Can We Eat Meat Slaughtered by Jews and Christians?

Answered by Sidi Salman Younas

Question: 1. Can Muslims eat Kosher meat and meat slaughtered by Christians who are practicing?

2. Do people of the book exist today?

3. How can we distinguish between Christians who claim that they are following Christianity and still drink alcohol and those who don’t?

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

I pray you are doing well.

1. It is permissible for Muslims to eat the meat slaughtered by the People of Book, namely Christians and Jews, provided that certain conditions are met. Among these conditions are:

a. That the name of God be consciously uttered when the slaughter takes place.

b. That the animal be slaughtered at its throat.

c. That at least three of the four main veins of the throat be cut with a sharp object, such as a knife.

[Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Abu Bakr al-Razi, Tuhfat al-Muluk]

In general, Muslim scholars state that kosher meat fulfills the above conditions. As such, it would be permissible to eat such meat provided that it is validated as being kosher. In the United States, for example, packaged kosher meat comes with specific symbols to indicate its kosher nature, while other places, such as Jewish delis, may display a certificate validating the kosher nature of their meat by the testimony of a qualified Rabbi.

As for “Christian” meat, then there are a few considerations.

Firstly, what we find in supermarkets in countries whose population is overwhelmingly Christian cannot be deemed as permissible to consume. This is because it is extremely rare to find that such meat has been slaughtered based on the considerations mentioned above.

Secondly, if what you are speaking about are individual Christians slaughtering meat on a small, personal scale for example, then the first step would be ascertaining that they actually fit the definition of being People of the Book, namely a Christian or Jew who firmly believe in God, a truly revealed book, and an actual messenger like our liege-lord Jesus (Allah bless him and grant him peace). After this, if it is demonstrated that the way they slaughter their meat fits the previously mentioned conditions, it would be valid to consume such meat. Otherwise, it will not be permissible.

2. Yes, the People of the Book exist in our times.

3. A person who claims to be part of the Jewish or Christian faith will be considered from the People of the Book if he or she believes firmly in God, a revealed book, and an actual messenger. As such, any Christian who firmly believes in God, the gospel, and Jesus (Allah bless him) will be considered from the People of the Book regardless of their practice. [Ibn `Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

Wassalam

Salman

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani