What is the ruling on imported meat?
Al Hamdulillah… Imported meat is permissible, as so long as it comes from a country where the people there are upon the religion of the People of the Book, the Jews and the Christians. There is no harm in eating that meat (i.e. the meat of the Jews and Christians) due to Allah the Most High’s statement,
وَطَعَامُ الَّذِينَ أُوتواْ الكِتَابَ حِلٌّ لَّكُمْ[Al-Ma'idah:5]
And the food (meat) of the People of the Book (i.e. Jews and Christians) is lawful to you.
Ibn ‘Abbaas said, “(What is meant is) their meat (which they have slaughtered).”
And that which was been be reported, that some of the animals are killed by electrical shock, this speech (type of talk) does not negate the permissibility of the meat (of the People of the Book). Some specialist in this field have (pointed out) that the electric shock is only used to incapacitate and not to kill the animals. This is only done and intended by way of it, the removal of the pain of the actual slaughter. Likewise, only a small number (small percentage) of animals die from the electric shock itself.
From that which points to the authenticity of this report (from the specialist in this field) is that the (carcasses) of these animals arrive with their heads cut off (1). Shaikhul Islaam issued a verdict (fatwah) on the permissibility of (imported) cheese which had arrived from Europe, even with some of (the people) saying that it had been mixed with pig’s grease.
So don’t be inclined to the likes of these types of claims (about this meat being impermissible). For verily we are firm upon the foundation and original (ruling) with regards to the meat of the People of the Book (Jews and Christians); and that is, that it is permissible. And we will not change from this ruling (even if in a specific case) except upon and with certainty (2).
(1)Translator’s note: This is an excellent point made here by the Shaikh may Allah preserve him, if the animals were killed by electric shock there will be no need to cut off the heads of these animals. The fact that the animals reach us headless, is an indication as to how they were killed.
(2)Translator’s note: Meaning that the meat of the People of the Book is permissible, and as an example; if some one were to come with certainty and say, “slaughter house such and such does not kill the animals properly”. As the ‘Ulamaa have explained, in this case, the meat from said slaughter house will be impermissible. However, the general ruling of the permissibility of the meat of the People of the Book will be unchanged and unaffected by the actions of slaughter house such and such.