If a Jew/Christian slaughter a chicken fulfilling the conditions of islamic slaughter is it permissible to consume by muslims? There was a video circulating on trini muslims facebook group in which a hadith was quoted where the prophet said bismillah ate meat from a jewish woman this caused some controversy. Can we eat kosher meat as well?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
Islam is a comprehensive religion guiding Muslims through every facet of life. Since food is an important part of daily life, food laws carry a special significance. Islamic philosophy propounds that the food which man consumes affects not only his physical constitution but also his moral character and spiritual upliftment.
Why is it so important for a Muslim to strictly consume halal?
Consuming Halal is an order of Allah and an essential part of the Islamic faith. Allah has repeatedly emphasised the consumption of Halal in The Quraan. The following are some examples of such verses:
- 1.“O Messengers, eat from the pure foods and work righteousness” (Holy Quran 23:51)
- 2.“O you who have believed, eat from the pure things which we have provided you” (Holy Quran 2:172)
- 3.“O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth (that is) lawful and pure” (Holy Quran 2:168)
- 4.“So eat of that (meat) upon which Allah’s name has been mentioned, if you are believers in His verses” (Holy Quran 6:118)
Allah Ta’ala has commanded us in the Holy Quraan to eat only that which is Halaal and to stay away from that which is Haraam. Thereafter Allah Ta’ala commands the Prophets and the believers to do good actions. By eating pure Halaal foods, a person is able to easily do good actions and stay away from doing evil actions.
By being careless about the dietary laws of Islam a believer puts himself in sin and difficulties both in this world and the world hereafter. In this world, due to consuming Haraam, he deprives himself from having any of his good deeds and Duas accepted by his Creator while in the hereafter he suffers the greatest loss ever imaginable i.e. refusal from being admitted to Paradise. All this is confirmed in the following Ahadith:
- Abu Hurairah (RA) said: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “O people! Allah is Pure and, therefore, accepts only that which is pure. Allah has commanded the believers as He has commanded His Messengers by saying: ‘O Messengers! Eat of the good things, and do good deeds.’ (23:51) And He said: ‘O you who believe (in the Oneness of Allah)! Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you…”‘ (2:172). Then He (ﷺ) made a mention of the person who travels for a long period of time, his hair is disheveled and covered with dust. He lifts his hand towards the sky and thus makes the supplication: ‘My Rubb! My Rubb!’ But his food is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, his clothes are unlawful and his nourishment is unlawful, how can, then his supplication be accepted?” (Muslim)
- S’ad RA relates: Allah’s messenger ﷺ said “O S’ad purify your food (and as a result) you will become one who’s supplications are accepted. I swear by He in whose hands the soul of Muhammad ﷺ lies, verily a servant (of Allah) tosses a Haram morsel in his stomach (due to which) no deed is accepted from him for 40 days” (Tabarani)
Slaughter of the people of the Book (Jews and Christians)
Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani states: In order for the animals slaughtered by the people of the book to become lawful, it is necessary that the slaughterer be a follower of either the Christian or Jewish religion and that he believe in the fundamental teachings of that religion, even if these teachings are contrary to the teachings of Islim, e.g. their belief in trinity, atonement, and the distorted versions of the Gospel and Torah. It is not sufficient for a person to have a Christian name or for him to be counted as a Christian in the official census in order to establish that he is from the people of the book. Instead, his beliefs must be similar to their beliefs. There are many people today – especially in western countries – who have Christian names and are sometimes recorded in the census as being Christians, but in reality they are materialists or atheists who do not even believe that there is a Creator of this universe, let alone having faith in the other Christian beliefs. In reality, these people mock at all religions. They are not Christians and it is not permissible to consider them to be people of the book. This means that the animals slaughtered by them will be unlawful.
The correct view is that the animals slaughtered by the people of the book will only become lawful for us when they are slaughtered according to the Islamic way by cutting the vessels and draining out the blood. The animal will be unlawful if it is strangled, killed by a violent blow or slaughtered in any other manner which is contrary to Islamic law. The strong view which is supported by clear proofs is that the animals slaughtered by the people of the book will only become lawful if they observe all the conditions for slaughter which are mentioned in the Quran and the Ahadith including taking the name of Allah (or God.) This was the method of slaughter which was prevalent amongst them at the time when Allah revealed the verse which made it lawful to eat the animals which they slaughter.
