Imam W. Deen Muhammad
QUESTION: Do you encourage your community to eat only halal products insofar as meats are concerned?
IMAM: Yes we do. But we encourage people to be realistic too. If I have to go 200 miles to get a halal chicken, the time and money that I am spending, as poor as I am, may be a sin bigger than not eating halal chicken.
I will go a thousand miles to keep from eating pork, but it is not necessary. I am sure most of us will not eat any meat at all if that is the situation. We have to eat something, and to get everything halal in my opinion now is not realistic for all of us.
I am sure the Muslim community under Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) didn't have everything halal from the very start.
Many Muslims don't know that in the case of starvation you can eat pork, just in the amount t save your life. This is Quran - many Muslims don't know that. That tells me that my Book offers me a very rational religion.
If it says don't eat pork because eating the swine - the flesh of pork, the pig — and drinking liquor, taking intoxicants, gambling and indulging in superstitious rituals are the work of the devil; then the same Book tells me that in a case of starvation it's okay to eat pork as long as you don't go to extremes and eat more than just enough to save life, that tells me that my religion is a very rational religion.
That's the beauty of our religion. Our religion is not a spiritual religion without a strong rational base or without a strong rationale for everything we do.
This religion is too much for the average person to manage by themselves. They can only manage to follow the laws of Quran when it comes to making academic judgment, or when it comes to making legal judgment.
It's the same way for us as Muslims as it is for society. The average person in society is not capable of making legal judgments, only up to a point. When it comes to making technical and critical legal judgments, we should trust our leadership.
I don't like to be flattered. I don't want people to worship me or to idolize me or to think that I am any human being different from what they are.
I am on the same level with them and I am no prophet. I don't have any title that they can't have. All of them can have my title as an Imam. Anybody in the community can qualify for that title.
I would feel happy if Muslims in this community would say we are a new community -- and rather than get involved in what this law says and what that law says, what this Hadith says and what that Hadith says, just tell us what the Imam okays for right now.
That's our situation right now!