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AHL AL KITAB

Ahl al Kitab (or People of the Book) generally is referred to the Jews and Christians by the Qur’an since they were also given books such as the Torah and Injeel. Ahl al Kitab in urdu is referred as Ahle Kitab.

 

 

 

Table of Contents

 

 

Definition

People of the Book consist of both believers and disbelievers, as indicated in the Qur'aan, where Allaah mentions the disbelievers among them (interpretation of the meaning):"O people of the Scripture! Why do you disbelieve in the ayath [about Prophet Mohammad ()] of Allaah, while you (yourselves) bear witness (to their truth)". Surah Aal e Imraan, 3:70

 

And: "Say: O people of the Scripture! Why do you stop those who believe from the path of Allah, seeking to make it crooked, while you (yourselves) are witnesses? And Allaah is not unaware of what you do". Surah Aal e Imran 3:99

 

And Allah said about the believers among them, making clear the difference between them and the aforementioned (interpretation of the meaning):"Not all of them are alike; a party of the people of the Scripture stand for the right, they recite the aayath of Allaah during the hours of the night, prostrating themselves in prayer. They believe in Allaah and the Last Day; they enjoin what is right and forbid evil and they hasten in good works; and they are among the righteous. And whatever good they do, nothing will be rejected of them; for Allaah knows well those who are the pious". Surah Aal e  Imran, 3:113-115

 

These people also believe in our Prophet () and the Quran which was revealed to him as mentioned (approximate translation of meanings is): "And there are, certainly, among the people of the Scripture, those who believe in Allah and in that which has been revealed to you, and in that which has been revealed to them, humbling themselves before Allah. They do not sell the Verses of Allah for a little price, for then is a reward their Lord. Surely, Allah is Swift in account". Surah Aal e Imran, 3:199

 

The disbelief of the disbelieving People of the Scripture, that include Jews and Christians, in our times does not expel them from being People of the Scripture. So, the rules and regulations related to them regarding permissibility of eating their food and marrying their chaste women, in the Qur'aan and Sunnah, are still applicable to them.[1]

 

Marrying a Woman from Ahl Al Kitab

It is permissible for a Muslim man to marry a non-Muslim woman if she is Christian or Jewish, but it is not permissible for him to marry a non-Muslim woman who follows any religion other than these two. The evidence for that is the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):  “Made lawful to you this day are At‑Tayyibaat [all kinds of Halaal (lawful) foods, which Allaah has made lawful (meat of slaughtered eatable animals, milk products, fats, vegetables and fruits)]. The food (slaughtered cattle, eatable animals) 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 girlfriends” Surah al-Maa'idah 5:4

 

Imam al-Tabari said in his commentary on this verse: “chaste women from the believers and chaste women from those who were given the Scripture” means, free woman among those whom have been given the Scripture, namely the Jews and Christians who believe in what is in the Tawraat (Torah) and Injeel (Gospel) from among the people who came before you, O believers in Muhammad, whether from among the Arabs or other people; you are permitted to marry them “when you have given their due Mahr (bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage)” which means, if you give to those whom you marry of your (Muslims’) chaste women and their (Jews’ and Christians’) chaste women their mahrs or dowries.” Tafseer al-Qurtubi, 6/104

 

But it is not permissible for a Muslim man to marry a Magian (Zoroastrian) woman or a communist woman or an idol-worshipping woman, etc.  The evidence for that is the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And do not marry Al-Mushrikaat (idolatresses) till they believe (worship Allaah Alone). And indeed a slave woman who believes is better than a (free) Mushrikah (idolatress), even though she pleases you” Surah al-Baqarah 2:221

 

A mushrikah is an idol-worshipping woman who worships stones, whether from among the Arabs or others.

 

It is not permissible for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim from any other religion, whether from among the Jews or Christians, or any other kaafir religion. It is not permissible for her to marry a Jew, a Christian, a Magian, a communist, an idol-worshipper, etc.

 

The evidence for that is the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “And give not (your daughters) in marriage to Al‑Mushrikoon till they believe (in Allaah Alone) and verily, a believing slave is better than a (free) Mushrik (idolater), even though he pleases you. Those (Al-Mushrikoon) invite you to the Fire, but Allaah invites (you) to Paradise and forgiveness by His Leave, and makes His Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) clear to mankind that they may remember” Surah al-Baqarah 2:221

 

Imam al-Tabari said: What is said concerning the interpretation of the words “And give not (your daughters) in marriage to Al‑Mushrikoon till they believe (in Allaah Alone) and verily, a believing slave is better than a (free) Mushrik (idolater), even though he pleases you” is that what Allaah meant by that is that Allaah has forbidden the believing women from marrying to a mushrik, no matter what kind of shirk he believes in. So, O believers, do not give your daughters in marriage to them, for that is forbidden to you. For you to give them in marriage to a believing slave who believes in Allaah and His Messenger and that which he brought from Allaah is better for you than to give them in marriage to a free mushrik even if he is of noble descent and honourable origins, even if you like his descent and background.

