IS IT NECESSARY TO MENTION THE NAME OF ALLAH BEFORE SLAUGHTERING ANIMALS?
It may not be an issue in countries where the majority of people are muslims because it is a norm there to mention the name of Allah when slaughtering animals for the purpose of eating their meat. However, in countries where non-muslims are in majority, this is sometimes an important issue. Some people think that it is not necessary to mention the name of Allah while slaughtering an animal but it is enough if we mention Allah’s name just before eating their meat provided that the animal was not the Forbidden one. This article looks into the issue in the light of the Quran.
PLEASE CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING VERSES:
5:4 They ask you (O Prophet) what foods are Permissible. Tell them all good things of life are Lawful to you. As for the hunting animals, the catch of your trained dogs and falcons, as Allah has taught you, is Permissible. Mention Allah’s name thereupon. Always be mindful of Allah’s Laws. His Law of Requital is swift in reckoning.
6:118 Eat, then, of that over which the name of ALLAH has been mentioned
6:121 And eat NOT of that on which the name of ALLAH has not been mentioned
6:138 And they say, `Such and such cattle and crops are forbidden. None shall eat thereof save whom we please’ – so they assert – and there are cattle whose backs are forbidden (for riding), and there are cattle over which they mention not the name of ALLAH, forging a lie against HIM. Soon will HE requite them for that which they have fabricated.
22:28 So that they might see with their own eyes and experience what benefits the Divine System holds for them and mention Allah’s Name collectively during the specified days of Hajj; and over the livestock He has bestowed upon them…
22:34 And to every community We have ordained rites that they might extol the Name of Allah over the sustenance He gave them from the livestock….
22:36 And the camels! We have appointed them among the symbols (of obedience) to Allah; in them is much good for you. So mention Allah’s Name over them when they are drawn up in lines (for sacrifice).
If we see all the above 7 verses carefully, in 5 of the above verses (5:4, 6:138, 22:28, 22:34, 22:36), the mentioning of the name of Allah is with regards to cattle or livestock or animals. Obviously, we do not eat just meat but also other things and we are supposed to say BISMILLAH before eating anything; not just before eating but also before embarking upon any task [please see 11:41]. The fact that Allah has specifically mentioned the mentioning of the name of Allah with regards to animals, suggests that it refers to the time of slaughtering of these animals and not just before eating anything.
Now if we see carefully the verses 6:118, 6:121 (in which the context is not clear whether the reference is to animals or otherwise), there is another key point to note. The addressee in the verses is the second person YOU, but the mentioning of the name of Allah is in THIRD PERSON (passive voice). See the verses again as below:
YOU eat of that over which the name of Allah HAS BEEN MENTIONED [6:118]
YOU do not eat over which the name of Allah HAS NOT BEEN MENTIONED [6:121]
This also suggests that the mentioning the name of Allah seems to refer here not to the time of eating but to time of slaughtering which is usually by a THIRD person.
A question may come to mind that why is it necessary to mention the name of Allah at the time of slaughtering an animal. Is there a logical point here? One possible logic of mentioning the name of Allah at the time of slaughtering an animal is that the person who is slaughtering must bear in mind that it is Allah Who is the True Giver of Life and Death and any thought does not cross the mind of the person who is slaughtering the animal that he is actually in control of life and death.