Muslims and also eat their food.
    5. Muslims not eating “Prasada” is not an act of discrimination or insult or intolerance.
    6. Muslims cannot even eat the offerings made to Saints in Dargahs. Example: Zarda in Ajmer Dargah.

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