Zabiha or non zabiha: 3 scholarly opinions

Amongst North American Muslims, there are two predominant views about Zabiha meat. Below, we have provided explanations from scholars representing each view.

The late scholars Syed Abul A'la Maududi and Al Phahim Jobe both argue that the meat must be slaughtered in accordance with Islamic guidelines.

Scholar Yusuf Al-Qaradawi argues that the meat of the Jews and Christians (called the ‘People of the Book') is acceptable for Muslims to eat.

ONLY ZABIHA MEAT MUST BE CONSUMED

1. Opinion of Syed Abul A'la Maududi

(On a discussion about Quran 5:5): “The food of the People of the Book includes the animals slaughtered by them. The rule that ‘our food is lawful to them and theirs lawful to us' signifies that there need be no barriers between us and the People of the Book regarding food.

We may eat with them and they with us. But this general proclamation of permission is preceded by a reiteration of the statement: ‘All good things have been made lawful to you.' This indicates that if the People of the Book either do not observe those principles of cleanliness and purity which are considered obligatory by the Law or if their food includes prohibited items, then one should abstain from eating them.

If, for instance, they either slaughter an animal without pronouncing the name of God or if they slaughter it in the name of anyone else but God it is not lawful for us to eat that animal.

Likewise, if intoxicating drinks, the flesh of swine, and any other prohibited thing is found on their dining table we may not justify our partaking of such items on the ground that the persons concerned are People of the Book.

The same applies to those non-Muslims who are not People of the Book, except for one difference-that whereas the animals slaughtered by the People of the Book are lawful provided they have pronounced the name of God at the time of slaughtering them, we are not permitted to eat the animals killed by non-Muslims who are not People of the Book.”

(Towards Understanding the Quran by Sayyid Abul A'la Mawdudi, Volume 2, Tafseer of Surah Al-Maidah, verse number 5)

2. Opinion of Shaikh Al Phahim Jobe

In response to the question, “is it permitted to eat the supermarket meat? Some people say America is a Christian country, and eating the food of the People of the Book is allowed,” Shaikh Al Phahim answered:

“Supermarket meat is not Halal. For the Halal animals meat to be Halal, it has to meet the requirements of slaughter in the Islamic way. This includes invoking Allah's name before slaughtering it, so that we may remember that all forms of life are sanctified, and we are killing the animal because Allah has given us the right to do so to satisfy our hunger.

Another requirement is that it is slaughtered in a way that most of its blood is drained away.

These principles are derived from the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him): “Forbidden unto you (for food) are carrion, blood, the flesh of swine, on which has been invoked the name of others than Allah, the strangled, and the dead through beating, and the dead through falling from a height, and that which has been killed by (the goring of) horns, and the devoured of wild beasts, saving that which you make lawful (by slaughtering)...” (Quran 5:3).

“Eat not (of meats) on which Allah's name has not been pronounced...” (Quran 6:121).

Ibn Abbas narrates that the Prophet forbade the cutting of the spinal cord of the animal when it is slaughtered (Tabarani).

The second part of the question dealing with the People of the Book also has its answer in the Quran: “this day (all) good things (Tayyabat) are made lawful to you. The food of the people of the Book is lawful for you, and your food is lawful to them.” (Quran 5:5).

It is clear that the food of the Book has to be from among the “Tayyabat”, that means the meat has to meet the Islamic requirements of slaughter as explained in the beginning of my answer.

There are some scholars who are of the view that the supermarket meats are Halal, but their arguments are weak and even they say that the Muslims should try to establish the Islamic way of slaughtering of animals (Zabiha).

I also differ with the statement that America is a Christian country, it is a secular and capitalists nation.”

A side note about "Halal" meat in non-Muslim countries

During a 1997 Islamic Fiqh Academy Meeting, the issue of Zabiha was also brought up.

This is a summary of the discussion.

“The third important topic of discussion was the new methods of slaughtering animals. The meeting discussed which of these new methods are in accordance with Shariah and which are not.

