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Slaughtering and Takbīr
Dr. Shehzad Saleem


Response: This question is in reference to one of your replies. You said that Allah's name must necessarily be taken before slaughtering animals and that the lack of pronouncing any other name does not fulfil the requirement of slaughtering. However, the Qur’ānic verse that you quoted does not seem to make the requirement for saying Allah's name before slaughtering: 

Eat not on which Allah's name has not been pronounced. (6:121)

Could not this possibly mean that a person must say Allah's name before he begins to eat food?

Also how is a person supposed to make sure that the food he eats is actually halāl? Are we to watch the slaughtering of every specific animal that we consume? 

Furthermore, I am a bit confused as to the conclusions you draw concerning the food of the People of the Book. If the slaughtering done by the People of the Book is conditional on requirements of sacrifice which are from Muslims, then how can it be the meat of the People of the Book? Naturally, I would assume that the distinction between Muslim slaughter and that of the People of the Book would be different in order for that distinction to be made.


Comment: 1. If the context of 6:121 is taken into consideration, the interpretation you have suggested, I am afraid, cannot be made. Consider the previous verses:

So eat that on which Allah's name has been pronounced if you have faith in His signs. Why should not you eat of that on which Allah's name has been pronounced. He has explained to you in detail what is prohibited to you  except under some compulsion ...  (6:119)

The last sentence of this verse clearly shows that the food (meat) which is under discussion is that which is forbidden because Allah's name has not been taken while slaughtering the animal from which it was obtained. Taking Allah's name before starting to eat one's food is not implied here at all. Furthermore, if the usage of the Qur’ān in this regard is taken into consideration no other interpretation is possible as well. (See for example 5:4, 22:28, 22:34, 22:36.)

2. Of course! we do not have to watch the slaughtering of an animal. Just the information is enough -- which of course is sometimes so obvious that there is no need even to ask and at other times one can easily ask as to how the animal was slaughtered. This obviously is a requirement only in non-Muslim countries where there exists a doubt.

3. The distinction is made because by the Qur’ān because at that time there were some people who used to believe that since the People of the Book were not Muslims, eating their food was a forbidden thing. The Qur’ān is merely dispelling this misconception and clarifying that if they take Allah's name in sacrificing an animal then its meat can be eaten from their tables even if they have not accepted Islam.



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