Meat in the West

Sep 4, 2010 | Halal and Haram


Please shed some light on the permissibility of consuming meat in the western world.

Answered by: Mufti Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf

Assalamu alaykum

In the name of the Inspirer of truth

Many people claim the United States (or for that matter the UK) to be a Christian country. This claim is not true since, they are openly secular and promote separation of church and state. Many scholars of other countries sometimes pass fatwas on the meat in the United States to be halal based on the assumption that it is a Christian country. If the meat is from a trusted and reliable Jewish (Kosher) or Christian source, then the answer to that has already been given in a previous answer.

However, eating from any place under the impression that the meat is the meat of the ahl al-kitab (people of the Book) is totally erroneous, since it is very difficult to find out who actually slaughtered the animal, whether it was a Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Bhai, atheist or for argument sake even a Muslim. In many cases the chickens are stunned and then machine slaughtered. The stunning could sometimes cause them to die before reaching the blade and at times the knife misses the throat altogether. Hence, It is not lawful at all to place one self in a position of consuming haram or that which certainly doubtful. It must be avoided at all costs, and the Muslim meat industry should be supported and promoted instead.

Countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe where the Muslims have been very particular about halal meat, have made great progress in meat products, and now they have also started to export to the UK and other countries. When I visited Zimbabwe, I was told by a member of the Jamiat Ulama (Council of scholars) there that it was requirement in the meat industry of Zimbabwe that all meat in the country has to be slaughtered according to Islamic rites, and large quantities of it were being exported to other countries.

The principal of economics of “demand and supply” should be kept in mind that if there is a demand there will be a supply. Insha’Allah, if there is a demand for an extensive range of halal meat product, a servant of Allah will rise up to cater for that demand, whereas vice versa halal meat stores have had to shut down due to lack of patronage from local Muslims, who prefer to purchase from Costco or other such supermarkets, under the pretext that it is from the people of the book, regardless of the method of slaughter.

Insha’Allah, the greater fiqhi aspects of this issue will be discussed in a subsequent write up.

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf