I used to live in a village of West Java where grocery stores and supermarkets were not available. Basic household needs were purchased from the traditional market that opened early each morning.
One morning, I heard the following instruction to a customer who had bought a live chicken: “Remember to say ‘Bismillah’ before killing the chicken.”
For Muslims, slaughtering an animal without saying “Bismillah” will cause the meat to be haram (forbidden). For an animal to be halal (permissible), it must be slaughtered in a certain manner “in the name of Allah” (Bismillah).
The word “Bismillah’’ is a prayer used by Muslims. Before eating or travelling, it is a common thing to say. For Muslims, the word “Bismillah’’ gives divine protection or approval.
Why would food become forbidden just because it was not killed in a certain way?
God is Love
Religious rules can become so habitual that we no longer think about their meaning. Then we might forget to show sympathy and kindness toward others. If Allah is most gracious and merciful, then we also should show compassion. “… do not make your own hands contribute to destruction but do good. Allah loves those who do good” (Qs 2:195).
What is compassion? “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (The Injil, 1 John 4:11). “The purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith” (The Injil, 1Timothy 1:5).
God is Gracious & Merciful
Are you careful to eat only halal foods, but rarely extend mercy and compassion to others? Isa Al-Masih proclaims, “The second (commandment) is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these [Loving your God and Loving your neighbor]” (The Injil, Mark 12:31).
Being a truly religious person by saying “Bismillah’’ before every activity will not guarantee you deliverance from the Judgement Day. But “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (The Injil, 1 John 1:9). “God who is rich in mercy because of His great love for us. . . For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (The Injil, Ephesians 2:4,8).
[We invite you to visit us at https://www.isaandislam.com/way-of-salvation to learn more about God’s gift of Salvation. God loves you and waits to hear from you. Jesus clearly said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Injil, John 14:6). For a deeper understanding of Jesus, we suggest you subscribe to “Isa, Islam, and Al-Fatiha” at this link.]
SOME QUESTIONS FOR THE COMMENT SECTION BELOW
We encourage our readers to comment on the article above. Comments that don’t directly relate to the topic will be removed. Please start a dialogue with us by focusing on one of the following questions:
- Which is worse: eating meat which was killed without the word “Bismillah,” or committing adultery? Give your reasons.
- Why did Allah say that loving others is more important than other rules?
- Are you counting on keeping religious rules to save you on Judgement Day? How do you receive “the gift of God”?
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