The Official Website of the Office of His Eminence Al-Sayyid Ali Al-Husseini Al-Sistani

Question & Answer » Meat

1 Question: What kind of marine animals are halal?
Answer: It is not permissible to eat from marine animals anything except fish that has scale; shrimp is considered from that category [of permissible sea animals]. But other than fish, like lobster, and similarly the fish that does not have scale is forbidden. Allãh knows the best.
2 Question: Is Kosher meat halal?
Answer: It is not halal.
3 Question: Can I eat Christians' foods that contain meat?
Answer: The food containing meat is not permissible, unless you are certain that the food prepared is from Halal meat (ritually slaughtered according to Islamic Law).
4 Question: Are chickens slaughtered by Christians Halal?
Answer: They are not halal.
5 Question: On the package of meat that is produced in Muslim countries by non-Muslim companies, it says, “slaughtered according to Islamic laws”. Are we allowed to eat that meat? Can we eat that meat, if it comes from Muslim companies in non-Muslim countries? And what is the ruling, if the source is non-Muslim company from a non-Muslim country?
Answer: The writing [on the package] has no value at all. If the producer is a Muslim or it was produced in a place where Muslims are in the majority and it is not known that the producer is a non-Muslim, then it is permissible to eat it.
But if the producer is a non-Muslim or it was produced in a place where Muslims are not in the majority and it is not known that the producer is Muslim, then it is not permissible to eat it.
6 Question: We enter some super markets in Europe and find meat in tin containers produced by a European company with the writing on the package that conveys the sense of it being “halãl” or “slaughtered according to Islamic laws”. Is it permissible to buy and eat such meat?
Answer: The writing [on the package] has no value if it does not lead to certainty [that it is actually halãl].
7 Question: Meat companies slaughter a large number of chickens at one time [that is, simultaneously]. Now if the person running the slaughtering machine is a Muslim, who says takbír and says the name of Allãh only once at the time of slaughtering all the chicken [simultaneously], is it permissible for us to eat those chickens? If we have doubt about these chickens being halãl, can we [ignore that doubt and] eat them and consider them pure (tãhir)?
Answer: If he repeats the name of Allãh as long as the machine is continuing to slaughter, it is sufficient. In the event of doubt about its being halãl (a doubt which arises concerning the mentioning of the name of Allãh), it can be considered pure and be consumed.
8 Question: Is it permissible to buy meat thinking that it is slaughtered according to Islamic laws from a super-market owned by a Muslim who [also] sells alcoholic drinks?
Answer: Yes, it is permissible; and it is halãl to eat, even if it previously came from a non-Muslim as long as there is a likelihood that the shopkeeper has ascertained that it was slaughtered according to the shari‘a laws; but not if there is no such likelihood.
9 Question: Commercial fishing vessels place their huge nets [in the sea] and catch tons of fish which are then sold in the markets. It is well known that modern methods of fishing are based on catching the fish alive, and that the fishermen throw the dead fish back into the water for fear of contamination.
Therefore, is it permissible for us to buy such fish in the markets of non-Muslims? Is it permissible for us to buy such fish from Muslims who are not considerate of religious laws? In both the cases to ascertain that this particular fish in front of me was taken out of the water alive, should seek the advice of an expert and reliable witness to testify to that fact which may prove difficult, impractical, and unrealistic.
So, is there a solution for practicing Muslims who face difficulty in ascertaining whether or not the meat of chicken, cow or sheep is halãl, and therefore take to eating fish instead?
Answer: There is no problem in buying it from Muslims or non-Muslims; as there is no problem in eating it, if they are satisfied that the fish was caught by the method mentioned above and that it belongs to the category of scale fish.
10 Question: At times we find the name or picture of fish on the cans and come to know that the fish is a scale fish. So, is it permissible for us to rely on the name or the picture in determining the category of fish, knowing well that a wrong statement of this kind would put the manufacturers in great loss or even more serious [situation] than just a loss?
Answer: If one is satisfied it is the truth, it is permissible to act upon it.
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