Courtesy of: Flying bird
Mechanical slaughter is only applicable on poultry and is mainly prevalent in the UK, Europe and Australia; nevertheless, this method of slaughter is also recognised by scholars of the Middle-Eastern region and the Arabian Peninsula, it is still a point of debate and continued discussion in the UK.
HFA Board of Scholars have researched on the subject, visited mechanised slaughterhouses and assessed their findings in conjunction with the requirements of Sharia’h. Based on these intense and extensive endeavours, their conclusion suggests that Mechanical Slaughtering is a valid concept of halal slaughtering and permissible if the strict requirements laid down in Halal Standards are met.
RULING ON MECHANICAL SLAUGHTERING OF POULTRY
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious and the Most Merciful.
All praise be to Allah and peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Prophet and upon all those who follow them till the Day of Judgement (Ameen).
We ask Allah to guide us all to the Straight Path, path of those upon whom He has bestowed His blessings and protect us from the path of those who have earned His wrath and those who have gone astray.
Subject: This declaration is prepared to clarify our stance on the issue of mechanical slaughtering of Chicken.
There are three main issues namely:
- Is stunning of animal or bird allowed in Islam?
- Is recitation of ‘Bismillah-e-Allahu Akbar’ once sufficient for more than one chicken slaughtered by machine?
- Does ‘Mechanical Slaughtering’ of Chicken meet all the requirements and conditions of Shariah?
Our response is as follows:
A. Is stunning of animal or bird allowed in Islam?
It is prohibited to cause suffering to the animal:
It is prohibited to cause suffering to the animal, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade causing suffering and tormenting them, and he enjoined kindness and goodness in general terms, and with regard to slaughter in particular.
ﻋﻦ اﺑﻦ ﻋﺒﺎس ر ﺿﻲ ﷲ ﻋﻨﮭﻤﺎ أن اﻟﻨﺒﻲ ﺻ َﻠ ﱠﻰ ﷲ ﱠ ُ ﻋَﻠَﯿْﮫِ و َﺳَﻠ ﱠﻢ َ :
( ﻻَ ﺗَﺘﱠﺨ ِﺬ ُو ْا ﺷَﯿْﺌﺎً ﻓِﯿْﮫِ اﻟ ْﺮ ﱡوحُ ﻏ َﺮَﺿﺎً ).
Narrated Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“Do not take anything in which there is a soul as a target.” – Collected by Muslim.
ﻋﻦ ﺟﺎﺑﺮ ﺑﻦ ﻋﺒﺪ ﷲ رﺿﻲ ﷲ ﻋﻨﮭﻤﺎ ﻗﺎل : ( ﻧَ ﮭَﻰ ر َﺳُﻮل ُ ﷲِ ﺻَﻠﱠﻰ ﷲ ﱠ ُ ﻋَﻠَﯿْﮫِ و َﺳَﻠﱠﻢ َ أ َن ْ ﯾﱠﻘْﺘُﻞ َ ﺷَﻲ ْ ءٍ ﻣِﻦ َ اﻟﺪﱠو َاب ﱢ ﺻ َﺒْﺮاً )
Narrated Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allah (may Allah be pleased with him) said:
“The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade tormenting any kind of animal to death.” – Collected by Muslim.
