Easter meat: Halal or Haram?

With Easter celebration around the corner many Muslim families will be invited by their Christian counterparts for lunch or dinner, where they are expected to wine and dine to variety of dishes. But there is a thought that always arises when it comes to meat delicacies: “is the meat from a halal animal? Then it begins to get awkward because you can’t ask your guest such a question and then you begin to feel uncomfortable. In such situations, many muslims often choose to skip invitations with ridiculous excuses.

This article looks into what the scholars agreed on what meat to consume based on facts from Quran and hadiths about zabiha/halal meat.

A halal meat is any meat obtained from animal which was slaughtered based on Islamic principle of slaughtering the animal in a humane manner.

 Opinion of Syed Abul A’la Maududi

(in reference to Q5v5): “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)

 

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 6v121).

 

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 5v5)

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

 

it must be noted that, this article is in no way a personal write up but where transferred directly from documented works and public lectures responses delivered by the above named scholars.

Although, the late scholars Syed Abul A’la Maududi1 and Al Phahim Jobe both argue that meat must be slaughtered in accordance with Islamic protocols, while Yusuf Al-Qaradawi argued that meat from the Jews and Christians “People of the Book” is acceptable for Muslims to eat. So, its let for you to either feel free and enjoy the pleasantries or skip the invitations.

 

 

 

 

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