Is It Permissible to Eat the Meat of Animals Slaughtered by Amish People?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Umer Mian

Question: Assalam’aleykum

Is the slaughter of Amish people permissible to eat?

Answer: Wa alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu.

There are three conditions for a valid slaughter according to the Shariah:

1) The slaughterer must be either a Muslim or from the People of the Book (Ahl al-Kitab);

2) Three out of the four veins of the neck (i.e. the trachea, the esophagus, and the two jugular veins) must be cut with a tool that is sharp and has a cutting edge; and

3) The name of Allah must be taken at the time of slaughtering, whether actually or effectively (such as when it is forgotten by someone who would normally have said it).

Regarding the first condition, the scholars point out that “the People of the Book” are those who firmly believe in God, a revealed book, and a prophet, regardless of the nature of their beliefs in these matters. It is well-known that the Amish are traditionalist Christians who believe in God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ (peace be upon him). Therefore, they are People of the Book.

Regarding the second condition, any slaughter in which the death of the animal is caused by electrocution, strangling, crushing the skull, or any cause other than cutting of the four veins is NOT valid. Such an animal is considered a dead animal (maytah) and not permissible to eat.

Regarding the third condition, Imam al-Haskafi says in al-Durr al-Mukhtar:

( وَشُرِطَ كَوْنُ الذَّابِحِ مُسْلِمًا… ( أَوْ كِتَابِيًّا ذِمِّيًّا أَوْ حَرْبِيًّا ) إلَّا إذَا سُمِعَ مِنْهُ عِنْدَ الذَّبْحِ ذِكْرُ الْمَسِيحِ (الدر المختار، كتاب الذبائح، بتصرف)

“It is a condition (for a valid slaughter) that the slaughterer be a Muslim…or from the People of the Book, except if it is heard that the slaughterer took the name of Christ at the time of slaughtering.”
(al-Durr al-Mukthar, Kitab al-Dhabaa’ih).

Hence, if the name of Christ or the trinity is taken at the time of slaughter, the meat would not be permissible for Muslims to eat. However, if only the name of God is mentioned at the time of slaughter, the second condition would be fulfilled (and the meat would be permissible for Muslims, given that the other conditions are met).

In conclusion, it is necessary to inquire about the method of slaughter of the Amish to determine whether it meets the second and third conditions above.

Finally, it is important to keep in mind that most precautionary and preferred practice is to avoid eating the meat of the People of the Book (i.e. even if all conditions are fulfilled), except in cases of dire necessity. Allamah Ibn Abideen writes in Radd al-Muhtar:

وَالْأَوْلَى أَنْ لَا يَأْكُلَ ذَبِيحَتَهُمْ وَلَا يَتَزَوَّجَ مِنْهُمْ إلَّا لِلضَّرُورَةِ كَمَا حَقَّقَهُ الْكَمَالُ بْنُ الْهُمَامِ (رد المحتار، كتاب الذبائح)

“It is preferable to avoid eating the meat of the People of the Book and to avoid marrying them, except in cases in of dire necessity, as the great scholar Al-Kamal ibn al-Humam has meticulously verified.”

Umer Mian