Imam Ibn Kathîr on Naming Allah’s Name On What You Eat

(PDF Version)

Allah, exalted is He, said, «And do not eat from what Allah’s name was not mentioned on, and surely it is truly a sin» (6:121).

[Those] who opined that the slaughtered animal is not lawful if Allah’s name is not mentioned upon it, even if the slaughterer were a Muslim, acted according to this noble verse. The imams, may Allah have mercy on them, have differed in this issue according to three statements. From them are [those] who said this slaughtered animal, with this description, is not lawful; leaving the naming [of Allah’s name] intentionally or absent-mindedly is the same. It is narrated from Ibn ‘Umar and Nâfi’, his freed slave, ‘Âmir ash-Sha’bî and Muhammad bin Sîrîn. It is a narration from Imam Mâlik and a narration from Ahmad bin Hanbal [that] a group of his earlier and latter companions aided. It is Abî Thawr and Dâwud adhDhâhirî’s preference and Abul-Futūh Muhammad bin Muhammad bin ‘Alî atTâ’î, from the latter Shâfi’îs, preferred that in his book, al-Arba’în.

For this opinion of theirs, they argued with this verse and with His statement in the verse of hunting, «So eat from what they kept for you and mention Allah’s name on it» (5:4), then He had emphasized [it] in this verse with His statement, «and surely it is truly a sin.» The pronoun, it was said, returns to the eating and it was said [it] returns to the slaughtering for other than Allah. [They also agrued] with the mentioned hadîths regarding the command for naming [Allah’s name] upon the slaughtered animal and the game [animal], such as:

  • the two hadîths of ‘Adî bin Hâtim and Abî Tha’labah: «If you sent your trained dog and mentioned Allah’s name on it, then eat what it kept for you.» It is in the two Sahîhs;
  • the hadîth of Râfi’ bin Khadîj: «What causes the blood to flow and Allah’s name is mentioned on, then eat it.» It is also in the two Sahîhs;
  • the hadîth of Ibn Mas’ūd that Allah’s messenger, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, said to the Jinn, «For you is every bone upon which Allah’s name was mentioned.» It is narrated by Muslim;
  • the hadîth of Jundab bin Sufyân al-Bajalî who said, “Allah’s messenger, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, said, «Whoever slaughtered before he prays, then let him slaughter another in its place, and whoever had not slaughtered until we prayed, then let him slaughter in Allah’s name.»” They both published it.[1]
  • from ‘Â’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, is that a people said, “O Allah’s messenger, surely a people come to us with meat. We do not know: is Allah’s name mentioned on it or not?” He said, «You name [Allah’s name] on it and eat.» She[2] said, “They were newly acquainted with the disbelief.”[3] It was narrated by al-Bukhârî.

The surface of the indication is that they understood that the naming [of Allah’s name] is inescapable and they feared that it would not be found from these [people] because of the newness of their Islam. So he ordered them with the precaution of naming [Allah’s name] upon eating so it would be like the compensation for what was left upon slaughtering if it were not found and he commanded them with the performance of the rulings of the Muslims according to the proper [thing to do]; and Allah is more knowledgeable.

The second opinion in the issue is that He did not stipulate the naming [of Allah’s name], but that it is desired. So if it is left intentionally or out of forgetfulness, it does not harm. This is the opinion of Imam ash-Shâfi’î, may Allah have mercy on him, and all of his companions and a narration from Imam Ahmad conveyed from him by Hanbal. It is a narration from Imam Mâlik and that was laid down by Ash·hab bin ‘Abdil-‘Azîz from his companions. It was mentioned from Ibn ‘Abbâs, Abî Hurairah, and ‘Atâ’ bin Abî Rabâh; and Allah is more knowledgeable.

ash-Shâfi’î took the noble verse, «And do not eat from what Allah’s name was not mentioned upon, and surely it is truly a sin,» to mean what was slaughtered for other than Allah, like His statement, exalted is He, «or a sin offered up to other than Allah» (6:145). Ibn Juraij said, “[Regarding] «And do not eat from what Allah’s name was not mentioned on,» ‘Atâ’ said, ‘He prohibits the slaughtered animals Quraish used to slaughter for the idols and He prohibits the slaughtered animals of the Magians.'” This road that ash-Shâfi’î took is strong.

Some of the latter [Shâfi’îs] had attempted to strengthen it by making the ‘and’ in His statement, «and surely, it is truly a sin,» circumstantial, meaning: do not eat from what Allah’s name was not mentioned on in the circumstance of its being a sin, and it is not a sin until it has  been offered up to other than Allah. Then they claimed that this is incumbent and it is not possible that the ‘and’ be conjunctive, because from it, the conjunction of a predicative nominal sentence to a requisitionary verbal sentence is necessitated. This is refuted with His statement, «and surely, the devils certainly inspire their patrons,» for surely, it is definitely conjunctive. For if the ‘and’, which they claimed was circumstantial, was correct according to what they said, the conjunction of this is impossible for it, for if it were conjoined to the requisition, what was mentioned about others is mentioned about it. And if the ‘and’ were not circumstantial, then what they said is invalidated from its origin; and Allah is more knowledgeable.

