Slaughters by the People of The Book

By Mufti Ebrahim Desai

Q.1) Is it allowed according to Islam to eat the usual meat which is available in the markets of America?

Q.2) The Holy Quran mentions to eat the food of the Ahlul-Kitaab. So is it a right practice to consume their meat (i.e. slaughtered by them)? If the answer to the above question is NO, so please give me a detailed explanation to the Fatwa which could be easily explainable to the others.

A.) Allah Taala says in the Noble Quran:

'Today I have made permissible for you pure things and the food of those who were given the Book (Ahlul-Kitaab) is also Halal for you'. (Quran Al-Maida 5:4)

Overtly the above ayat reads that the Zabeeha of the Ahlul-Kitaab is permissible, but the fundamental principle must be understood in order to understand the Quran i.e. 'One part of the Quran explains the other'. Therefore, this verse should be understood in the light of another verse relating to the same matter: 'Do not eat unless Allah's name has been taken and this (not taking Allah's name) practice is transgression' (Quran Al-Ana'am 6:121)

While the former verse explicitly states that the Zabeeha of the Ahlul-Kitaab is permissible and the latter says, 'Do not eat unless Allah's name has been mentioned.' In the light of both these verses, it is understood that the Zabeeha of the Ahlul-kitaab is permissible only if the name of Allah is mentioned at the time of slaughter. The Ahlul-kitaab used to mention Allah's name when slaughtering an animal, therefore, their Zabeeha was also halal for Muslims. It is for this same reason that an animal slaughtered by the Mushrikeen, etc. is not permissible. The Ahlul-kitaab of today are recognized by name, less faith. There is no guarantee that they take the name of Allah/God when slaughtering an animal. Furthermore, they cannot be trusted anymore in matters pertaining to Halal/Haram.

So there is uncertainty in the above slaughter manner. Also the Jurists are unanimous that it is not permissible to consume meat which is doubtful. Only if there is certainty that the Ahlul-kitaab read the 'Tasmiyah' i.e. mentioned the name of God when slaughtering an animal, will the meat from their slaughter be permissible.

We suggest that the Muslims in the U.S.A. and U.K. slaughter the animals themselves. A committee be appointed and look into ways to facilitate for Halal meat slaughtered by Muslims.

Another option may be that the meat sold on the market are packed, sealed and stamped by a Muslim organization consisting of reliable scholars and Ulama who have proper Islamic knowledge of the principles pertaining to Halal/Haram of the Shariah.

Albalagh Note: A simple and very effective means of guaranteeing halal status of all foods would be to insist on Halal Certification. The Islamic Food And Nutritional Council of America (IFANCA) does have a Halal Certification program and their approved items contain the Halal M stamp on the package. Now it is up to the Muslim consumers living in north America to demand this stamp from all the suppliers and put these issue to bed once for all.

And Allah Taala Knows Best

Further Reading: Ahkam-uz-Zabaih