Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Almighty Allah (SWT) in His infinite mercy has made certain animals Halaal (permissible) for this Ummab. We are required to be thankful to Him by following the dictates of the Quran and Sunnah by ensuring that His name is taken upon slaughtering of the animal. Allah (SWT) states in the noble Quran:
From the above Aayaats, the following points are understood:
Imaam Bukhari has quoted this same Aayat in his magnum opus under the chapter, ‘Intentional Omission of the Tasmiyah at the time of Slaughter’. It’s explained by Hafiz ibn Hajar, the renowned commentator of Sahih Bukhari, in the following words:
Imaam Bukhari (RA) wishes to point out by citing this Aayat, the reproach against using this Aayah as proof to legalize omission of Tasmiyah by inventing baseless interpretations of the Aayat and understanding it in a manner contrary to clear import. (Fathul Bari vol.9 pg.778; Qadeemi)
The Jurists (Fuqahaa) have unanimously agreed that consumption of an animal slaughtered by a Muslim with intentional omission ofTasmiya or regarding such as insignificant is unlawful (Haraam). Imaam Shaaf’ee (RA) has also concurred with this view. (Jawaahirul Fiqhvol.2 pg.388 ; Darul Uloom from Kitaabul Umm and Tafseer Mazhari)
Imaam Abu Yusuf States:
‘The ruling regarding the animal upon which Tasmiyah was omitted (at the time of slaughter) is not subject to Ijtihaad (independent deduction of a ruling from Quran and Hadith). If a judge rules the permissibility of its sale, his ruling will not be given effect due to it being contrary to consensus of opinion.’ (Ibid pg.390; Hidaaya)
It should be noted significantly that the above discussion of impermissibility is with regard to a Muslim slaughterer and not a non-Muslim.
In the case of a Muslim forgetfully omitting the Tasmiyah, the animal will be permissible for consumption as is the ruling of all the four Madhaahib based on the Hadith of Nabi(s). ‘A believer always slaughters upon the name of Allah, whether he (remembers to) recites it or not’ (Fathul Bari vol.9 pg.793; Qadeemi).
Animals slaughtered by modern day Jews and Christians ‘The food of Ahlul Kitaab (people of the book) is lawful for you as is your food for them.’ (Maaidah 5)
Regarding the word ‘Ta’aam’ (food), ibn Abbaas, lbn Umamah, Mujaahid and others (Radhiallaahu Anhum) say that it refers to slaughtered animals. This matter (permissibility of these animals) is unanimously agreed upon by all scholars since they also hold the belief of the prohibition of slaughter save in Allah’s name and also due to the fact that they mention only the name of Allah (SWT) upon their animals of slaughter. (Jawaahirul Fiqh vol.2 pg. 4040; from lbn Katheer)
The reason for permissibility has been explained clearly by Allaamah ibn Katheer. Due to the unity of belief, regarding slaughter, between Muslims and the Jews and Christians of that particular time, Allah (SWT) had permitted consumption of their slaughter. The Ulama of the time had based their rulings on this very same reasoning.
When this unity of belief came into doubt, many great Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu Anhum) had not hesitated to rule prohibition.
‘With regards to a Kitaabi, when he omits Tasmiyah (the name of Allah) upon his slaughter and takes some other name, his slaughter is not consumable. This is the ruling of Abu Darda, Ubadah bin Saamit and large faction of the Sahaaba (Radhiallaahu Anhum).’ (Jawaahirul Fiqh vol.2 pg.407; Darul Vloom—from Bahrul Muheet)
Regarding the Christian tribe of Banu Taghlib, Hadhrat Ali (Radhiallaahu Anhu) ruled the following:
‘Hafiz ibn Jawzi (RA) has narrated with his Sanad (chain of narrators) from Ali (Radhiallaahu Anhu), ‘Do not consume the slaughter of the Christians of Banu Taghlib since they have not held to any more of Christianity than their drinking of wine.’ (Ibid pg.460—from Tafseer Mazhari)
It is a well-known fact that the majority of present day Christians and Jews no longer hold to this Aqeedah (belief) regarding slaughter. Meat slaughtered by pagans, Mushriks (polytheists) and atheists is often consumed. Slaughter-houses employ machine slaughter wherever possible and do not choose employees based on their religious beliefs, be it pagans, atheists or polytheists, to carry out the slaughter.
Based on the above juridical references, Qadhi Thanaullah (RA)—a renowned Jurist of his time—stated the following:
‘The correct and accepted view according to us is the first one. That the slaughter of the Ahlul Kitaab with intentional omission of Tasmiyah (taking the name of Allah) or slaughter on some other name (besides that of Allah) is not consumable, if this fact is ascertained with certainty or this is the condition prevailing among them. By this, the prohibition (of the Sahaaba) from consuming the slaughter of the Christian Arabs can be easily understood. Likewise, the ruling of Ali (Radhiallaahu Anhu) (regarding the Banu Taghlib) becomes clear. It is likely that Ali (Radhiallaahu Anhu) had ascertained their omission of Tasmiyah upon slaughter or that they slaughtered upon some other name (besides Allah). A similar ruling has been issued regarding the non-Arab Christians that if it is their normal habit to slaughter without Tasmiyah, their slaughter is not consumable. Concerning the present day Christians there is no doubt in the fact that their methods do not fulfill requirements of Shar’ee slaughter, but they usually cause the death of their animals by other lethal measures, e.g. machine slaughter, etc. hence, their slaughter is impermissible.’ (Jawaahirul Fiqh vol.2 pg.411; from Tafseer Mazhari)
The Correct Understanding of the Hadith of Bukhari (cited by many people to justify their claims):
“It has been narrated from Aaisha (Radhiallaahu Anha) that some persons said to Nabi (s), ‘People bring to us meat. We know not whether the name of Allah (SWT) has been taken (upon its slaughter) or not?” Nabi (s) replied, ‘You people say ‘Bismillah’ and eat it. ‘ Aaisha (Radhiallaahu Anha) says, ‘the people referred to (in this Hadith) were new Muslims.’ (Bukhari vol.2 pg.828; Deoband)
It is clear that the slaughterers were Muslims, not disbelievers. This is further elucidated by Imaam Maalik (RA)’s narration ( of the same Hadith) where the addition of, ‘this was in the beginning of Islam’ (Fathul Bari vol.9 pg.792; Qadeemi) is found.
To believe that these people were non-Muslims is in fact tantamount to accusing the noble Sahaaba of Rasulullah(s) of the heinous crime of consuming meat slaughtered by polytheists which is expressly forbidden in the Quran:
‘Forbidden to you is carrion…till…and that slaughtered for other than Allah.’ (Maaidah 3)
The actual meaning of this Hadith, as understood by similar narrations is that one should not entertain unfounded doubts about a Muslim that he would neglect to mention the name of Allah upon his slaughter.