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Is food of the Ahle Kitab Halaal or Haraam?

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)


One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Dear Burhan.

Asalaam waliekum warahmatuallah wabarakatuh.

Recently my family and I visited Canada. During our stay we avoided all meat foods since we knew that it was not slaughtered in the name of Allah. Surah al Ma'idah states in ayah 3: "Forbidden to you are foods on which Allah's name is not pronounced while slaughtering..."

Then ayah 5 states:" The food of the people of the scriptute (jews and Christians) is lawfull to you and yours is lawfull to them..."

Would you kindly explain to me this contradiction is ayahs 3 and 5? Its plain that in the west God's name is not pronounced while slaughtering; people don't even believe in God there anymore. Can I eat meat in the west or not?


(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)




Is food of the Ahle Kitab Halaal or Haraam?

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.


Firstly, we must understand that there is absolutely no contradiction in any of the aayahs of the Quran.

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 5 Surah Maidah verse 5: All the good and pure things have today been made 'halaal' for you; the food of the people of the Book (Jews and Christians) is 'halaal' for you, and your food for them.

Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 5 Surah Maidah verse 3:You are forbidden carrion, and blood, the flesh of swine, and of that animal which has been slaughtered in any other name than that of Allah; and of the strangled animal; and of that beaten to death or killed by a fall; or gored to death; or mangled by a beast of prey; save of that you duly slaughtered while it was still alive; and of that which is slaughtered at (un-godly) shrines.


In aayah 5 of Surah Maidah, Allah states that the food of the People of the Book (Jews and Christians) is halaal. Some people say that the People of the Book today do not believe in Allah and commit 'shirk' and since the food of the mushriks is 'haraam', therefore the food slaughtered by the People of the Book is also 'haraam'.   This deduction is incorrect, as the Quran itself condemns the Jews and Christians for invoking their Prophets as the son of Allah, and thus committing shirk.   But Allah has made the food of the People of the Book halaal as seen in the above aayah 5 of Surah Maidah.


At the time of the Battle of Khandaq, the Messenger of Allah (saws) himself accepted the invitation of a Jewish woman.

In aayah 3 of Surah Maidah, Allah states that the flesh of the animal which has been slaughtered in any OTHER name than that of Allah is forbidden. Thus if the Jews or Christians slaughter the animal on the name of Jesus, or Moses, or anyone else OTHER than Allah, than that food is forbidden. But if they do not mention any name, that food will be halaal for the believers.

But we must determine a few things, before committing to eat the food of the

People of the Book as halaal:

The animal itself should be halaal in Shariah.  (Even if they slaughter a swine,  it will not make it halaal).

The animal has to be slaughtered and the blood should be oozed out naturally.   It does not matter if the animal is slaughtered by hand or by a machine,  from the front of the neck or from the back.   What is important is that the veins must be cut to allow the blood to be oozed out of

the body.

The animal should have been alive at the time of slaughter.   It is  routine in most slaughterhouses in the West,  that they electrocute or sting the animal with an electric shock,  and then slaughter the animal.   That is fine,  as long as we are satisfied that the electric shock did not kill the animal. But if the electric shock kills the animal, then that flesh is forbidden.

The condition that Allah's name has to be pronounced is not a condition for the People of the Book,  as long as nobody else's' name is pronounced.   If anybody else's name other than Allah is pronounced at the time of slaughter,  it does not matter who slaughters the animal,  that

meat is haraam.

The above laws apply only to the People of the Book.

All meat presented by your muslim brother to you  is halaal, provided the animal being slaughtered is not itself forbidden (like swine, canine-

teethed animals, etc.).

All meat slaughtered by a mushrik (other than the Jews and Christians) is haraam.   It does not matter here if all the rites of Islamic slaughter are

followed.   If the person slaughtering the meat is a mushrik (like Hindu,  Sikh,  Buddhist,  whatever) the meat is haraam.


Your Question: Can I eat meat in the west or not?

This is an often asked question by the believers who live in, or visit the European or American continents. If one is satisfied that the one who

slaughters the animal is either a Jew or a Christian; if one is satisfied that the animal was slaughtered (while still alive); and if one is satisfied that

the animal was not slaughtered on any other name than that of Allah; then the food is halaal to the believers.


If any of the above criterias are not met, then that food becomes haraam. And the truth of the matter is, most of the modern slaughterhouses in the West either gore the animal with a rod, or give the animal an electric shock; which most times kills the animal. This meat of the dead animal would be forbidden to the believers.


Thus, it is difficult to give a general decision of whether the meat in the West is halaal or haraam. Not because the one slaughtering the animal is a Jew or a Christian, but because the condition of whether the animal was dead or alive before being slaughtered is difficult to ascertain.


Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.

Your brother and well wisher in Islam,






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