Eating meat by saying bismillah which is doubtful of having pronounced Allah’s name when slaughtered
I have followed your responses to questions relating to Halal meat. Although this topic is not of much consequence to Muslims living in Islamic countries because of the abundant availability of Zabee’ha meat it is a serious issue for muslims living in non-islamic societies. It is one of the reasons muslims in these societies get isolated from normal social interaction. My question regarding this issue is as following:
1. How does verse 6:121 indicate pronouncing the name of Allah at the time of slaughter?
2. According to a hadith, some companions of the Propeht (pbuh) asked him that they do not always know that name of Allah has been taken on meat and the Prophet advised them to take the name of Allah before eating it. Does this not indicate that name of Allah can be taken before consumption of such meat. (A mandatory practice before eating anything)
3. What would the Prophet (pbuh) do when he was invited by non-muslims for food? Would he avoid eating meat? Did not the Prophet get poisoned by eating meat given to him by a Jewish woman?
Your responses in the light of Quran and Hadith would clarify some very fundamental confusions surrounding this issue.
I think your questions are very valid. Indeed only Allah can know the right answers to them. We mortals can only attempt to find answers as best as we can.
If verse 6:121 (Do not eat from the one on which Allah’s name has not been pronounced, for it’s clear transgression) does not mean that we have to eat from the meat of only those animals who were slaughtered in a way that Allah’s name was pronounced at the time of doing that, what else then does it mean? A good way of understanding the meanings of this verse is to try to logically understand the alternate view. According to that view, if we eat anything in a way that we pronounce bismillah before doing so, it would be an acceptable way. What it would mean then is that if we eat edibles without pronouncing bismillah before doing so, we will be committing clear transgression. In other words, even while eating rice, sweets, or anything, if the ritual is not adopted we will be sinners. Is that a correct understanding? The fact of the matter is that the passage of surah An’am is discussing the issue of pronouncing Allah’s name while slaughtering animals. The other issue (saying bismillah at the time of eating) is not even discussed anywhere in the surah or the entire Qur’an. The Qur’an is not a book of scattered injunctions which are unrelated to the theme of the chapter which discusses them. It is an extremely coherent book.
In fact, the verse can in no way be translated to mean what you are suggesting. The wordings of the verse are “Do not eat from the one on which Allah’s name has not been pronounced, for its clear transgression”. In case your suggested meanings were correct, the Qur’an should have said “pronounce Allah’s name while eating”. The words “on which Allah’s name has not been pronounced’ can only be used for the act of pronouncing it at the time of slaughtering animal. If your pronouncing of Allah’s name was to do the trick, the verb should have been active (pronounce Allah’s name, after you have pronounced Allah’s name etc.). However, if the matter has to do with the act of pronouncing the name by somebody else (which would be case if it is slaughtered by someone who pronounces Allah’s name), then the verb should be passive (Allah’s name has been pronounced), as is the case in the verse 6:121.
One needs to realize regarding incidents mentioned in ahadith on various matters of Islamic significance that not every detail relevant to a reported incident is captured in ahadith. Also, not everything the prophet, alaihissalaam, did has been mentioned in hadith literature. Hadith literature, unlike the Qur’an and sunnah, was collected through a human effort. We therefore always need to interpret hadith in the light of the Qur’an and sunnah. My understanding of the hadith mentioned on the subject is that when Muslims confronted a situation where they were not sure whether Allah’s name was pronounced on the meat they were about to eat and the meat came from either Muslims or Jews who were otherwise known to be slaughtering animals properly, the prophet advised them to go ahead and eat it after saying bismillah. From that understanding it emerges that if we get meat from a source about which we don’t need to doubt that they could have ignored pronouncing the name of Allah while slaughtering it, we should not refrain from consuming it on account of doubt alone. However, if we know for sure that a certain source of meat doesn’t pronounce Allah’s name as a matter of policy, it would constitute a clear violation of the rule if we consume meat coming from it.
What the prophet, alaihissalam, did when he used to visit non-Muslims has to be understood in the light of the Qur’an. How can incidents reported by individuals given the right to rule over the clear guidance contained in the Qur’an. Again, like hadith, we need to understand the seerah (the details of the life of the prophet) in the light of the Qur’an and not the other way round. Of course, the prophet would have never consumed pork with the non-Muslims. We can say this with definite authority not because something to that effect was mentioned in the books of seerah. It’s simply because we are absolutely certain that the prophet was the best example of practicing the Qur’an. I would assume the same thing in the case of eating meat of animals not slaughtered with Allah’s name pronounced while slaughtering them.
And Allah knows the best.