If a Muslim or a person from the people of the Book forgets to utter bismillah when he slaughters an animal, is it permissible for a Muslim to say bismillah before eating it and then eat it?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The meat of an animal slaughtered by a person who deliberately omits bismillah cannot be eaten. However, if he forgets to utter bismillah, it can be eaten.

The issue is clearly explained in valuable fiqh books like Madhahib al-Arbaa. There is no need to doubt and hesitate about the issue. We can summarize the issue as follows:  

The Muslims living in non-Muslim countries get the meat they eat either by slaughtering an animal themselves or from the animals slaughtered by Christians and Jews.

If they get the meat from the animals slaughtered by Muslims, there is no problem. However, if they get the meat from the animals slaughtered by Christians and Jews, it is enough to know the following:

A . Is the person who slaughtered the animal a believer in the Gospel of the Torah or not?

If he believes in either of those books, it means he is from Ahl al-Kitab (the People of the Book). The meat of the animals slaughtered by the People of the Book can be eaten if the person was still from the People of the Book and was not a person of no religion when he slaughtered the animal

B. He must utter bismillah or say the name of Allah in his own language when he slaughters the animal; it is all right if he forgets to utter it; he must not utter the name of an idol, which means denying Allah.   

If he does not utter the name of Allah and if he does not utter something opposite, the meat of the animal he slaughters can be eaten. He does not have to utter bismillah or say the name of Allah in his own language.

If the animals are slaughtered in accordance with those conditions, it is permissible to eat the meat of the animals that are slaughtered by Jews and Christians. However, when something opposite occurs, it is not permissible to eat what they slaughter.

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