EATING WITH JEWS OR CHRISTIANS. In Muslim countries, where the people have not been brought into contact with Hindus, with caste prejudices, Muslims never hesitate to eat with Jews and Christians, provided the drink and victuals are such as lawful in Islam. Since the British occupation of India, the question has often been raised, and few Muslims will eat with Englishmen. Syud Ahmad Khan C.S.I. has written a book, in which he proves that it is lawful for Muslims to eat with both Christians and Jews, and his arguments would seem to be in accordance with the teaching of the Qur’an. Surah v 7: “Lawful for you to-day are the good things, and the food of the people of the Book (ie Jews and Christians) is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them.”
Al-Baizawi, commenting on this verse, says: “This verse includes all kinds of food, that which is slain lawfully (zabh) or not, and this verse is of common application to all the people of the Book, whether Jews or Christians. But on one occasion Khalifah ‘All did not observe it injunctions with regard to the Banu Taghlib, a Christian tribe, because he said these people were not Christians, for they had not embraced anything of Christianity except wine-drinking. And he does not include amongst the people of the book, the Majusis, although he included the Majusis with the people of the Book when he took the poll tax from them, according to a tradtion, which Muhammad gave regarding the Majusis, viz ‘Treat the Majusis as you would treat the people of the Book, out do not marry with them, nor eat what they slay.” (Tafsiru ‘l-Haizawi, p 216).
The commentators al-Kamaian, say the only question raised was that of animals slain by Jews and Christians, and the learned are all agreed that animals slain by them are lawful. (Tafsiru ‘l-Jalalain wa ‘l-Kamalain, p 93.)
The following Hadis is given in the Sahih Muslim on the subject: Abu Sa’labah related, “I said, O Prophet of God! Verily we live in a land belonging to the people of the Book (ie Jews or Christians); is it lawful for us to eat out of their dishes? The Prophet replied, The order for dishes is this: if you can get other dishes, then eat of them; but if ye cannot, then wash those of the people of the Book and eat from them.”
The Imam Nawawi, the commentator on the Shahih Muslim, says Abu Da’ud has given this Hadis in a somewhat different form to that in the text. He says: “Abu Sa’labah relates, we were passing through the country of the people of the Book (ie the Christians), and they were cooking pigs’ flesh in their dishes and drinking wine from their vessels.” “For” (continues Nawawi) “the learned are all agreed that it is lawful to eat with Jews and Christians unless their vessels are polluted with wine or pork, in which case they must be washed before they are used.” (Sahih Muslim wa Sharbu Nawawi, p 146.)
Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam