Allah in the Meat
BY: JAGADISH BOSE
Allah in the Meat
Jul 25, UK (SUN) 'Allah in the meat' a warning sign from God against cow killing?
On Tuesday, 22 July 2008, the BBC reported an astonishing story from Nigeria, “'Allah meat' astounds Nigerians”. The article tells how meat in a restaurant in northern Nigeria was discovered bearing the name of Allah.
The accompanying photo for the article shows a piece of beef, wherein the gristle of the meat (in Arabic script) spells “Allah.” Numerous other pieces of meat were found in the restaurant‘s kitchen bearing the name Allah and also the name of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
One believer told the newspaper that the words (Allah and Muhammad) “defied scientific explanation.” Some Islamic scholars have commented that, “It was a sign to show that Islam is the only true religion for mankind."
Since its discovery a few days ago, thousands of believers in the faith have come to patronize the restaurant. The restaurant management has kept the pieces of meat for visitors to see.
Of course this "Allah in the meat" is just the latest in a long series of sightings of religious figures and words in food or food-related items, going back as far as the Jesus Tortilla in 1978, wherein a certain Mrs. Maria Rubio of Lake Arthur, New Mexico was making burritos when she noticed the pattern of skillet burns on the tortilla. “It is Jesus Christ!” exclaimed the pious woman, and other family members agreed. After a priest reluctantly blessed the tortilla, she built a shrine for it, and thousands flocked from across the United States to witness the purported miracle and pray for divine assistance in curing ailments.
Other such ‘miracles’ were the Allah Eggplant found in northern England (1990), where some people discovered "Allah" written out in the seeds of an eggplant in Urdu. Then there was the “Pizza Hut Jesus,” wherein a member of a church choir saw Jesus' face in a forkful of spaghetti on an Atlanta Pizza Hut billboard. The sign became a national sensation before it was taken down as part of the company's regular advertising rotation. Then, there was the 1999 “Allah Tomato,” wherein a housewife in West Yorkshire, England, cut open a tomato and saw the Arabic word "bismallah" ("in the name of Allah") on one half, and the words for "there is no God but Allah" on the other.
In 2002 the Hindu Gods stole the show, when a Ganesh Potato appeared. A family in Mumbai, India, found a potato shaped like the city's patron god, Ganesh and the divine tuber sometimes gets as many as 60 to 70 pilgrims coming for blessings in a single day.
2004 saw the amazing “Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich” which manifest the image of the Virgin Mary. What’s even more amazing is that the sandwich sold on eBay for $28,000.
These types of ‘miracles’ are something most psychiatrists describe as a physic phenomena, where people find significance in random or natural phenomena (think bunnies in the clouds and Satanic messages in Beatles’ songs played backwards).
But let us assume for harmony’s sake that these miracles are neither a physic phenomena nor a hoax. Let us assume that these are true miracles wherein God is trying to tell us something. Now let us accept for the moment that God (Allah) has indeed manifested his name in meat in Nigeria to send us a message.
The question in my mind is, “What is the message that the meat conveys?” Is the message (as Islamic scholars have suggested) simply that ‘gristle and meat’ that spell God (Allah) means Islam is the only true religion for mankind? What does dead meat (or even grilled cheese sandwiches) have to do with verifying what is the true religion of mankind?
I think, as others may also, that rather than the ‘Allah in the meat’ miracle verifying to his followers that Islam is the only true religion, it might very well be a warning to the faithful not to kill cows or to eat beef. If indeed that was the meaning of the miracle, then it would certainly conform to a higher appreciation and respect for the life of other living entities.
Historically speaking, when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu met the scholar, the Chan Kazi in Navadwip, the Kazi verified that the Koran sometimes prohibited the killing of animals, but sometimes sanctioned the killing of cows. Mahaprabhu told the Kazi that:
“You drink cows’ milk; therefore the cow is your mother. And the bull produces grains for your maintenance; therefore he is your father.”
Thus the idea of a sanction for killing cows and eating beef was immediately rejected by Mahaprabhu, and he severely chastised the Kazi.
“(For the killing of cows) you are going to hell; there is no way for your deliverance. Cow killers are condemned to rot in hellish life for as many thousands of years as there are hairs on the body of the cow.”
Mahaprabhu further informed the Kazi, “There are many mistakes and illusions in your scriptures (the Koran). Their compilers, not knowing the essence of knowledge, gave orders that were against reason and argument.”
After some deliberation the Kazi accepted what Mahaprabhu was saying:
“My dear Nimai Pandita (Mahaprabhu), what you have said is all true. Our scriptures (the Koran) have developed only recently, and they are certainly not logical and philosophical. I know that our scriptures are full of imagination and mistaken ideas, yet because I am a Muslim, I accept them for the sake of my community, despite their insufficient support.”
When the “Allah in the meat” miracle is looked at with a sense of higher knowledge or even common sense knowledge, such as “we drink milk therefore the cow is a mother to us,” then it becomes reasonable and logical to think that the miracle, rather than a confirmation of what the “only true religion for mankind” might or might not be, is actually a warning from Allah not to kill cows or to eat beef.