Ibn Abî Hâtim said, “My father narrated to us: Yahyâ bin al-Mughîrah narrated to us: Jarîr informed us from ‘Atâ’, from Sa’îd bin Jubair, from Ibn ‘Abbâs, regarding the verse, «And do not eat from what Allah’s name was not mentioned on,» he said, ‘It is carrion.'” Then he narrated it from Abî Zur’ah, from Yahyâ bin Abî Kathîr, from Ibn Lahî’ah, from ‘Atâ’, i.e., Ibn as-Sâ’ib. For this opinion, one of the Followers[4] who were mentioned by Abū Hâtim bin Hibbân in Kitâb ath-Thiqât acted by what Abū Dâwud narratred in al-Marâsîl from the hadîth of Thawr bin Yazîd, from asSamt as-Sadūsî, the freed slave of Suwaid bin Maimūn. He said, “Allah’s messenger, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, said, «The Muslim’s slaughtered animal is lawful [whether] he mentioned Allah’s name or he did not mention [it]. Surely, if he mentioned [anything], he would only mention Allah’s name.» This is mursal[5] [and] backed by what ad-Dâraqutnî narrated from Ibn ‘Abbâs: that he said, “If the Muslim slaughtered and did not mention Allah’s name, then let him eat, for surely, the Muslim has a name from Allah’s names.” al-Baihaqî also agrued with the previous hadîth of ‘Â’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, that a people said, “O Allah’s messenger, surely a people come to us with meat. We do not know: is Allah’s name mentioned on it or not?” He said, «You name [Allah’s name] on it and eat.» He said, “If the existence of the naming [of Allah’s name] was a condition, it would not have been authorized for them except with verifying it.” And Allah is more knowledgeable.

The third opinion in the issue is if he left the basmallah[6] upon slaughtering out of forgetfulness, it does not harm, while if he left it intentionally, it is not lawful. This is the famous [opinion] from the opinion of Imam Mâlik and Ahmad bin Hanbal. Abū Hanîfah and his companions and Is·hâq bin Râhawaih speak of it. It is mentioned from ‘Alî, Ibn ‘Abbâs, Sa’îd bin al-Musayyab, ‘Atâ’, Tâwus, al-Hasan al-Basrî, Abî Mâlik, ‘Abdir-Rahman bin Abî Lailâ, Ja’far bin Muhammad, and Rabî’ah bin Abî ‘Abdir-Rahman. Imam Abul-Hasan al-Mirghînânî transmitted concensus before ash-Shâfi’î in his book, al-Hidâyah, on the forbiddence of the abandoned naming [of Allah’s name that is done] intentionally. So due to this, Abū Yūsuf and the shaikhs said, “If a judge ruled with the permissibility of its sale, it would not reach opposition of the concensus.” That which he said is very strange and transmission of the difference from those before ash-Shâfi’î preceded; and Allah is more knowedgeable.

Imam Abū Ja’far bin Jarîr, may Allah have mercy on him, said, “Whoever forbade the slaughter of the one who forgot [to name Allah’s name when he slaughtered it] has left the statement of all of [the people][7] of proof and differed from the established information from Allah’s messenger, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, regarding that.” He means: what is narrated by Abū Bakr al-Baihaqî: Abū ‘Abdillah al-Hâfidh informed us: Abul-‘Abbâs al-Asamm narrated to us: Abū Umayyah atTarasūsî narrated to us: Muhammad bin Yazîd narrated to us: Ma’qil bin ‘Ubaidillah narrated to us from ‘Amr bin Dînâr, from ‘Ikrimah, from Ibn ‘Abbâs, from the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, who said, «The Muslim’s name suffices him. If he forgot to name [Allah’s name] when he slaughters, then let him mention Allah’s name and let him eat it.» This hadîth’s being marfū'[8] is an error. Ma’qil bin ‘Ubaidillah al-Jazarî erred in it, for surely, even if he was from the men of Muslim, nevertheless, Sa’îd bin Mansūr and ‘Abdullah bin az-Zubair al-Humaidî narrated it from Sufyân bin ‘Uyainah, from ‘Amr, from Abish-Sha’thâ’, from ‘Ikrimah, from Ibn ‘Abbâs as his statement. So they added Abash-Sha’thâ’ and accredited him; and this is more correct. al-Baihaqî and others laid it down from al-Hâfidh. Then Ibn Jarîr and others transmitted from ash-Sha’bî and Muhammad bin Sîrîn that they disliked the abandoned naming [of Allah’s name done] out of forgetfulness; the Predecessors used to apply the [term] dislike on the forbidance a lot; and Allah is more knowledgeable; except that from the principle of Ibn Jarîr is that he did not consider the statement of one or two contradictory to the general mass, so he considered it a consensus, so let one know this; and Allah is the One who grants success.

Ibn Jarîr said Ibn Wakî’ narrated to us: Abū Usâmah narrated to us from Jahîr bin Yazîd who said: al-Hasan was asked by a man, “I was given such and such birds.[9] From it is what was slaughtered and Allah’s name was mentioned on it and from it is what Allah’s name was forgotten to be mentioned on; and the birds were mixed.” So al-Hasan said, “Eat all of it.” He said, “I asked Muhammad bin Sîrîn and he said, ‘Allah said, «And do not eat from what Allah’s name was not mentioned upon.»'”

It is agrued for this opinion with the hadîth narrated from [various] routes with Ibn Mâjah from Ibn ‘Abbâs, Abî Hurairah, Abî Dharr, ‘Uqbah bin ‘Âmir, and ‘Abdillah bin ‘Amr, from the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him: «Surely, Allah unburdened my nation of error, forgetfulness, and whatever they are coerced into,» and it needs reflection; and Allah is more knowledgeable.

Hâfidh Abū Ahmad bin ‘Adî had narrated from the hadîth of Marwân bin Sâlim al-Qarqasânî, from al-Awzâ’î, from Yahyâ bin Abî Kathîr, from Abî Salamah, from Abî Hurairah [who] said a man came to the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, and said, “O Allah’s messenger, do you view the man from us, he slaughters and forgets to name [Allah’s name]?” So the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, said, «Allah’s name is on every Muslim.» The chain of this, however, is weak, because Marwân bin Sâlim al-Qarqasânî Abâ ‘Abdillah ash-Shâmî is weak; several from the imams spoke about him; and Allah is more knowledgeable.

I have set aside this issue separately and mentioned the opinions of the imams, their sources, their evidences, the face of the indications, the contradictions, and the oppositions, and Allah is more knowledgeable.[10]

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Endnotes:
[1] [t] I.e., Imams al-Bukhârî and Muslim in their Sahîhs.

[2] [t] I.e., ‘Â’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her.

[3] [t] I.e., they were new to Islam.

[4] [t] Ar. tâbi’ūn (pl. – sing. tâbi’î) – followers, adherents; referring to the second generation of Muslims, the students of the Prophet’s companions.

[5] [t] Ar. mursal – sent, forwarded; dispatched; incompletely transmitted. In Hadîth terminology it refers to a narration from a Follower in which he reports something from the Prophet, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, which he did not hear or witness from him. See Shaikh Salîm al-Hilâlî’s Kifâyah al-Hafadhah Sharh al-Muqaddimah al-Mūqadhah, pg. 120 (Maktabah al-Furqân).

[6] [t] Ar. basmallah – to utter “In the name of Allah.”

[7] [t] This is an addition that Shaikh Mash•hūr Hasan Salmân made in explaining this statement from Ibn Kathîr during his lessons on Qur’anic exegesis. Tafsîr Sūrah al-An’âm Âyât 114-121 (mp3 audio, accessed June 21, 2008).

[8] [t] Ar. marfū’ – raised. In Hadîth terminology it refers to a narration related by a Companion where he or she informs of something that Prophet Muhammad, may Allah send salutations and peace upon him, said or did. See Shaikh Ahmad Shâkir’s al-Bâ’ith al-Hathîth Sharh Ikhtisâr ‘Ulūm al-Hadîth, pg. 46 (Dâr al-Âthâr).

[9] [t] In the edition printed by Mu’assasah al-Kutub ath-Thaqâfiyyah it is printed as “such and such birds” (بطير كذا), but in the edition published on QuranComplex.org, it appears as “plover birds” (بطير كرى). In Shaikh Mahmūd Shâkir’s edition of Jâmi’ al-Bayân ‘an Ây al-Qur’ân (a.k.a. Tafsîr atTabarî) with referencing of the narrations by his older brother Shaikh Ahmad Shâkir, they have included a footnote to this narration which states,

In the printed [edition] is “such and such birds” and it is an error about which there is no doubt. In the manuscript is skimpy birds (بطير كدى), with the impression of a dâl (د), and it is an error for which there is no meaning. The correct [word] is what I have ascertained: “plovers” (كرى), with two fat·has, the plural of plover (الكروان), and it is a bird between the chicken and the dove. [It is] of beautiful voice, its meat is eaten. The author of Lisân al-‘Arab mentioned that it is called the mountail quail and the partridge. The correct is that it is a species from the birds similar to it.

[10] [t] In his lessons on exegesis, Shaikh Mash·hūr Hasan Salmân mentions that he does not know of this treatise by Imam Ibn Kathîr; it is not printed and he does not know if it exists as a manuscript or not. See footnote no. 7.

Source: ad-Dimashqî, Ibn Kathîr. Tafsîr al-Qur’ân al-‘Adhîm (new ed.). Beruit, Lebanon: Mu’assasah al-Kutub ath-Thaqâfiyyah, 2004. vol. 2, pgs. 690-962.

About Rasheed Gonzales
My name is Rasheed Gonzales. I’m a Muslim convert of Filipino descent. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, I was guided to Islam through one of my younger brothers and a couple of friends, all of whom had converted to Islam sometime before me (may Allah reward them greatly). I am married with four children (and the praise is Allah’s) and also a volunteer for the Qur'an & Sunnah Society of Canada, based in Toronto.

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