In many Muslim countries, especially in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries, meat imported from non-Muslim countries is widely used. The Academy was told by its researchers, based on their personal experience, that the Halal label put on such imported meat is not reliable. The producers exporting this meat from non-Muslim countries to the Muslim countries do not take care to meet the requirements of the Shariah.

Therefore the Academy appealed to the Muslim businessmen that before importing such meat, they should ensure that the slaughter is certified to be performed in accordance with the Shariah, the certification being given by observing Muslims who are knowledgeable about Shariah requirements regarding animal slaughter. The Academy also appealed to the Muslim governments that they should use their embassies in the exporting countries to keep the exporters from using the Halal label without proper Halal certification by reliable Muslim agencies.”

(Source: Al-Balagh website)

THE MEAT OF NON-MUSLIMS CAN BE EATEN

3. Opinion of Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi

“Since Allah did not prohibit it, the food of the Jews and the Christians is permitted to you on the basis of the original permissibility of things, and likewise you can share your food with them. Accordingly, you can eat the flesh of the animals they have slaughtered or hunted, and they can eat what you have slaughtered or hunted.”

(The Lawful and The Prohibited in Islam by Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, page 59).

“The application of the phrase, [part of the verse of the Quran, 5:5] ‘the food of those who were given the Scripture,' is general and includes their meats, produce, and other foods. All of these are halal for us excepting what is haram in itself, e.g., the flesh of a dead animal, pork, and flowing blood, as these are haram regardless of whether they are obtained from a Christian, a Jew or a Muslim. “

(The Lawful and The Prohibited in Islam by Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, page 60)

“If one does not hear from a Christian or a Jew that a name other than Allah's such as that of Jesus or a saint, was mentioned at the time of slaughter, the meat he offers is halal. If, however, he says that a name other than Allah's has been mentioned, it is haram, according to the opinion of some jurists who argue that it falls under the heading of what has been dedicated to other than Allah. Some others hold the opinion that the food of the People of the Book has been permitted to us by Allah, Who is aware of what they say when slaughtering an animal.”

(The Lawful and The Prohibited in Islam by Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, page 60)

“...we know that imported meats, such as chicken and canned beef, originating with the People of the Book are halal for us, even though the animal may have been killed by means of electric shock or the like. As long as they consider it lawful in their religion, it is halal for us. This is the application of the above verse from Surah al-Maidah.” (Sheikh Qaradawi is referring to Quran 5:5)

(The Lawful and The Prohibited in Islam by Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, page 62)

It should be noted that at a conference of the Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA) in the U.S. a few years ago, where Sheikh Qaradawi is a regular speaker, he became exasperated upon being asked this question. He has encouraged, in the North American context, where Muslim businesses are present, that Muslims buy from these stores as opposed to purchasing from the supermarket.

 

"The Meat Market (3972348087)" by Alex Proimos from Sydney, Australia - The Meat MarketUploaded by russavia. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Meat_Market_(3972348087).jpg#mediaviewer/File:The_Meat_Market_(3972348087).jpg

Comments

AsSalaamu'alaikum:I am still not sure on whether or not I can go into the grocery store and buy chicken.Both sides give convincing arguments and InshaaAllah We all don't gain Allah(S.W.T.) wrath

Location

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ

AssalamolaikumI found this article very enlightening.The first argument seems far more convincing than the second.One should try to avoid any doubts when its a matter this serious ,since zabiha meat si available almost everywhere in the US.Jazakullah kher

Location

Florida

I found this article very informative.One should try to avoid any doubts when its a matter this serious ,since zabiha meat si available almost everywhere in the US.Also lot of farms provide you the facility to do that too, so just make a un doubt choice. Thanks

Location

Nebraska

With the Name of AllahAs-Salaamu-AlaikumThere is a vast market being neglected by our vacillating on this subject. I am speaking of the Muslim prison population. As a Muslim Chaplain I have found it very difficult to get clarification on what is Halal and what is not. During the month of Ramadan the State is made especially aware of Halal. Last year the women in my facility found that a certain flavor of the oatmeal was listed, in the Halal & Haraam book as being haraam. This information was sent to Albany. After checking with the "Islamic Authorities" it was deemed that it was alright to eat, I won't even mention the issues with the cheese, and MEAT or lack of (meatless menu). This confusion weakens our position Religiously and financially. The State takes advantage of our confusion and do not feel compelled to order from true Halal Businesses, which brings the next concern. Do we have the facilities and professional "Muslim" slaughterers to handle the demand of the institutions? If we do not, should we spend the time complaining, or spend it preparing? Because we are talking about mass production.

Location

New York

It is a good discussion, "what is haram"? It is confusing as hell though and our next generation is growing up on this confusion. Some parents are very strict and teach such to their kids, others are "relaxed" and teach accordingly to their kids. When these kids get together in community, it is confusion galore. It is not serving Muslims. There is really no solution to this situation and it will always exist in a country where Muslims are in minority. Muslims need to learn to take it easy

Location

Michigan

I still do not understand why we are discussing? We should buy and eat meat slaughtered by muslim other than what we do is for supporting them by financially and loosing our kids. Can we die if we do not eat chicken from market or are we going to be poor if we buy meat from halal grocery shop? Brother and sisters wake up. this is serious issue

Location

Philadelphia

I find we are confusing what is wise not to do with what is forbidden (haram). Our approach to food is, generally speaking, simplistic. In addition, we can at times even harm da'wah (the invitation to Islam) by a misplaced zeal with respect to food.I do not buy supermarket meat, or eat at Mac's. And ideally, I'd have meat slaughtered by a Muslim in line with the sunnah. But that's the ideal, and this forum is not about ideals but about the forbidden. If my neighbour gave me a meat pie, or baked me a cake, i'd eat it. I don't believe it is forbidden.The Prophet's time was a simple time. "Food" meant raw materials added together. Our time is very different. We have by-products and extracts from by-products, and synthetic mixtures. "Food" is rarely the food in children's books; it's a whole science. The 'animal' in a chemical extract present in confectionery today, may have been slaughtered 3 years ago! Yet we insist it is "meat".Whilst I support many efforts to get slaughter practices closer to the sunnah, I think we are turning this easy religion into something difficult. That's why I don't think noble people like Maulana Mawdudi (r) from 1950's India are in a positon to understand this subject. And the blessed prophet's life is full of the easy and wiser path, even with respect to doubtful food.

Location

England

This article was of help to me but it did not clear much up for me. My family lives in a rural part of atlantic canada. We are the only muslim family in the town. We haev to live here to sustain ourselves. My mother washes the meat we buy and reads a duaa and pronounces the name of Allah al Rahman al Rahim. Other arabs i know in the same situation are doing the same. Ive recently made some pakistani friends who staunchly believe otherwise. I am in confusion. There are numerous sources on tv and the net giving both sides sof the arguement and im not sure which to follow. It would ofcourse be easier if we had a source of muslim slaughtered meat nearby, but thats not the case...and slaughtering animals here is illegal by law. If u have any helpful views please feel free to email me. thank you and salaam alaikum .

Location

rural atlantic canada

Assalamualaikum,Thanks,it was imformative,i thought it was easy to get Halal meats everywhere around the world.Until i resided in Port Moresby,Throughout the years we havent been eating any kinds of meats.We just stick to fish & other seafoods.And we are fine.The muslim community here is very small and they is no one that does or sell any kinds of muslim slaughted meats.

Location

Papua New Guinea

The article was concise, yet explained the matter well. The matter is simple, yet not simplistic. If it required nothing other than good faith, then there would have been no need for RasulAllah (saw) to explain the shariah of slaughter as we find in numerous hadith. Accordingly, the four great Imam would not have discussed this in detail in their books either. What we eat affects our physical spirit and spiritual spirit. Halaal meat and zhabiha are not two seperate issue-- having one and not the other renders the whole thing impermissible. Just like Allah says "do not eat of meats slaughter on the name of other gods"--proves that an incorrect method of slaughter is just as important as the object itself being lawful. And Allah knows bes.

Location

Pages

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