I always have eaten halal meat and nothing else. I am now in the USA and some places have no halal places at all so it can be difficult at times to eat meat.

I was informed that Allah SWT has given us permission for eating meat which has been permissible to "the people of the book".

  • Is this correct?
  • If so, does this mean I can go to a restaurant, say Olive Garden (Italian) or Pizza Hut or something like that and can have chicken?

Thank you for clarifications. It makes it difficult when you are in an area that does not have halal places or at least very difficult to access therefore I stick to vegetarian meals.

  • Possible duplicate of stunning animals before slaughter - different opinions the main Issue of your question is answered here!
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 9:01
  • Thank you. Good detailed answer but still a little confused. There is no way to know from such restaurants in the USA how the animal was slaughtered. Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 13:18
  • You can ask or try to ask what is the usual way of slaughtering. As you see Kilise has posted a EU-Standard maybe there are common rules in the USA etc. So you may need to do some research!
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 13:26
  • 1
    Here's a simple rule of thumb by Abdul Hakim Murad; he basically says "how do you know the one slaughtering was ahlul kitab, and that no other name was said over it?" Eating meat is haram unless you have reason to be confident that it is zabiha.
    – G. Bach
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 16:23
  • Possible duplicate of Is it permissible to eat chicken and beef in a non-Muslim country? Commented Jan 27, 2017 at 1:31

4 Answers 4


TL;DR: According to the Qur'an, ahadith, and fatawa, it's generally permissible to eat meat slaughtered by People of the Book provided we say the name of Allah over it, and provided the animal was slaughtered in an Islamically valid way. However, fatawa further state that the default assumption is that meat in the West is slaughtered in an invalid way, and not necessarily by People of the Book.

Food of People of the Book is permissible to eat:

According to the Qur'an, eating food of People of the Book permissible:

This day [all] good foods have been made lawful, and the food of those who were given the Scripture is lawful for you and your food is lawful for them. ... -- Qur'an 5:5

And similarly there's a hadith:

Some people said, "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! Meat is brought to us by some people and we are not sure whether the name of Allah has been mentioned on it or not (at the time of slaughtering the animals)." Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said (to them), "Mention the name of Allah and eat it." -- Sahih al-Bukhari 2057 (sunnah.com) and variants Sahih al-Bukhari 5507 (sunnah.com) and Bulugh al-Maram [grade: hasan] (sunnah.com)

(See also the ahadith Sunan Ibn Majah [grade: sahih] (sunnah.com) [and Sahih Muslim 1930 a (sunnah.com)] and Sunan Abi Dawud 2817 [grade: hasan] (sunnah.com) which also express permissibility of eating meat of People of the Book.)

However, we need to keep in mind the importance that Allah's name be mentioned over this meat:

And do not eat of that upon which the name of Allah has not been mentioned, for indeed, it is grave disobedience. ... -- Qur'an 6:121

How meat is slaughtered matters:

The above were cited in an Islam Q&A fatwa, where they raise two conditions on the permissibility: (a) "the meat be slaughtered as a Muslim does it", and (b) "no name other than that of Allaah should be mentioned over it."

...if the companies or individuals who produce meat are people of the Book, Jews or Christians, and it is not known from them that they kill the animal by electric shock, strangling or striking it on the head, as is well known in the west, then this meat is halaal. ... But if they kill the animal by one of the methods mentioned, then the meat is haraam...

So the fatwa says that food in the West is widely known to be slaughtered in a way that violates the condition "the meat be slaughtered as a Muslim does it". Moreover, they write:

If those who produce the meat are not Jews or Christians, then the meat that they offer is haraam.

I suspect that Olive Garden, Pizza Hut, and the like, are irreligious organizations, so it's unclear whether or not their meat would be slaughtered by People of the Book.

Other fatawa also address both these points:

It is not lawful at all to place one self in a position of consuming haram or that which certainly doubtful. -- Mufti Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf, ZamZamAcademy.com, 2010

However, if the animal is not slaughtered according to the above method, or that the person who slaughtered it was neither a Muslim nor from the People of the Book, then the animal's meat takes the ruling of the meat of a dead animal and it is not lawful to eat it. -- IslamWeb.net, 2002

The meat that is sold in supermarkets and restaurants in countries with small Muslim populations, such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other countries, does not generally meet the conditions of a valid Islamic slaughter and is not permissible to eat. -- Qibla.com, sourced from IslamQA.org

