THE LAW OF SHARIAH REGARDING MECHANICAL SLAUGHTER
By Muḥaddith-e-Kabīr Hazrat `Allāma Zia-ul-Mustafa
Al-Qādiri Razvi Amjadi
Translated by Mohammed Afthab Cassim Razvi Afriqi
In our present day and age, the method of mechanical slaughter, i.e. slaughter by use of machines, has become a common practice and animals slaughtered mechanically are generally being imported into Muslim countries. In many countries, numerous Muslim butchers, after becoming aware of such meat being imported into their countries, have raised the matter with the authorities and have even established their own abattoirs so that the proper slaughtering of animals is in their control. This was done to prevent the innocent and unsuspecting Muslim masses from eating such meat, and to also avoid themselves from selling Ḥarām meat.
However, certain westernized Molvis have, without providing any proper Islamic reasons, certified such meat as being Ḥalāl, and they have also given the green light to Muslims to buy “Ḥalāl meat” from non-Muslim butchers. Why such Molvis have implemented this, fails to make sense as there is no complete or partial evidence from the Shariah, namely, from the Holy Quran, Aḥādīth or Books of Fiqh to substantiate their arguments. They have tried various means to establish that the method of mechanical slaughter as being permissible, but were hopelessly unsuccessful.
Due to the fear of the detrimental effect that may be caused by establishing mechanical slaughter, I have decided to give a brief explanation of the differences between mechanical slaughter and proper Islamic Dhabīḥa (Slaughter) so that unsuspecting Muslims are not trapped into eating Ḥarām meat.
PROPER SLAUGHTERING ACCORDING TO THE SHARIAH
Every Muslim should at least be aware of the fact that for the flesh of any animal, with the exception of fish and locusts, to become Ḥalāl, it must pass through the proper method of Islamic slaughter, i.e. in accordance with the Shariah. There are basically two methods of slaughter in Shariah, which are:
- Dhibāḥ-e-Ikhtiyārī: Slaughter of animals in one’s control, e.g. livestock and poultry.
- Dhibāḥ-e-Iḍtirārī:Slaughter of uncontrolled animals, that is, animals (game) that are hunted.
In both methods, the animal must be slaughtered by a sharp weapon (knife, spear, etc.). With the exception of these methods, almost all the other methods are improper.
In Dhibāḥ-e-Ikhtiyārī, the wind pipe, the food pipe, and the two blood vessels on either side of the throat must be severed. If at least three of the four mentioned vessels are severed, then the animal is regarded as Ḥalāl.
In Dhibāḥ-e-Iḍtirārī, the animal may be severed (cut) anywhere on the body by being stabbed or cut by the sharp edge of the weapon causing its death. If a trained dog or hunting bird causes such injury to the animals being hunted, thus causing its death, then such an animal is Ḥalāl.
Dhibāḥ-e-Iḍtirārī is for those birds, who due to their height of flying cannot be caught, or those animals (such as wild birds and animals) whose speed does not allow them to be easily captured.
Dhibāḥ-e-Ikhtiyārī is the law applicable to those animals, such as sheep, poultry, etc. which are in one’s control and possession. If an animal in the category of Iḍtirārī is injured by a spear, etc. or a hunting animal, and such an animal, before its death, comes within the control and possession of the hunter, then until and unless it is not slaughtered in the method of Dhibāḥ-e-Ikhtiyārī, it will not be Ḥalāl. (Hidāyah Ākhirayn, pg. 505)
It is quite obvious that for those animals slaughtered by a machine to be Ḥalāl, such animals would need to be slaughtered according to Dhibāḥ-e-Ikhtiyārī, where it is in possession. It is obvious that it is only then that it can pass through the procedure of mechanical slaughter. If it is said that the method that is used is not Ikhtiyārī, then it would be impossible for the animal to be mechanically slaughtered.
During mechanical slaughter, the physical strength and intention of the person is not used, rather, the person appointed presses a button or releases a switch on the machine, which in turn causes electricity to pass through the cables of the machine giving motion to the motor, which in turn gives motion to the pulleys, which in turn gives motion to the blade causing the animal to be slaughtered. Neither is the motor, nor the blade brought into motion by the direct strength of the person operating the machine. If there is no electricity, then the motor would not run, therefore, not allowing the blade to operate and slaughter the animal. It is thus evident that the machine operator is not directly linked to the motion of the blade nor the actual slaughtering of the animal.
For a moment, let us presume that a person places a sharp weapon firmly into a wall or ties it to some object with the intention of Dhibāḥ, after which livestock is chased in the direction of the knife, whereby it crashes into the knife in a manner causing the necessary vessels to be severed. Even under these conditions, the animal is Ḥarām since it was killed through its own action and strength and not through the strength of the slaughterer, even though there are fewer Dharī`ah or means (“processes”) here than in mechanical slaughter.
It is stated in “Kanzu’d Daqā’iq”: “If a person places a small saw or a sharp weapon in a jungle while saying Bismillah with the intention of hunting an antelope, and if he returns the next day to find the animal dead, due to it being severed by the weapon placed, then too it is not allowed for such an animal to be eaten”. (Kanzu’d Daqā’iq, pg. 220)
Imam Zayla`ī has explained that the reason for this, is that in Dhibāḥ-e-Ikhtiyārī, the Muslim should slaughter the animal himself and in Iḍtirārī he should cause the animal’s death by severing it himself. Without this, the animal cannot be regarded as Ḥalāl, since such an animal is in the category of “Naṭīḥa” and “Mutaraddiya”, that is either beaten to death or injured by falling. This is evident from the following verse of the Holy Quran: “You are forbidden to eat the dead and blood and flesh of swine and that on which any name other than Allah is invoked at the time of slaughtering, and that which dies by strangling and that which is beaten to death by a blunt object and that which is killed by falling and that which is gored.” (Sūra Mā’ida, 5:3)
The point in “Kanz” about the animal being found dead the following day, is only hypothetical. However, even if it is found dead on the same day, it is still not Ḥalāl, since the conditions of Dhibāḥ were not met. (Tabyīnul Haqā’iq, Vol. 6, pg. 226)
There is a possibility that certain persons may doubt the above law after reading the following quotation found in “ad-Durr ul-Mukhtār”, Kitāb-us Ṣayd, etc. concerning hunting game: “If a hunter places a sharp weapon in a trap and watches over it, then if an animal is trapped, severed and killed in it, then it is Ḥalāl.” From this, it may seem that if a Muslim places the knife saying Bismillah with intention of Dhibāḥ, and if the animal is severed and dies in this condition, then it should be Ḥalāl. In other words, it would seem that it is enough for the knife to be placed with the Nīyyah (Intention) of Dhibāḥ. It does not seem necessary that the animal should be slaughtered by the person himself. If this is so, then mechanical slaughter should also be accepted as Ḥalāl, since the motion of the machine and the blade was through the switching on by a person, and in some way, man is part and parcel of this procedure.
In clarifying these doubts, all I want to say is that it is enough to understand that the law derived from “ad-Durr ul-Mukhtār” and other works of jurisprudence is specifically for those animals in the category of Dhibāḥ-e- Iḍtirārī and the laws of hunting are totally non-presumptuous (Ghayr Qiyāsi), which cannot be applied on livestock, which are in the possession of humans.
In reality, even if a wild animal is captured and is in the possession of a Muslim, even then such an animal cannot be slaughtered in accordance with Dhibāḥ-e- Iḍtirārī, as it is now in possession and will fall into the category of Ikhtiyārī.
In this case, without doubt the animal of mechanical slaughter is in possession, and the law of Iḍtirārī is not applicable on such an animal. Such animals (in possession) fall into the category of Ikhtiyārī and must be slaughtered by the persons own action and intention. If it were allowed to slaughter livestock on the law of game animals, then it would also be permissible to mortally wound livestock anywhere on the body, whereas to do so is disallowed.
With the exception of this, there is Ikhtilāf (difference of opinion) amongst the Fuqahā’ (Muslim Jurists) on the law of Hunting Game. It is stated in “Khulāṣa” and “Muḥīṭ”: “If a hunter places a knife in a trap and then leaves, after which an animal is caught and killed in the trap, then it is Ḥarām, and if the Hunter places the knife and is watching the trap, then such game is Ḥalāl.” Differing on this, Imam Zayla`ī and various other Jurists say that in both circumstances the animal is Ḥarām. Thus, Imam Chalabi writes that the argument of “Kanz” presented by Imam Zayla`ī infers that after the hunter places a small saw and whether he leaves or is present makes no difference, since in both cases the animal, through its own strength, was severed and killed by itself and not by the hunter, thus rendering it Ḥarām. From this it can be well understood that Imam Zayla`ī does not accept the opinion of “Khulāṣa”, and other books in this matter. (Tabyīnul Haqā’iq, Vol. 6, pg. 226)
In this instance, Imam Shāmī has stated that in Dhibāḥ-e- Iḍtirārī it is not a condition for the person making Dhibāḥ to do so himself. (Shāmī, Vol. 5, pg. 192)
It must be understood that a difference of opinion exists in the matter of Dhibāḥ-e- Iḍtirārī, but in the matter of Ikhtiyārī it is unanimously agreed that the Dhibāḥ must be made by the person himself for the animal to be Ḥalāl.
According to the Shariah and its terminology, the Fā`il (one doing the action, the subject) is that person who performs an action with his own strength and intention, thus it is deduced that the slaughterer is that person who, with his own strength and intention, slaughters the animal. Thus, it is clearly evident that in mechanical slaughter, the act of Dhibāḥ is neither carried out by the person saying Bismillah, nor by the operator of the machine, but by the moving blade showing that the severing of the vessels is the act of the machine. This is a clear fact that cannot be refuted by any intelligent person. Even those who sanction mechanical slaughter agree to this.
GIST OF MY ARGUMENT
Amongst those conditions which are required for proper Islamic Dhibāḥ, many of the conditions are totally absent in the method of mechanical slaughter. I would therefore like to list a few of these conditions:
- It is necessary that the slaughterer is of sane mind and aware of the laws of Dhibāḥ. It is for this reason that the Dhabīḥa of an insane person or of a young child with no knowledge of the laws of Dhibāḥ is Ḥarām(Hidāya Ākhirayn, pg. 434; Tabyīn, Vol. 5, pg. 287; Majma`ul Anhur, Vol. 2, pg. 598)
N.B.: It is evident that electricity, the machine, and the blade which is set into motion are free from sanity or insanity and such equipment are not even aware of the intention of Dhibāḥ
- It is necessary for the person making Dhibāḥ to recite Bismillah himself. If Bismillah is recited by any other person, Dhibāḥ will be improper and the animal will not be taken as Ḥalāl.(Radd ul Muḥtār, Vol. 5, Pg. 192)
N.B.: When the machine and the electricity which controls it does not have the power of saying Bismillah, then how is it possible for the operator or a person standing on the side to recite Bismillah on behalf of the machine?
3.1 If a person other than the slaughterer places his hand on the knife to assist the slaughterer, then both of them have to recite Bismillah. If one of them abstains from saying Bismillah, then the Dhibāḥ is Ḥarām. (Radd ul Muḥtār, Vol. 5, pg. 192; a-Durr ul-Mukhtār, Vol. 5, pg. 212)
3.2 If while a Muslim is slaughtering an animal, and a person held the knife who is neither a Muslim nor a Kitābī (People of the Book) or neither Muslim nor Kāfir, then the Dhabīḥa is Ḥarām. (Al Ashbā `Anil Khānīyya, Vol. 1, pg. 145)
N.B.: Now, let us presume that the slaughter is carried out both by the action of the Muslim and that of the machine, then it has to be accepted that the machine, which is neither Muslim nor Kitābi and does not even recite Bismillah, is also part and parcel of the Dhibāḥ. This makes the Dhabīḥa Ḥarām.
- The slaughterer should slaughter with his own intention and action, as I have quoted Imam Zayl`ī and `Allāma Shāmī(radi Allahu anhuma). The Holy Quran has stated: “Except that which you have slaughtered.” (Sura Māi’da, Verse 3)
Almighty Allah has clearly commanded that the Dhibāḥ be done by the Muslim himself, with his own intention and action. It is on this that there is trust.
