Is McDonald’s Halal (Permissible) by Yusuf Estes?

The diversity of opinion as to how different authors and scholars read different verses of the holy Quran, in our opinion, creates room for a simplified and progressive reading of the Quran, please see the tweet in the center of the post and a list of articles at the bottom. Suggested website: TheQuran.Love

Source: Just Ask Islam

Q: Could you please guide me as to the question about eating food like meat and poultry outside from restaurants in US like steak houses, burger king, McDonalds whether they are permissible and as to where in Holy Quran can I get the references to support the notion either way?

Thank you for your question. As Muslims, we are very unique and blessed by Allah, in that we still have all the original information to base our understanding of how to live according to revelation from Above (Quran and Sunnah):

We have original recorded sources of our religion:

A) The Quran
B) Teachings of Muhammad

This is a very unique feature in Islam – not available in other ancient religions. And whenever we find answers in the Quran and teachings of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), (Hadith), we have no option but to accept fully and completely. As Allah says in His Book:

“But no, by your Lord (Allah), they can have no Iman (faith) until they make you (Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him)) the judge in matters wherein they dispute and then come away in total acceptance and compliance.” [Noble Quran 4:65]

Sheikh Yusuf Estes

Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim

Thank you for your question concerning meat that we should or should not eat. This is a problem that many are faced with today, while living here in the West. Before the detailed questions arising from this topic, let us consider what has been preserved in the Quran for us as Muslims, for over 1,400 years:

Regarding food, we offer one of many places in Quran where Allah Speaks to us about this important subject:

The beginning of Chapter 5 (Surah Ma’idah)

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

1. O you who believe! Fulfill (your) obligations. Lawful to you (for food) are all the beasts of cattle except that which will be announced to you (herein), game (also) being unlawful when you assume Ihram for Hajj or ‘Umrah (pilgrimage). Verily, Allah commands that which He wills.

2. O you who believe! Violate not the sanctity of the Symbols of Allah, nor of the Sacred Month, nor of the animals brought for sacrifice, nor the garlanded people or animals, etc. [Marked by the garlands on their necks made from the outer part of the tree stems (of Makkah) for their security], nor the people coming to the Sacred House (Makkah), seeking the bounty and good pleasure of their Lord. But when you finish the Ihram (of Hajj or ‘Umrah), you may hunt, and let not the hatred of some people in (once) stopping you from Al¬-Masjid¬ Al-¬Haram (at Makkah) lead you to transgression (and hostility on your part). Help you one another in Al¬-Birr and At¬-Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment.

3. Forbidden to you (for food) are: Al-Maytah (the dead animals – cattle-beast not slaughtered), blood, the flesh of swine, and the meat of that which has been slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah, or has been slaughtered for idols, etc., or on which Allah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering, and that which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by the goring of horns – and that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal – unless you are able to slaughter it (before its death) and that which is sacrificed (slaughtered) on An-Nusub (stone altars). (Forbidden) also is to use arrows seeking luck or decision, (all) that is Fasiqun (disobedience of Allah and sin). This day, those who disbelieved have given up all hope of your religion, so fear them not, but fear Me. This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But as for him who is forced by severe hunger, with no inclination to sin (such can eat these above-mentioned meats), then surely, Allah is Oft¬-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

4. They ask you what is lawful for them (as food). Say: “Lawful unto you are At¬-Tayyibat [all kind of Halal (lawful good) foods which Allah has made lawful (meat of slaughtered eatable animals, milk products, fats, vegetables and fruits, etc.)]. And those beasts and birds of prey which you have trained as hounds, training and teaching them (to catch) in the manner as directed to you by Allah; so eat of what they catch for you, but pronounce the Name of Allah over it, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Swift in reckoning.”

5. Made lawful to you this day are At¬-Tayyibat [all kinds of Halal (lawful) foods, which Allah has made lawful (meat of slaughtered eatable animals, etc., milk products, fats, vegetables and fruits, etc.). The food (slaughtered cattle, eatable animals, etc.) of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) is lawful to you and yours is lawful to them. (Lawful to you in marriage) are chaste women from the believers and chaste women from those who were given the Scripture (Jews and Christians) before your time, when you have given their due Mahr (bridal money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage), desiring chastity (i.e. taking them in legal wedlock) not committing illegal sexual intercourse, nor taking them as girl-friends. And whosoever disbelieves in the Oneness of Allah and in all the other Articles of Faith [i.e. His (Allah’s), Angels, His Holy Books, His Messengers, the Day of Resurrection and Al¬-Qadar (Divine Preordainments)], then fruitless is his work, and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers.

Now let us ask a few basic questions to establish the importance of the subject today:

1. Is there really anything in Islam that restricts our diet?

Answer: Yes. This is confirmed in both the Quran and in the Hadith (teachings of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), many times.

2. What are the restrictions?

Answer: Everything is Halal (permissible) except for those things that are specifically forbidden.