ﻋن ﺷداد ﺑن أوس رﺿﻲ ﷲ ﻋﻧﮫ ﻋن اﻟﻧﺑﻲ ﺻَﻠ ﱠﻰ ﷲ ﱠ ُ ﻋَﻠ َﯾْﮫِ و َ ﺳَﻠ ﱠم َ أﻧﮫ ﻗﺎل : ( إ ِ نﱠ ﷲَ ﻛَﺘَﺐ َ اﻹ ْ ِﺣ ْ ﺴَﺎن َ ﻋَﻠﻰ َ ﻛُﻞ ﱢ ﺷَﻲ ْ ءٍ ، ﻓ َﺈ ِذ َا ﻗ َﺘَﻠ ْﺘُﻢ ْ ﻓ َﺄ َﺣ ْ ﺴ ِﻨُﻮا اﻟ ْﻘِﺘْﻠَﺔ َ ، و َ إ ِذ َا ذ َﺑَﺤ ْ ﺘُﻢ ْ ﻓ َﺄ َﺣ ْ ﺴ ِﻨُﻮا اﻟﺬ ﱢﺑْﺤ َ ﺔ َ ، و َﻟِﯿُﺤ ِﺪﱠ أ َﺣ َﺪُﻛُﻢ ْ ﺷَﻔ ْﺮ َﺗَﮫُ و َﻟِﯿُﺮ ِح َ ذ َﺑ ِﯿْﺤ َﺘَﮫُ(رواه ﻣﺴﻠﻢ.
Narrated Shaddaad ibn ‘Aws (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“Allah has decreed kindness (or proficiency) in all things. So when you kill, kill well, and when you slaughter, slaughter well. Let one of you sharpen his blade and spare suffering to the animal he slaughters.” – Collected by Muslim.
General ruling on stunning the animal or bird:
Stunning and killing with a blow to head is mentioned in the Qur’an:
Allah has mentioned in the Noble Qur’an:
( ﺣُرﱢﻣَت ْ ﻋَﻠ َﯾْﻛُم ُ اﻟ ْﻣَﯾْﺗَﺔ ُ … و َ اﻟ ْﻣُﻧْﺧ َﻧِﻘ َﺔ ُ و َ اﻟ ْﻣَو ْ ﻗ ُوذ َة ُ إ ِﻻﱠ ﻣَﺎ ذ َﻛﱠﯾْﺗُم ْ )
“Forbidden to you (for food) are: Al-Maytah (the dead animals — cattle — beast not slaughtered), … and that which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow” [Al-Maa’idah: 5:3]
However, in temporary immobilisation, animals or birds do not die as a resultant. Since this process is reversible; animals or birds revive as normal within few minutes if they are not slaughtered after the process.
Conclusion of Scholars:
Scholars such as:
- Bakr Abu Zayd
- Saalih al-Fawzaan
- Abdullah ibn Ghadyaan
- Abd al-‘Azeez ibn ‘Abdullah Aal ash-Shaykh and
- Dr. Muhammad al-Ashqar (may Allah preserve him)
Say that: generally, the meat of an animal is lawful to eat if it remains alive and slaughtered properly according to Islamic terms and conditions after being immobilised. If the animal dies after stunning then it is unlawful to eat such animal. ‘But if the equipment uses such a low voltage and frequency that does not lead to the death of the animal or bird, then the slaughter is halal’.
- Majallat Majma‘ al-Fiqh al-Islami. Issue no. 10, vol. 1, p. 339:
- Majallat Majma‘ al-Fiqh al-Islami, issue no. 10, vol. 1, p. 411, 583 :
- Fataawa al-Lajnah al-‘Daa’imah, 22/456-457:
- Fataawa al-Lajnah ad-Daa’imah, 22/463
Based on the above fatwas and contemporary opinions of scholars, we support the conclusion that:
‘The meat of the animal or chicken is lawful to eat as long as it is alive at the time of slaughtering and it is slaughtered according to Islamic terms and conditions.
Similarly, we also conclude that:
‘The partial stunning or temporary immobilisation of chicken is also permissible and its meat is lawful to eat if the chicken remains alive after being immobilised, and slaughtered properly according to Islamic terms and conditions’.
All praises be to Allah (Al-Hamdulillah).
B. Is recitation of ‘Bismillah-e-Allahu-Akbar’ once sufficient for more than one chicken slaughtered by machine?
Difference of scholarly opinion regarding reciting ‘Bismillah Allahu Akbar’ when slaughtering the animal/bird:
- That it is Sunnah, which is the view of al-Shaafee’
- That it is compulsory for the meat being halal, but if it is forgottenor omitted by mistake it is still permissible. This is the view of the Hanafis, Maalikis and Hanbalis.
- That it is essential and cannot be waived under any circumstances, whether it is deliberately omitted or by mistake or out of ignorance. This is the view of the Zaahiris and was narrated from Maalik and Ahmad, and it was the view of some of the salaf.
In our opinion, the view of Imam Al-Shaafee’ is preferred and more practicable.
Therefore, it is always preferred and advisable to invoke ‘Allah’s Name’. However, one should not say that slaughtered chicken is Haram if Allah’s Name was not mentioned at the time of slaughtering. Eventually, Muslims mention Allah’s name before eating the meat that satisfies Quranic injunction.
If a Muslim or a kitaabi/ahl-ul-kitab (Jew or Christian) slaughters an animal for consumption, and it is not known whether he mentioned the name of Allah over it, it is permissible to eat that meat after mentioning Allah’s Name over it, because of the report that was narrated by alBukhaari (2057) from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her), that some people said:
“O Messenger of Allah, some people bring meat to us, and we do not know whether they mentioned the name of Allah over it or not. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Mention the name of Allah over it and eat.”
It has always been advisable to recite ‘Bismillah Allahu Akbar’ at starting the slaughtering line, although ‘Allah’s Name’ is required to be invoked at the time when knife or blade is slaughtering the chicken. We, the undersigned, have observed at halal approved mechanised poultry slaughterhouses that:
- Muslim slaughtermen stand adjacent to the fixed blade where the chicken comes and is slaughtered; and,
- Muslim slaughtermen invoke ‘Allah’s Name’ continuously during the process of slaughter confirming the required intention; and,
- Efforts show the slaughter men’s sincerity towards it. Also they try their level best to carry out their duties assigned to them. We further observed that if any chicken is not properly slaughtered then there are minimum two Muslim slaughtermen standing next to the fixed blade to slaughter the chicken manually.
According to us this fulfils the requirement, because we have to understand here that the owners and management of slaughterhouses respect Islamic Concept of slaughtering and facilitates its compliance to Islamic Jurisprudence and Halal Standards.
There are two ahaadith that mentions the flow of blood and Allah’s Name being invoked for a slaughter to be halal:
أن اﻟﻧﺑﻲ ﺻﻠﻰ ﷲ ﻋﻠﯾﮫ وﺳﻠم ﻗﺎل : ( ﻣﺎ أﻧﮭر اﻟدم وذ ُ ﻛر اﺳم ﷲ ﻋﻠﯾﮫ ﻓﻛ ُل )
رواه اﻟﺑﺧﺎري، ﻛﺗﺎب اﻟﺷرﻛﺔ، ﺑﺎب ﻗﺳﻣﺔ اﻟﻐﻧم، رﻗم (2488) ، وﻣﺳﻠم ، ﻛﺗﺎب اﻷﺿﺎﺣﻲ، ﺑﺎب ﺟواز اﻟذﺑﺢ ﺑﻛل ﻣﺎ أﻧﮭر اﻟدم إﻻ
اﻟﺳن..، رﻗم 01968)، وأﺑو داود، ﻛﺗﺎب اﻟﺿﺣﺎﯾﺎ ، ﺑﺎب ﻓﻲ اﻟذﺑﯾﺣﺔ ﺑﺎﻟﻣروة، رﻗم (2821 واﻟﺗرﻣذي، ﻛﺗﺎب اﻟﺻﯾد ، ﺑﺎب ﻣﺎ ﺟﺎء
ﻓﻲ اﻟذﻛﺎة ﺑﺎﻟﻘﺻب وﻏﯾره، رﻗم (1491)واﻟﻧﺳﺎﺋﻲ، ﻛﺗﺎب اﻟﺿﺣﺎﯾﺎ ، ﺑﺎب ذﻛر اﻟﻣﻧﻔﻠﺗﺔ اﻟﺗﻲ ﻻ ﯾﻘدر ﻋﻠﻰ أﺧذھﺎ، رﻗم (4409، 4410)، واﺑن ﻣﺎﺟﮫ ، ﻛﺗﺎب اﻟذﺑﺎﺋﺢ، ﺑﺎب ﻣﺎ ﯾذﻛﻲ ﺑﮫ، رﻗم (3178)
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“If the blood flows and the name of Allah is mentioned, then eat.” – Collected by Al-Bukhari, Muslim,Abu Dawud, At-Tirmizee, An-Nasai and Ibn Majah.