- It is also a condition that the Tasmīyyah be said with the intention Dhibāḥ. If Bismillah was read with any other intention, and if Dhibāḥ was made, then the animal is not Ḥalāl.(Durr Mukhtar, Vol. 5, pg. 191)
From this, it has become clearly evident that the Nīyyah of Dhibāḥ is also necessary and to take Almighty Allah’s Name for this reason alone is also a necessity. It is obviously clear that the machine has no intention nor power to control itself. In reality, how then can the machine make Dhibāḥ with the intention of taking Allah’s Name for the reason of Dhibāḥ alone?
After studying all the above mentioned arguments, it is requested that you look over a few statements of those who say that the mechanical method of slaughter is allowed:
- According to Islamic slaughter, the person present may say Bismillah from any position and allow the vessels to be severed by the sharp instrument thus causing blood to flow. Whether this is done personally or by the machine, both cause the Dhibāḥ to be Ḥalāl.
- There is no reason to condemn mechanical slaughter as un-Islamic and its Dhibāḥ as Ḥarām, since the sharp blade of the machine is severing the vessels. While this is happening, a Muslim is reading Tasmīyyah with the intention of Dhibāḥ, thus no valid reason can be found to make mechanical slaughter Ḥarām.
N.B.: This argument for mechanical slaughter is totally inappropriate. The argument presented implies that as long as the vessels are severed, blood has flowed and that any person is present saying Bismillah, then the Dhibāḥ is proper, whether the person slaughtering is a Muslim or Kāfir or whether he is neither Mu’min nor Kāfir. This is totally against the command of the Holy Quran “Illā Mā Ẓakkaytum – Except that which you have slaughtered.” (Sura Māi’da, Verse 3)
Certain `Ulamā’ in Egypt have also sanctioned mechanical slaughter. Their argument is as follows: “If the person in-charge, or the operator of the machine is a Muslim or Ahle Kitāb, and if the machine has a blade which causes the necessary vessels to be severed, then in this case, the person saying Bismillah should do so individually for each animal being slaughtered, then the equipment (blade of the machine) is accepted as the equivalent of the hand of the slaughterer, and such Dhabīḥa will be accepted as Ḥalāl, and if these conditions are not fulfilled, then the Dhabīḥa is not Ḥalāl”. (Fatāwa Islāmīyya, Dārul Iftil `Aṣarīyya, Vol. 7, pg. 2616)
The laws concerning the Ahle Kitāb will be explained as we proceed with our argument. My question here is: when the person saying the Tasmīyyah is not slaughtering the animal himself, and is not responsible for personally performing the action of Dhibāḥ, then to assert that the moving knife is an equivalent of the hand of the slaughterer is a mere claim without valid evidence from Shariah. Indeed, it has been proven that the `Ulamā’ in Egypt have themselves accepted that the Dhibāḥ should be done by hand, thus they have for the same reason permitted the moving blade to be equivalent to the hand of slaughterer.
I have already presented proof that in Dhibāḥ-e-Ikhtiyārī the slaughtering must be done by the slaughterer himself, with his own action and intention. No proof contradictory to this has ever been furnished. It seems as if the `Ulamā’ in Egypt have accepted the means of action to be the equivalent of the person performing the action. It is for this reason that they have accepted the person operating the machine to be the Dhābiḥ (Slaughterer), as he is the “means” for the Dhibāḥ. It seems as if they have no knowledge of the fact that in Dhibāḥ-e-Ikhtiyārī the Shariah has not accepted the means as an equivalent to the slaughterer, but rather the Shariah has commanded personal slaughter as a condition for Dhibāḥ. I have already presented proof on this argument.
At this juncture, it must also be understood that one “means” is being used as the “means” of the next. In other words, the operator presses the switch, making him the “means”. If there is power, then electricity passes, making it as a “means” for the pulleys to move, which becomes a “means” for the blade to run, consequently allowing it to slaughter the animal. How then, can the “means” for a “means” for a “means” can be accepted as the equivalent of the slaughterer. Is the action of the operator known as electrical current? Is the operator himself another name for the machine?
