There's political unrest in India, Hindus opposing beef (Cow meat) and Cow Slaughter and some Muslims rejecting it. Some Muslims supported beef ban for peace but Some Muslims are stubborn to not ban beef. (Supports cow slaughter).

What does Islam say about " Cow Slaughter"? Is it mandatory to meat of Cow? What is the status of cow in Islam? BTW, Cow is very sacred animal for Hindus. What does it say about Buffalo or its slaughter?

  • As well as my answer, based on my personal opinion, whereas it is not wajib to eat its meat, then you'd better to leave it (at least for a limited of time) if you'll be kept in trouble and crucial situation as you are not in and Islamic country and if the law doesn't allow you ... And Allah knows best. Commented Oct 31, 2015 at 7:38
  • @Bharat, is it true only some caste/sects of Indian Hindus oppose cow slaughter? I've many Nepali (Hindu) friends & many Indian (Brahmin & SC/ST) who eat cow on a regular basis and when asked they say nothing in the Holy Books prevents it. Infact some Dalit friends say it part of their culture as they cant afford chicken or goat. So why are Muslims being singled out by Modi's government in India? The same (Indian) friends have told me it is vote bank politics.
    – Ahmed
    Commented Nov 5, 2016 at 7:56
  • This might be related somehow: islam.stackexchange.com/q/38727/15201
    – Kilise
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 12:21

6 Answers 6


This is a very complicated question. The situation in India, cannot be reduced simply to a matter of juridical preferences, of which there are at least two aspects:

Is is must to eat meat in general, cow's beef in particular?
The answer is: No. There is no prescription of nutrients in Islam, one can even be a vegan.

Is is must to offer cow as ritual sacrifice?
The answer is: No. Camels, water buffaloes, sheep or goats can do.

However, the situation in India has a socio-political and economic context and history, in addition to the religious questions.

Political Context

  • Muslims have lived in India for over a thousand years, enjoying religious freedom though often as the ruling minority.
  • India is constitutionally secular and up until the current regime, with its unprecedented support of Hindu fundamentalism, there were not Muslims killed for the very act of eating beef. Even in the state of Gujrat, famous for massacre of Muslims, cow eating was not a mortal sin. Cow slaughter was not unprecedented in the life of an ordinary Indian Muslim.

Economic Context

  • Cows are - arguably - the second most preferred animals for ritual sacrifice in the subcontinent and with growing inflation more and more people are finding hard to afford small animals like sheep and goat. Every year there are more people vouching for shared ritual sacrifice (7 shares per animal) of larger animals only because of its affordability.

Religious Context

  • Consuming Halaal is at your discretion and one thing, but to ban Halaal (by force) is altogether a different thing - some practices are OK as long as not codified as laws - especially with all the history and constitutional rights of religious freedom.

All these factors work in tandem, reinforcing each other; there is no single bone of contention. The religious question before Indian Muslims is not whether they can avoid cows but rather how to deal politically, as a minority community, in a secular country when your tradition is challenged, when it had been in practice for centuries. Admittedly, there exists no canonical Fiqh of politics for a Muslim minority that would serve as a guideline for the community of Muslims in India, which is precisely why there are varied reactions to it. Had there been such a Fiqh it would have answered questions like "Should such a law be accepted?" "Should it be challenged in a court of law?" "Should there be civil disobedience and under what circumstances?" and so on.

The point I would like to be taken from this answer is that the question before Indian Muslims is one pertaining to such a Fiqh and not the classical Fiqh of Halaal meat.


What does Islam say about " Cow Slaughter"?

  • Eat and pasture your cattle [20.54]. Hence, Cow slaughter for food is allowed. Period.

Is it mandatory to meat of Cow?

  • No. Period.

What is the status of cow in Islam?

  • And the cattle, He created them for you, in them (is) warmth and benefits and from them you eat. - Verse 16.5

BTW, Cow is very sacred animal for Hindus. What does it say about Buffalo or its slaughter?


There is not Qur'an or Sunnah that specifies that Cow eating is mandatory. The total opposite, if cow eating will cause harm to you, your family, or your society, it becomes forbidden.

If anything will cause you death, in Islam it is forbidden, out of context that you Muslims aren't allowed to kill themselves.


In the name of Allah, the most gracious, the most merciful

Briefly speaking, concerning what you have inquired regarding eating meat of cow,

Is it mandatory to eat beef (Cow meat) in Islam?

The answer is that it is not deemed to be a mandatory (wajib) practice although it is declared as a halal meat, but it can be useful to eat it in common amount, which consists of much profitable foodstuffs for the body (if it would be slaughtered in Islamic ways). On the other hand, it is remarked as a permissible practice for the slaughterer to slaughter in Islamic ways based on Islam.




From religious perspective, Cow has no such significannce in Islam.

It's just an animal with four legs that Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) created.

Forsaking the habit of eating beef, for the sake of maintaining peace in India is good decision.

But in Eid-al-Adha, slaughtering four legged animal for the sake of the showing utter devotion to Allah, is mandatory for those who have the ability to buy and slaughter.

In that case, Muslim of India may search for other alternative of slaughtering four legged animals, like goats, sheep, Camels etc.

But as Cow is more available in Indian sub-continent, people tend to slaughter this 'Cow' which hindus oppose.

So, in that case, I think, Muslim of Inida may consider slaughtering other four legged animals rather than Cow.

  • Most schools agree that the sacrifice of an animal is not demanded by God but only an act of showing devotion. It's hence not mandatory. Following the 4500 years old root of this act, a goat would be appropriate.
    – Jeschu
    Commented Feb 20, 2021 at 10:46

No it is not mandatory to eat cows and beef in Islam, they are mentioned 12-20 times in different synonyms, it's a word used on the subject of false idols and rural scenes mostly:

The greatest significance of oxen in the Quran is in chapter 2, 285 verses, the longest chapter, titled "The Cow", the re-telling of the warning of Moses to the ancient peoples when they worshipped a bull...

The word calf and cow in 2nd and longest chapter of the Quran, is used in god's epic warning to describle those who do not believe in the Quran, in chapter 2, and to forment against the Quran's detractors that they are the same as cow worshippers of Moses.

Oxen and Calf and Cow are mentioned both by the Quran and Bible a dozen times, both in terms of gifts and religious scenes, and because of the worship of Taurus. Cows were a major image of worship for Persians, Babylonians and Egyptians, basically the entire planet worshipped cows, Ibis, monkeys and animals prior to the books on monotheism.

The bull, previously to moses, was worshipped as a god, as the rising constellation of a most holy day of ancient peoples like egyptians and celts, the rising constellation on the shortest day of sun in the sky, and a precise marker in syncrony with the seasons of the Nile... in the sequence of constellations ram-taurus-fish-aquarius...


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .