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.