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

Assalamo Alaikum,
We are living in the world where there should be no excuse hindering the way to really protect our Emaan. My expereince with Non-Muslims is that most of them here do not respect their own religion. How and why would they be respecting our religion. I heard some making fun of those Muslims , who eat from Non Halaal fast food resturants etc. If not haraam...food becomes Makrooh according to Quran , if it is touched by the Non Halaal food...so it does not remain Tayyab, according to Quran.

Location

Toronto

Assalamo Alaikum,
We are living in the world where there should be no excuse hindering the way to really protect our Emaan. My expereince with Non-Muslims is that most of them here do not respect their own religion. How and why would they be respecting our religion. I heard some making fun of those Muslims , who eat from Non Halaal fast food resturants etc. If not haraam...food becomes Makrooh according to Quran , if it is touched by the Non Halaal food...so it does not remain Tayyab, according to Quran.

Location

Toronto

I am really surprised about the opinion of Yusuf Al-Qaradawi. This time the people of books not following guideline of their own books (except few Jaws). I found opinion of Syed Abul A'la Maududi is profound and more rational if we consider all instructions of Quran associated to food and drinks.

Location

Muhammed Shafiq,
You do know that "This Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi" is one of the most respected and considered one of the most knowledgeable scholars of his time. Even at that people will make mistakes but this doesn't give anyone the right to insult him the way you did.

Location

Salamualeikem
We are the Ummah of balance, in-between extremes left or right. No doubt the specs on what's haram are laid out in Quran 5: 4-5, but we can’t fall to the other extreme and forget about that which is lawful to us from people of the book. If a Christian worships Jesus, or a Jew worships Elohim how are we to expect them to utter in the name of Allah, when slaughtering their meat? Does the Quran not distinguish the people of the book from the rest of non-Muslims? The people of the book are given a special status in the Quran, and without pointing out the obvious aspects of haram food tell me when does their (people of the book) beef, or Chicken become lawful as Allah clearly stated? Why would Allah say theirs (people of the book) is lawful; without pointing out all the obvious lawful food (Milk, honey, Juice, oatmeal, sea food etc.)??? All scholars hit on good points; Qardawi makes a keen point also concerning the invoking of names by people of the book. As long as we don’t hear them invoking names other than Allah. Also doesn’t it make sense that as Muslims we have to say (in the name of Allah) whether eating or slaughtering the meat, while people of the book are clueless of what Quran mandates; Which is why in this instance Allah Himself tells us their food is lawful!?! Think about it, if Allah is speaking on their behalf then their excused for their special status and their lack of knowledge of Quran! Thus it only makes sense that we are allowed to eat their Beef or Chicken as they’re excused by Allah Himself, as invoking His name is a Muslim abada3 due to our privileged knowledge of Quran. We also can't forget that Quran 5: 5, may also fortell the nature of Muslims living amongst a major (size) following of people of the book as it is today; making their food compatible for us. Food for thought!

Location

Assalammualaikum, I agree with the first two Scholars on the Zabiha Meats. Our Islam religion is simple and Allah will never burden the ummah without his mercy and without knowing what his ummah capable are of. Are we comparing the burden and problems people had 1400 years ago to justify eating the non halal meat. Come on brothers and sistes we won't die if we didn't eat meat... I know number of families who are not eating meats for years now as the place they are living don't have a “stan free” chicken/lamb/beef... just for the sake of Allah Ta' Ala order...So what is Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi teaching here.... first eat non halal meat... just because we are in western countries... then drink alchohol and wine just because we don’t have water and then what... we can have sex with other female just because our own wife having period and the go on and on an on....In my opinion whoever the Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi is... I strongly encourage him to start learning the basic/fundamental on Islam.JazakAllah khair

Location

London

Assalammualaikum, I agree with the first two Scholars on the Zabiha Meats. Our Islam religion is simple and Allah will never burden the ummah without his mercy and without knowing what his ummah capable are of. Are we comparing the burden and problems people had 1400 years ago to justify eating the non halal meat. Come on brothers and sistes we won't die if we didn't eat meat... I know number of families who are not eating meats for years now as the place they are living don't have a “stan free” chicken/lamb/beef... just for the sake of Allah Ta' Ala order...So what is Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi teaching here.... first eat non halal meat... just because we are in western countries... then drink alchohol and wine just because we don’t have water to drink and then what... we can have sex with other female just because our own wife having period and the go on and on an on....In my opinion whoever the Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi is... I strongly encourage him to start learning on the basic/fundamental on Islam.JazakAllah khair

Location

London

Very informative. I believe that zabiha is the only "halal" UNLESS you are forced by your circumstances to do otherwise. IF you can buy zabiha than do it. This falacy that zabiha is more expensive than non is baffling. Than eat less meat, migrite closer, or whatever. Most people in my experience that complain about the distance between them and zabiha would move their entire family for one of these american dollars or wherever you live, but not to please Allah. Tisk tisk. Do the minimum of what is doubtful is you are 'forced' to do so.

Location

Washington DC

What does Shaykh Qardawi say about this?5:4 Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat blood the flesh of swine and that on which has been invoked the name of other than Allah that which has been killed by strangling ***or by a violent blow*** or by a headlong fall or by being gored to death; that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal; unless you are able to slaughter it (in due form); that which is sacrificed on stone (altars); (forbidden) also is the division (of meat) by raffling with arrows: that is impiety. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captive_bolt_pistol

Location

Los Angeles

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