Experience has proven that the machine works with such speed that in the time it takes to say one Bismillah, one hundred animals can be slaughtered (commonly as in poultry). Due to this, it is obvious that 99 of the 100 hundred animals did not have Bismillah recited at the time of their Dhibāḥ. In reality, none of these animals can be considered as proper Dhabīḥa, since it will not be known over which one of the animals the Bismillah was read.
Concerning the `Ulamā’ in Egypt, I have also been informed from authentic sources that the righteous and pious `Ulamā’ in Egypt are imprisoned while others are issuing decrees on the basis of their Western ideologies in loyalty to the Egyptian government. In other words, the pious, truthful and outspoken `Ulamā’ are imprisoned by the government, whereas those `Ulamā’ who issue decrees are on the payroll of the government. It seems to me that in implementing mechanical slaughter, it is the western lobby that are working with Egypt and other Middle East countries.
I cannot understand how the movement of the blade has been authorized as an equivalent to the slaughterer himself. Such stubbornness against the Shariah is totally disallowed.
ANOTHER VALID REASON PROVING ḤURMAT (SUCH MEAT BEING ḤARĀM)
Up to now, the point of discussion has been that the machine does the slaughtering and not the slaughterer himself with his action and intention. From past experience, I have also found that during mechanical slaughter, the blade sometimes misses its target due to mechanical error and runs over the breast or head of the animal and sometimes over other parts of the animal’s body. In such cases, where the head is partially severed or the breast severed, etc. these animals’ parts jam in the chain of the machine, which are usually removed and replaced by other slaughtered animals.
Those animals which are severed at a point other than at the required vessels, even if by a Muslim, are Ḥarām according to Ijmā` (Consensus). Let us, for this reason, presume that mechanical slaughter is Ḥalāl, even though it is not, then due to the mixing of the so-called Ḥalāl and the Ḥarām portions, in the machine, all such animals have become Ḥarām due to contamination.
Due to experience, it has been proven that instead of Dhibāḥ, other body parts are severed during the mechanical slaughter. How then do those who claim mechanical slaughter to be permissible did not discuss in their arguments this valid point? The answer to this, I think, only they will know.
DETRIMENTAL POLITICS CONCERNING FORBIDDEN MEAT
To substantiate their arguments, one of those who sanctioned mechanical slaughter, quoted the following in his opening statements: “Due to the demand for Ḥalāl meat from Muslim countries, abattoirs have turned to the use of mechanical slaughter”.
After scrutinizing this part of the argument, the question which arises here is: When the demand for meat from the Muslim countries increased, did these abattoirs first research the basis of mechanical slaughter in the light of Shariah, or did they just accept it so that they may enhance their business dealings? It is obvious that the abattoirs had no desire to conduct such research, since their aim was solely for production and mass distribution!
It must also be noted that those countries to which such meat was exported the masses were not informed of the animal being mechanically slaughtered, but rather, they covered their tracks by placing labels of “HALAAL MEAT” on these products to mislead the masses. After much time, when the unsuspecting public found out that they were consuming meat from animals which were mechanically slaughtered, they questioned the learned and pious `Ulamā’ who said that such meat was Ḥarām. On the other hand, there were those who tried to prove it being Ḥalāl so that they may monopolize and keep a steady hold on those consuming meat. These Molvis played with the Shariah to satisfy the abattoir authorities by whom they were patronized.
CONTEMPTFUL BEHAVIOUR OF SO-CALLED MUSLIM GOVERNMENTS
It is an accepted fact that Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries are at the forefront in welcoming such meat into their countries. Just as they research all other products entering their country, it was the essential duty of these governments and their religious authorities to first research the permissibility of this meat before it entered their country. Actually, they should have been even more responsible in this issue, since it dealt with the eating of Ḥalāl and Ḥarām products.
Instead of looking into this matter in the light of the Shariah, they established an improper procedure which stated that if such meat was purchased from Muslim stores and possessed a Ḥalāl label, then the product was certified as Ḥalāl. Thus, it caused all doubts to be removed from the minds of the people regarding from where and how the Muslim shopkeeper had imported the products.
