The Issue of Halaal Meat
by Muhammad Jamaal ad-Din Abdul-WahidA prevalent corruption within the Muslim community regarding halaal (lawful) meat has successfully evolved into serious confusion and widespread “controversy.” The result of such wickedness is the belief that the following three errant justifications are legitimate:
- Just because the meat is not pork, it is halaal.
- The meat of the Ahl-al-Kitab (People of the Book) is halaal, regardless of how it was slaughtered or what the actual meat is.
- If there is a possibility the food may be haraam (forbidden), saying “Bismillah” (In the Name of Allah) over it is permissible, thereby making it halaal. (Included in this one is the silly suggestion of doing dhikr over the meat or doing countless dhikrs before its consumption.)
These three assumptions are deceptively propagated to Muslims who are either new to Al-Islam or uneducated concerning their Deen. The intent of this article is to expose and correct the fallacies cited above.
Dhabiha is the actual slaughter of an animal for consumption. dhabiha is performed by cutting the jugular vein of an animal and allowing its blood to drain. It is mandated by Qur’an and Hadith that all animals killed for food, except fish, must be slain via dhabiha. All animals, the flesh of which is edible except fish, are unlawful. dhabiha must be performed by a Muslim or by someone who is Ahl-al-Kitab. The Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has said, “You may deal with them (Magians; polytheists) as well as with the Ahl-al-Kitab, but you must not marry their women, nor eat of animals in which dhabiha is performed by them.” The dhabiha of an idolater is haraam because he or she does not believe in the Ambiya (Prophets), and the dhabiha of an apostate is haraam because he is not permitted to continue in the faith from which he has turned, but must rather be punished by death.
Those Muslims who are either undereducated or new to Al-Islam are misled into assuming that if the meat is not pork, then it is edible, consequently they need to be aware of is that dhabiha is what is to be considered when consuming meat that isn’t pork.
What is haraam
Allahu Ta’ala clearly mentions what is haraam in Holy Qur’an (Surah Al-Maa’idah, Ayat 3):
“Haraam to you (for food) is carrion; blood; the flesh of swine; that which any name other than Allah has been invoked; that which has been killed by strangling; and beat to death, or dead through falling from a height; and killed by the goring of horns; and that which was eaten by wild beasts, unless you are able to perform dhabiha; and that which is sacrificed to idols.”
Allah also states in Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat, 168:
“Eat of that which is halaal and tayyib (clean, pure, good) in the earth, and follow not the footsteps of Shaytaan. Surely he is an open enemy to you!”
The only instance when a Muslim is permitted to consume haraam provisions is if he or she is on the verge of starvation and the only food available to him or her is food which is ordinarily haraam. Allah states in Holy Qur’an (Surah Al-Baqarah, Ayat 173):
“But if one is forced by necessity, neither by desire nor transgressing, it is no sin upon him. Surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful!”
Ahl-al-Kitab and dhabiha
Allah states in Holy Qur’an (Surah Al-Maa’idah, Ayat 5):
“The food of the People of the Book is halaal for you and your food is halaal for them.”
Many are misled to assume that if the food (any food) is from a Christian or Jew, it is halaal whether or not dhabiha has been performed. The truth of the situation is, as related by Hadrat Abdullah Ibn Abbas (radiyallahu ‘anh):
“Their (Ahl-al-Kitab) food means their dhabiha.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)
From this, it can be seen, using a little bit of intelligent thinking, that in the issue of halaal meat dhabiha is fardh (obligatory), and if the meat is to originate from a Jew or a Christian, then this is the major and critical and critical concern.
It is a transgression to knowingly consume haraam meat. Allah says in Holy Qur’an:
“And do not eat that which the Name of Allah has not been mentioned. And surely it is a transgression. Surely the Shayateen (devils) inspire their friends to dispute with you. But if you were to obey them you would indeed be of the mushrikeen (polytheists).” (Surah Al-An’aam, Ayat 121)
Allah makes mention of such an ayah previous to the above in the 118th and 119th Ayahs:
“Eat of that which the Name of Allah has been pronounced if you are believers in his ayahs. How should you not eat that which the name of Allah has been mentioned when He explained to you that which is haraam to you unless you are forced otherwise under compulsion? But surely, many are led astray by their own lusts through ignorance. Surely your Lord knows best those who transgress.”
This does not mean the pronunciation of ”Bismillah“ is what makes it halaal, instead, it means as long as dhabiha was performed, the pronunciation of the Basmala is required upon consumption of the meat. In ALL collections of Hadith, for every serving of meat brought to Sayyidina Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam), dhabiha was always performed. In Sahih Al-Bukhari, Az-Zuhri (Rahmatullahi alaih) said:
“There is no harm in eating animals where the dhabiha was performed by Arab Christians. If you hear the one who performs dhabiha on the animals mentioning other than Allah’s Name, then don’t eat of it, but if you don’t hear that, then Allah has allowed the eating of animals where dhabiha has been performed by them, though He knows their disbelief.”
The use of a falsified Hadith to justify haraam consumption
There has been (and still is) a tendency to resort to the manipulation of Ahadith to suit the lower desires of individuals, political parties, and sects. Such forgeries can be found in books of intentional deviance, such as Fiqh us-Sunnah, and other books from the Sa’udi-sponsored printing presses in Arabia and elsewhere. Two variations of counterfeit evidence in relation to consumption of haram meat are as follows:
(Falsely) Attributed to Hadrat Sayyidah A’isha al-Siddiqa (Radhi Allahu ‘Anha) …
- A group of people said to the Nabi (Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam), “Some people brought us meat and we didn’t know where it came from.” He (Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam) said, “Say Bismillah over it and then eat it.”
