Eating non-Dhabihah Meat
The Dietary Shari‘ah
Question asked by .
Answered by Tariq Haashmi

Question: My name is Ali Ahmed. I am 15 years old. I was born and live in the U.S.A. Since then my family and I have always eaten dhabīḥa meat only. Also, ẉhenever we are going outside or if I am in school, I don't eat non-dhabīhah meat, and it can be very hard to find places to get dhabīḥa food. In our American Muslim community, a variety of Muslims of different nationalities eat non-dhabīhah meat. Many Muslim scholars claim that because we are not living in a Muslim nation, we can eat non-dhabīḥah food when outside or travelling or in hotels and restaurants. So my question: is it permissible to eat non-dhabīhah food if necessary or if dhabīḥah meat is not available? I have asked many other Muslim scholars, but I received the knowledge that there are two schools of thoughts and that there is no clear option. Please reply with your expert opinion as soon as possible.


Answer: We believe that three conditions are to be fulfilled before we can eat flesh of an animal. First, it should be an allowable animal. Second, it should be slaughtered properly. Third, it should be slaughtered by invoking Allāh’s name. All these conditions cannot be abandoned in any circumstances. This entails that we should not eat the flesh of ḥarām animals or animals slaughtered by those of the people who do not believe in Allah and, therefore, do not invoke Allah’s name while slaughtering the animal. Animals slaughtered by the People of the Book who do not respect their Scriptural teachings in this regard too are not allowable to eat.

The Qur’ān says:

وَلَا تَأْكُلُوا مِمَّا لَمْ يُذْكَرْ اسْمُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَإِنَّهُ لَفِسْقٌ وَإِنَّ الشَّيَاطِينَ لَيُوحُونَ إِلَى أَوْلِيَائِهِمْ لِيُجَادِلُوكُمْ وَإِنْ أَطَعْتُمُوهُمْ إِنَّكُمْ لَمُشْرِكُونَ (١٢١:٦)

And eat not [O believers] that animal on which Allah’s name has not been pronounced [at the time of the slaughtering of the animal], for this is a fisq. And certainly, the devils do inspire their friends to dispute with you, and if you obey them, then you would indeed be polytheists. (6:121)

It is also necessary to slaughter animals in a way that guarantees that blood is poured out completely.  To ensure this the Islamic sharī‘ah has prescribed a way. Since this has been prescribed by the Almighty, we have to follow it and we are not allowed to eat the flesh of animals slaughtered by any other way. It is a positive directive which commands adherence. Now we know that the non-dhabīḥah flesh is not allowable. The only condition when we are allowed to take such meat is in utter necessity (idtirār). However, it is upon you to decide when there is no other way left for you. We must also remain clear that we will have to explain such an act before God on the Last Day.

Are we really convinced that there is no other way left and we must eat non-dhabīhah meat or should we die or endanger our existence? Will we be able to convince God that we were in really such a situation or were we eager to eat harām food and were trying to find ways to render it allowable for us? These questions we must ask ourselves before using any allowances in this regard.

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