Mufti Abdur Rahman ibn Yusuf mentions; Many people assume that the United States—and, for that matter, Canada, the UK, and many other European countries—are Christian nations. This is erroneous. Although many of the inhabitants of these countries profess to be Christian, this affiliation of theirs does not extend much past a personal or perhaps communal level. On the state level, these countries are openly secular, promote separation of church and state, and would hardly accept being labeled Christian nations. Some Muslim scholars from abroad, many of whom are not accurately informed of the religious composition of the US, sometimes pass the fatwa that the meat in the United States is lawful, citing that the country is Christian. No doubt, meat slaughtered by a Christian or Jew in accordance with the injunctions of their scriptures cannot be considered impermissible, as Allah has made it lawful in the Qur’an: “And the food of those who have been given the Book is permitted to you” (Qur’an 5:5). However, carelessly purchasing or eating meat from any source in the US with the excuse of being in a Christian country and thus eating the meat of the People of the Book (Ahl al-Kitab) is a gross error in judgment born out of ignorance of the true circumstances.
When purchasing meat from a regular grocery store, it is generally impossible to learn whether the slaughterer was a Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Baha’i, atheist, or, for argument’s sake, Muslim; and even if it is theoretically possible to find out, the informational costs and bureaucratic barriers are too prohibitive for it to be feasible. If we then make the venturesome assumption that the slaughterer is a Christian or a Jew, the adherence of these, especially the former, to the laws of slaughter laid down in their scriptures is tenuous, as a few moments’ examination of practicing Christians and Jews will show.
In general, we must be wary when confronting an issue in which uncertainty clouds the path to finding the sure ruling; we should err on the side of caution in such affairs. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Leave what puts you in doubt in favor of what does not” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi), cautioning Muslims of the doubtful. From another hadith, we learn a great wisdom behind this cautiousness that every Muslim ought to exhibit: “What is lawful is clear, and what is unlawful is clear. And in between the two are doubtful matters [whose rulings] many people do not know. He who guards against the doubtful safeguards his religion and honor, and he who falls into the doubtful falls into the unlawful, just as a shepherd who grazes his flock around a preserve will likely soon graze them in it. Indeed, every king has a preserve, and the preserve of Allah are the things he has declared unlawful” (Sahih al-Bukhari). Therefore, abstaining from something whose permissibility cannot be established is, with little or no exception, the best path to take.
Say Bismillah and eat. . A common misconception and its answer;
Let us now turn to a Hadith in Bukhari that is often misquoted by many people to justify their consuming of Haraam. The hadith is as follows:
“It has been narrated from Aisha, (RA), that some persons said to Nabi ﷺ ‘People bring to us meat. We know not whether the name of Allah Ta’ala has been taken (upon its slaughter) or not? Nabi replied, ‘You people say Bismillah and eat it.’ Aisha, (RA), says, ‘the people referred to (in this Hadith) were new Muslims.’” (Bukhari)
It is clear that the slaughterers were Muslims, not disbelievers. This is further elucidated by Imam Malik (RA)’s narration (of the same Hadith) where the addition of, “this was in the beginning of Islam.” (Fathul Bari)
The actual meaning of this Hadith, as understood by similar narrations is that one should not entertain unfounded doubts about a Muslim that he would neglect to mention the name of Allah upon his slaughter.
“This is what is understood by the context of the Hadith since the answer of Nabi ﷺ to the question was, ‘Say Bismillah and eat.’ It is as though they (questioners) were told, ‘That is not your concern, rather what should concern you is to consume it (wholesomely in the Sunnah manner) by saying Bismillah before partaking thereof.” (Fathul Bari)
Can we trust others’ word on whether something is Halal?
When there is ‘reasonable’ fear that a particular meat is possibly Haraam – or when it is generally the case that meat labelled ‘Halal’ is dubious–then it would be one’s duty to make sure. Nowadays is not only ‘reasonable’ fear that the meat labelled as Halal is possibly Haraam. Rather, based on the research and investigation of many individuals and organisations, the current situation is even worse – that is there is ‘extreme’ fear that a particular meat labelled as Halal may be Haraam.
Therefore, one must not take another’s word at face value; rather it will be one’s duty to ensure that the meat is Halal, whether individually or through an organisation that one trusts and who would give this assurance.
In our times, it becomes even more important to ensure the meat and poultry consumed is genuinely Halal due to the excessive deceit, cheat and false labelling of Halaal.
Nabi Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam said, ‘Leave what which puts you in doubt for what does not put you in doubt. For certainly the truth brings tranquility while falsehood sows doubt.'(Sahih Muslim 2518)
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best.
Mufti Arshad Ali
Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)
 Essay on Zabiha meat Madness by Mufti Abdur Rahman ibn Yusuf