- A group of people said to the Nabi (Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam), “Some people brought us meat and we didn’t know whether or not dhabiha was performed upon the meat. He (Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam.) said, “Say Bismillah over it and then eat it.”
It is stressed that those who have slandered Nabi Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam) and Hadrat Sayyidah A’isha (Radhi Allahu Anhaa) by quoting such falsehood, should immediately make tawba (repentance) to Allah for such an act of blasphemy. Slander against the Holy Last Messenger (Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam) and any member of his Ahli-Bait is a grave crime.
The original Hadith, found in Sahih al-Bukhari, reports that Hadrat Sayyidah A’isha (Radhi Allahu Ta’ala ’anha) related:
A group of people said to the Nabi (Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam), “Some people brought us meat and we do not know whether or not they have mentioned Allah’s name on slaughtering the animal.” He (Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam) said, “Mention the Name of Allah over it and then eat it.” Those people had embraced Al-Islam recently.
It is clearly stated in this Hadith that the issue at hand wasn’t dhabiha, it was the pronunciation of the Name of Allah over the meat that had already been slaughtered correctly, by MUSLIMS.
Results of haraam meat consumption
Never forget Allah’s command in Ayat 168 of Surah Al-Baqarah:
“Oh mankind! Eat of that which is halaal and tayyib in the earth, and follow not the footsteps of Shaytaan.”
In Sahih Muslim, Sayyidina Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam) gives an example of one who consumes haraam provisions:
…Then he (Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam) mentioned a man having journeyed far, is disheveled and dusty and who spreads out his hands to the sky (saying): O Rabb! O Rabb! – while his food is haraam, his drink is haraam, his clothing is haraam, and his nourishment is haraam, so how can he be answered!
In another Hadith, Sayyidina Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam) said:
“The prayers of a person who eats one morsel of haraam food will not be heard for forty days.”
Question: What kind of meat, if any, can be consumed from the non-Muslim supermarkets/grocery stores here in America?
As stated earlier, the dhabiha of the Ahl-al-Kitab (provided it is performed correctly) is what is lawful to Muslims. The practice of performing dhabiha by Christians has ceased due to the lobby of animal rights groups. However, Jews maintain the ritualistic slaughter which is very similar to the Muslim-performed dhabiha (legal to Islamic dietary standards provided NO alcohol is utilized and no other name is pronounced besides the name of God). Their correctly slaughtered meat is titled as being “KOSHER.” Only halaal meat (in a package that explicitly expresses the word halaal) and kosher meat (packaged with a ‘K’, ‘K’ in a circle or triangle, a ‘U’ in a circle, or explicit expression of the word kosher) in non-Muslim supermarkets/grocery stores are lawful to Muslims. All other meats in non-Muslim grocery stores are haraam (unlawful) because:
- The method of the slaughter of the animals is totally against what Allah says is halaal to us in Holy Qur’an.
- Western slaughter houses employ polytheists who perform the slaughter of the animals.
- They are prepared and sold containing “fillers.”
In Holy Qur’an (stated earlier under “what is haraam”), Allah says what types of meat are halaal and haraam to Muslims. Due to the profitability of mass production, the industry now slaughters the animals by shooting it, electrocuting it, running it off a cliff, stomping it to death, chopping its head off, and all other forms of animal cruelty. An example is given by two television shows (Nightline and American Journal) exposing the cruelty inflicted to animals by slaughter houses in order to acquire beef, horse meat, and meat from other large animals. The animal is submersed in a pool of iodized water, then electrocuted. This is performed because it speeds up the slaughter process for large animals in the non-Muslim slaughter houses. Each way of slaughter specified above is absolutely against the method of dhabiha prescribed by Allah and His Holy Nabi (Sallallahu alaihi wa aalihi wa Sallam).
Fillers are byproducts of pork and chemicals, and they are used as either a flavoring ingredient or as a substitute for non-pork products in order to maintain a low retail price of the meat. In The FDA Journal, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approves of five percent of the total meat package purchased to consist of fillers. The television show American Journal documented and exposed many supermarket chains for adding over 20% of pork to their ground beef. Slaughter houses also employ the same meat hooks used for holding pork for holding beef, with little to no time for cleaning residue from pork without the proper cleaning of those hooks, an extra five percent of pork can be detected in what one may consider beef from the supermarkets and grocery stores. In total, one may purchase what he or she may think is beef, but in reality, the meat purchased has a very high possibility of containing a total of twenty five percent pork byproduct. This may be witnessed visually by any intelligent consumer. Simply go to any non-Muslim grocery store’s meat isle and examine the color of the contents in any package of ground beef. The consumer will notice a mixture of brownish and pink color. If it were 100% beef (as the package label says), then it wouldn’t show such colors upon itself.
“Leave that which causes doubt for that which doesn’t bring doubt.” (Nabi Muhammad, Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)
In conclusion, one will never be able to purchase 100% pure beef in America, or any other non-Muslim society, unless the meat is purchased at a Halaal meat store; a kosher meat store that strictly adheres to the Kosher standards; or by way of an acquaintance (either Muslim of Ahl-al-Kitab) who performs dhabiha correctly. One should be informed of the misconceptions and deceptions used to poison one’s body, and eventually one’s salaat/du’a, by way of tampering with his or her adherence to Islamic dietary laws. Since no one on the face of this earth has the power to make halaal what is clearly haraam, one must strive to enforce what is lawful and forbid what is unlawful. Please take heed to what has been presented, so educated decisions can be made in the future. No single individual can survive without their salaat, and the consumption of haraam meat can seriously damage his or her own prayers, amongst other things, such as affecting his or her personality for example. May Allah grant us guidance with everything we do and protect us from the ways and practices of Shaytaan. AAMEEN!