A) Pork or pork products of any kind. (Quran)
B) Donkey meat (Hadith in Sahih Al Bukhari)
C) Animals of prey (eagles, falcons, lions, tigers, bears, etc.)
D) Animals that are already dead.
E) Anything that dies of itself (old age or disease)
F) Dying from a blow to the head or conclusion.
G) Dying of violent deaths
H) Animals killed by other animals
I) Animals that are partially eaten by other animals
J) Animals sacrificed to any other God than Allah

3. How are the animals to be slaughtered?

A) Animal is to be placed in a relaxed, lying down position (if at all possible)
B) A very sharp knife is used (but kept hidden from the view of the animal)
C) Knife is placed at the throat of the animal
D) Allah’s name is mentioned (Bismillah – Allahu Akbar)
E) Knife is drawn across the throat by the knot on the neck
F) One firm pass, cutting through the skin and esophagus right to the back of the neck is used.
G) Do not break or cut the backbone
H) Animal is allowed to bleed until the loss of blood causes unconsciousness
I) Only after it is confirmed the animal is dead can the butchering process begin

4. Who is allowed to do the slaughtering and butchering?

A) Any Muslim
B) Anyone from the Christians or Jews (Ahl Kitab)

5. If a Jewish Rabbi slaughters it, is there anything else to be concerned about?

A) In general, “No. This is all you need.”
B) If there is any doubt, check with an Imam who has slaughtering experience in your area.

6. What about Christians who might say, “In the Name of Jesus” during slaughtering?

A) Allah tells us in the Quran that we can eat their meat.
B) Mentioning “Jesus” or “Trinity” is something they might do — yet it is doubtful. Even if they do, just eat it.

7. What about others who are not Christian or Jew?

A) If you know that someone is not Christian or Jew, and they are involved in the slaughter — don’t eat it.
B) If you know that they are offering the meat as a sacrifice to some other God than Allah – don’t eat it.
C) If you doubt whether or not a Christian or Jew actually slaughtered the meat, then do not eat it.

8. What about the meat in the grocery stores and fast food chains?

A) Rule is, “If you doubt it – don’t eat it.” (Any doubt about the religion of the slaughterer — don’t eat.)
B) Do not buy ground beef from any except Halal butchers – TV news exposed they often mix in other meats (pork included).
C) Fast food changes usually do not have Halal meat. However, more and more every day, we learn about new Muslim restaurants.
D) Fast food ground beef may also contain a certain percentage of pork or other meats that are not Halal — so leave them.

9. What about fish and seafood?

A) Everything that is from the sea is Halal for us to eat (Shiites follow Jewish tradition and do not eat scavengers or shell fish).
B) Seafood has not special way to be slaughtered or butchered.

10. What about wild game?

A) Whatever you shoot that dies as a result is Halal.
B) If your hunting animal eats from it — then it is Haram to you.

11. What should a family do that lives in the West and Halal is just not available in most places?

A) Form a group of Muslims in your area and go together to a place where they do sell it.
B) Have the Masjid keep a freezer full of Halal meat and Muslims can donate enough to cover expenses.
C) Muslim families could get together in their homes or in community centers or Masjids for potluck dinners.
D) Order Halal (or kosher) meat at your butcher shop or grocery store (you might surprised how quickly they will act).
E) Eat meat substitutes
F) Eat fish, lobster, clams, oysters, shrimp, mussels, etc.

Keep in mind that eating Halal is a condition to have our prayers answered by Allah. So don’t take this subject to lightly. Food and drink are two things that we will be questioned about on the Day of Judgment.

May Allah continue to guide you to search for answers in Islam and protect you and your family from eating from the “forbidden fruits,” Ameen.

Any good is from Allah the mistakes were from myself. May Allah guide all of us to His Truth, Ameen.

Sheikh Yusuf Estes

Scope, Style and Preservation of the Quran

5 replies

  1. The first question in the following video that is in Urdu talks about commentary of a verse of the holy Quran that talks about the age of the prophet Noah and then goes into discussion of the verse 3:7:

  2. Muslims are great meat eaters. In some instances no other alternatives were available in the past, and animals often had to be killed for survival. But the world is changing, we are becoming aware of the deterioration of the climate, and also cruelty to animals, and the move is now more towards meat-free diets. No more needless killings of animals (or humans) is the future to look forward to.

    • The way the animal is slaughtered in the Muslim way is definitely not cruel, since both the jugular vein and carotid arteries are severed (read the description above), which results in the blood supply seizing immediately to the brain and therefore results in the death of the animal to all intents and purposes. As we are not allowed to consume blood, the spine is left intact so that the involuntary movements will encourage the blood to flow even after death.

      Animal rights people see this involuntary movement and figure the animal is suffering when it has already died!

      Do, please, remember that, if the whole world was to become vegetarian or vegan, there would be complete imbalance in nature and that Allah has in His Wisdom allowed certain animals to be eaten for our own good. Also, our whole digestive system starting from our teeth are made for eating both veg and non-veg food.

  3. How can anyone suggest that letting any creature bleed to death is not cruel? Apply that same belief to humans and attitudes would change. Many Indians exist on a vegetarian diet, and are not unhealthy for it. But it’s all a matter of belief, and if it’s associated with religion, then that belief is ingrained. Bear in mind that nowadays the majority of animals are factory farmed (in a most unhealthy manner including unhealthy chemicals), and that is why eating of meat has increased. The poor people have always eaten less meat, whereas the diet of the rich has always been meat orientated. Fortunately, attitudes are changing, and vegetarian- and veganism are increasing for mainly ethical reasons.

    • One of my sisters turned first vegetarian and than vegan. She noticed however that there was something missing in her health and both she and her husband turned back from observing truly vegan diets. – Like everything in Islam moderation is the key. Let’s eat a bit of all permitted things, including a nice lamb chop from time to time. And fish, if my neighbours manage to catch some still.

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