The slaughter of the People of the Book

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Fatwa ID: 01648

Answered by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah


The slaughter of the people of the book



In light of the Qur’an and Hadith there are three conditions for a valid Islamic slaughter.

1. The slaughterer must be a Muslim or from the People of the Book. It is a consensus of the Muslim Ummah that the word ‘book’ is where there exists a certitude, confirmed by the Holy Qur’an to be the Book of Allah, for instance, the Torah, Evangile, Zabur (Psalms) and other scriptures of Saaiduna Musa Alayhis  Salam and Saaiduna Ibrahim Alayhis Salam.

Therefore, people who believe in a book but this book does not stand proved through the Holy Qur’an and the Hadith shall not be included under the term ‘People of the Book.’

This tells us that the Jews and Christians who are believers of the Torah and the Evangile respectively are included in the term of ‘People of the Book.’

Finally Mufti Shafi raḥimahullāh (may Allāh have mercy upon him) has said if the Jews and Christians accept and believe in a scripture and claim to follow it- they still be considered as the ‘People of the Book’ even though they may have altered the Torah and the Evangile. (Maariful Quran p.61 v.3)

2. The pronouncing of the name of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) at the time of slaughter.   (Jawahirul Fiqh p.375 v.2) Furthermore, it is necessary that ‘Bismillah’ is recited at the time the animal is slaughtered before one begins doing something else. So much so that if a person laid down two sheep’s, one over the other, and slaughtered them simultaneously with pronouncing the name of Allah once, then they will both be lawful, contrary to the situation where one slaughters them one after the other with one Bismillah as only the first animal will be lawful. (Khulasatul Masaail p.108 v.3) Also another important masala is that the one who is slaughtering the animal (Zabih) pronounces the Bismillah.

3. Most of the following four needs to be cut; the throat, windpipe and the two jugular veins. (Jawahirul Fiqh p.375 v.2)

With regards to your question, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) in the Holy Qur’an has said: ‘And the food of the people of the Book is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them…’      (Surah Maaidah v.5)

If the animal slaughtered by the Jews and the Christians comply with the conditions, which Islam permits for a valid sacrifice i.e. the cutting of the four veins and the recitation of the name of Allah, then the animal is permissible for consumption. However, if the name of Allah has been left out intentionally or they have been slaughtered in a name other than that of Allah, the animal would not be permissible to consume.   (Maariful Qur’an p.74 v.3)

Nowadays many of the Christians and Jews are only Christians and Jews by name. Some even deny the existence of God. So therefore, it will be necessary to refrain from there meat as there is doubt whether it has been slaughtered Islamically or not. 

Saaiduna Numan bin Bashir raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said: I heard the Prophet of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) say: "Truly, what is lawful is evident, and what is unlawful is evident, and in between the two are matters which are doubtful which many people do not know. He who guards against doubtful things keeps his religion and honour blameless, and he who indulges in doubtful things indulges in fact in unlawful things, just as a shepherd who pastures his flock round a preserve will soon pasture them in it. Beware, every king has a preserve, and the things Allah has declared unlawful are His preserves. Beware, in the body there is a flesh; if it is sound, the whole body is sound, and if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt, and behold, it is the heart." (Sahih Bukhari p.275 v.1 & Sahih Muslim)

Only Allah Knows Best

Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham

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