Do you have any good explanation on the issue of halal meat? To what extent do we question when a store owner says they have zabiha meat?
Answered by: Mufti Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf
In the name of Allah the Inspirer of truth.
This is definitely a complicated situation. Our responsibility would be to attempt our best to ascertain that the meat is as has been claimed. The reasons it is important to make certain is because of the laxity concerning this issue in many communities. It is not as simple as saying bismillah and consuming it as some claim. That can only be in a place where the meat found is predominantly halal. In such a place it would not be necessary to inquire too deeply, but hold good intentions about the person whose house one may be invited to, for instance this would be the case in Muslim countries.
However, here in the west and especially in the US, where there is such great confusion and controversy regarding this issue it is important to ascertain to the best of ones ability, without falling prey to excessive doubt, whether the meat is hand slaughtered by a Muslim or not.
The Prophet Sallallahu alayhi wasallam said:
“A body that has been nourished through the unlawful will not enter into Paradise” (Bayhaqi in his Shu’ab al-Iman).
Some of the methods that can be employed in this regard are as follows:
1. Ask around and see if some reliable and pious people in the community can provide you some verification. Ask the scholars of the area and find out where they purchase their meat from.
2. Speaking to the store owner may help somewhat. Find out who their supplier is and then ask reliable scholars in the area for verification regarding the suppliers.
3. Sometimes there are organizations which certify the meat providers. Ask reliable scholars in the area if they trust these organizations and their certifications.
4. Sometimes large companies that are well-established and can provide their own certification in writing or printed form (for instance that all there meat is from hand slaughtered animals) may be trusted.
5. If possible, group together with a few others and find a farm or abattoir willing to sell you a cow, goat or lamb, etc. and slaughter it yourself and then split the meat. Meat stores can sometimes provide the cutting service of the meat for a very nominal charge.
As it can be observed, this is a complicated issue, but it is also a very serious one. Probably the easiest method to follow would be to ask a reliable scholar in the area to provide some guidance in this regard, and inform you of someone they trust. If a person has tried his utmost best in this regard and then the meat still turns out to be not what is claimed, then the sin is on the shoulders of the one creating the deception.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf