Mufti Shafi’ Usmani and Halal meat in London

By Abu Salih Mu’adh Khan

Asslamo Allaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh,

Our dear, beloved and respected Shaykh (Mufti) Taqi Usmani (HA) while addressing the British Ulamah at Luton states that there was a time when his noble father Shaykh (Mufti) Shafi Usmani (HA) went over this verse of the Qur’aan for weeks explaining it in intricate details to students of the Darul-uloom.

[9:122] It is not (necessary) for all the believers to go forth.‘; So, why should it not be that a group from every section of them goes forth, so that they may acquire perfect understanding of the Faith, and so that they may warn their people when they return to them, so that they may take due care (of the rules of Shariah ).

Shaykh (Mufti) Taqi Usmani (HA) explains that there are two concepts which need to be highlighted here:

  1. Acquisition of deeper understanding: Here Allah (SWT) has not commanded Ulamah to merely learn but to exert and acquire a deeper understanding. Knowledge can be acquired anywhere, there are universities in the West doing research on Islamic issues but deeper understanding can only be gained by the company of Ulamah who have exerted under other Ulamah.
  2. Warning People: This is not mindless scaremongering or warning e.g. warning people about a possible danger of a snake or a harmful beast but this word in the Qur’aan is warning with affection and love like how a mother warns her children.

Shaykh (Mufti) Taqi Usmani (HA) recalls that he first visited Britain in 1978 and the situation today compared to 1978 has totally changed. Back then you had to search for Masajid and British Muslims (externally) influenced by the ways and customs of this society, while today we see Darul-ulooms, Masajid, Maktabs etc and the British Muslims (externally) are also closer to Sunnah.
He recalls that during 1955-1960 as a young student his illustrious father Shaykh (Mufti) Shafi Usmani (HA) received a number of queries from Muslims in London asking for permission to consume the meat of Ahlul-Kitab (people of the book) due to scarcity of Halal meat and undue hardship and prevailing circumstances.

Shaykh (Mufti) Shafi Usmani (HA) stated that although it is permitted to give a Fatwa on another Imam due to necessity and hardship but if we were to give a this Fatwa of permissibility of meat of Ahlul-Kitab (people of the book) then Muslims of that country (GB) will not be able to obtain Dhabiha meat because they will simply rest on their laurels.

So we will give a harsh Fatwa today for British Muslims and if people want to label us Extremists, Harsh, Taqleed (fanatics) then so be it! But our Fatwa will not change that unless and until (British) Muslims arrange for Dhabiha meat for themselves it will not be permitted for them to eat meat.

So what is the net result today (in London)? Halal meat shops are plentiful in the streets of London but if the Fatwa was given back in 1955 that Muslim could consume meat of Ahlul-Kitab (people of the book) due to necessity and hardship then the scene in London would be different to what it is today.

These are the principle explained in the verse of the Qur’aan for Ulamah.

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