Saudi Arabia Meat Problem

Published: 2004-03-12
Assalamu Alaykum,

I do not eat at McDonalds, KFC, Burger King etc in the UK. When I went for
Hajj this year I saw these outlets in Makkah and Madina. What do you advise
about eating at these places in the Holy cities.

I look forward to your reply. Jazakallah.

Views: 4,186,176
Updated: 2009-04-09
Checked and authorised as correct by Hadhrat Maulana Mufti Abdullah Sahib on: 12 March 2004
Bismihi Subhanahu Wa-ta'ala
Assalamooalaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh
Respected Sister  Brother
It is known for sure that Saudia Arabia import frozen meat.   It is not possible to know for sure that Halaal labelled packaging are indeed bona fide, hence not advisable to rely on these alone.   If you see the links at the bottom, you can see how careless suppliers can be with regards to Halaal.   Certainly, there should be close Muslim supervision from beginning to end,  to ensure critical jurisprudential rules are applied.  We can be sure then that Halaal reaches the Muslims as Halaal. Clearly if the meat is not scrutinised from a-z by Muslims then the meat cannot be trustworthy, especially if they are from non-Muslim countries.
We are reliably informed that chicken meat in the Holy lands is obtained and slaughtered locally as well as imported. The local chicken meat is Halal and can be identified by the 'al-Watania' packaging.    Imported chicken meat comes from a myriad of countries. It is  very difficult to ascertain whether chickens  imported into Saudia Arabia are slaughtered according to Shar'iah thus such meat would be termed Mashkook (doubtful) - caution demands abstinence.
From Muhammad Sameeullah's - The Meat: Lawful and Unlawful in Islam - Siddiqi Trust
"It may be pertinent to mention here that at present, Argentina and Brazil, etc. are exporting a lot frozen meat to Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia. This meat is not quite lawful for the Muslims as the animals are not slaughtered according to the way prescribed by the Shari’ah. The exporting firms very cunningly put the Halal mark on their products which in reality is not the case. There are no Muslim butchers or supervisors attached to these firms and as such their statement cannot be relied upon. It is very important that the Islamic Organizations should probe into the matter urgently to ensure that the Muslim masses in Arab countries are not fed on this type of meat as, according to a Hadith of  Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam,the prayers of a person nourished on unlawful food are not heard or accepted. This is a grave issue and should be taken in right earnestness by Muslim governments.

The summary of this somewhat heated discussion and probing is as follows:

a. No food of the “People of the Book” is lawful for a Muslim except that which is lawful for the “People of the Book” themselves, according to the directions of their Scriptures and their Prophets. And consequently, when the “People of the Book” prepare an animal for food, it would not be lawful for a Muslim, unless they had slaughtered it according to the directions in their Scripture.

b. Halal meat is available in many western countries through the efforts of dedicated Islamic workers and it is easy for anyone keen on getting it to be able to procure it. And now that the correct Islamic decision on the matter is made known, there would be no excuse for any Muslim to eat unlawful meat. And it should be known that the body, which is nourished on unlawful food, will be consigned to Hell as mentioned in the Hadith."

To conclude, Muslims are obliged by the Shari’ah to eat only Halaal and Tayyib foods hence be most circumspect when eating in the Holy Lands.  Tayyib foods refers to food that is Halaal beyond doubt.

Some advice tendered:

1. You may ensure that the Hajj or Umrah group you select procure meat which is not imported, for example. 

2.  Don't eat at restaurants and takeaways willy nilly, rather ask someone who is 'in the know' where you can buy Halaal with certitude.

Interesting Reading:

What Muslim Countries Are Eating?
The Meat: Lawful and Unlawful in Islam -

... and Allah Ta'ala Knows Best
Allah alone is the Inspirer of Truth.
Allah reward you for using the Foodguide Service.  Allah give us tawfique to eat Halaal all the time. Please tell your friends and please pray for us too.
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Acknowledgement:, Darul Iftaa, Leciester, and other sources.