When a Muslim tells you meat is Halal, can you take his word for it?

Quran

Hadith

Islamic Text

Yes, unless there is clear evidence contradicting his statement.

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، قَالَتْ: قَالُوا: يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ، إِنَّ هَا هُنَا أَقْوَامًا حَدِيثٌ عَهْدُهُمْ بِشِرْكٍ، يَأْتُونَا بِلُحْمَانٍ لاَ نَدْرِي يَذْكُرُونَ اسْمَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهَا أَمْ لاَ، قَالَ: «اذْكُرُوا أَنْتُمُ اسْمَ اللَّهِ، وَكُلُوا»

(Sayidah) Aishah  said, A group of people said, O Messenger of Allah ﷺ,  there are people who have recently embraced Islam and they bring us meat, we do not know whether they had mentioned Allah’s (Most High) Name while slaughtering the animals or not. The Prophet ﷺ said, ‘You mention Allah’s (Most High) Name and then eat.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, 7398).

The general rule is that when a Muslim tells you that meat is Halal, you are permitted (not obliged) to take their word for it. You are not obliged to take their word in the sense that you must then consume the meat, because consuming meat is permissible and not obligatory.

If out of caution a particular individual refrains from eating meat because of a doubt they have despite a Muslim telling them it is Halal, then that is permitted as longs as it is not based on Waswasah. However, it is permissible to take the word of a Muslim when they tell you meat is Halal (verbally or via a notice in the shop), unless there is strong evidence present that causes one to doubt their word.

In the Hadith above, we see the Prophet ﷺ allowing Sahaabah  to consume meat provided by people who had recently embraced Islam, despite the fact that the Sahaabah  had some doubt regarding it being Halal. This, as well as other evidences, prove the position of the Hanafi Madhab, that you can take the word of a Muslim with regards to meat being Halal.

Some people misunderstand this Hadith and say it means Haram meat becomes Halal if you take the name of Allah (Most High) before consuming it, this is a grave error and leads to consuming Haram. (See link below for a more detailed discussion).

The Hanafi scholars said that a Muslim can consume meat even if a Kafir says he purchased it from a Muslim (although it is not permitted if he simply states it is Halal).  Therefore, a Muslim directly saying it is Halal would certainly be permitted, unless there was clear evidence present to make us doubt his word.

وَمَنْ أَرْسَلَ أَجِيرًا لَهُ مَجُوسِيًّا أَوْ خَادِمًا فَاشْتَرَى لَحْمًا فَقَالَ اشْتَرَيْته مِنْ يَهُودِيٍّ أَوْ نَصْرَانِيٍّ أَوْ مُسْلِمٍ وَسِعَهُ أَكْلُهُ (الهداية في شرح بداية المبتدي)

And whoever sends a Magian (Majusi) employee or servant of his to purchase meat, and he says I purchased it from a Jew, Christian (Ahl Kitab) or Muslim, then he is permitted to eat it. (Imam Burhan al-Deen al-Marghinani, al-Hidayah).

The above ruling applies to being invited to a meal and the like, as well as purchasing meat oneself. Therefore, if a Muslim provides you with a meal or invites you to a meal, you are not obliged to ask them whether it is Halal or not. It is absolutely acceptable to assume it is Halal, unless there is a strong reason to doubt it, in which case one may (or must) raise the question. We see in the Hadith above the Holy Prophet ﷺ permitted the Sahabah  to consume the meat without questioning the Muslims who provided it.

In all cases, if a Muslim were to refrain out of caution, then he may well be rewarded as long as he is not falling prey to Waswasah, nor accusing a Muslim of sinful actions without evidence. One must keep in mind that it is a grave matter to accuse a fellow Muslim of sin without evidence, rather one must maintain a good opinion.

And Allah (Most High) Knows Best.

– Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen (20.05.2021)

See also:

Can you simply take the Name of Allah Most High to make Haram meat Halal?

Is the Hadith about mentioning Allah’s (Most High) Name when uncertain about meat, Sahih?

See also (video):