A common debate topic amongst Muslims today is the issue of non-zabihah meat and whether or not it is permissible to eat.  Can we, as Muslims, eat a Big Mac at McDonalds?  Can we eat Kosher meat?  I recently attended a “debate” in which two shaykhs argued their sides in a discussion manner that was very respectful and dignified.  One scholar, Shaykh Yasir Qadhi, representing the Hanbali opinion, argued the meat of the Christians here in the United States is not-permissible while another scholar, Shaykh Yaser Birjas, representing the Shafi opinion, argued the chicken that is available wide-spread in America is permissible.  Here’s the breakdown of the opinions:

Taking into account the Quranic Ayaat found in Surat Maidah, the main difference of opinion between the different schools of thought comes down to the fact of whether or not saying the Bismillah is wajib (obligatory) or mustahhab (desirable) before the actual slaughter takes place.  Apparently the Hanafis, Malikis, and Hanbalis all consider saying the Bismillah as wajib before the slaughter takes place.  The modern Shafis consider the saying of Bismillah as recommended, but not required.  Shaykh Bin Baaz also followed the opinion that saying Bismillah is also required. 

It should be noted both scholars agreed that Kosher meat is permissible since the Jews do mention the name of Allah (SWT) before their slaughter.  However, both scholars also agreed that red meat in America should be avoided on the premise that much of the red meat available here comes from animals that have died from stunning (Fatwa here).  The audio of the dialogue is available here.

Before we delve too much, we must consider the USA or our respective country to be a place where the majority of the people are Ahl-Kitaab or else this discussion is useless.  Now, is the USA a Christian country?  Allahu Alim.  Let’s consider it one for this discussion, but do keep this Fatwa in the back of your mind. 

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the issue.  The Jews do follow the Torah and they slaughter in the name of Allah for their Kosher meat.  Therefore, Kosher meat is permissible for Muslims today.  Christians are also required to follow the Old Testament and hence, they are to slaughter in the name of God.  However, this aspect of Christian Law is completely neglected today and they do not mention anything when they slaughter their meat.  If a Christian were to say, “In the Name of the Lord,” then this meat would be permissible.  However, as we know, this does not take place amongst today’s Christians.

With that being said, what’s happened here in America today is that many of the ‘modern-day salafis’ have misinterpreted a fatwa from Shaykh Ibn Uthaymin.  Shaykh Ibn Uthaymin lived his life in Saudi Arabia and never lived in the West (though he did travel to the USA for medical purposes).  Living in Saudi Arabia, he did not interact with Christians on a regular basis.  It appears he was not aware that ALL Christians have abandoned this practice of stating the name of Allah.  If one reads his fatwa, he states that if one is unsure whether or not a Christian has mentioned Allah or not, then this meat is, by default, permissible.  However, the fact of the matter is, we know FOR SURE that the name of Allah has not been mentioned by these Christians when they slaughter their meat.  Shaykh Yasir Qadhi was once in a gathering with Shaykh Ibn Uthaymin when a student asked, “Is their meat permissible when I know 100% for sure that they are slaughtering without saying Bismillah?”  Shaykh Ibn Uthaymin responded by saying then, this meat is haraam (just) for you.  It appears that the Shaykh thought that this student of knowledge that asked this question was one of very few people who knew for sure that modern-day Christians do not say Bismillah.  However, the reality of the fact is that we ALL know that the name of Allah is not mentioned before the slaughter amongst Christians.  Furthermore, if a Christian were to mention someone, it would probably be Jesus, in which case, the meat is haraam for it has been slaughtered in the name of other than Allah!

In closing, I leave you with the follow hadith to consider:
Adi b. Hatim reported: Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said to me:  When you let off your dog, recite the name of Allah, and if it catches (game for you) and you find it alive, then slaughter it; if you find it killed and that (your dog) has eaten nothing out of that, (even then) you may eat it; but if you find along with your dog another dog, and (the game an) dead, then don’t eat, for you do not know which of the two has killed it” (Muslim).

Summer of Fun

July 5, 2007

Assalamu Alaykum,

I’ve finally decided to start updating my blog once again and insha’Allah, I will continue to update it regularly. Since I’ve been on hiatus for the last several weeks, I thought I’d update my blog with what’s been going on in my life.  Alhamdulillah, my last summer before medical school has been full of excitement and joy.  In the past three weeks, I’ve traveled to sooo many states, it’s been awesome. 

