Politics and Halal

It has long been my belief that politics corrupts.  Recently, I've been hearing about controversies in the Muslim community about Halal meat.  Various certification organization argue about what is halal and not halal and they all want their cut of regulatory scheme.  Just an example:

I think from its inception the whole notion of 'Halal' meat was not for a religious purpose, but for political and tribal purposes.  To make Muslims different from others.  A cult-like approach to life.

In reality, the Koran itself doesn't even forbid 'regular' meat from Muslims.
[2.173] He has only forbidden you what dies of itself, and blood, and flesh of swine, and that over which any other (name) than (that of) Allah has been invoked; but whoever is driven to necessity, not desiring, nor exceeding the limit, no sin shall be upon him; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

It only forbids the meat of those over which another God's name has been invoked.  For example, if someone slaughtered a cow in the name of Zeus... that would be Haram. There are other versus that specifically say the meat of those from Christians and Jews is Halal as well.

But Muslims no doubt say we should follow the sunnah.  Of course, I don't doubt the prophet Mohamed (pbuh) had various rituals when he slaughtered animals.  It might be *good* if those are followed.  But what is good or better is different than what is forbidden.

But what is the sunnah when presented with meat you don't know if it Halal or not.
Narrated 'aisha: Some people said, "O Allah's Apostle! meat is brought to us by some people and we are not sure whether the name of Allah has been mentioned on it or not (at the time of slaughtering the animals)." Allah's Apostle said (to them), "Mention the name of Allah and eat it."  (Book #34, Hadith #273)
Some say this verse was being applied to Muslims, who might not have slaughtered 'halal'.  Well to that I say, what difference does it make if the person is a muslim or a jew or a pagan?  If they don't slaughter the 'right way', and you still eat it... then it is not forbidden.

So you see, in terms of both the Koran and Sunnah, is seems strange the whole issue of Halal meat is so dominant in the lives of Muslims.  People literally callling every restaurant and shunning those not slaughtering meat according to their certification committee's  ways.  Creating a mini-islamic monopoly system on meat production...  Seems more like politics than religion to me.


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