ﻋَن ْ أ َﻧَس ٍ رﺿﻲ ﷲ ﻋﻧﮫ ﻗَﺎلَ : ( ﺿَﺣﱠﻰ اﻟﻧ ﱠﺑ ِﻲﱡ ﺻَﻠ ﱠﻰ ﷲ ﱠ ُ ﻋَﻠ َﯾْﮫِ و َ ﺳَ ﻠ ﱠم َ ﺑ ِﻛَﺑْﺷَﯾْن ِ أ َﻣْﻠ َﺣَﯾْن ِ ﻓَرَأ َﯾْﺗ ُﮫُ و َ اﺿ ِ ﻌًﺎ ﻗَدَﻣَﮫُ ﻋَﻠ َﻰ ﺻ ِ ﻔَﺎﺣِﮭ ِﻣَﺎ ﯾُﺳَﻣﱢﻲ و َ ﯾُﻛَﺑﱢرُ
ﻓَذ َ ﺑَﺣَﮭُﻣَﺎ ﺑ ِﯾَدِه.)
وﻗد روى اﻟﺑﺧﺎري (5558) وﻣﺳﻠم (1966)
Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said:
“The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) sacrificed two horned black and white rams. I saw him placing his foot on their sides, and he said the name of Allah and he said takbeer, then he slaughtered them with his own hand.” – Collected by Al-Bukhaari (5558) and Muslim (1966)
It is understood from the above two hadiths that (i). Machine does the work of knife, (ii). The man standing adjacent to the machine mentions ‘Allah’s Name’. These two actions serve the requirement of halal slaughtering.
The scholars unanimously agree that when the arrow is shot mentioning Allah’s Name once regardless of many birds hunted with this arrow, all these birds are halal to eat. It is well said by Shaykh Salih Al-Othaimeen:… It is similar to the case where he sees a flock of birds and shoots them and says “Bismillah”, and twenty birds fall – in that case all are halaal. – Al-Liqa’ al-Maftooh, 35/27
C. Does ‘Mechanical Slaughtering’ of Chicken meet all the requirements and conditions of Shariah?
Is mechanical slaughtering of chicken halal?
Some say that ‘mechanically slaughtered chickens are not halal’ and arguments are:
1. Saying of ‘Bismillah Allahu Akbar’ once is insufficient for more than one chicken slaughtered by machine; hence it is mandatory to recite for every chicken slaughtered; and,
2. It does not meet all the conditions and requirements of Sharia’h
Islamic Fiqh Academy India dedicated two seminars (1994/1995) to consider mechanical slaughter. Failing to reach a consensus on the issue, following prominent scholars put their names to the validity of mechanical slaughter:
- Qazi Mujahidul Islam Qasmi, rahmatullah Alaih
- Shaikh Khalid Saifullah Rahmand, Secretary General, Islamic Fiqh Academy
- Maulana Yaqub Ismail Munshi Qasmi, Dewsbury, UK
- Maulana Jalaluddin Ansar Umary
- Mufti Naseem Ahmad Qasmi
- Maulana Ijaz Ahamd Qasmi
- Raisul Ahrar Nadwi
- Maulana Sadrul Hasan Nadwi
- Sulatan Ahamd Islahi
- Sabahuddin Malik Falahi
(booklet: Zabiha ke Shar’Ie Ahkam, IFA publications, New Delhi http://www.download.ifa-india.org/pdf/Animal_Slaughter.pdf )
Also see resolution on their website: http://www.ifa-india.org/index.php?do=home&pageid=technology
Our Opinion on Mechanical Slaughtering of Birds:
In our view, static conventional instrument of slaughter has now been transformed into a dynamic mechanical knife that facilitates mass production without compromising halal standards.
Based on the guidance from the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, scholarly opinions and our observations regarding the slaughtering of birds; we conclude that:
- Mechanical Slaughtering of chicken is a blessing from Allah for all the Muslims today.
- After our visits to mechanised poultry slaughterhouses we can certainly confirm that:(a): Chicken are slaughtered well in accordance with Sharia’h requirements;(b): Blade of the Machine is very sharp;(c): Chicken are slaughtered quickly without any tangible pain or suffering; and,(d). It is very close to the merits of the hadith mentioned in section A (above) by Shaddaad Ibn ‘Aws.
According to our careful study of the subject and having visited Chicken slaughterhouses where mechanical slaughtering is in place, we are satisfied that chickens slaughtered mechanically are halal, subject to meeting the required conditions.
CONDITIONS FOR HALAL MECHANICAL SLAUGHTERING OF POULTRY
These have been defined by Muslim Scholars and experts at the present time as follows:
1. A slaughterer must be Muslim;
2. Intention: sincerely and ONLY for the sake of Allah and with His Name;
3. Continuous recitation of Allah’s Name while slaughtering;
4. It is permissible to slaughter using modern machines on condition that (the blades) are sharp and that the oesophagus, windpipe, jugular vein and carotid artery are cut;
5. The slaughtered animal should be drained of blood as completely as possible, since blood is haram;
6. The voltage, current and frequency settings should accurately be adjusted to cause temporary immobilisation only;
7. It is not permissible to immobilise a bird that is intended for halal slaughter by gassing or by mixture of gases.
8. It is permissible to immobilise chickens and animals temporarily by means of electric water bath and electric tongs respectively provided that the parameters used do not lead to their death.
Al-Hamdulillah, almost all of the above mentioned requirements and conditions are met by mechanised poultry slaughtering facilities we have visited jointly as members of the Board of Scholars of Halal Food Authority. We must accept the Intention and efforts of all those who strive for achieving their goals to meet the requirements of Halal.
It is obvious that machine-slaughter is a new phenomenon created by the rapid progress in modern technology and business practice. It is futile exercise to look for express rulings with regards to it in the classical sources of Islamic jurisprudence. Its ruling can only be derived from the general principles and guidelines set down in the Qur’an, Sunnah and Ahaadith and the classical works of Islamic jurisprudence. Modern Fiqh Academies and contemporary scholars have shed good light on the issue. Conclusions are bound to be different based on individual understandings. Thus, there may be some differences of opinion with regards to this issue and we respect the other opinions.
In most developed countries, mechanisation is gaining prominence. Therefore meat sourced from those countries are increasingly slaughtered and processed mechanically. Muslims from Far East, Middle East, North America and Africa are buying from mechanised sources. As it is evident increasing numbers of scholars are coming to term with mechanised slaughter. Some still have reservations.
It is worth noting that scholars from all schools of thoughts, Far East, South East, Middle East and North Africa and Americas are on board with approving mechanised slaughter of chicken in line with Halal Food Authority’s diversified Board of Scholars.
It should be noted that while Muslim can observe personal preferences and choices for their own preferred methods of manual or mechanised methods, they cannot enforce their own preference upon other Muslims, nor they can denounce others. Both have their arguments and proofs and a long line of scholar approval. It is rather recent unruly practice to declare other’s Muslims’ food as non-Halal or doubtful.
In to days’ globalised world, most of us live in a multi demographic and mix fiqhi school adherence environment, much like early Islamic centuries. No Muslim should question other Muslims’ authenticity of Halalness. We should take it on face value, if we are required to respect faithfulness of other fellow Muslims. This has been the noble and role model practice of early Islamic centuries.
Signed by the members of HFA Board of Scholars on 23rd July 2013
Mufti Abdul Kader Barkatulla
Dr Abdul Majid
Dr Abdul Wahhab
Imam Sardar Ahmad Qadri