 

It was narrated that Qutaadah and al-Zuhri said, concerning the phrase “And give not (your daughters) in marriage to Al‑Mushrikoon”, It is not permissible for you to give them in marriage to a Jew or a Christian or a mushrik who is not a follower of your religion. Tafseer al-Qurtubi, 2/379.[2]

 

Meat Slaughtered by Ahl Al Kitab

Meat slaughtered by one of the people of the Book (a Jew or a Christian) is permissible subject to two conditions:

 

1 – That the meat be slaughtered as a Muslim does it, but cutting the throat and oesophagus and letting the blood flow. If the animal is killed by strangling or electric shock or drowning in water, its meat is not permissible. Similarly, if a Muslim does that, the meat is not permissible.

 

2 – No name other than that of Allaah should be mentioned over it, such as the name of the Messiah etc, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Eat not (O believers) of that (meat) on which Allaah’s Name has not been pronounced (at the time of the slaughtering of the animal)” Surah al-An’aam 6:121

 

And He says concerning haraam things (interpretation of the meaning): “He has forbidden you only the Maytah (dead animals), and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allaah (or has been slaughtered for idols, on which Allaah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering)” Surah al-Baqarah 2:173

 

Scholars view

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: What is meant here is that over which a name other than that of Allaah is mentioned at the time of slaughter, such as saying “in the name of the Messiah” or “in the name of Muhammad” or “in the name of Jibreel” or “in the name of al-Laat” and so on.

 

The prohibition also applies to that which is offered as a sacrifice to the Messiah or to al-Zahrah, even if they did not mention a name other than that of Allaah over it. It is also haraam.

 

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:  As for that which is slaughtered by the people of the Book for their festivals and as an act of worship to draw closer to someone other than Allaah, as the Muslims offer their sacrifices to draw closer to Allaah thereby, such as what they slaughter for the Messiah and al-Zahrah, there are two reports narrated from Ahmad concerning that, the most well known of which in his texts is that it is not permissible to eat it, even if the name of someone other than Allaah has not been mentioned over it. The prohibition on doing that was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah and ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar.

 

If a Muslim or a  ahle kitaabi (Jew or Christian) slaughters an animal for meat, and it is not known whether he mentioned the name of Allaah over it or not, it is permissible to eat from it, and the one who eats it should say the name of Allaah, because of the report that was narrated by Sahih al-Bukhaari 2057 from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), that some people said: O Messenger of Allaah, some people bring meat to us, and we do not know whether they mentioned the name of Allaah over it or not. The Messenger of Allaah said: “Mention the name of Allaah over it and eat.”

 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: It is not essential to ask about that which was slaughtered by a Muslim or a kitaabi, and how it was slaughtered, and whether the name of Allaah was mentioned over it or not. Rather that should not be done, because that is being obstinate in religious matters. The Prophet ate meat slaughtered by the Jews and did not ask questions. In Saheeh al-Bukhaari and elsewhere it is narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (R) that some people said to the Prophet : Some people bring meat to us, and we do not know whether they mentioned the name of Allaah over it or not. The Messenger of Allaah said: “Mention the name of Allaah over it and eat.” She said: They were new in Islam, and the Prophet told them to eat without asking, even though those who brought the meat to them may not have been aware of the rulings of Islam because they were new in Islam.

 

Based on the above, whoever travels to a non-Muslim country where most of those who slaughter meat are Christians or Jews, it is permissible for him to eat their meat, unless he knows that they stun the animals or mention over them the name of someone other than Allaah, as stated above.

 

But if the slaughter man is an idol-worshipper or communist, it is not permissible to eat meat slaughtered by him. 

 

If the meat is haraam, it is not permissible to eat from it on the grounds of necessity, so long as a person can find food to keep him alive, such as fish, vegetables and so on.

 

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Barraak (may Allaah preserve him) said: “The meats available in kaafir countries are of various types. As for fish, it is halaal in all cases, because its being halaal does not depend on the way in which it is slaughtered or on the name of Allaah being mentioned over it.

 

With regard to other types of meat, if the companies or individuals who produce meat are people of the Book, Jews or Christians, and it is not known from them that they kill the animal by electric shock, strangling or striking it on the head, as is well known in the west, then this meat is halaal. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Made lawful to you this day are At‑Tayyibaat [all kinds of Halaal (lawful) foods, which Allaah has made lawful (meat of slaughtered eatable animals, milk products, fats, vegetables and fruits)]. The food (slaughtered cattle, eatable animals) of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) is lawful to you and yours is lawful to them” Surah al-Maa’idah 5:5

 

But if they kill the animal by one of the methods mentioned, then the meat is haraam, because in that case it is meat that has been strangled or killed by a blow. If those who produce the meat are not Jews or Christians, then the meat that they offer is haraam. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):  “Eat not (O believers) of that (meat) on which Allaah’s Name has not been pronounced (at the time of the slaughtering of the animal), for sure it is Fisq (a sin and disobedience of Allaah)” Surah al-An’aam 6:121

 

The Muslim should strive to avoid that which is clearly haraam and be cautious of doubtful matters so as to preserve his religious commitment and to keep his body safe from being nourished with haraam things. [3]

 

See Also: Dhimmi, Mushrik; Zulm; Jizya

 

References    

[1]https://islamqa.info/en/300

 

[2] https://islamqa.info/en/21380

 

[3] https://islamqa.info/en/88206

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