Meat of animals slaughtered in non-Muslim states

Q377 :1. When slaughtering a chicken, a Muslim who is doing the slaughter is helped by a non-Muslim who holds the chicken. Is the meat permissible to eat? 2. Is the meat of animals slaughtered by Christians and Jews permissible to eat, even though they may not slaughter their animals in the manner recommended by Islam. If during the slaughter, the head of an animal gets separated from the body completely by accident, is that animal permissible to eat? 3. Is it permissible for a Muslim living in a non-Muslim country to eat the meat of animals slaughtered according to the prevailing method there? Can a Muslim eat meat prepared by Christians, Jews, etc., if he finds that necessary as in the case of a student living on a university campus and having often to eat at the cafeteria?

A377 : 1. Such a chicken is permissible to eat, provided that the slaughterer observes the Islamic rules. He should mention the name of Allah and, using a very sharp blade, should cut the main arteries in the neck of the animal to help it lose consciousness immediately and thus reduce its pain to a minimum. The fact that the one who holds the chicken for him is non-Muslim does not affect the situation in any way. 2. If the Christians and Jews slaughter their animals in the method recommended by the Bible, then they will be following the same method as Muslims. Jews still do this, but Christians have introduced new methods as stunning by electric shock. The stunning is used in order to make the animal totally unconscious when it is slaughtered. In the case of large animals, such as sheep and beef [cattle], the animal regains consciousness within a minute or two, unless it is slaughtered in the meantime. Therefore, the meat of such animals is permissible to eat. With chicken, it is likely that the animal dies as a result of the electric shock. It is, therefore, far more preferable to avoid eating chicken killed by Christians in Europe. In Muslim countries, Christian butchers use generally the same methods as Muslims. Therefore, it is permissible to buy meat from them. There is nothing wrong with the meat of an animal whose head is, by accident totally separated from its body during slaughter, provided that the Islamic rules are followed from the beginning. What is important is the mentioning of Allah's name at the time of slaughter. 3. Allah tells us in the Qur'an that we eat of the good of Christians and Jews as well as other people whom He favoured with revelations. Therefore, unless there is a specific reason for the prohibition of a particular type of food prepared by such people, it is permissible to eat. In the case of Jews, they slaughter animals in the same way as we do. Christians, especially in Western Europe and America, have adopted different methods of slaughter. Scholars have different opinion on whether such meat is permissible for Muslims to eat. However, in such a matter there is no harm in choosing the easier option, since it is supported by sound arguments advanced by learned scholars. A Muslim who finds himself living in a Christian country, such as those of Western Europe, needs to familiarize himself with the methods of slaughter prevailing in that country. If he determines that the animals killed for eating are not dead before they are finally slaughtered, he may eat their meat after mentioning the name of Allah. If he finds out that the stunning operation which is normally adopted in many of these countries actually kills the animal, he should not eat its meat. In most cases, the large animals, such as sheep, beef [cattle], etc. are only stunned by electric shock which affects them for a short period while they are slaughtered. This is done in order to make the slaughter painless. That is acceptable from the Islamic point of view. Smaller animals, such as chicken, may be more suspicious, because it is often the case that the chicken dies before it is slaughtered. In that case it becomes carrion which is forbidden to eat.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )