Should the Name of God be taken at the Time of Slaughter?
The Dietary Shari‘ah
Question asked by .
Answered by Dr Khalid Zaheer

I am an Indian PhD student in South Korea, facing a few food problems (halal or haram) here, especially when I take dinner or lunch with my lab mates and professor. The proper food which can I take with them is “Chicken Items” but I am not sure who slaughters the chicken: People of the Book, others with no religion, or people of other religions (50% of Koreans are Christian and the rest either have no religion or something other than Islam). My main problem is that if I tell my professor that I can’t even eat chicken, they’ll have no food alternatives to offer, and my presence at these dinners is a must. It will only make them see me as a hardcore fundamentalist, non-cooperative, non adjustable to another society etc., and it will indirectly harm my relations with all of my colleagues.

Actually, the method of slaughtering chicken is just the manual killing as is the customs among Muslims, except for invoking the name of Allah. I am not sure what to do in this complex situation? Please guide me.

Can you also please let me know what the following Hadith means? Is it sahih?

Some people told the Prophet (sws) that some people brought them meat and they did not know whether the name of Allah had been spoken over it or not. The Prophet (sws) said: “Pronounce the Name of Allah over it and eat.”


There are a number of things that you can do.

1) You can help those who prepare the food in slaughtering the chicken that is meant for your dinners. Of course, you can explain to them your prescribed limitations as per your religion. Your professors and colleagues, it is hoped, will understand.

2) Alternatively, you can be present at the time of slaughter, and recite the name of Allah yourself.

3) You can declare yourself a vegetarian. Nowadays, that is not an anomaly; a good number of people openly declare themselves vegetarians, and as a result, they are specially catered to in aeroplanes, restaurants, at dinners and parties. It is now a well-known and accepted fact that some people resort to vegetarianism for dietary, religious and other reasons, so there should be no problem in your case either. In fact, I see it as a good opportunity for you to explain why your religion requires animals to be slaughtered in a certain manner, and why the name of Allah needs to be pronounced: All life has been created by God Almighty, and He does not allow us to kill anyone, even the animals, without a reason. He created them for several purposes, one of which is to be consumed as food by humans. So if we were to pronounce Allah’s name at the time of slaughtering, it would be like announcing His permission to do the same, because otherwise, we have no right to take any life, even if it be an animal’s.

As far as the quoted Hadith is concerned, I can only on it comment in the light of the Qur’an:

Eat not of [meats] on which Allah’s name hath not been pronounced: That would be transgression. (6:121)

I don’t think that the Hadith is mentioning anything different from what the Qur’an is saying.

Those who asked this question knew it from the Qur’an that it was a necessary requirement. There could be two possibilities one can assume: Either it were the polytheists or People of the Book (who were not in the habit of taking Allah’s name while slaughtering), who had slaughtered the animal, or it were Muslims or those people of the Book who were in the habit of taking Allah’s name while slaughtering, who did so. When I look at this reported incident in the light of the Qur’anic teachings, I am in no doubt that it was the latter possibility and that the former one is out of the question.

Here’s how I understand it:

On a certain occasion, when the Muslims received meat from other Muslims, and were not fully sure whether Allah’s name was pronounced on it or not, the Prophet (sws) directed them to pronounce it at the time. Even today, we know that when we receive meat from a fellow Muslim, in all likelihood, Allah’s name must have been pronounced at the time slaughter, but our doubts would not make the animal slaughtered unlawful for us. When a person or a group of people, who are used to taking His name while slaughtering animals and believe it to be a necessary practice, sometimes omit doing it, it doesn’t make the animal thus slaughtered haram. In such cases, where you doubt whether it was done or not, the prophet’s advice seems to be that you say “bismillah” and go ahead with eating it.

This Hadith does not at all entertain any case whereby it is known that the animal was slaughtered without Allah’s name pronounced, by someone who has a policy of not doing it, for such meat would certainly be haram according to the Qur’anic verse quoted above.


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