1000 year old vegan poem: “I No Longer Steal From Nature”

We love this inspiring poem written by a medieval Arab poet over 1000 years ago! I No Longer Steal From Nature ~Al-Ma’arri



You are diseased in understanding and religion.

Come to me, that you may hear something of sound truth.

Do not unjustly eat fish the water has given up,

And do not desire as food the flesh of slaughtered animals,

Or the white milk of mothers who intended its pure draught

for their young, not noble ladies.

And do not grieve the unsuspecting birds by taking eggs;

for injustice is the worst of crimes.

And spare the honey which the bees get industriously

from the flowers of fragrant plants;

For they did not store it that it might belong to others,

Nor did they gather it for bounty and gifts.

I washed my hands of all this; and wish that I

Perceived my way before my hair went gray!

About the poet: Al-Ma’arri (973-1057), whose full name was Abu ‘L’Ala Ahmad ibn ‘Abdallah al-Ma’arri, was a blind Syrian Arab philosopher, poet and writer. He was stricken with smallpox when he was four and this eventually led to his total blindness. He started his career as a poet at an early age, at about 11 or 12 years old.

He was educated at first in Ma’arra and Aleppo and later also in Antioch and other Syrian cities. He also spent two years at Baghdad, where he was well received in the literary salons of the time, but he opted for an ascetic lifestyle, refusing to sell his poems, living in seclusion and observing a strict diet. He nevertheless enjoyed great respect and attracted many students locally, as well as actively holding correspondence with scholars abroad.

Like Vardhamana and the Jains, al-Ma’arri believed in the sanctity of life, urging that no living creature should be harmed. He returned to his native town of Ma’arra in about 1010, where he lived the rest of his life, practicing asceticism and veganism.


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