I would like to say that when the authorities and Muslim religious leaders are well aware of the fact that meat is being imported into their countries, then is it not their responsibility to make sure that the meat is Ḥalāl without any doubt? How is it that they have certified such meat as permissible for Muslim consumption? In reality, these so-called Muslim governments have become the slaves of Europe and the followers of the European nation. Such slavery has blinded them to such an extent that they do not see right from wrong. It is obvious that they have no intent of keeping the pristine Islamic principles alive. Thus, they feel that whatever they do is proper.
THE LAW CONCERNING EXPORTED MEAT
With regards to the present situation, I feel it necessary to briefly explain the forbidden factors involved in imported and exported meat, so that those people who wish to consume only Ḥalāl meat will abstain from imported meat that is doubtful. Such people never step back in clarifying that which is Ḥarām.
REASONS FOR EXPORTED MEAT BEING ḤARĀM
- In exported meat, the method of mechanical slaughter which I have already explained as being Ḥarām is foremost.
- Most of the meat being imported is from Europe, America, Australia, etc. and most of those controlling abattoirs and the exporters of the meat are Christians and the Dhibāḥ of today’s Christians is Ḥarām, as I will prove further in my argument.
- Exported meat enters Customs where it is immediately hidden from the sight of a Muslim and the exporter. This meat, which is stored on Cargo Carriers, is also hidden from the sight of a Muslim. The majority of the Custom officials and the sailors on the ships from these countries are either Mushrikīn (polytheists), Mulḥidīn (atheists) or Christians of the present day. The Shariah has stated that if the meat is hidden from the sight of a Muslim for even one moment, then the meat is Ḥarām. If the exported meat is the Dhabīḥa of a Muslim, and is sent by a Muslim, such meat is still accepted as Ḥarām. Proof of this will be furnished as we proceed.
- Abattoirs which export meat also place labels of “HALAAL” on the meat of animals which die through other bodily injuries during Dhibāḥ. By Ijmā`, such meat is regarded as Ḥarām.
While in Saudi Arabia, I discovered the difference in price of imported and locally slaughtered meat and I found that imported meat was sold at six to seven Riyals per kilogram, whereas locally slaughtered meat was sold at twenty five to thirty Riyals per kilogram. It is for this reason, that in most Hotels, Restaurants and Hajj Tour Agencies, imported meat is served to Ḥujjāj. The pious people of Saudi Arabia abstain from this meat. I have seen many conscious Ḥujjāj, who for the same reason, abstain from consuming meat in Saudi Arabia.
One should remember that the consumption of Ḥarām sustenance causes wretchedness in a person. It is also due to this that Du`ā’ is not accepted. How then will the `Ibādah and the Ziyārah of the Ḥājis be accepted? Therefore, it is extremely important for the Ḥujjāj, when in the court of Allah and His Rasūl (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) to be more particular in what they eat. Even if it means not eating meat for a few days, it will not cause any difference in one’s physical condition and health.
SLAUGHTERING OF THE AHLE KITĀB
According to the Holy Quran and Aḥādīth, only the Yahūd (Jews) and Naṣārā (Christians) are referred to as the “People of the Book”. With the exception of these two, no Kāfir in the world can claim to have brought Imān on any Book or Nabi of Almighty Allah. There has been a difference of opinion amongst the `Ulamā’ on whether their Dhabīḥa is Ḥalāl or not. Most of the Mashā’ikh (Learned Scholars) have declared their Dhabīḥa as Ḥarām, whereas a few of them have declared their Dhabīḥa to be Ḥalāl. The former view is the principle of the Ḥanafi Madhab and the proof pertaining is stronger in this argument. Imām ibne Humām has stated in “Fatḥ ul Qadīr”: “Except in the case of extreme necessity, the Dhabīḥa of the Ahle Kitāb should not be eaten.”
It is stated in “Majma`-ul-Anhur” as follows: “The Christians of our present times openly declare Hazrat Isa (alayhis salaam) as the son of Allah and we have no dire need for their Dhabīḥa, whereas to avoid (their Dhabīḥa) is Wājib (Compulsory), since the `Ulamā’ have difference of opinion concerning their Dhabīḥa and since there is no consensus, it will be taken as forbidden to eat.”
The difference of opinion of the `Ulamā’ is on this condition that the slaughter should be in accordance with the conditions of Dhibāḥ, meaning that all the necessary vessels should be severed and that the Dhibāḥ must be made only and only in the Name of Allah. The Dhabīḥa of a Muslim will not be Ḥalāl if he does not adhere to the proper condition of Islamic Dhibāḥ, how then will the Dhabīḥa of the Christians be considered as Ḥalāl?
The Dhibāḥ of the Christians has not been in accordance with the Shariah for years since they neither say Takbīr nor do they slaughter in accordance with the laws of Dhibāḥ. Rather, they usually consume the Dhabīḥa of Muslims. They either strangle poultry and birds or stab a knife through the neck of live sheep, thus not allowing the prescribed vessels to be severed. This makes their Dhabīḥa unacceptable. It is in “Fatāwa Qāḍī Khan” as follows: “Christians do not make Dhibāḥ, but they strangle the animal or they eat the Dhabīḥa of Muslims.”
A`la Hazrat (radi Allahu anhu) quoted his personal experience as follows: “In Dhil-Qa`dah, 1295 A.H. I saw a ram aboard a ship that belonged to a Christian from Samur. He was selling the ram for 40 Rupees. I desired to eat meat and thus requested to purchase the animal in cash. He refused to sell the animal to me, but said that I should purchase the meat after Dhibāḥ. When slaughtering, he stabbed the knife through one side of the neck not even allowing the required vessels to be severed. I then said that this meat was now as bad as swine and was not good enough for our consumption.” (Fatāwa Riḍāwīyyah, Vol. 8, page 331)
Thus, the Dhabīḥa of Christians of the present age are lacking in these methods, thus making their Dhabīḥa totally Ḥarām. As for the Jews, they too leave out the Takbīr and change the method of Dhibāḥ, thus, even their Dhabīḥa is Ḥarām. If there is no dire need for the consumption of meat, then it is definitely Makrūh to eat their Dhabīḥa. Another reason for their Dhabīḥa to be Ḥarām is that many Christians of this age have either become Mulḥidīn (heretics) or Communists. For further details on this topic, peruse “Fatawa Riḍāwīyyah”, Vol. 8, pages 329-331.
IS THE MEAT WHICH IS HIDDEN FROM THE SIGHT OF A MUSLIM ḤALĀL OR NOT?
For meat to be Ḥalāl, it depends on the proper Islamic method of slaughtering carried out by a Muslim or by a Kitābī, of an animal which is permitted for Muslim consumption by invoking on it the Name of Allah at the time of Dhibāḥ. If there is even an atom of doubt in the meat being Islamically slaughtered, then such meat will be considered as Ḥarām.
As long as the Dhabīḥa of a Muslim is in the sight of a Muslim, then it is accepted as Ḥalāl. If it is out of the sight or possession of a Muslim then it is doubted and to eat such meat is Ḥarām for this reason, that as long as an animal is alive it’s consumption is Ḥarām. It only becomes Ḥalāl after Dhibāḥ -e-Shar`ī (Slaughtering according to Shariah). If there is no proof of Shariah whether the animal was slaughtered in accordance with the Laws of Shariah then the meat of such an animal is Ḥarām, since it is proven with Yaqīn that the animal is Ḥarām, thus how can it be accepted as Ḥalāl only by presuming that the animal was slaughtered by a Muslim? It is in “Al-Ashbah” as follows concerning the purchasing of meat from Majūsīs (Zoroastrians): “The meat of a live animal is Ḥarām, thus the purchaser is bound by the originality of it being Ḥarām and unless the proper Dhibāḥ of such an animal is not proven, it will remain Ḥarām.”
If a Kāfir says that the meat purchased by him is the Dhabīḥa of a Muslim, then his word will not be acceptable since Ḥalāl and Ḥarām deal with the matters of Dīn and trust. It must be known that in the circumstances of Dīn and trust, the word of a Kāfir is unacceptable. It is therefore stated in “Fatḥ ul Qadīr” as follows: “The meat from the butcher of a Polytheist is not Ḥalāl until such time it is proven to be the Dhibāḥ of a Muslim, since such meat is in reality Ḥarām, and the proper slaughter of such an animal becomes doubtful.”