  • Just a comment about the verse 6:121 . It could also be interpreted as do not eat meat which Gods name hasn't been mentioned (i.e self dead animals or mentioning another name than Allah)
    – Kilise
    Commented Jan 22, 2017 at 23:18
  • AsSalam Aalykum. It does not seem like Christians have a particular method for slaughtering animals like the Muslims and the Jews do. Besides, doesn't 5:5 essentially imply that the food of the Christians and Jews is lawful for Muslims to eat? Considering that, if a Christian priest for example sees no issues with a certain food, a Muslim should also not object to eating it AS LONG AS
    – a_sid
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 21:31
  • the food is not one of the explicitly forbidden foods of 5:3. Please correct me if I am wrong.
    – a_sid
    Commented Jul 27, 2020 at 21:31

TL;DR: Allah says in the Qur'an that mentioning His Name is a requirement, and from Sunnah we learn that the time of this is always during slaughter. Two ahadith are examined below.

According to Qur'an and Sunnah: Every animal has its right and edible animals keep their rights. We're given the permission to consume them in the halal slaughter way, in that case the rights are passed over to us. The animal killed without Allah's name pronounced is maytah and every maytah is haram to eat. This is because these animals will take back their rights in the hereafter if they are eaten.

Firstly, you may eat fish.

Secondly, the correct ruling* is that any animal that was killed without any of Allah's names is haram to eat, even if it was killed according to Kosher rules, which are very similar to our rules (cutting the jugular vein, etc.) This is because in Islam we're not allowed to steal others' rights and unless an animal is killed in accordance with the Shariah, including the pronouncement of Allah's names, the animal will not make himself halal for us, which will increase our torment of grave (because except compliance with Shariah, we're stealing the life of the animal). Unfortunately, saying "Allah" after the death of the animal makes no change to whether it was halal, so by default all meat by People of the Book are haram since I don't know a single non-Muslim butcher who pronounces His Name on meat.

*: I heard this from a modern scholar who is amazing in his knowledge of the four madhahib and even just Islam without the rulings by scholars of madhahib.

EDIT: I learned from the scholar the meaning of the hadith quoted in Rebecca's answer:

Some people said, "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! Meat is brought to us by some people and we are not sure whether the name of Allah has been mentioned on it or not (at the time of slaughtering the animals)." Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said (to them), "Mention the name of Allah and eat it." -- Sahih al-Bukhari 2057 (sunnah.com) and variants Sahih al-Bukhari 5507 (sunnah.com) and Bulugh al-Maram [grade: hasan] (sunnah.com)

First things first, the meat in question is by default halal. This is because doubt does not overcome certainty and the default state is slaughter in a Muslim region. This would have been clear even if the incident in the hadith didn't take place, because there's no doubt in Islam, but only judging by clear evidence, so as long as there's no evidence, there's no possibility of impermissibility.

Notice a distinct feature of this hadith: When we're in doubt about wudu, we don't say basmala, we just continue. Likewise for any other waswas. But why do we pronounce basmala in this case?

Consider the case that when something is halal for the hereafter but in reality it's not. For example, we forgot a sajda in a prayer but don't notice it, it's perfectly fine in the hereafter. In reality, it's missing a part. Likewise for wudu.

But for this case, if we eat something haram by mistake, then we have najasah in our mouth. Our prayer is valid, because we aren't aware of it, but we have najasah. This is a more serious problem than, for example, missing a part in prayer, because it involves dirtiness.

So why do we say the Basmala in this case?

Because Allah, through His generosity, cleans the najasah when we do dhikr.

You may say "Hold on! This is such an extreme explanation and it's much more likely that pronouncing basmala makes every meat halal!"

I say: The requirement of saying the basmala is clear in Qur'an and Sunnah during the time of slaughter. That's why the hadith above is unique to a case of doubt, as a mustahabb action.

To name one:


It was narrated from Rafi bin Khadij that the Messenger of Allah said: "If the blood is shed and the name of Allah is mentioned, then eat, unless (it is slaughtered) with teeth or nails."

whereas otherwise it would have been:

"If the blood is shed, then mention the name of Allah and eat, unless (it is slaughtered) with teeth or nails."


Recently found this... the opinions vary I guess but Sunnah says you can mention the name of Allah and eat it as long as it’s not haram such as pork, bacon etc .... (https://i.sstatic.net/D3vKN.jpg)


No it is not permissible because Muslims can only eat halal meat. This means that the animal must have been killed using Islamic laws. Any other meat is not permissible even if Jews or Christians own these restaurants or supplied the meat.

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