Legal Rulings on Slaughtered Animals
By Shaykh Mufti Taqi Usmani
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LEGAL RULINGS ON SLAUGHTERED ANIMALS
The ruling of meat slaughtered by Jews and Christians The modern automated method of slaughter
A fatwa (legal ruling) on the meat imported by Saudi Arabia and other Muslim Countries
By Mualana Muhammad Taqi Usmani
The consumption of lawful food is an issue of paramount importance for every Muslim. There is a direct link between the consumption of lawful foods and the ability of a person to worship Allah. Rasulullah $ has also issued a very severe warning for those people who consume unlawful food. He is reported to have said, “The body of a person who is nourished by unlawful food will not enter Jannah (paradise).”
Similarly, the dud’ (invocation) of a person who eats unlawful food is not accepted. It is narrated in an authentic Hadith that Rasulullah M once described a person who has been on a long journey, his hair is disheveled, and dust has gathered on his body. This person raises his hands to the sky and cries out, “O my Lord, O my Lord,” whereas his food and drink is from unlawful sources. His body has also been nourished with unlawful food. [If this is the case] then how can his invocation be accepted?” 2 Dua’ is a great asset and weapon of the Muslims which they can resort to at times of need and difficulty. This Hadith emphasizes how important it is for Muslims to ensure that they eat only lawful food in order for their duas to be accepted and for Allah to remove their difficulties. We can deduce from this that one practical step which Muslims can take for dealing with the current crisis is to make it a priority to eat only lawful food and do all that is in their capacity to abstain from doubtful or unlawful food.
There are many serious issues regarding unlawful and lawful foods which affect Muslims in recent times. The masses and J~eaal Killings on Statianteiina •^Animats
even the Islamic scholars have held conflicting views on these issues, thus causing great confusion for the average Muslim. One of these issues is the permissibility of consuming the ‘food of the people of the book’ as mentioned in the Holy Quran. Some people have used this verse to prove that all meat found in western countries is lawful, irrespective of whether it was slaughtered according to Islamic law or not. Similarly, many Muslims hold the view that it is lawful to consume any meat slaughtered by non-Muslims and sold in their stores, irrespective of how it is slaughtered, as long as the Muslim himself recites the name of Allah at the time of eating. There is a great fear that many Muslims are eating doubtful meat or meat which does not meet the requirements of slaughter under Islamic law based on their incorrect understanding of this verse, thereby exposing themselves to all the spiritual harms of eating unlawful food mentioned above. It is extremely important to clarify this matter and explain the true meaning of this verse along with the conditions which need to be met in order for the meat of the people of the book to become lawful.
Another important issue is the modern method of slaughter which is currently being used in slaughterhouses and abattoirs. This automated method has brought about many contentious issues which could possibly make the slaughtered animal unlawful to consume. These problem areas include machine slaughtering, the practice of stunning the animal before the slaughter, the recitation of the name of Allah on each animal, as well as others. There is a great need to clearly identify those aspects of the new method of slaughter which are acceptable in Islamic law and those which are not acceptable so that the Muslim consumer can know which meat to consume.
Similarly, there has been great controversy amongst Muslims in recent times regarding the meat imported into Saudi Arabia and the imported meat sold in Makkah and Madina in particular. Some concerned Muslims have been abstaining from this meat, whereas a good percentage is either unaware of this issue or feels that this meat is lawful. The matter has been further complicated by the fact that Muslims have not had access to reliable and accurate information regarding how this meat was slaughtered. Thus, it is of utmost importance for Muslims to gain further clarification in this regard, especially when we take into consideration the fact that Allah more readily accepts the duds of his servants in these two holy places.
The Muslim world desperately needs to resolve these above- mentioned issues so that Muslims can know with certainty which foods are lawful and which are unlawful. The translator happened to come across a book written by Mufti Taqi Usmani called Ahkaam Adhabaih (Legal rulings on slaughtered animals) which very thoroughly and convincingly addressed these issues as well as others, making it an indispensable book for every Muslim in today’s times. The only drawback was that this book was written in the Arabic language as a presentation to an Arab audience, meaning that the general public did not have access to it. Thus, the translator felt that there was a great need for this book to be translated to the English language in order to educate Muslims on these important issues.
What further adds value to this book is the fact that the author is a world renowned scholar and an authority with regards to contemporary issues of Islamic Jurisprudence. He holds a degree in law and has served as a Judge at the Shariah Appellate Bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Mufti Taqi also is the deputy chairman of the Jeddah-based Islamic Fiqh Academy, which indicates that he is held in esteem by Muslims of all backgrounds. He has written more than 40 books on a wide range of topics in the Arabic, Urdu, and English languages. These books have been widely accepted by Muslims all over the world. In short, the contents of this book carry greater weight because of the auspiciousness and high esteem of the original author.
The translator has done his best to ensure that the translation is accurate and that the message of the original book is preserved. He has consulted with specialists and scholars of Islamic law throughout the translation, and had them participate in the editing process. At certain places, the translator has included additional information with the permission of the author in the form of appendices to shed further light on certain issues. 3
May Allah use this book to give Muslims the correct understanding of the spirit of Islam and save them from unlawful food.