Question 67 : Assalamualaikum Shaikh.
I am wondering if it is okay to eat meat from restaurants here in the US? The reason why I ask is because I have seen many people from certain Middle East countries eating chicken/beef from restaurants such as Cheesecake Factory, PF Chang, McDonalds, etc, and feeling guilt-free. I would give them the benefit of doubt but there are actually many halal butchers and halal restaurants around.
Answer : Walaikumussalam Brother,
If a food seller, such as McDonalds, sells food made from meat that is halal, e.g. Chicken that it gets from Halal suppliers, then if that chicken preparation from beginning till the end (1) is separate, (2) not mixed at all with haram food items such as haram oil, and (3) utsensils wherein haram items are cooked are not used for cooking this until washed properly, then in that case, the food prepared itself is halaal to eat.
In Kafir countries, the common people will eat haram food obviously. Thus, if a shop, such as McDonalds, had haram food sold but also halal food sold that is cooked from beginning till the end separately, then buying and eating food from that shop is itself not haram, given that in that country the haram food is expected to be present generally as it is their normal food and is halal in their religion, Christianity or atheism.
But if it was a Muslim making a business of selling haram food, even in Kafir country, which they obviously should not, then us buying from them is to some degree – but not fully – us helping them in sin promoting or accepting their business, and as such we should not eat from there due to Allah saying, “And do not cooperate in sin and transgression.”
As for the question that if neighbouring halal Muslim shops are selling all halal while McDonalds is selling some fully halal but other haram food, then should we buy only from fully halal shops, the answer to this depends in which country you are in. If it is a Muslim country, then selling haram is spreading haram in a society where haram should not be sold, and as such it is expected for Muslims to not support haram there. But if it is a Kafir country where not eating halal is the obvious normal for a Kafir person, but the shop does sell some fully halal products, then buying those fully halal products in such a country is not promoting a vice since it is a Kafir person’s normal food, rather buying the halal product from there may well be promoting sale of halal food. So long as we are not promoting haram, it is permissible to buy the halal items from there even if there are other neighbouring fully halal shops as there is no obligation to do otherwise. However, if someone ate from the all halal shop to support its business staying alive, then that perspective is a good deed of helping a good cause. But that reason does not render it haram (for lack of evidence from the texts) to eat from the other place, such as McDonalds, just to support the Muslim person’s business. That is regarding cooked food where some food taste is more desirable to some people than other food. As for raw meat on sale, let us keep in mind that if Coles sold some halal chicken, and every Muslim bought from there only, then indeed there may remain no halal meat shops in business! So buying the raw halal meat from halal meat shops not only ensures that it is not mixed with haram but it also helps keeps those shops with pure halal meat in business, and such a rewarding deed.
Allah knows best.