Problems In Obtaining Halal Food

Question

I live in Pittsburgh, USA with my family. My question is regarding the permissibility of eating chicken from non-halal restaurants here. There is a severe shortfall of halal-restaurants here in Pittsburgh. Most of the Muslim community generally does not mind eating chicken from places like McDonalds which are not halal. The Imam at our local mosque claims that since chicken is not a haram item, you are allowed to eat it from all restaurants. The only alternative we have is having fish or vegetable everyday which is hard to do considering that the items available are very limited. I cannot even take food everyday from home since my mother is not well enough to arrange packed meals for me everyday. Is chicken permissible in case of non-availability of halal food and limited availability of vegetables and fish items?


Answer

I find it strange that Halal meet is not easily available in your place, however I have to base my answer on the information given in your answer.

You wrote Halal restaurants are very few in your place. This is the case for many other places in non-Muslim countries but in most of these places there are Halal butchers/suppliers available. This means people will be able to eat Halal meat at least at their home.

If this is the case at your place as well then I do not understand what exactly the problem is. Worst that can happen is that you may not be able to have meat twice every day. Many people do not consume meat more than once every day and some even consider this to be a healthy option. If you have access to Halal butchers/suppliers and as the result can consume Halal meat at home then I do not see why you need to eat non Halal meat.

However if this is not the case meaning that even Halal butchers/suppliers are not easily available to you and it is not easy to buy enough Halal meat for the period that you are not accessing the butcher/supplier then I think the advice of eating non Halal chicken can be adopted.

However please note that the reason you may consume chicken in this case is not that the chicken becomes Halal, it is only because based on the above assumption you will be living in a difficult situation where following the rules of Shariah will put you in extreme difficulty.

Obviously this will be only a temporary and circumstantial solution that only applies when you are in extreme difficulty. Muslim communities usually manage to come out of this situation easily by working together to arrange enough and timely supply of Halal meat. You mentioned a local mosque so I presume there is a well established Muslim community in your place. I suggest you encourage and help people to make this happen.

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