How can it be lawful to eat the meat slaughtered by a Jew or a Christian these days? The understanding that I have always had is that it is alright to eat the kosher meat of the Jews since it is duly slaughtered in Allah's name, but not the meat slaughtered by a Christian, because these days it is not slaughtered in Allah's name. Is it not necessary to recite Allah's when slaughtering an animal?
Allah says: “The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 5]
Allah has allowed Muslims to eat from the food of the People of the Book (the Christians and the Jews), which means the animals that they slaughter. This does not include animals that they kill improperly, like animals killed by stabbing, bludgeoning, or electrocution.
In the verse mentioned above, there is evidence that all food of the People of the Book is lawful for Muslims to eat, regardless of whether that food is meat or something else. This ruling is not limited to the meat of animals upon which they mention Allah’s name at slaughtering time. This verse, by permitting us to eat the meat of these people who have their own religious practices, can be taken as giving a specific exception to the general ruling of the verse: “Eat not of (meats) on which Allah’s name hath not been pronounced”.
We can understand from this that the animals slaughtered by the People of the Book are lawful, even if some of the Jews were to pronounce the name of Ezra and the Christians pronounce the name of Jesus before slaughtering. This is the opinion of many of the Companions and the Successors.
However, another group ruled that it is unlawful to eat their meat if they go so far as to pronounce other than Allah’s name, because of the verse which declares what is unlawful for Muslims to eat: “...that on which hath been invoked the name of other than Allah”.
Imam Mâlik disliked eating meat of the Christians and Jews upon which such names have been mentioned, but he did not consider it unlawful to do so.
This disagreement is only in cases where the People of the Book specifically mention other than Allah’s name upon slaughtering their animals. In cases where we do not know what they mentioned upon slaughtering - if anything - then there is a consensus in the lawfulness of the meat on the autority of the verse: “The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them”. In this case - as is the case nowadays in modern slaughterhouses - there is no question of other than Allah's name being invoked.
We also have as evidence the hadîth where the Prophet (peace be upon him) ate from the grilled sheep presented to him by a Jewish woman without enquiring about whether Allah's name had been mentioned over it.
Then there is the instance where some Companions used animal fat acquired from the Jews of Khaybar and the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not object to them doing so.
However, please note that swine’s flesh, carrion, improperly killed animals, and any other food items that are already forbidden in and of themselves do not come under this ruling. Such food does not become lawful because a Christian or Jew presents it to us.
The animals slaughtered by the People of the Book these days have the same ruling as they did during the time of the prophet (peace be upon him). Therefore, the meat they sell in their supermarkets and restaurants is lawful, provided they slaughter their meat properly, and do not use alternative methods like electrocution, breaking the neck, or suffocation to kill the animal.
And Allah knows best.
Source: Islam Today
-- Al Arabiya Digital