Saturday, November 18, 2017 - 29 Safar 1439

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Are the Muslims of today allowed to eat the meat of the Christians and Jews?

Are the Muslims of today allowed to eat the meat of the Christians and Jews?

Answer

If a Quranic statement is general, its application cannot be restricted unless there is an explicit indication to support the restriction, either a hadith that speaks specifically about the statement in question or a clear indication in the Quran. The statement you refer to says: "The food of the people of earlier revelations (i.e. Christians and Jews) is permissible for you and yours is permissible for them, as also the chaste women from among the believers and from among the people of earlier revelations" (Quran 5: 5).

There is nothing in the verse to indicate a particular method of slaughter. Nor is there any hadith that explains this verse as to call for investigating the method of slaughter. The permissibility of eating the meat of animals slaughtered by the People of the Book is a concession from God the Almighty and we must take it as it is.

Imam Malik mentioned that this concession makes lawful for Muslims what Christians and Jews consider to be lawful in their religion unless it has been specifically forbidden for us, such as pig meat. This means that the argument about the method of slaughter is incorrect in this case.

Some people argue that Christians nowadays do not mention God's name before they slaughter animals and we are specifically forbidden to eat of any meat on which God’s name has not been invoked at the time of its slaughter. Again, this is not a valid argument. The Prophet's Companions once complained to him and said: "We receive meat and we do not know if God's name has been invoked on it." The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told them, "Recite God’s name and eat of it."

Unfortunately, some Muslims take a very rigorous approach to such matters. Islam is not about restrictions but about discipline. God the Almighty grants certain concessions to Muslims because He, in His infinite wisdom, knows that these will facilitate the life of Muslims. Therefore, we should take His concessions and act upon on them. By doing so, we earn a reward from Him.

And God the Almighty knows best.

 

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