`Allāma Shāmī (radi Allahu anhu) has stated as follows in “Radd ul Muḥtār”: “By the person being a Majūsī, it is enough to establish such meat as Ḥarām even if he claims that it is the Dhabīḥa of a Muslim. The reason for this is that on the basis of trust, integrity, and honesty, his word is unacceptable.”
In “Mu`āmilāt” (General Business Affairs), the message of a Kāfir is only accepted on the condition that honesty prevails without doubt. If there is doubt of his message being true in general business affairs, then also one should not act on his words. (Baḥār e Shariat, vol. 12, page 37)
However, if it is confirmed from the time of slaughter till the time of sale that the meat was not hidden, even for a minute, from the sight of a Muslim, then such meat is Ḥalāl. Likewise, if a person sends his Mushrik (polytheist) servant or slave to buy meat, then such meat will be accepted as Ḥalāl after these three conditions are confirmed: –
- The Kāfir who purchases and brings the meat is your servant or slave.
- He must also say that he purchased and brought the meat from a Muslim.
N.B.: It is stated in “Hidāyah” that if a Muslim sends his Majūsī servant or slave to purchase meat, then the servant must say that he has purchased this meat from a Muslim or Kitābī, only then will it be permissible to eat. Since the word of a Kāfir is accepted in general business affairs and if the saying of a Kāfir is in the matter of Diyānat (Integrity and Trust) – Ḥalāl and Ḥarām – then his word would have been unacceptable.
It is in “Hidāyah” and other works that the prerequisites of them being slaves or servants are considered Sharā’iṭ (Necessary Conditions being fulfilled), since the Fuqahā’ have stated that the meat of the butcher or of the invitation of the house of a Kāfir is Ḥarām even if they claim it to be the Dhabīḥa of a Muslim.
It is in “Fatāwa Qāḍī Khan” as follows: “If a Christian or a Majūsī invites you to eat meat at his house, then for a Muslim to eat this meat is Makrūh-Taḥrīmī, even though he says that he purchased it from the market-place since the Majūsī either strangles or beats the animal to death, and the Christian Dhabīḥa is not valid for Muslims for he kills the animal through strangulation or eats the Dhabīḥa of Muslims.” In exception to this, with regards to meat, where even a slight doubt can make it Ḥarām, then in such conditions servant-and slave-purchases would have to be abstained from and the situation would become quite difficult. For this reason, in business matters only, their word is accepted and if one is not under your command, his word is unacceptable.
It is stated in “Fatāwa `Ālamgīrī” that the word of a Kāfir is accepted in general business matters and unacceptable in matters of religion and integrity. However, if for this reason in Mu`āmilāt, the word of a Kāfir is accepted, then in connection with the words of Diyānat will be accepted since in this time on the basis of necessity, Diyānat on the basis of Mu`āmilāt is accepted.
- If the person’s heart is sure and confirms that there is no doubt in his heart concerning his servant telling the truth.
It is in “Jawharah Nayyara” that in general business matters, the word of a Kāfir is acceptable only if it is confirmed that he is telling the truth and if one thinks that he is lying, then his word should not be accepted. (Baḥār e Shariat, Vol. 6, pg. 37)
`Allāma Shāmī (radi Allahu anhu) has stated that if his (the servant’s) word is not definite, then to act upon it is disallowed.
The gist of my argument is this, that if imported and exported meat from the time of Dhibāḥ up to the time of importing is not in the care of a Muslim, during export it is also out of the sight of a Muslim. Even those involved in exporting do not keep it in their sight. Thus, as soon as this meat is hidden from the sight of a Muslim, then there is no way in which it can be accepted as permissible. If it is known that it is the Dhabīḥa of a Christian of this time and that it is the product of machine slaughter, then such meat is Ḥarām in the first degree.
May Almighty Allah save us from consuming that which has been forbidden by the Shariat-e-Muṭahharah. Āmīn.
Wallāhu Ta`āla Ā`lam