I started my journey (it wasn’t a real journey by any means) by going to Chicago for a friend’s wedding.  Devon Street is a pretty happening street.  I was fortunate enough to eat at the famous Usmanias restaurant.  My new recommended favorite dish has definitely got to be Chicken Makkni (a.k.a. Butter Chicken).  From Chicago, I continued to Michigan to visit a friend.  Michigan was awesome.  Subhana’Allah, I really loved Dearborn, there are sooooooo many Muslims there it feels like another country.  There are masajid everywhere to be found.  One masjid we went to had several hundred people attending for a regular salaat!  Additionally, most of the local eateries serve halal food (I ate at a halal Big Boys!). 

My journey continued as I flew to California.  There were about eight brothers from Hopkins who met up as a reunion (Classes 2004-2007) and subhana’Allah, it was soo fun.  We arrived in Los Angles and continued our trip north up to San Jose (via Pebble Beach and Monterray) and south down to Long Beach.  California was an amazing experience as the trip defined true brotherhood.  One thing I got to do is give a shout-out to the UCLA MSA.  Masha’Allah, they’ve really got it going on.  The undergraduate and graduate students really get along.  We prayed jummah there on a non-school day and there were still about fifty people there for jummah!  Their MSA produces the Al-Talib newspaper which has been in production for seventeen years.  Furthermore, they run a free clinic for the medically uninsured.  Masha’Allah, I’ve never seen an MSA so together and on top of things.  After California, I fly back home to Tampa, but I stopped in Dallas for several hours.  A friend of mine picked me up and showed me around.  Dallas is a really impressive city and one that I think I may have to return to in the future to get the Texas experience.

After returning to Tampa and spending some time at home, I headed to Richmond, Virginia to find a roommate and apartment.  It appears as though it is final that I am attending Virginia Commonwealth University for medical school.  The medical school application cycle has been long and tedious at times for me.  Nonetheless, I’m excited about the final outcome.  I did have a great experience in all the cities I was able to travel to during my interviews.  Subhana’Allah, I met some superb brothers and the hospitality some of them gave me is unbelievable.  I put the results from my medical school process up at http://www.mdapplicants.com/viewprofile.php?myid=6247.  Insha’Allah, make dua for me that whatever is best for me and my family in the duniya and ahkira to happen for us.  We’ll see how Richmond treats me next year, insha’Allah, it goes well! 

I was also able to travel to NYC where I ate the famous Platters from 53rd and 6th.  Subhana’Allah, the gyros there were definitely on point.  That’s really been about it for me over the last few weeks.  Now that I’ve gotten through boring you about my journey, insha’Allah, future posts will be back on point in dealing with things that are more important.  Take care, insha’Allah.

Wa assalamu alaykum

I’ve left Baltimore.  Alhamdulillah, I graduated from Hopkins and it’s time for the next chapter in my life to begin.  Nevertheless, I’m sad to say good-bye to Baltimore.  It will always be very dear to my heart.  Living in Baltimore was a blast.  The two best parts of it were, of course, Masjid ul-Haqq and O’s Place.  Last week, I was fortunate enough to say by farewell to both of them.  In my last week as a member of the Baltimore community, I made several trips to the D.C. and Northern Virginia area to say farewell to my family and friends in those communities.

Last Thursday, I graduated from Hopkins.  Alhamdulillah, I was able to finish my classes and the university granted me adegree.  Football coach Brian Billick was the keynote speaker.  He was a decent speaker.  I thought we would have had a more notable speaker since people like Al Gore and Bill Cosby had been the graduation speakers in years past, but alhamdulillah, Billick’s speech was enjoyable though it definitely had a lot of football analogies in it.  He’s definitely a bright guy.  In a weird sense, I will miss Hopkins.  It definitely had a very competitive, cut-throat atmosphere, which I could not stand.  Nevertheless, I was surrounded with people that are unbelievable in what they do.  They are amongst the smartest people I have ever met when it comes to academia.

Then, last Saturday, Masjid ul-Haqq held a fundraiser on-site to raise money to build a school.  Speakers included Imam Safi Khan from Dar-us-Salaam, Sheikh Mutahhir Sabree from Columbia, South Carolina, and Imam Sahmuddeen Harun from Austin, Texas.  Subhana’Allah, Sheikh Yusuf Estes even came to the event as he made a guest-star appearance.  I believe he is good friends with Sheikh Sabree, who also works with Sheikh Adly in South Carolina.  At maghrib time, the masjid had raised about $60,000.  Subhana’Allah, after maghrib, one brother anonymously donated $100,000!  Imam Sahmuddeen was a phenomenal fundraiser-er (I’m going to say he’s better than ever Imam Johari!) and the total at the end of the night came to $220,000!  Subhana’Allah, that is an unbelievable amount for the community.  Indeed, the Masjid ul-Haqq community is one that is attached to the ahkira over the duniya!  I will definitely miss Masjid ul-Haqq.  May Allah (SWT) bless this community and allow other communities to take a lesson from the brotherhood that is present there.

Then, on Sunday, I went to O’s Place one last time.  We were able to meet up with some of the brothers from UMBC and Morgan State as we all enjoyed a nice lunch buffet together.  Obviously, you cannot go wrong with solid halal chinese food.  Afterwards, I said my salams to everyone as I was planning to leave the following morning after fajr.  Alhamdulillah, I made lots of good friends during my stay in Baltimore and there is no doubt in my mind that I will definitely miss each and every one of them.  They were all special to me and it is my hope that they will keep in touch with me.  Insha’Allah, I pray that Allah (SWT) blesses them and that if we do not meet again in this duniya, then, insha’Allah, we will meet again in paradise.

Ravi Kabob

May 13, 2007

Type of Food: Pakistani
Location: Arlington, Northern Virginia
Halal-ness: Legit except the music playing in the background
Go-to dish: Lamb Kabob
Rating: Solid

Sorry I hadn’t updated in a few days, I was out of town as I visited Northern Virginia for the weekend. Alhamdulillah, Northern Virginia (a.k.a. Nova) is really amazing. George Mason University has sooooo many Muslims on campus. I believe South Asian is actually the largest minority on campus, believe that! Nova is definitely Muslim central, I’m going to miss it as I move away from this greater DC area in a couple of weeks, sigh.

Anyways, I had the fortunate opportunity to go eat at the famous Ravi Kabob today. Ravi Kabob is a very popular purely Pakistani restaurant. It was definitely a solid choice. The food was great. I had the lamb kabob and alhamdulillah, it was on point. The naans are go-to and the food is very filling and not too expensive either. The place is packed with people. I was pretty suprised by the number of non-desis that were all excited about the food. Ravis is definitely a very good place to go to if you’re craving some good desified kabobs. They don’t really do non-kabob dishes, such as Chicken Tikka Masala, nevertheless, the kabob-quality makes up for it. The restaurant is soo busy that they have two separate ones open. One is the typical hole in the wall (alhamdulillah, it has a musalla downstairs to pray) and the other restaurant, across the street, is the family-edition. Both places have the same great food. For dessert, I recommend the Lahori Qulfi, it’s go-to with pistachio flavoring! Ravi Kabobs, definitely a solid restaurant, I recommend it.

O’s Place

May 2, 2007

Type of Food: Chinese and South Asian
Location: Baltimore County, Maryland
Halal-ness: Legit except the music playing in the background
Go-to dish: Orange Chicken
Rating: Awesome

I thought I would share my reflections on what has become my favorite place to eat in the Baltimore-area.  Alhamdulillah, O’s Place is a splendid addition to an already awesome Maryland community.  It has halal chinese food as well as paki-indo food.  And get this, it’s a buffet!  Uncle and aunty are so nice and they look out for us whenever we go to eat there.  There have been times when we were there until closing time and uncle just let us take the food left-over in the buffet home.  How sweet is that! 

My personal favorite dish is the Orange Chicken available in the buffet.  The Orange Chicken is a go-to dish and now that it’s been discovered, rarely is anyone tempted to try something new.  There are a variety of Orange Chicken derivatives on the menu.  They include General Tsao Chicken and Sesame Chicken.  I remember Ramadan iftars at Hopkins, almost weekly, someone would cater from O’s Place.  Alhamdulillah, it was good times. 

O’s Place has also became a mutual point for Baltimore MSA’s to meet up.  I’ve gone to O’s with Morgan State University’s MSA several times as well as the UMBC MSA.  Alhamdulillah, O’s Place is soo cool and, in my opinion, it is one of the best things available to us here in Baltimore (after Masjid ul-Haqq, of course).  So, yeah definitely, if you’re ever in Baltimore, hit me up and we can make an O’s Place run.