Due to the Media hype around the validity of chickens being halaal and the Majlis persistent rebuttal, I have decided to post this article authored by Moulana Taha Karan on the” Shar’ee position on Tasmiyah at the time of slaughtering”.

The Shar’ee position on Tasmiyah at the time of Slaughtering.
(A Fiqhi response to the Majlis)

After the removal of the copious amount of stuffing with which this pamphlet has been gratuitously amplified, and once the impulse to respond in kind has been overruled by deeper wisdom and greater decency, the core argument of this diatribe is reduced to one simple claim: that the four madhahib are in agreement on the issue of the tasmiyah during slaughter.

There is a certain element of truth in this claim: all the four madhahib maintain that the tasmiyah forms part of the slaughtering procedure. But what the author of this pamphlet cunningly tries to conceal from his reader is the fact that a significant difference of opinion exists between the madhahib on the exact status of the tasmiyah. Three distinct positions may be spoken of:

1. The tasmiyah is a sunnah. Omitting it, intentionally or unintentionally, does not negatively affect the validity of slaughter, and hence the halaal status of the animal. This is the position of Imam Shafi’i. It is also one of various opinions transmitted from Imam Ahmad, and amongst his followers this position was adopted by Abu Bakr al-Marwazi. It is also the preferred opinion of the Maliki jurist Ibn Rashid.

2. The tasmiyah is integral requirement whose intentional omission renders the slaughter invalid, but if it is omitted by mistake the animal will still be halaal. This is the opinion of Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Malik, and the well-known view of Imam Ahmad.

3. The tasmiyah is an indispensable requirement whose intentional or unintentional omission will make the slaughter invalid. This is another opinion transmitted from Imam Ahmad.

The author of the pamphlet, through a blend of obfuscation, vituperation and the blatant misrepresentation of fact, attempts to reduce all of this to “Fiqhi technicalities which should never feature in the domain of amal (practical Islam).” In the fervor of his crusading zeal he appears oblivious to the irony of such a statement coming from someone who has for decades filled his organ, The Majlis, and streams of other booklets and pamphlets with what can only be described as fiqhi technicalities.

The fact of the matter is that slaughterers are instructed to recite tasmiyah, and as a matter of routine, regularly do recite it. However, if it ever does happen that a slaughterer, for some reason or the other, happens to omit the tasmiyah, then what ought to be done? This is where the fuqaha of the Ummah, drawing guidance from the Qur’an and Sunnah, applied their ijtihad in order to provide solutions, with some taking the view that animals slaughtered without the tasmiyah are still halaal, while others draw a line between intentional and unintentional omission.

To the pamphlet’s author, these solutions are nothing but “fiqhi technicalities” which he dismisses with contempt and for which fails to find a practical application. His own wisdom has something better to offer. In order to give credence to his own “Ijtihad”, he commits the atrocious indiscretion of deliberately blurring the lines between regular procedure and an exceptional situation. In the picture which he draws, all slaughterers omit the tasmiyah all the time, and all halaal certifying bodies take recourse to these “fiqhi technicalities” all the time, and never for any motive but to undermine to the Sunnah and to make money. And in this conveniently altered picture of reality, it can never be any different, because all other ulama are abominable leeches and it is only he himself who is above reproach. Having permitted himself the dubious indulgence of painting his opponents in the worst possible colours, he proceeds to ride roughshod over the ijtihad of the venerable Imams of Fiqh by dismissing their treatment of exceptional circumstances as both irrelevant and a negation of the Sunnah. With everyone else thus disqualified and dismissed, there remains for the entire Ummah only one single authority pious, learned and venerable enough to have his diktat enforced without question, and that (no surprise) is Molvi AS Desai of the Majlis.

At the crux of this issue lies one simple issue: When one particular component of a deed has been identified by the Fuqaha, or one of them, as sunnah (as opposed to fard or wajib), then the omission of that component entails two separate issues.

• Firstly, the reason for the omission.
• Secondly, the status of the deed on account of the omission.

The author of this pamphlet, for psychologically transparent reasons , focuses only on the first aspect, and in doing so, insists with all the force of his loutish vocabulary that the omission can only be on account of most despicable of motives. Looking at the second aspect, which is the status of the deed on account of the omission, is something that requires balance and objectivity – qualities which he very obviously has not been blessed with. However so pronounced is the degree of his audacity that he simply cannot tolerate the fact that the greatest of the Fuqaha of the past could objectively assess what he himself could not; hence his dismissal of their assessment as “fiqhi technicalities that have no place in practical islam”.

Authored by Moulana Taha Karan
Member of the MJC Fatwa Committee

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