Is it permissible to eat the meat of an animal that is not known whether it was slaughtered with Bismillah (the name of Allah) or not?
There exists an obvious command in a verse asserting that the meat of an animal slaughtered without Bismillah (in the name of Allah) cannot be eaten. There are hadiths (the words of the Prophet) testifying this. The common agreement regarding this issue is as follows:
- The animal must be slaughtered with Bismillah if its meat is to be eaten! There is not a disagreement about this decree. While the animal is being slaughtered, Bismillah must be recited. If not, its meat is not eaten.
But, Bismillah may have been skipped for two reasons:
1- On account of negligence, forgetting or excitement
2- On account of denial or unbelief.
If, Bismillah is not recited because of negligence, forgetting or excitement, that meat can be eaten, nothing is necessary because there is no evil purpose..
If it is because of denial, disapproving Allah, refusing to mention His name by virtue of unbelief; no doubt, the meat of the animal which is slaughtered by such a denier person cannot be eaten.
If there is no information about how the animal was slaughtered, a person living in an Islamic country thinks positively, and eats it, assuming it was slaughtered with Bismillah.
As for the Shafii School, if Bismillah wasnt recited when the animal was slaughtered, it is recited while eating the meat, thus there is no drawback of eating it.
After resolving the matter in this way, let discuss another aspect: As is known, there is fatwa –Islamic religious law-, and also taqwa- piety-. Fatwa is the first step of religion and everyone has to act in accordance with it. As for taqwa, it is an upper level. It is the necessity of love and ardor felt in the spirit. However, it compels no one to act accordingly.
Under those circumstances, the prescripts about slaughtering, whose fatwa explanations we have presented above, are obligatory for everybody. Everybody can eat the meat that follows those criteria and nobody needs to feel any obligation to seek anything else. But someone could say: yes, it is so but I want to be more meticulous and I dont want to eat the meat if I dont know how it was slaughtered. He is congratulated if it is due to his piousness. However, compelling others to follow his preferences is not deemed suitable.
This approach could be applied to other Halal (lawful) foodstuff. Someone could say: I assume these and those foodstuffs are mingled with some other ingredients. Though there is no evidence, I dont eat and drink them because I have suspicions. It is welcomed with esteem and that mans piety is applauded. However, somebody else could say: Seeing that there isnt any certain evidence about it, only you have doubts. A Halal (lawful) thing doesnt become Haram (prohibited) due to doubts. I eat and drink those. Nothing could be said for this judgment either and it is shown respect.
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