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Clarification of the Hadith that encouraged the recital of Bismillah when presented with doubtful food

Question

What is the explanation of the Hadith where it is mentioned that some Sahabah said we go to certain areas and the people present us with food we do not know about the food (ie halal or not) and Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) told them read Bismillah and eat from it.

Does it mean that if we in doubt about food being Halal just reading Bismillah is sufficient?

 

Answer

The Hadith you are referring to is recorded in Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 5507.

In this Hadith, the Sahabah (radiyallahu’anhum) were actually enquiring about a specific situation, in which they were presented with freshly slaughtered meat by new Muslim Bedouins. The Sahabah were not sure if the new muslims had recited bismillah when slaughtering. This was the reason for their doubt and the subsequent question.

 

Since the ruling in Shari’ah is that if a muslim mistakenly omits the recital of bismillah before slaughtering, the meat will still be halal (lawful), Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) did not pay any attention to this doubt of the Sahabah (radiyallahu’anhum) and advised them to recite bismillah and eat, like is generally done before any meal.

(At-Tamhid, vol.10 pg.320)

 

This does not mean that by merely reciting bismillah on meat that is known to be haram, or is highly likely to be such, it will render it halal!!

This is a grave contemporary misconception.

This is just one example of many ‘misinterpretations of the Hadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) in our era.

 

If today, one were in such a position like that of the Sahabah in this Hadith; wherein one is offered meat that was slaughtered by a new Muslim, then this Hadith indeed does apply to him.

This Hadith definitely does not refer to a case wherein one purchases meat from a non muslim outlet (which is most likely haram) and by merely reciting Bismillah before eating that purchased meat, it becomes halal.

 

Another explanation

In fact, according to some Hadith commentators, this narration in question is abrogated, and only applied in the early days of Islam.

– This will be the answer to those who insist on taking this Hadith to mean that: the mere recital of Bismillah on haram meat renders it halal!

(‘Umdatul Qari, Hadith: 5507)

 

As a rule, one should be extremely particular about what he or she consumes. Even a single morsel of haram has lasting ill-effects.

 

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,

 

Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar

 

Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar