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Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradhawi’s Opinion on Halaal Meat(first question)

By: admin

The First Question

With regard to your question on eating meat from the societies of the people of the Book, your response seems to contradict the opinion of the Shaikh at “islamicity.com” whom I hold in good respect.

His opinion can be accessed at:

http://www.islamicity.org/dialogue/Q226.HTM

I would like to know what your reasoning would be to declare such meat [non-zabiha] as haraam? Especially, since there exists a Hadith, which clarifies that we can eat the meat from the supermarkets in the US?

Reply

To fully understand the response that follows, I would request all the readers to first take a look at the response that has been quoted in the question in the following link;

http://www.islamicity.org/dialogue/Q226.HTM

First, I would like to express my appreciation of the referred writer’s acknowledgement of the fact that a difference of opinion can exist in the matter under consideration. I also agree with him that when such a difference of opinion exists among Muslim writers, it is primarily up to the reader to determine for himself/herself which of the two or more conflicting opinions is more in conjunction with the Qur’an and the Sunnah, in his/her opinion, and then to act according to that opinion.

In my opinion, as I have already stated in one of my previous responses, the foods of the people of the book – i.e. the Jews and the Christians – are allowable for Muslims not without regard to the qualifications given in the Qur’an, regarding edibles. In other words, if the Qur’an has said that: 1) Flesh of a dead animal; 2) Flowing blood; 3) Flesh of a swine; and 4) Anything that is slaughtered in the name of someone other than God or is slaughtered without taking God’s name on it, should not be eaten, then these conditions shall apply to the allowable edibles of the Ahl-e-Kitaab as well. If someone is of the opinion that these conditions are not applicable to the food of the Ahl-e-Kitaab, he should give satisfactory answers to the following questions:

Do these conditions apply only to the food of the Muslims? Does this imply that if a Muslim offers any of these things for consumption, they should be refused, while if a Christian or a Jew offers any of these things, they shall then be considered allowed?

The Qur’an after mentioning the prohibition of these things says that these are “unclean” things and eating them entails “disobedience to God”. Does this mean that if a Jew or a Christian offers these things for eating, their “uncleanness” and the “disobedience to God” that their eating entails is removed? If that is the case, where does the Qur’an say so?

Does this mean that the meat of a dead animal, flowing blood and the flesh of swine can be eaten if the Ahl-e-Kitaab offer them for eating? If the answer is “no”, then it should be determined what is the basis of creating an exception for only one of the four conditions (i.e. mentioning God’s name while slaughtering the animal).

In my opinion, it is obvious that all the four qualifications need to be fully observed, whether eating in a Christian society, a Jewish society or a Muslim society.

The author writes:

Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi mentions in this connection a Hadith which tells us that the Prophet‘s companions put to him the question that they might have meat but they would not know if God’s name was invoked at the time of slaughter. He told them to mention God’s name and eat it.

This narrative ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) refers to a state of doubt and incredulity. When the companions expressed doubt regarding whether or not the Jews or Christians take God’s name at the time of slaughter, the Prophet (pbuh) directed them to eat whatever is presented by the Ahl-e-Kitaab. This direction was based on two principles:

The Shari`ah of the Ahl-e-Kitaab also prohibits the eating of all the four items mentioned in the Qur’an (for the prohibition of blood, see Deuteronomy 12: 16; for the prohibition of the flesh of swine, see Deuteronomy 14: 8; for the prohibition of the meat of a dead animal, see Deuteronomy 14: 8. While sacrificing in the name of God has also been a consistent and a well-known tradition of the Ahl-e-Kitaab). In view of this fact, there is no reason to doubt that the Ahl-e-Kitaab shall not abide by their own Shari`ah. That is what seems to be the implication of the answer of the Prophet (pbuh), when the companions expressed their doubt regarding the practices of the Ahl-e-Kitaab.

Doubt regarding something does not prohibit it. A person may be incredulous about the food of his Muslim, Jewish or Christian brethren. However, nothing shall stand prohibited for him, until such time that all his doubts are removed and he is certain of the prohibition of the particular food.

Keeping the above explanation in perspective, we can derive:

The food of the Jews, because of their, generally, strict adherence to the Laws, is allowed for us, as per the allowance given by the Qur’an.

As far as the Christian communities are concerned, they no longer consider the adherence to the Mosaic laws (the Jewish Shari`ah) obligatory upon themselves and therefore are, generally, known to ignore the directives of the Law. Eating the flesh of swine; slaughtering animals in such ways that blood does not completely drain out of their bodies and which actually renders the animal a dead animal, rather than a properly slaughtered animal; and not taking God’s name at the time of slaughter are now well-known practices of the Christian communities. It is no longer a matter of doubt or incredulity, but it is known with certainty that these communities do not adhere to these practices. In my opinion, therefore, such food cannot be considered as allowed.

Prohibiting this food should not be construed as prohibiting the food of the Christians (the Ahl-e-Kitaab) and thus be considered against the Qur’an, it should simply be seen as prohibiting the flesh of swine, or dead meat or blood or the flesh of an animal slaughtered without taking God’s name, which itself is a Qur’anic prohibition.

Hope it answers your question

UIUK team

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