Are Muslims Allowed To Eat Kosher Meat?

Both observant Muslims and Jews only eat Halal or Kosher products, therefore they find difficulty in finding meat products allowed to them by their respected religions.  Both the religions advocate strict rules regarding the type of food to be consumed and the method of slaughtering animal in accordance to God’s will. In many countries, Muslims may find it particularly hard to look for Halal food, but they are able to find Kosher meat. The question is if the Muslims are allowed to eat Kosher meat or not.

Taking into view the Quranic verses 4:160 and 3:50, Jewish laws (halakhic) are a lot stricter than Sharia laws. In most cases, Muslims can consume Kosher meat, but Jews are not allowed to eat Halal products at all. This behavior is not restricted to the matter of foods that are permissible or impermissible by God, but also in the laws pertaining to slaughter of animals, and dietary laws involving cooking and consuming food items.

Both Sharia and Jewish laws prohibit their followers from consuming carrion, swine, insects, blood and rodents.  There are a number of food items which are allowed in Islam but prohibited by Jewish laws. Both Quran and Torah have chapters that discuss Halal and Kosher food.

According to the Quran, in order to consider the meat to be Halal, it should be slaughtered in the name of Allah:

“Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked the name of other that Allah; that which hath been killed by strangling, or by violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by being gored to death; that which hath been (partly) eaten by a wild animal; unless you are able to slaughter it (in due form); that which is sacrificed on stone (altars); forbidden also is the division (of meat) by raffling with arrows; that is impiety” (5:3).

Torah specifies which meat and fish are allowed for consumption:

“Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that only chew the cud, or of them that only part the hoof: the camel, because he cheweth the cud but parteth not the hoof, he is unclean unto you. And the rock-badger, because he cheweth the cud but parteth not the hoof, he is unclean unto you. And the hare, because she cheweth the cud but parteth not the hoof, she is unclean unto you. And the swine, because he parteth the hoof, and is cloven-footed, but cheweth not the cud, he is unclean unto you. Of their flesh ye shall not eat, and their carcasses ye shall not touch; they are unclean unto you. These may ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them may ye eat.”

Other requirements of keeping kosher include not mixing meat and dairy utensils, not eating meat and dairy together. There are also strict laws about how the animals should be slaughtered and prepared. Utensils that have been used to cook non-kosher food also cannot be used for Kosher food.

The method of slaughtering the animal used by Muslims and Jews is the same. Both religions attempt to minimize pain felt by the animal.

Dhabiha – The Muslim Process of Slaughtering Animals:

This procedure demands a person to invoke out loud the name of Allah before slaughtering the animal. The man who is slaughtering the animal should then use a sharpened knife to quickly cut the veins and arteries in the neck of an animal, minimizing contact with the spinal cord and nervous system. With the process the swiftly bleeds out completely in a few seconds and feels minimum pain.

Shecita – The Jewish Process of Slaughtering Animal

Jewish laws permit only a professional slaughter (shochet) to slaughter an animal. Similar to dhabiha, this process involves a person using a sharpened knife to quickly cut the veins and arteries in the neck of an animal, making the animal bleed out completely. It is of particular importance that all blood leaves the body of the slaughtered animal before consumption, as Jewish laws disallow consuming blood in any form.

The only and major difference between the Muslim and the Jewish method of slaughtering animal is the ritualistic aspect. The slaughtering procedure is converted into religious procedure by Muslims by invoking the name of Allah, this ritual remains missing in the Jewish processes. However, Jews believe that Prophet Moses handed down the rules of the slaughter procedure and the main purposes of this tradition are not sternly related to God. However, Jews do believe that by following Shecita law, they are obeying the will of God.

All Kosher Food Is Acceptable As Long As:

  • Alcohol is not used in the dishes
  • Gelatin obtained from animals slaughtered without tasmiya is not used

Majority of the Islamic scholars are of an opinion that Kosher meat is consumable as Halakhic blessing is done over a specific group of animals that are permitted in Islam and the slaughter is continuous, this blessing can suffice to fulfill the requirements of the tasmiya for that particular group of animals, and Allah knows best. From an Islamic point of view, the Shochet who does not mention the blessings to Allah will be considered as fī ḥukm al-nāsī (i.e., the one who accidentally forgets).

Finally, it remains important that Jews and Muslims make efforts to strengthen up their ties and benefit from each other’s experiences and to stand against the anti-Semitic and Islamophobic efforts to ban ritualistic slaughtering. Many of the modern Rabbis allow the shochet to utter the phrase ‘bismillāh Allahu akbar‘ in Arabic before slaughtering every animal, as it does not interfere with the rules of Halakha.

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